- Facilities and amenities available
- Services provided
LocationExpect to pay more if the stable is close to, or in an urban area. Board may be less expensive in a rural area where fodder is easier to get and space less limited. Taxes and land costs are higher in urban areas so expect that to be reflected in the cost of the board. Balance the cost of driving and time driving to a stable further away against the higher priced stable closer to you.
Facilities and Amenities AvailableExpect to pay more if the stable offers more. Indoor arenas, groomed riding rings, wash racks, trails, jumps, larger stalls, new barns, automatic waters or feeders will all be reflected in the boarding fees.
Services ProvidedThere are many different levels of care available from complete self-care to full board.
Self Care Board
With self-care board, expect to supply everything your horse needs but the shelter and fencing. Water should be available, but you might have to provide a trough or buckets. You'll have to purchase and bring in your own feed, including hay and bedding for stalls. Horses may or may not be checked every day, depending upon the agreement you sign. Expect to travel at least once a day to care for your horse and clean stalls. You will have to arrange for veterinarian and farrier calls.
With full board everything will be supplied. Stalls will be cleaned, the horse will be fed and watered and basic feeds supplied. Supplements may or may not be supplied but will be fed if you supply them. Horses will be turned out for exercise daily and blanketed (usually an extra cost)according to the weather. Veterinarians and farriers will be arranged by the owner/manager. Lessons may be included in the cost. You'll probably want to visit your horse frequently, but you will come across horse owners at these barns that may not see their horses for weeks or even months.
What You Want to Ask About
Between self-care board and full board, there is a wide range of services and amenities that stables provide. Before you move in read the boarding contract and make sure you understand what is and is not included in the cost, what you'll be expected to do, and what extra expenses you might be charged. Some stables charge a few dollars extra per day to blanket horses or feed supplements. Some will look after your horse when the farrier comes--but may charge you for the time.