Horse Boarding Barn Best Practices

Two boarding barn operators offer practical management tips for individuals who run (or plan to someday run) boarding businesses.
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Horse Boarding Barn Best Practices
Running an equine boarding operation is a balancing act--one of keepign the barn environment pleasant and safe while remaining organized and professional. | Photo: iStock

How to run a tip-top horse boarding operation, from health considerations to communication tactics

Four horses stand in crossties, boarders fluttering about in various states of tacking up while chatting with one another about the weekend ahead. Two boarders are already outside—one longeing, the other schooling a pattern. One of the barn staff is repairing an outdoor waterer as a hay delivery truck, now empty, heads down the driveway.

In the midst of all this activity, the horse boarding farm owner and manager calmly tucks the checkbook in one back pocket after paying the hay guy and takes her phone out of the other to answer a boarder text about the farrier’s impending arrival.

Indeed, running a horse boarding operation is a balancing act—one of keeping the barn environment pleasant and safe while remaining organized and professional

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Written by:

Alayne Blickle, a lifelong equestrian and ranch riding competitor, is the creator/director of Horses for Clean Water, an award-winning, internationally acclaimed environmental education program for horse owners. Well-known for her enthusiastic, down-to-earth approach, Blickle is an educator and photojournalist who has worked with horse and livestock owners since 1990 teaching manure composting, pasture management, mud and dust control, water conservation, chemical use reduction, firewise, and wildlife enhancement. She teaches and travels North America and writes for horse publications. Blickle and her husband raise and train their mustangs and quarter horses at their eco-sensitive guest ranch, Sweet Pepper Ranch, in sunny Nampa, Idaho.

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