Sheds, Barns, Pastures and More: How to Prepare to Bring Your Horse Home
Congratulations! You’ve either just adopted a horse or are considering bringing one home. Outside of choosing your right horse, one of the biggest questions you’re likely facing is where to house your new friend. Fortunately, there are lots of options available to horse owners.
Keeping Your Horse at Home
If you’re lucky enough to have room to keep a horse at your home, you probably already have an idea of where they’ll stay. You’ll need to make sure your property is ready before bringing your horse home. That means you’ll need secure, horse-safe fencing and either a shed or barn for extreme weather. Wood, pipe, vinyl or small-hole wire fencing is generally preferred for horses. Your shed should be clean and provide shade on hot days and shelter from severe cold and wind. Additionally, your horse will need access to fresh water constantly and, ideally, constant forage in the form of pasture or supplemented hay. A slow-feeder hay net can give them a way to nibble at hay all day without overindulging.
Horses are social animals and appreciate the company of a friend. If you have room, consider bringing a second horse home by either adopting one of your own or boarding someone else’s horse. Many horses also enjoy the company of donkeys, goats or other outdoor animals.
Boarding at a Stable
Boarding stables are a great option for those who can’t keep their horses at home.. Boarding barns can vary tremendously in amenities, price, and culture, so you’ll likely be able to find the perfect fit for you and your horse’s needs. Some barns offer self-care, where the owner still provides daily care and supplies their own feed, while other barns include all of those services in the monthly boarding fee. Some barns offer pasture board where your horse will live outside 24/7, while other facilities have stalls with daily turnout for socialization and enrichment.
When looking at barns, make sure you look for happy, healthy horses and a clean facility. Beyond those basics, it’s up to you to decide what works best for you. For example, if you’d like to ride your horse in the winter, you may choose a facility that has a covered riding arena. Your veterinarian, farrier, and horsey friends are great sources of info to compare notes when making your decision.
Boarding your horse can also be a great way to meet other equestrians in your community. Many facilities have trainers and instructors on site, so you can work with a professional as you get to know your horse.
A Home for Every Horse
There are countless options for you and your horse. You can ask for recommendations as you’re going through the adoption process. Many adoption groups work with local barns and can help you find a facility that best meets your needs. They can also help guide you through the process of preparing your property for your new resident.
It’s important to consider your individual horse and his or her behaviors and preferences. From there, the options are endless!
If you’re feeling inspired to adopt a horse of your own, visit myrighthorse.org to browse hundreds of adoptable horses nationwide by breed, gender or discipline.