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Horse Boarding Stables and How They Work


If you’re just getting into the horseback riding world, you’ve likely heard the phrase “horse boarding stables” thrown around quite a bit without much explanation. A horse boarding stable is a facility where you can pay to keep your horses. You can pay for different levels of the board depending on how much care your horse will require when you’re not present.

The rest of this article will go over what is typically included in a horse boarding stable, the difference between partial and full boarding, how much it costs, theft concerns, and whether or not they have 24/7 access.

What Is A Horse Boarding Stable?

A horse boarding stable is a boarding facility, meaning that it’s a place where people can pay to keep their horses if they cannot keep them on their own property. These stables typically have pastures, stalls, and arenas for riding.

The most basic horse boarding stables will have simple stalls and a couple of pastures, maybe some trails for you to ride on during the weekends. The most luxurious of these stables will have extra-large stalls, indoor and outdoor arenas, trainers on-site, and tack rooms.

Partial Boarding VS Full Boarding

When you go to a horse boarding stables website, you’ll see that they usually offer two options for boarding your horse: partial boarding and full boarding. 

Partial Boarding

Partial boarding is where you pay for your horse to have a stall and a place in one of the pastures, but you’re responsible for pretty much everything else. So, for example, you’ll be responsible for feeding your horse, grooming them, mucking out their stall, etc. Partial boarding is a great option for those who have the time to be at the barn every day and live very close to the barn to afford to make multiple trips there every day.

Full Boarding

Full boarding will typically cost you quite a bit more than partial boarding. This is because if you have your horse on full board, then you are paying for the stable staff to take care of your horse day in and day out. They’ll be the ones feeding your horse, cleaning the stall, bathing and grooming them, turning them out for the day. In some cases, they’ll even exercise your horse for you. 

If your horse is still being trained and needs more hours put in than you can dedicate at the present moment, some full board options also offer training sessions. The trainer on site will come in and work with your horse while you’re not there. This is great, especially if you’ve been injured and need to take a break, so your horse does not get rusty while you’re recovering.

Full board is a fantastic option for the super busy owner that doesn’t have the time to be at the stable every day or for someone that simply lives far away and can’t be there to turn their horses out and bring them in the morning and night.

Costs of Boarding a Horse

It’s almost impossible to estimate how much boarding your horse will cost because everyone’s needs vary. In addition, the price will vary greatly depending on where you live and whether or not you decide to pay for full board. 

If you’re simply paying for a spot in a pasture with a shelter, then you could pay only $200-300 per month. This is, of course, assuming that you’re there every day helping out maintaining the pasture and caring for your horse.

On the other side of things, if you decide to go for full board at a fancier facility, you’ll likely pay in excess of $1,000 per month.

When you’re looking at horse boarding stables, make sure that you look at all of the services included in the agreement. Sure, the $200 per month pasture may seem tempting, but it’ll be a lot less tempting if you’re responsible for cleaning the pasture, filling the waters, maintaining the shelter, etc. In this case, it may be more reasonable to pay slightly more if you know that the owner of the facility will be more involved, and you’ll be able to spend more time with your horse and less time cleaning. 

It’s also worth considering the social climate of a barn- after all, you’ll be spending a lot of your free time visiting, riding, and grooming your horse. Ask about how the barn handles conflict when present, and be aware of the signs of barn bullies and mean girls.

Is Theft Common?

Theft is pretty uncommon in horse boarding stables, but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen. If you’re concerned about theft, then ask the owner when you tour what their theft prevention measures are. For example, many stables have security cameras in tack rooms and around the facility’s perimeter. Some also have lockers available for rent, so you can lock all your valuables up before heading out on a ride. Always observe our tips for avoiding trailer and tack theft.

If you’re concerned about something happening to your horse, you can find a stable with a night check. This is when a staff member, usually the owner who lives on the property, will go out after hours and do a head count to ensure everyone is where they’re supposed to be. 

horses in stalls in a boarding barn.

Is a Horse Boarding Stable Full Access 24/7?

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It is rare to find a horse boarding stable that is full access 24/7 for multiple reasons. For one, horse boarding stables typically have staff that are on-site during the day. These people have to be paid and have hours off, so naturally, they’re not going to be there all day. If people were allowed on-site at all hours, then they would also need to employ people at all hours, which would significantly increase the costs of running a stable.

The second reason most horse boarding stables do not have 24/7 access is that the facility owner typically lives on the property. This is usually either in a house close to the barn or in a loft attached to the barn. If clients were constantly coming in and out at 2 am, it would be disruptive to the owner’s personal life. Regardless, someone should be available to handle horse health emergencies 24 hours a day, every day.

Although it’s unreasonable to expect that a facility is open to you at all times, you should make sure that you ask about their emergency policy. Your facility should have an emergency number that you can call at any time where someone will come and let you in. If they refuse to let you have emergency access, then you should look elsewhere. You never want to end up in a situation where you are unable to access your horse. 

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