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Charging Extra for Individual Turnout

Charging extra for individual turnout. Curious if any barn owners or boarders have heard of doing this? I understand it costs extra for BOs to create new paddocks or pastures and/or time in roatating the horses who’s owners request them to be in individual turnout. If so, how much extra/month does this service add to board? Thanks.

I would expect to pay extra if I requested individual turnout and the farm is setup for group turnout or the standard is group turnout. I think the fee depends on where you are. Having to make accommodations for a single horse to take up an entire space could be costly depending on where you are.


For most barns, individual turnout is a pain in the butt and a waste of pasture space. Fees will vary by location, but I would expect a substantial bump in cost.


One study report in The Horse was stating that, for many vets, the most common injury they were seeing is in horses kept with others, caused by play or fights.
One misplaced kick or bite can have serious consequences.
That is not even taking in consideration the toll on stressed horses.

Horses are fine with their own space and neighbors to interact with.
They don’t need to have to live with and around those they at times may not get along, as they do when we keep them in herds in smaller spaces.
Kept individually and across a suitable fence will at times bring barrier aggression or just play that may get one injured, but not as easily as when horses have direct continuous contact.

Considering that, barns should provide as many individual turnout places as possible, given the space they have to work with.
That does come at a higher cost of extra land and fencing, but to the boarder, that should be worth extra.
I would say that would be one more standard fee to apply to those boarders that so choose.

There is more leeway in private barns, where the consequences of how horses are managed will be to the barn owner’s horses, not to paying customers.


Just to repeat what others have already said… :slight_smile:

Yes, I would expect to pay extra for individual turnout at a farm where group turnout is the norm.

How much extra depends both on the existing facilities at that particular farm and the location of the farm.


$75 per month would only cover labor if the time required was 5 minutes per in/out with a labor cost of $15/hr

does not include filling/cleaning water trough for snowflake nor haying if needed or required… then there is the extra time to clean the paddock

$125 to $150 would be break even not including costs to build a paddock if needed


Personally, if the barn is not already set up for individual turn out I think it would and should be quite a large increase in cost.

If I was the BO, I wouldn’t do it. You’ll never re-coup your money from board even if increased. People (some) don’t want to pay for what it really costs to care for and house horses. If you’ve only ever boarded and not had your own barn, it’s hard to truly know just how much things cost. Not being snarky…I was also in that boat before I had horses at home.
I wanted lower board but all the fixin’s! But now I SEE just how costly and time consuming things are.

It’s no easy (or inexpensive) feat to install individual turnout to an existing facility.
Even if individual paddocks are already in place, I would still think it should still be at higher rate.
More labor as @clanter stated, more fencing to maintain, more troughs to clean, etc.


We have 24 individual paddocks. Poor husband is continuously rebuilding fences, even with electric. We have miles of three rail. He does about 5 paddocks a year (plus an occasional kicked board), so the entire place every 5 years.
I can say just in labor it should add 150-200 a month over group turnout.


Not to mention that’s it’s much easier to feed each horse what he needs when he’s in his own space.

I figured out decades ago that I could keep the injury rate down by putting extra resources into fencing and fences, so now the only horses who live together are the ones that don’t chase each other and need the same amount of feed.

I’ve seen too many owners lose their best horse, or a horse that they’d invested years of training in to a pasture accident, so would expect to pay more for individual turnout and wouldn’t take my horse to a barn without that option.


Many boarding barns near me have limited space for turnout. They tend to offer individual turnout. It reduces the headaches of herd dynamics with groups thrown together in small spaces and changes in the groups as boarders come and go. My BO went to individual turnout after tiring of hearing boarder complaints of horse injuries from other horses and “not my horse!” There is one fairly large grass field that is used for small groups during the summer - not many problems as the horses are preoccupied with the grass!

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Every farm/barn I’ve ridden or boarded at charged extra for individual paddock turnout. It averaged about 10% - 15% more than regular board with group turnout.

I’ve seen $100/mo in CA.

I lost a mare to a kick from her paddock mate, so for years my horse was on individual turnout. Thankfully my boarding barn has lots of individual turnout, both electric and solid fencing depending on the horse, and 3 or 4 bigger group turnout paddocks / fields.
Horse is now back in group turnout but I have to be picky about paddock mates.
I’m fortunate that this barn offers lots of options to boarders and doesn’t charge extra!

Just because a horse needs individual turn-out does not make them a snowflake or the owner a snowflake. In my horse’s case we tried group turn-out with a few different groups. He is the a$$hole that annoys the other horse until they kick or bite him. Then Carson is out of commission for a few days since he is injured. Thankfully they were always minor injuries but one of these days it was not going to be minor.

Many times the horse that needs to be on individual turn-out is that they are the bully and will injure other horses.

At least to me bully/a$$hole does not = snowflake. Receiving or delivering actual injuries that keep horses from being ridden is not snowflake. Yes it is still a PITA and extra work.

I think a lot of turn-out dynamics depend on the actual turn-out situation. How big are the paddocks/pastures, how much actual grazing is available, how many horses?

Carson did okay when he was with 4 other horses since he could spread his annoying among multiple horses. He also had one horse that played back with him. But it was quite a bit of Hi-Ho Silver, bite face. Both horse still got marks but they were superficial. However the field could not support having that many horses on it. When he was out with just one horse he was leaving lots of bite marks on that horse’s jaw and coming in with kick marks on his front legs and chest. Yes both horses have hind shoes.

They had access to nice hay the entire time they were turned out so he had plenty to eat. The field was a bit overgrazed so not much to graze on especially that winter due to snow coverage.

Carson might be fine is a huge very grassy pasture with lots of other horses but that is not his current boarding situation. That pretty much does not really exist in my area since land prices are so expensive.


Just curious, as my guy gets individual turnout. For group turnout, are back shoes an issue? Is barefoot in back recommended?

Depends on the place. Some won’t put a horse with back shoes in group turnout, some will.

I’ve never been at a barn that charged extra for individual turnout - the compromise was that on individual turnout, your horse was typically out a half day (swap out at noon for another individual turn out horse) rather than a whole day elsewhere. (And at one facility, the individual turnouts were directly behind the barn - all areas for group turn out were much more time intensive to get to, requiring more time from staff doing turn out to manage.)

Individual turn out IME, is never on grass, it’s always in an allweather lot situation. This could be due to my region - barns in the chicago suburbs generally don’t have the space to do one big area large enough for a “whole group” turnout, and so all grass lots had carefully curated groups that could be adjusted as necessary to make sure everyone was copacetic with the situation.

And then of course, barns whose turn-out situations make group turnout impossible (or unsafe), I would not be willing to pay extra for individual turn out if board is supposed to cover turn-out (but again, due to their space management or limitations, there is no safe way to do a group turnout situation).

I only offer individual turnout with no extra fees. My clients all own expensive warmbloods and would not appreciate them getting beaten up by other horses.

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You usually see it only at dressage barns around here. At the FEI level eventing barn where I boarded my last horse it was an option. The trainer was good at matching up horses for small group turnout, though, and kept a close eye out for issues. Current H/J barn doesn’t have sufficient space for individual turnout. But again, the trainer does all the barn work herself and keeps a close eye on the actitvity in each group.

I worked at a dressage barn that had a group situation for field boarded horses and private turnout for the full board horses.

Pros: MUCH safer feeding time for both horses and humans. And faster. The field board group of 4 horses took almost an hour to feed sometimes between herding the dominate horses into another field, shutting gates, tying the bully to the fence, etc. Easy to turn out/bring in.

Very time consuming turning out/bringing in, tending to waterers/troughs, and fencing. Enormously $$$$ if you don’t already have facilities in place.

The people who value it will pay for it. You just need to think hard about your target audience, so to speak.

The barn that I board at does individual turnout for pretty much all the riding horses, no one is charged extra. Only my horse and another mare go out together. The mare that mine goes out with is quiet and just pins her ears. The BO keeps the shit disturbers away from everyone else.

The muddy months are the hardest for turnout because we can only use 2 paddocks, the outdoor ring, and the arena in the morning. It gets real tough in the spring because babies start arriving then. That’s the only downside of boarding at a breeding farm…