Tips on finding the right “home away from home” for your horse.

A major question when contemplating horse ownership is where to keep the animal. After all, this isn’t a dog for whom a kennel in the garage or living in the house with the family will work. No, a horse is a large creature that eats a good deal of food and produces waste products that must be managed.

For many horse owners, the ideal situation is to have a bit of space in the country where there is room for a horse or two. That way they can spend time and work with their horses every day. Of course, not everyone has an idyllic little country estate–or a large one, for that matter–and other options must be explored.

One of those options is a boarding stable. While this might seem like an easy solution, there are many aspects that the horse owner must consider. First, all boarding stables are not created equal. Some will provide excellent care for your horse and others, quite simply, will not. They’ll take your money every month, but the horse might receive minimal care at best.

And, in some rare cases, horses get far less than minimal care. In 2008 a boarding stable operator in Ohio was arrested after authorities found six horses dead and other emaciated horses at her place. Granted, that is the exception rather than the rule, but it did happen.

How do you tell the difference in quality of care when you are looking for a stable? With the help of some experts in the field, we’ll offer some suggestions that might help. Two of the experts providing background are Colleen Brady, MS, PhD, an associate professor in 4-