Updated: Aug 21
Ahh so you're thinking about moving your horse, or you bought a horse and need somewhere to put it! Whatever the reason is, below I have some important tips and BIG RED FLAGS you should look out for when finding a barn! Watch the Facebook Live event I did below or, if your not into watching this amazingly helpful video, skip past that and just read all the important stuff below!
P.S. Some of the tips were comments my dear followers put after the Live event and are sooo important!
1. Do your research online but always ask your trusted horse friends, AND (this is a big one!) ask your vet, farrier and any professional that you trust working on your horse for barn recommendations!
RED FLAG: Share the list of barns you are looking at moving to with your vet, farrier, or other horse professionals. They go to so many barns and see a ton of stuff! IF they say anything that gives you the impression that a barn is not good or safe, CROSS THAT BARN OFF YOUR LIST RIGHT NOW!
2. When you have a list, go check the potential barns out and BRING a friend, spouse, whoever to come with! Not only for safety but another fresh set of eyes can spot issues or hear things that don't sound right!
3. When you go to check out the barns, try to go at a random if they allow, to see how busy the barn is, how they do chores, and how they handle the horses.
RED FLAG: If there are random things in the aisle and no logical explanation is given for why they are there to begin with or wires that look unsafe do not go to that barn!
4. MEET EVERYONE THAT WORKS THERE AND TRY TO MET SOME BOARDERS!
RED FLAG: If any of the staff, instructors or even the barn owner makes you feel uncomfortable, TRUST YOUR GUT, LEAVE AND CROSS THAT BARN OFF! Same goes with any boarders you meet!
5. Ask tons of questions!!!
Ask: How much experience does the barn staff have? How often does the barn owner come out and do work?
RED FLAG POSSIBLY: Depending on the answer it could be a huge red flag! Also this question is a little hard to ask but do it tactfully...ask how financially stable the barn is? (I have been at a barn that closed down, it is awful, so stressful and sad! You do not want to go through that!)
RED FLAG POSSIBLY: So this is another question that could be an issue. Ask if you can bring in your own instructor? Some barns do not like bringing in other instructors because it is to them moving on their turf (ugh I hate that but its their choice!). BUT sometimes they don't want other instructors on their property because there is abuse or neglect happening and they want to keep it contained and hidden. IF you do like this barn and this is the only issue. Ask if you can watch the instructor/s they do have teach. Try riding with them, and then ASK your horse friends and others in the community what they think of the instructor/s.
6. Find out how the barn owner manages their staff and keeps track of what they are doing and how they are treating the horses! At big barns especially staff are rushing through chores and rushing horses around which is absolutely dangerous and can drive a well mannered horse bonkers! (First hand tip from an amazing follower!)
7. Find out what security the barn has! Do they have cameras, is someone always on the property? (SUPER IMPORTANT tip from a wonderful follower!)
8. HUGE GINORMOUS RED FLAG: A barn says you can't use your own vet, farrier, or other professionals! I AM TELLING YOU RIGHT NOW RUN! You can certainly ask the barn why you can't use so and so but I am telling you you should really be asking your vet, farrier, etc. why they are not allowed at this certain barn. What you hear may be very revealing! Most likely that barn is abusive and awful and those professionals said something.
9. HUGE GINORMOUS RED FLAG: Your vet, farrier, other professionals say they will not go to this certain barn. Definitely ask them why and then STEER CLEAR OF THAT BARN! Most likely they saw something bad or dealt with awful people there.
10. Take a copy of the lease and take your time to read it over! Don't sign right away! And if they are rushing you, take the lease into your car and read it over in there! Being in a space you are comfortable with will help you read everything carefully!
RED FLAG: If there are any weird rules or conditions for you to interact with your own horse, RUN!
11. Lastly trust yourself! You know what is right for you and your horse, and you know when something is absolutely wrong!
AND if you have any other tips, feel free to comment! We all need to support each other in making sure our horses are safe, healthy, and happy!