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Horse Boarding Guide: Types, Costs & FAQs

If you are buying a horse for the first time, you may wonder how much does it cost to board a horse? For those who don’t have their own land, a boarding facility is often the best option.

The barn charges a monthly fee for you to house your horse at their property. However, costs can vary depending on the location, the type of boarding you choose, the facilities available and the services offered.

To help you choose the right type of boarding stable, make a list of your wants and needs. Consider how much you can pay in monthly boarding fees and the time you can devote to your horse.

Creating a list will help narrow down your options which can be anything from a full-service professional facility to a farmer’s pasture.

Choosing a Horse Boarding Stable

Location

The location of a boarding stable dramatically affects the price you can expect to pay. A facility that is closer to a city will be far more expensive than one located in a rural area.

You should also consider how far you must drive to the barn, as the cost of gas will add to your monthly outgoings. If you compete with your horse, you will want somewhere close to competition centers to keep travelling expenses down.

Facilities

The most common types of facilities that horse owners consider when looking for a boarding stable are:

  • Stalls
  • Turnout
  • Riding arenas
  • Storage area for tack
  • Show jumps
  • Trails
  • Round pen
  • On-site trainer/instructor
  • Parking space for trailer

The type of facilities available can affect the cost of your monthly boarding fees. Look for a stable that suits your interests and needs.

For example, if you want to do showjumping with your horse, then you need a riding arena with a set of show jumps.

Services

The services provided depends on the type of boarding you choose and reflected in the price. The care available ranges from full board to self-care and you will often pay for extra services on top of your regular monthly fees. Everything included and not included should be outlined in a contract.

Horse looking out of his stable

Types of Horse Boarding

There are many boarding options available according to your budget and requirements. Some stables only provide specific services. Knowing what you want, and the facilities you need will help you decide which one is right for you and your horse.

Full Board

Full board is where the barn supplies the feed, bedding and hay and your horse has a stall to stay in with pasture turnout.

The staff do all the daily chores like mucking out, feeding, watering, turnout and blanketing when necessary. This option is perfect for owners with busy schedules and unable to visit their horses daily.

The average cost for horse full boarding is between $300 to $700 per month. However, it can be much higher depending on the location. In some areas, it can cost as much as $2000 to $3000.

Full board also includes routine scheduling of the farrier and vet, use of facilities like riding arenas and trails and a designated area for your horse equipment.

Some boarding stables include exercise or training in the price as well as lessons or charge at an extra cost.

Part Board

In today’s economic climate, many people find the cost of owning a horse a strain on their budget. Partial care is an ideal option as you pay half the price of full board. For example, if a barn charges $400 a month, you only pay $200.

Arrangements differ from barn to barn. One facility might look after your horse in the mornings, while you are responsible for the evening chores.

Other options include allowing someone else to ride your horse three times a week either as a sharer or for use in riding lessons or on trail rides. You must have a written contract that outlines this type of agreement.

Self-Care Board

If you are on a budget and have the time, then self-care boarding is the cheapest and best option. The barn provides the facilities, but you are responsible for mucking out, feeding, turnout and blanketing.

The average monthly rate is between $100 to $200 for the stall and pasture and possibly the use of facilities like a riding arena too. You must buy feed, bedding and hay and be there for the vet and farrier.

Self-care boarding is a big commitment, and you will have to travel to the stable at least once a day. It is hard work, and you must be confident in your horse keeping abilities.

However, you can spend more time with your horse and build up a bond with them. You may be able to arrange with other boarders to help look after each other’s horses if you are unable to get to the stable.

Pasture Boarding

Pasture boarding is where you pay for your horse to live out all year round. It offers many of the benefits as a full board but at a fraction of the price. The average monthly fees range between $100 to $400.

The facility provides feed, water and run-in shelter and looks after your horse’s daily needs, checking for injuries and signs of ill health.

There are many advantages to pasture boarding. Your horse is continuously moving, which is good for their circulation and digestive system as well as preventing boredom. It is a great budget-friendly option and ideal for owners who cannot ride every day.

You will have peace of mind regarding your horse’s care even when you cannot make it to the facility. However, your horse must be able to cope with all weathers when choosing this type of boarding.

As we mention in our best stall toys for horses guide, if your horse is likely to be in a stable for long hours, we highly recommended enriching their environment.

Here’s good video explaining pro and cons of full and part boarding your horse. If not, skip the video and read on:

Frequently Asked Questions

What extras must you pay for when keeping your horse at full board?

You will pay additional fees for supplements and if your horse requires a specialized feed. Other extras may include clipping, mane pulling, exercising, training, lessons and parking space for a horse trailer.

What details are in a horse boarding agreement?

A boarding agreement should include:

  • Owner’s name
  • Details of horse
  • Required vaccinations
  • Details of services provided
  • Boarding fees and the due date
  • Liability
  • Terms and agreement

What additional costs must I pay for my horse?

Your horse requires routine hoof care by the farrier approximately every six weeks and given annual vaccines by the vet.

You need to budget for unexpected emergencies should your horse become seriously injured or sick and require urgent veterinary treatment. You must have equine insurance.

How do you keep a horse cheap?

Pasture board is the cheapest boarding option. You could also find someone to share your horse or use it in riding lessons. Some boarding facilities may let you have a reduced rate in return for doing chores.

What should you look for in a horse boarding facility?

The health and safety of your horse are the main priorities. The horses should look happy and healthy, and the stalls clean with plenty of room.

Feed and hay should be of good quality and the barn and paddocks well maintained. Consider the atmosphere of the place and speak to other boarders if possible.

If you do your research, you can find a boarding option to suit your budget. Make sure the stable meets the needs of both you and your horse in terms of care services and facilities.

Also read our guide to horse transport for top tips on transporting your horse to their boarding facility.

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