Boarding Barns . . . and the issues

My day needs some enlightenment, and I am curious if anyone has had any positive experiences with boarding facilities.

I have been to two different facilities in the past year or so. Within a few months of boarding at each place, each horse was injured due to oversight by barn managers.

Not going to go into major details, but I am so frustrated by everything. Perhaps if the injuries were small, I could overlook them. First injury required about a month of stall rest. Last injury to my current horse has required 2.5 months of stall rest. He was a jumping/riding pony but not sure if he will be able to be jumped again in the future because of accident.

Just feeling overwhelmed. Never did get any apologies.

I don’t know how to move on from here. Another boarding facility again?

Need to hear some positive thoughts on boarding facilities to restore my faith again!

I think you’re being melodramatic. There are plenty of people who like their boarding barns.

I’m slightly suspicious that BOTH horse injuries were directly caused by barn staff. Horses are twits. They live to die/heinously injure/get cut up/kill themselves in incredibly stupid ways. I would have bought one injury being the result of negligence. Two? I dunno.

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[QUOTE=GoForAGallop;7253593]I think you’re being melodramatic. There are plenty of people who like their boarding barns.

I’m slightly suspicious that BOTH horse injuries were directly caused by barn staff. Horses are twits. They live to die/heinously injure/get cut up/kill themselves in incredibly stupid ways. I would have bought one injury being the result of negligence. Two? I dunno.[/QUOTE]

I know. I’m definitely losing my cool today! :yes: I have heard about people on the internet raving about their boarding facilities, but in my town, I’ve seen mostly the opposite. I really wish I could find the perfect situation for my pony.

I wish they had not been because of oversight from staff. First horse was put in pasture that had been clearly stated off-limits for this horse (whole family told b/m that pasture was unsafe for horse and that he was not to go out in that pasture). He was put in pasture anyway w/ a cow. Second gelding was put out in pasture w/ a mare with all around shoes. Really upset that this all happened and just want best for my horse…

I understand how frustrating it can be! Think of finding a great boarding facility like finding a great relationship; you know, you have to kiss a few toads sometimes! I have plenty of boarding horror stories, but I have the same amount of success stories now too. I think you shouldn’t give up. Ask around at the local tack shops who they would recommend for boarding. Ask local vets, farriers, equestrians too. Also see if you can google barns in your area and dig up reviews. Don’t be afraid to get out there and conduct some interviews to find a gem ;). That was my protocol and I just found an absolutely phenomenal barn where my horse and I are quite happy. Best of luck to you!!

Shod and unshod horses go out together all the time at my place and other boarding barns. It all depends if kicking is going to happen. (It also depends if the pastures have tight corners where a kicker can trap another horse - these are to be avoided in all cases, shoes or not)

I understand your struggle for a decent boarding barn. We moved ours several times over the years and never back to the same place. In our experience, each place had a tendency to provide good care and turnout and at some point they quit giving the same care and turnout. One might wonder if we are the constant variable in my experience but honestly I cannot see any evidence to that.

Keep looking. This is what rewards people for taking the extra effort that goes into running a decent operation. And it will reward your horses.

David

First situation, if everyone was aware that horses were not supposed to be turned out in the pasture with the cow, your horse shouldn’t have been. Second situation, same opinion. Accidents inevitably do happen with horses but your horses were put into situations that they shouldn’t have been. You should seek out a reputable, more conscientious farm, specify your concerns from the beginning and hope for the best. Word of mouth is your best friend. Good luck!

I’ve had some very good experiences, and some not so good. I boarded at one barn for about two years with the most thorough, conscientious, caring barn owners. Not a detail was missed. It was not a fancy show facility, but the barn was beautiful and spotless, fences were flawless, footing was maintained, paddocks were large and safe. I returned for about a month while waiting for my barn to be ready, and I’d return in a heartbeat if circumstances should warrant it. Good luck.

Agree. And the best places tend to have waiting lists. Also, as a general rule, you get what you pay for.

Finding a good boarding barn is tough. Right now I am at the point of considering an off property free lease for my mare as situation is difficult right now because of different issues. The main one right now is schedule, because the hubby of my barn owner is starting a business he is less available at the barn therefore right now horses are beeing brought in from pasture around 6:00 - 6:30, as they get their evening meal when they come in, I cannot start taking up really before 7:00 - 7:15, and at that time with travel time it is really not feasible for me to ride. I am the only boarder that rides week nights add to that the fact that firsts lessons in the arena starts at 7:30 I end up ridding during the lesson wich I can do but every once in a while I like not having to worry about keeping out of the way of beginners.
Last fall /winter horses where brought in around 5:00 so I need to adapt I guess but it is irritating. There are other boarding barns around but one with an arena are rare, or farther away, or too expensive for my means.
I know if I bring this up I will be told that I can bring my horse in when I want, but as a matter of fact the 2 other mares in adjoining pastures get very upset if my mares leaves before them, if I do this on a regular basis I know I will be told to bring the other 2 when I bring in my mare but those 2 have behaviour problems I do not want to deal with. That is part of my cunundrum.
Because there are other issues also.
I feel for you OP as I live in a really small horsey community and I know most other barns but I am a bit in a bad place in my mind right now regarding boarding.

Boarding is about compromises.
You are in someone else’s place, with other people and horses sharing the place.

Those boarding need to keep looking, until they find that one such place that fits what they and their horses need and still can give in what they have to give to share.

Even in your own barn, where you have 100% control of everything, you will have to compromise and do with what you have.:wink:

My point, don’t let the process of figuring what is best frustrate you.
Keep on trying for the best you can manage and where you can’t, move on.
It is what it is, the way all works in this world.
OP, hope that enlightens your day.:yes:

The pasture issue is obviously an issue and should have been taken up with staff.

But a horse being kicked? Happens. Both my horses are out with four shoes, and my mare has blasted my gelding several times (once in front of me, sounded like a homerun baseball hit and scared the crap out of me but he was fine), but it’s part of horses. They get hurt. That hematoma on his butt? He deserved it, he’s a giant PITA and sort of retarded.

I am on week, ummm, six and about $1500 of rehabbing a $400 donkey with a broken leg who is only five, will probably limp for the rest of his life, and will probably have to be on $$ joint supps. Never mind having a “job.” My BM felt HORRIBLE, esp when I indicated that I think he did it on the run-in/run/panel set up, but honestly? How perfect did he aim to get his teacup sized foot in there? It happens. That’s what I said.

A horse can kill itself in a padded room.

I think a boarding barn should be judged more on the reactions of the staff to injuries moreso than the injuries themselves.

My buddy’s mare was kicked by a barefoot pasturemate and it broke her scapula and she had to be put down. Shoes or lack thereof aren’t the most important determining factor in injury I don’t think.

I agree with Bluey that even with your own barn you have to work around what you have and it isn’t always perfect. It’s easier to second guess a caretetaker’s actions of putting the horse in the wrong field for a “moment” - but I’ve done sketchy things at home and crossed my fingers knowing I could have a skewered pony because of it.

And I agree with TheJenner’s about the reactions of the staff being the most important part of injury management. Hopefully any boarding barn you choose will have gone through a learning curve or educated themselves by watching others go through a learning curve and the chances of injuries will be lowered - but remember, horses really can break a leg getting up wrong or stepping just wrong. I hope you keep up your search and find a place that works well for your pony.

I don’t think you are being melodramatic or you demand too much. You want safe and healthy board for your horse and you pay for getting so. The horse needs to be reasonably safe meaning nobody with 2 horsey brain cells will turn a newcomer together with resident horses. The new horse needs up to few weeks of intro if ever!!!
I was in similar situation to yours when I leased my horse and he stayed at a boarding barn with very little professional control, he was injured 3 times in “pasture accidents” due to uncontrolled feeding time behavior and unsafe turn out practices.

Bluey is mostly right. Though I wouldn’t call it compromise, I’d call it what shortcomings can you live with. Always, always it will be something. You need to make a list for yourself of those shortcomings that are tolerable and those that are not. It’s a little like buying a used car or a horse- you can’t trust everything you’re told. Take everything with a grain of salt. When you’re looking, arrive unexpectedly. Drive by at random moments- what do you see? Look at the condition of the horses. Look at the hay. Look at the water tubs. Bedding? Nite check? Read the contract thoroughly. Don’t sign anything you haven’t read. Whose the barn vet? What’s the emergency availability of the practice? Will your farrier go there? What about instruction? Trails? Do you care? See the list goes on and on. Call the Better Business Bureau- any complaints? Angie’s List? Ratings by others.
You are entrusting your horse to the care of a stranger, a lot like entrusting your child to daycare. And after you move to a barn, drop in early, late, feeding time or any other time.
And remember, horses can and will hurt themselves, all by themselves. It’s amazing they survive at all.

Have you asked your vet or farrier for boarding recommendations?

They often know of places that may not show up on your radar.

Keep looking and good luck!

We had always had the horses at home, but when I moved away from the farm my parents sold it and we tried boarding for about 5 years. Learned that people are just idiots. Numerous injuries/vet bills and I bought a farm to bring the horses home.
The best experience I had was at a smaller stable with a meticulous owner on site and we were all adults. My horse was happy and injury free but I had to move away from that area.

The first one, that’s on them, yes, because you specifically asked for your horse to not be turned out with the cow. The second is just a hazard of ownership. Very few barns limit group turnout to horses without hind shoes. If you had a problem with it, you should have specified. It may not be right, but it’s not the barn owner/manager’s fault, either.

And for the record, I do agree that most boarding barns suck. Awful turnout, don’t feed enough hay, no turnout, bad footing in the rings, not enough bedding, careless staff, too many kids, etc… finding a good barn for you is like finding a needle in a hay stack, but they are out there!

I’ve had horses injured due to boarding barn stupidity, so I can sympathize. I had a horse coming back from bowed tendons, just to the point of being turned out and ridden rehab, with a great vet visit that week…all things looking up. Idiot barn boy forgot to close a stall door (horses shared run, so one has door opens to run, while other is closed in, then you switch them) so my other horse and tendon horse were out together. Both ended up in stall together, and tendon horse was kicked right in the same place he’d previously bowed. Bad. It was another year or more of treatment, confinement, and rehab before he was rideable. A lot of $$$ in vet bills and rehab, etc., plus a horse with an ugly leg all because the barn boy was careless.

There is a reason I do not board now. Many reasons! It certainly isn’t to save money. Still, having my horses here and providing the best care doesn’t guarantee anything. Had one come in three legged lame Friday (at 5:05, just after my vet closed for a holiday weekend…of course!). Fingers crossed for an abscess, but at least I’m sure he will be on stall rest and no idiot will decide to turn him out in the mud because they forgot to (or couldn’t!) read the “no turnout” sign on the stall. (Had that happen too many times to count at past boarding barns.)

[QUOTE=Bluey;7253771]Boarding is about compromises.
You are in someone else’s place, with other people and horses sharing the place.
[/QUOTE]

This x 2, pick what you HAVE to have & what you like to have, write them on a list. Throw away the likes & find a place where you get some of the Haves.
Ive used a BB who only fed X amount of low quality feed, hard keeper didnt get enough so spent half again feeding him right. Great care otherwise.
Used a BB where no one was on site for most of 3 days/week, fed & left-no stalls cleaned those days, used boarders/teenagers to feed then so BO & BM were gone, good care when they were there though.
Used a BB where BO horses were put out in at least 2 of the the 3 pastures and all the rest of us who wanted to turn out had to share the other pasture, only about like 6 of us for a 1 horse pasture.
Nothing perfect.

[QUOTE=DHCarrotfeeder;7253724]
I understand your struggle for a decent boarding barn. We moved ours several times over the years and never back to the same place. In our experience, each place had a tendency to provide good care and turnout and at some point they quit giving the same care and turnout. One might wonder if we are the constant variable in my experience but honestly I cannot see any evidence to that.[/QUOTE]

This has been my exact experience as well. There is an 18-24 month curse that follows me and it is inevitable that sometime in that span of time after moving to a barn there will be a series of major issues pop up. Then I end up moving my horse. I am a good boarder but find that people wear out and instead of hiring more help they continue to provide regular care that turns into a mediocre situation at best, injuries and oversights happen, then things really snowball.