What questions do I need to ask when I am barn shopping?
Most of us, for whatever reason, need to find a barn at some point or another. We all have different ideas about what makes a good barn a good barn, and therefore we all have different questions to ask. But, I thought I’d give it a whirl and see if I can cover all of the bases. Be sure to get answers as well as see things in person if you can!
I'll bet that you can get many of these answered by just visiting a barn, but if you have some "deal breaker" questions, call ahead and save yourself a trip!
- What stall sizes are available?
- Are the stalls matted?
- Automatic waterers or water buckets?
- How often are the stalls cleaned?
- What is the bedding?
- Outdoor attached runs?
- Ventilated to the outside?
- Can horses see each other in adjacent stalls or only across the aisle?
- Do the doors swing out or in, or slide?
- Attached blanket storage?
- Can you hang a hay net if needed?
- Can you use a stall guard?
- Are outside paddocks available for full time living or turnout only?
- Do they have shelter or shade?
- Water troughs, auto waterers, or buckets?
- Are the surrounding trees safe for horses?
- What type of fencing?
- What type of footing?
- Are shavings put into the shelters?
- What happens during bad weather?
- How often are they cleaned?
Arena and round pens:
- What is the footing?
- When is the footing watered and worked?
- How long after a rain does the arena need to dry out?
- Is manure removed from the footing?
- What are the rules about riding on your own during other people's lessons?
- When and where can lungeing happen?
- How many times a day is hay fed?
- Is hay purchased directly from a farmer, through a broker, or whatever’s on sale?
- What hay types/options are available?
- What is the hay storage like?
- Is hay weighed before it’s fed?
- Can your horse eat his hay from a slow feeder?
- How many times a day are buckets of grains/supplements fed?
- Who makes the buckets and supplement mixtures?
- What are the feed room accommodations like?
- How are grains stored?
- How often are feed tubs scrubbed?
- What is the turnout schedule?
- How much time per horse?
- Who turns the horses out and brings them in?
- What boots and fly gear is put on the horses for turnout?
- What is the rainy day plan for the horses that normally get turnout?
Other Barn Amenities and Options:
- Is there trail access from the property?
- Is trailer parking an option?
- Do you have extra storage area for off season equipment like blankets?
- What training packages are available and what’s included in each one?
- Are some services available a-la-carte?
- Is there a grooming service available?
- What are the barn hours?
- If the barn is closed to clients on a certain day, who cares for and exercises the horses on that day?
- Is there hot water in the wash rack?
- Is there on site laundry?
- Is there a fridge and freezer available for treats, snacks, medications, ice boots?
- What are the barn rules?
- What are the helmet and shoe rules?
What did I forget?