Icelandic Horse Connection

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Questions to Ask in Considering Boarding Facilities

Evaluating a Horse Boarding Facility

General Observations
  • Observe general neatness, ventilation, safety and maintenance levels.
  • Are the fences in good condition?
  • Are the horses in good condition with shiny coats, good feet, a bright eye and curious?
  • Are the water troughs clean and full?
  • Are the stalls and paddocks clean?
Questions / General
  • What is the cost and what does that include? Is there a multiple horse discount?
  • Is there a contract and does it include what is offered for the price of board?
  • What are their general rules and how do they enforce them?
  • Are there set hours the facility is available?
  • Does the barn lean towards a certain discipline – hunter/jumper, dressage, trail riders?
  • What is the general environment – friendly? –do people ride together, have barn functions?
  • Are children allowed? How many kids are currently riding there? Do they have to have a parent present or is there someone to supervise if they don't?
  • Do they allow smoking around the barn?
  • Are dogs, other than the farm dogs, allowed?
  • Are you willing to supply references and may I talk to your current boarders?
  • Size of stalls
  • Size of pastures and paddocks
  • Is pasture board available?
  • Is there shelter/run-ins in the pastures?
  • Is there an Arena? Round Pen? Covered Arena? Dressage Court? Trails? What is the footing in the arenas?
  • Is there tack storage? Is it private or shared? Who has access? What size?
  • Are there wash racks/stalls? Hot Water?
  • Is there trailer parking? If so, is there a charge?
Management of Facility & Horses
  • What is the level of horse knowledge of the manage/owner? Are they trained in equine 1st Aid?
  • Is there someone on the premises most of the day? Do they live there?
  • Do you check each horse daily – how often? Will you call me if my horse appears ill, gets hurt, loses a shoe or just seems "off"?
  • What is the feeding schedule? What feeds are available? Can I supply my own feed and have the amount I specify fed? What kind of hay is fed? Has it been analyzed by a lab? How much is fed? Where are the horses fed grain and hay?
  • Will you feed supplements? Is there an extra charge? Is there an extra charge for giving meds?
  • Do you require vaccinations and worming? What specific vaccinations and wormers are required? Is there a set schedule for that? Does the farm handle that or are boarders allowed to do their own? If boarders do their own, what proof is required that it has been done?
  • Is there a vet on call? Do I have to use the farm vet or can I bring in my own?
  • Is there a farrier on call? Do I have to use the farm farrier or can I bring in my own?
  • Is there a farm trainer? What kind of training is available? Do I have to use that trainer or can I bring in my own? Is there a ring usage fee if I bring in my own trainer? Do other outside trainers use the facility?
  • How is the availability and usage of the arenas/rings determined?
  • How often are stalls cleaned? What kind of bedding is used? May I provide more? May I clean my own stall/s on any days the farm doesn't?
  • Is there turnout? What is the schedule? How many horses are turned out together and how is it determined who goes out together? How are horses introduced? Can I be there the first time my horse is turned out? Are the halters removed on all the horses at turnout?
  • What kind of fly control do you use? How do you handle the muck pile?
  • How are sick horses handled? Is there a quarantine area? Are new horses quarantined? Are horses returning from shows quarantined?
  • Do outsiders have access to my horse?
  • Do you board stallions and if so, how are they handled?
  • Is there a back up generator for electric fences?
  • Is there an emergency evacuation plan?
  • What kind of liability insurance does the farm have?

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