August 01, 2011

Boarding facility Criteria

I've started taking a look at boarding facilities.  I figure it's a good idea to have a list of facilities that I find acceptable so when I do have my horse on the way I can call down the list and find one that has an opening.  I'll have done the legwork beforehand so I have less to worry about when I have the major undertaking of getting my future horse vet checked and then transported home. 

My top three criteria for a boarding facility:
1) Pasture Board/combo pasture board with safe fencing
I believe horses are happiest when they can be outside with friends in a natural environment with a small herd.  I don't like the pen situation that a lot of boarding facilities have.  One facility I contacted stated that most horses that were let out to the arena alone would stand by the gate to get back to their stalls.  Um...yeah, no forage and being away from their friends, of course the horse wouldn't want to stay there.  Now if there was forage and a few other horses with them I think the situation would be totally different.

2) Indoor arena
As I've experienced lately, an indoor arena is paramount during the week when often times the summer storms come at the exact time I can go riding.  I've come to enjoy the freedom of an indoor arena.  No matter the weather I can ride.  Granted I would prefer to be outside on a trail but any work that can be done during bad weather is good work!

3) Access to "trail" riding
I really would like at least some trail access directly from the property.  I don't want to have to trailer my horse to a trail every day.  Weekends are one thing since I'll have more time but after work during the week it's good to at least have some trail access so I can trail ride even during my busy weekdays.

Of course I want good care that includes regular feeding (at least twice a day or more of hay and grain) and pasture foraging or free access to hay in the pasture, inexpensive or included trailer parking, tack room or locker for me to put my stuff, and then a decent amount of boarders around my age to form a little horse community.  I also don't want the facility to be too far away from my work or home so I can see my horse nearly everyday and not rack up a huge gas bill.  Oh and an easily accessible bathroom!  The one at Flying W is a porta potty, which is fine, but it's out of the way in a dark area of the stable so it's really hard to see without a flashlight!  LOL.

I love Laurie's facility but I would be the only boarder, it's pretty far out for me and I don't think there are many trails around (although neighborhood riding is fine with me).  It's pretty much an ideal place for a horse and I'm not just saying that.  She takes very good care of the horses, they are in a herd situation and have nice pasture in which to frolick and be horses!  Plus she now has a indoor arena!!  I think it's more the distance and the fact I couldn't network as much with other riders.  I'd like to find a facility where I can meet others that I could ride with and become friends with.  None of my friends are horsie people so it would be nice to have that community.  So the search begins!

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