Shortage of “Good” Barns

Rant… I swear there is a shortage of good barns… good as in hits the minimal marks of decent care, trainer, price, etc… (LOL, still rarely find them though)

And searching for one?!? I don’t even want to think about it. Some trainers don’t even reply when you inquire. I am even from a “horsey” area with well over 40 barns in arms reach. What it is narrowed down to? TWO!! One wouldn’t reply.

Anyway, my barn search has come to a close (my weeks of Hell are maybe over! Yay!!) and I pity anyone who has had luck with finding barns. Oh the joys of your beloved trainer moving out of state :laughing:

Edit: In no way do I want to bash BO/BM for their efforts, and I pay a good chunk of money for board. Would never want to NOT recognize their hard work :heart:


Word up!

I went back to horses at home.


That is the situation here in this area as well. There use to be options and they didn’t have waiting lists of 6 months.

I would have purchased another horse by now if it weren’t for the impossibility of finding a barn within a reasonable distance (30 minutes).


You have got that right Sheilah. I moved my horse last November. She is a bit closer (9 mi vs 13mi). I live in the middle of Boise and as time has passed, all the ‘close’ options have become subdivisions. For that reason, when Kyra is gone, I’m done with horses, primarily due to the boarding situation. I turn 67 this month and Kyra is 20. I do hope to have a few years left but it is a struggle if you don’t have your own land.



There are a couple of threads about the lack of viability of lesson barns that resonate with this-barns which aren’t super-high end but not super-sketchy are either disappearing or full.


This is going to be a problem going forward. Boarding by itself isn’t profitable. Land is expensive. Boarders are by and large a pain in the ass, and even a handful of thankless needy ones will sour a BO forever.


Horse property and land in general is pricey, plus boarders are a PITA to deal with. Many people are cashing out to developers or someone like myself buys a place and doesn’t want to board. I would loose money and I’m not in the business of subsidizing others horses.


This isn’t a new problem, but it is definitely worsening exponentially.

It has become so darn expensive and thankless to care for horses. Many of the people left doing it cut corners and provide subpar care because it’s the only way it’s economically viable.

I think the only way “horse boarding” is going to survive in the future is a self care/co-op type model where the property owner rents out space and the horse owners have to figure everything else out. The ultra wealthy will still be able to afford more, but barns aren’t going to be able to keep prices accessible to the average horse owner while providing an acceptable standard of care.


No, they are facing a choice of proper care or making it affordable to most. Becoming mutually exclusive, its one or other.

Its always been relatively expensive though. The barns willing to justify keeping prices low by keeping horse acquisition, management, farrier, barn staff and vet costs rock bottom are the ones that won’t last. They cant take any increase in operating costs (rent/ lease, property tax etc).

Sad fact is many who want to ride are not willing or able to pay enough to support the barns they ride at.

Thats a tough pill to swallow but the truth.


Trust me, I have always payed “a lot” and am willing to do so!! I just can’t find a decent combination of what I need. For me it is not about my board bill, but rather how my horses have been cared for :blush:

Never complaining, been there as a BM. :wink:

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Not only a shortage of barns and a shortage of suitable land for horse barns… but a shortage of “true horsemen” too I think, fewer than in the past. Children in barns are not being “raised” to be horsemen in their own right, in time. They are being raised to be “amateurs”, who will always be dependent on someone else rather than fully fledged or at least an “emerging” horseman. Instead of correct care, riding, training, they are raised to call the vet instead, and get some injections done. Call in a trainer to train the horse. All problems are solved by either calling the vet, OR simply buying another horse, preferably an expensive one, with a big commission involved from the client.

It’s pretty scary actually, the expectations of a boarding barn these days. The infrastructure required, the oppulance. The footing required for the riding ring to be considered “adequate”. The stalls. The tackrooms and client comforts. Add in some brass fittings and some chandeliers just to make it all look as nice as the next place, horses all standing in their stalls 20 hours a day, fully shod, wearing their blankets, full clip etc. (because that’s what the owners want). Then the vet bills required to treat the “navicular” issues, the stress ulcers, and the impaction colics, all related to lack of turn out, lack of adequate riding and training, lack of exercise and strength training, and decisions due to lack of horsemanship.

Yup, I know, it’s not always like this, but it seems the show barns often are. And no, I don’t participate in this industry, never have. The long rows of dark barred stalls with the inmates standing in them makes me unhappy. I keep my horses at home, always have, always will. If you want something done right, do it yourself.

Sorry. Good luck finding an adequate barn to board your horse.


It can be a struggle if you do have your own land. It’s a lot of manual labor and expensive maintenance. And the time/worry of procuring enough good hay. And veterinary care is getting harder to find. (We have a whole other thread going about that.)

I have one 30-year-old gelding at home, after that I’m done. I might half-lease if I can find a like-minded person who wants to share their horse and expenses.


It’s become so expensive to run a boarding facility that we’re seeing a big gap in the mid-range places. The nice places have had to raise prices so much that it excludes all but the well-off. They’re not gouging - prices for hay, shavings and labor have gone through the roof.

For example 5 years ago I paid $850 for a 12x12 stall with 12x24 attached run at a nice facility. Today, I pay $1125 for a 12x12 stall at a nice facility in the same area.

5 years ago I paid $50 per month for Timothy hay and $50 to park my trailer. Today, I pay $50 for orchard (Timothy is more) and $100 to park my trailer.

5 years ago I paid $1100 for full training. Now it’s $1500.

My salary has not increased by the same percentage.


Not limited to the USA. Even here in the UK it is harder and harder to find Riding Schools for people to start at, even whilst demand is high. Riding was a growth sport before the pandemic and the demand is possibly higher now. Our National Bodies are aware of the problem but the business environment is hostile: local business tax rates are based on square metres of facilities so an indoor school hikes up the cost and equestrianism doesn’t get tax brakes like other sport facilities. Then so many people retire with no one ready to take over. Too many stables are run as a lifestyle not a proper self-sustaining business. A lot of work to be done to improve things.


here is a link to an appraisers forum from 2008 talking about how/if an equine property was worth much of anything

Or a combo… I’ve almost allways worked off at least a portion of my board. Gladly. I enjoy barn work and horse care taking. But it too can end up being thankless and unappreciated which gets depressing not to mention manipulative.

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