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  • Writer's pictureCaleb Kingston

Horse Boarding: A Detailed Guide to Cost, Care, and Considerations

Updated: May 22, 2023

Horse ownership comes with great joy, but also great responsibility. One of the key responsibilities that horse owners face is deciding where their horse will live. For many owners, horse boarding facilities offer a convenient and viable solution, providing professional care and an array of amenities for their equine companions. However, navigating the world of horse boarding can be a complex task, with a myriad of factors to consider. It's not just about finding a place for your horse to stay, it's about finding a home that fits your horse's unique needs and your own.


The purpose of this article is to inform horse owners about the costs, care, and considerations necessary to make the best decision for their horse when it comes to boarding. The prices of horse boarding can vary widely based on factors such as location, facilities, services, and the level of care provided. To provide a tangible benchmark for this discussion, we will be using the pricing and services of our very own Jordan Ridge Equestrian Center.


Stay with us as we delve into the world of horse boarding, providing a detailed guide to costs, care, and critical considerations. Remember, at the end of the day, it's all about ensuring that your horse has a comfortable, safe, and happy home.



Understanding Horse Boarding Options


As horse owners, we understand the basics of horse boarding: a place where our horses can live, receive care, and have access to facilities for exercise and training. However, the specifics of boarding options can vary greatly, with each having their unique sets of benefits and considerations. Let's dive deeper into these intricacies.


The two primary types of boarding you'll encounter are full care boarding and self care boarding. These terms refer to the level of services provided by the boarding facility, and they significantly impact both the cost of boarding and the amount of time and involvement required from you, the horse owner.


Full Care Boarding is the all-inclusive package of the horse boarding world. When you opt for full care, the facility takes responsibility for virtually all aspects of your horse's daily needs. This includes feeding, watering, stall cleaning, turnout, and monitoring your horse for any signs of illness or injury. At Jordan Ridge Equestrian Center, our full care boarding also provides access to all riding facilities and includes trailer storage.


Pros:

  • Convenience: Full care boarding takes the daily tasks off the owner's plate. Feeding, watering, cleaning, and turnout are all handled by experienced staff. This is a boon for owners who have hectic schedules or those who frequently travel.

  • Comprehensive: All the necessary aspects of horse care are covered in full care boarding. This includes the provision of feed, hay, shavings for bedding, and regular stall cleaning. In addition to basic needs, horses also have access to exercise and training facilities.

  • Peace of Mind: With staff monitoring the horses daily, any signs of injury or illness can be detected early. This professional oversight can provide great peace of mind to horse owners.

Cons:

  • Cost: Full care boarding is typically more expensive due to the comprehensive services provided. However, the price often includes the cost of feed, hay, and shavings, which can be a significant expense if sourced individually.

  • Less Hands-On: For owners who enjoy the daily routine of caring for their horse, full care boarding may feel a bit hands-off.


Self Care Boarding requires a more hands-on approach from the horse owner. In this setup, the boarding facility typically provides a stall and possibly a turnout area, but the owner is responsible for most of the daily care. This includes feeding, watering, stall cleaning, and arranging for any necessary medical care.


Pros:

  • Cost-Effective: Self care boarding is often cheaper than full care, as owners are responsible for providing feed, hay, and shavings, and performing daily care tasks.

  • Hands-On: Owners who prefer a more active role in their horse's daily care and enjoy the routine of feeding, grooming, and turnout may find self care boarding more satisfying.

Cons:

  • Time Investment: The responsibility of daily care tasks falls on the owner. This requires a significant time commitment and a flexible schedule, especially in the case of horses that require special care or feeding schedules.

  • Additional Costs: Although the boarding fee is lower, the owner must factor in the cost of feed, hay, and shavings, as well as any additional supplies or services needed. For example, a bale of hay can cost anywhere from $5 to $20, depending on the region and quality, and a bag of wood shavings for bedding can cost around $5 to $10. These costs can add up quickly, and the owner also has to consider the logistics and time involved in sourcing these materials.

  • Requires Horse Care Knowledge: Owners need to be comfortable and experienced in handling all aspects of horse care. This includes recognizing signs of illness or injury and knowing when to seek veterinary care.


The choice between full care and self care boarding is a significant one, and it hinges on several factors. Considerations include your budget, the amount of time you can dedicate to your horse's care, your comfort and experience with horse care tasks, and the specific needs of your horse.


Another fundamental choice lies in the type of housing for your horse: enclosed stalls or pasture boarding. Enclosed Stalls provide a private space for your horse, protected from the elements. They are often favored for competition horses, horses with specific health needs, or those in intense training programs.


On the flip side, Pasture Boarding allows horses to live in a more natural environment, typically with a herd of other horses. Horses are grazers by nature, and many thrive with the freedom to roam and forage throughout the day.


Weighing the benefits and drawbacks of each of these options is crucial to finding the perfect home for your horse. Remember, the best choice depends on the individual needs and circumstances of both you and your horse. In the next section, we'll dive into the specifics of each boarding option, their costs, and the services provided at Jordan Ridge Equestrian Center.




Detailed Breakdown of Horse Boarding Options at Jordan Ridge Equestrian


At Jordan Ridge Equestrian Center, we offer a variety of horse boarding options to cater to the diverse needs of our equine residents and their owners. Here, we'll break down the specifics of each option, including the costs and services provided.


Full Care Stall Boarding


Costing $650 per month, our full stall boarding service is a comprehensive package designed to meet all your horse's needs. This includes a personal stall for your horse, along with daily feeding, hay, water, and turnout and stall cleaning. Shavings for bedding are also provided, ensuring your horse's stall is comfortable and clean.


In addition to these basic needs, full stall boarding at Jordan Ridge Equestrian Center includes access to all our facilities for riding or working with horses. This includes both indoor and outdoor arenas, as well as a round pen. We also provide trailer storage as part of this package, adding an extra layer of convenience for our boarders.


This is a great option if you have a busy schedule but want to spend time with your horse riding and working with them when it fits your schedule.


Full cost of Self Care Stall Boarding


Our self care boarding service is available for $250 per month. This option includes a stall for your horse, but the responsibility for feeding, providing shavings for bedding, water, hay, and stall cleaning falls on the owner.


Boarders who opt for this package can use a turnout area to let their horse out for an hour a day. However, access to arenas or the round pen is not included in the base cost. Boarders can pay an additional $30 per day for 2-hour access to arenas, or add an extra $150 per month for unlimited monthly access.


Then you have the cost of Hay, Feed, Shavings, and time. Let's break these down individually:

  • Boarding fee: $250/month

  • Hay/Feed: Assuming a horse eats about 15 pounds of hay per day, you would need about 450 pounds of hay per month (15 pounds * 30 days). If a 50-pound bale of hay costs on average $13, you would need about 9 bales per month (450 pounds / 50 pounds), costing approximately $120/month.

  • Shavings: If a bag of shavings costs $7.50 (the midpoint of the $5 to $10 range) and you use 1.5 bags per week (the midpoint of 1 to 2 bags), you will need about 6 bags per month, costing approximately $45/month.

  • Time: Assuming it takes an hour a day for self-care at a rate of $15/hour, this would amount to $450/month (30 days * $15/day).

This would bring the total estimated cost of self-care boarding, including your time and supplies, to approximately $900/month. Please note, these are rough estimates and actual costs can vary based on a variety of factors.


Self-care boarding can be a rewarding choice for those who enjoy being hands-on with their horse's care and have the time to dedicate to it. However, it's important to fully understand the commitment involved, both in terms of time and financial investment. In the next section, we'll discuss some final considerations to keep in mind when choosing a boarding facility for your horse.



Full Care Pasture Boarding


Full care pasture boarding is available for $450 per month. With this option, your horse shares a pasture area with other horses, offering a more natural and social environment. We provide fresh water, daily monitoring, hay, and regular pasture cleaning.


In essence, our full care pasture boarding provides the same level of service as full care stall boarding, but in a shared outdoor setting. This can be a great option for horses that thrive in a herd environment and enjoy having plenty of space to roam.


Each of our boarding options is designed to offer a balance of cost, care, and convenience, and we're confident that one of them will be a great fit for your horse. In the next section, we'll discuss some key factors to consider when choosing a boarding facility for your horse.


Factors to Consider When Choosing a Boarding Facility


Finding the right boarding facility for your horse isn't just about comparing costs and services. It's about finding a place where your horse will be comfortable, happy, and well-cared for. Here are some important factors to consider when making your decision:


Understanding Your Horse's Needs


Every horse is unique and has its own set of needs. Some horses may require a specific diet, while others may need special care due to health issues. The temperament of your horse can also play a big role in determining the best boarding scenario. Some horses may enjoy the hustle and bustle of a large, busy facility, while others may prefer a quieter, more laid-back environment.


Assessing Your Own Needs


Your needs as a horse owner are just as important as your horse's needs. Consider your budget, your schedule, and how much time you are able to dedicate to your horse's care. If you're a busy professional or frequently travel, full care boarding might be the best option for you. On the other hand, if you have the time and desire to be more hands-on in your horse's care, self care boarding could be a good fit.


Visiting the Facility


Before making a decision, it's crucial to visit the boarding facility in person. This allows you to assess the overall environment, the condition of the stables and pastures, the quality of the fencing and other safety features, and the demeanor of the horses already boarded there. You can also meet the staff and ask any questions you might have.


Understanding the Boarding Contract


Before signing a boarding contract, make sure you fully understand its terms. Know what services are included in the boarding fee and what services come at an additional cost. Be clear about your responsibilities as a boarder and the responsibilities of the boarding facility. If anything in the contract isn't clear to you, don't hesitate to ask for clarification.


Choosing the right boarding facility for your horse is a big decision, but with careful consideration of these factors, you can find a place that's a great fit for both you and your horse. In the next section, we'll take a closer look at the practicalities of self-care boarding, including the time commitment involved and the cost of necessary supplies.


Socialization Opportunities for Your Horse


Horses are social animals and many enjoy the company of other horses. Consider the socialization opportunities each facility provides. Pasture boarding can be a great option for horses that enjoy the company of a herd, while stall boarding might suit those who prefer their own space.


Conclusion: Making the Best Choice for Your Horse


Choosing a boarding facility for your horse is a decision that requires thoughtful consideration. It's not just about the cost, but also about the level of care your horse will receive, the environment they will live in, and the time commitment you're able to make.


While the basic cost of self-care boarding may appear lower at first glance, it's important to consider the value of your time and the cost of necessary supplies. When factoring in an hourly rate of $15 for the time you spend each day caring for your horse, plus the cost of hay, feed, and shavings, the total cost of self-care boarding can come out to around $865 per month.


On the other hand, full care boarding, while more expensive upfront, provides a comprehensive care package for your horse and can save you a significant amount of time. For those who lead busy lives but want to ensure their horse receives top-notch care, this can be an excellent option.


Remember, the best choice will depend on your individual circumstances and the specific needs of your horse. What works best for one horse might not work for another. It's essential to know your horse, understand their needs, and consider your own schedule and budget.


At Jordan Ridge Equestrian, we're committed to providing a range of boarding options to suit different needs and budgets. We encourage horse owners to visit our facility, ask questions, and make an informed decision that ensures the best for their horse. After all, our equine friends deserve nothing less.

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