Should I move my horse to a new barn?

Hi everyone! I am new to this forum and am seeking some advice regarding my current boarding situation.

Here’s some background info: I have been boarding my horse at this facility for almost a year now, however he had already been kept there for several years before I bought him from a boarder at the barn. Overall I have not been too impressed with the care at this barn and more recently I have had some problems with the barn owner. For the past year I have been working at the barn a few times per week to reduce the cost of board. I finally decided to quit working at the barn after having problems with the barn owner and there are too many other reasons to even begin to explain why I quit working for her (which is a whole other story on its own). It’s a difficult situation because she is also my trainer, however I’m planning on quitting lessons from her because she is not helping me or my horse improve.

Here are a list of reasons why I’m considering leaving:
-Strained relationship with barn owner
-Horse sometimes not given his grain
-I showed up today and his water tub was bone dry
-Blanketing instructions never followed (I ended up having to do all of it on my own last winter)
-Found 3 blankets layered on my horse on a sunny day (at least 60 degrees F). He was drenched in sweat.
-Barn owner said that she would start to charge me $80 extra per month if I want my horse blanketed
-Barn owner complains if I put shavings in my horse’s stall and threatens to give me fine if he makes too big of a mess
-Hay thrown on the ground when I have instructions to put it in a net
-Not allowed to turn out in the arena
-Terrible arena footing that keeps making my horse trip

  • Every time I go to the barn my horse has no hay. They feed 2x per day and never give my horse enough so he goes hours without forage.

This is a difficult situation because this barn is only 5 minutes from my house and there are very limited boarding options in my area. I also have lots of friends there and I am part of an equestrian team that practices at the barn with my trainer as the head coach. I also don’t want to burn bridges with my trainer because I will still have to see her for equestrian team. If I leave then I would also have to trailer to practice 2x per week.

If anyone has any advice I would be very happy to hear it! Thank you :slight_smile:

You don’t have to burn bridges to leave. You can politely give your 30 days notice, pay, and be on your way. Regardless of anything else, the no water is completely unacceptable. That on it’s own is reason enough to leave.


Some of these situations are common at many boarding barns including skimpy bedding, no turnout in the arena, an extra charge for blankets, hay twice a day, and barn refusing to use hay nets which are a PITA to fill. All of these are about saving time and resources to reduce costs. Most barns do not want boarders putting extra shavings in their stall.

If you want to micromanage your horse care you need to do self board and be there every day.

So before you move find your new place and thoroughly research it as the same problems or others may exist. I’m guessing you are young and this is your first horse.

Seeking better training is also a valid reason to move but in that case research your new trainer and do some practice lessons before you commit. But then you are going to return twice a week to do team practice with the lousy trainer? What’s that about?

I’m not saying don’t move but just be clear you aren’t going somewhere similar or worse in training or horse care. Also mull over the possibility that you are making yourself be perceived as a “difficult client” by asking more than barn can supply and breaking rules like adding to your stall.

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No turnout in the arena is not uncommon and I appreciate that the BO where I board has a no turnout in the arena policy. It wrecks the footing and if someone comes to ride they shouldn’t have to move a horse before they can ride.


I wonder why you hesitate? Why would you stay? As mentioned, you don’t have to burn bridges. Pay your 30 days and move on. Be friendly and tell the owner how much you loved it there! Think of one reason you need to move which has nothing to do with her, and let her know that’s why, and don’t worry about it. People move horses all the time. “I need the barn to be closer to work/home/gym/my grandmother’s house” or “I’m going to try him on all night turnout and see how that goes” or “I found a place for half price looks good” or anything you want to use as an excuse. Just do what’s good for your horse. Good luck.


… Or doctor a strained tendon because their horse slipped on another’s countless puddles of piss because of group t/o in the arena. Ugh. Total pet peeve of mine. Arenas are for riding and free lunging, not turn out.

Oh, and OP? Yes. You should move.

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Like @Scribbler said, lots of barns do not allow turnout in an arena. The horse can tear up the footing or worse things could happen if the horse hits the base and slips. We do not allow turnout in our arenas for safety reasons. And I would raise an eyebrow if I heard of a barn that did allow turnout in an arena. I don’t think this is a valid reason to leave a barn.

Many barns charge extra for blanketing. $80 extra per month is $2.67 per day. Assuming blankets are changed out 2x a day that is $1.33 per change out, which is a very reasonable fee. The BO probably isn’t covering her extra labor charging $80 a month.

Putting hay in a hay net takes extra time and it is a pain. I would suggest you fill your own hay nets and leave them for the staff to hang.

If the barn gives hay 2x a day, your horse will go without forage for hours. There isn’t much you can do about that except hang your own hay nets (with BO’s permission) or move to a barn that gives free choice hay or feeds more often.

It sounds like the water tub being dry only happened once? While there is no excuse, if it only happened once, I don’t know that would be a reason to leave.

If you want more shavings in your stall, you should offer to pay extra or bring your own.

At the end of the day, the BO is running a business. She has a routine and a system. You may not agree with her system, but you aren’t in a position to change it either.

The best solution might be to drive the 5 minutes to the barn 2x a day and change out your own blankets. Fill and hang your own hay nets. Purchase and add your own extra shavings. Or you can move. But as other posters suggested, make sure the care at the new barn is markedly different or you may end up discovering you have the same complaints with a new barn that is further away.