What to say when inquiring about a new barn?

Hello! It’s time to look for a new barn, and I’m trying to do so quietly. I haven’t done this in years, so what do I say?? I don’t want to blabber too much, but I want to seem like a nice potential client (because I am!). I’m just inquiring about boarding, and lessons possibly later if I like the trainer.

So here’s my question: If you were (are are!) the barn owner, when getting an email from a potential boarder, what would you want to see?

Thank you!

If the barns you are looking at have a website or Facebook page, check those first for the basics: costs, amenities offered etc. You could start your email by saying you have looked at their pages online and you feel their facility would be a good fit because…[x,y,z] It shows a barn owner that you are intelligent enough to do research on your own and have weeded out facilities that don’t have what you are looking for. Ask to arrange a visit, but I would NEVER show up unannounced. Some people say that’s a great way to see how a barn “really” is, but in my experience as a stable manager all that is going to do is get you on the naughty list. My first thought when someone I’ve never met showed up announced was that they don’t respect boundaries, so why would I then expect them to follow the barn rules as a boarder. Just do your research, be polite and respectful and the good barns (where you’ll probably be happiest) will respond in kind. Good luck!

I think that an initial email can be pretty basic, a quick sentence about you and your horse and what you are looking for, and then maybe a couple of questions about anything in particular that is important to you. If you or your horse have any special needs, it’s helpful to know that up front. Just be polite and normal.

A follow up phone call can be helpful to answer other questions, or just schedule a visit to go see the barn. I agree with Khadiiyo that you should not show up unannounced. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

I also am in the camp that says don’t show up unannounced. Chances are they’ll either be busy or the BM/BO won’t even be there.

I would check out their website, and send them a quick email.
Ex: Hello, I’m an adult amateur looking for a facility to move my 6 yo gelding too. I’m looking for indoor board, would you have a stall available for May 1st?
I took a look at your website and think your place may be a good fit. I can be reached at xyz, or I could stop by sometime when you’re available.

First, I would call instead of emailing. At least in my area, that’s about the only way you’re going to get an answer back. Pretty much everyone has their phone on them 24/7 while people in the horse biz often don’t have a ton of time to sit down in front of a computer and answer emails.

I would just do a quick introduction, “I’m an adult amateur looking for a facility for my six year old hunter gelding (or whatever your horse is.) Do you have any stalls available for (date)?”

I wouldn’t offer any information about why you’re thinking of moving. If asked (which I doubt you will be) I would redirect to a positive about the barn you’re looking at and segue into a question you have, i.e., “I love that your facility offers an indoor arena. Are there times when it is closed to boarders for lessons?” or, “I love that you offer full-day turnout. Do you do nighttime turnout in the summer?”