The Truth About Boarding Facilities

THE TRUTH ABOUT BOARDING FACILITIES

Let’s face it, as a horse owner, we have all relied on a boarding facility at some point to be able to enjoy our equine friends. And unless you are really blessed, most of us will always require a boarding facility to be able to enjoy horses.

Boarding facilities offer us so many amenities, they really are a blessing to us; a blessing that a lot of blood, sweat, tears, and money go into so we have great facilities available to us for the riding and care of our horses.

We know owning a horse is not cheap, but you would be surprised the favors that boarding facilities are actually doing for us, based on the actual cost to operate one VS the cost they charge us.

Here are just some of the costs that go into boarding horses:

  • Here in Colorado, lately anyways, small bales of grass hay (65-70lb bales) are about $12. Let’s say your horse gets 1/3 bale per day, or 21lbs per day. That equals out to $108 per month per horse (feeding 1/2 bale, or 32lbs, per day equals $180/month).
  • If your barn uses bedding, they likely go through 5-10 bags per week per horse. Assuming they have found a great deal on bulk shavings, we will figure $5/bag and 5 bags per week (a single bag at Murdoch’s is $7.99). 15 bags equals $75 per month.

So in hard costs per horse, that is already $183/month (or $255/month for a little more hay).

  • Most facilities have a mortgage, and the equine portion of that mortgage in Colorado is most likely at VERY minimum $200,000 which equals out to $1,073 per month with a 5% APR on a 30 year mortgage. Assuming the facility holds 12 horses, your horse’s share of that is $90 per month. (But if we are being honest, the mortgage on most boarding facilities is closer to $700,000 or $3,443 per month at 4.5% APR on 30 years, and that would equal $286 per horse if 12 horses were boarded).

Now we are up to $273/month (or $345/month with a little more hay).

  • Labor: between the amount of time it takes to feed your horse (2-3 feedings per day), cleaning their stall, cleaning their pen, moving them from stall to pen and back again, getting them water, cleaning waterers, blanketing, grooming arena(s), mowing pens, cleaning the barn, night checks, and other miscellaneous duties, let’s average 1 hour of labor per horse per day, which at only $10/hr works out to $300/month (but being realistic, you cannot find good reliable help for $10/hour here in Colorado, so at $15/hour it would be $450/month).

We are up to $573/month with these additional costs (or $795/month with a 1/2 bale instead of 1/3 bale, and $15/hr labor instead of $10/hr labor).

This does not take into consideration the specialty insurance the facility needs to have to be able to board your horse and have you ride there, the cost of the tractor and attachments (mowers, drags, plows, etc.), maintenance for facility and facility equipment, water and electricity, facility repairs due to horses damaging items, etc.

So if you have a facility you enjoy boarding at, and the cost is under what we outlined above… your facility owner is probably not making any money (and actually your horse being there is costing them money in the bigger picture). So before you complain about how much your board is, keep that in mind!

Having a great boarding facility also gives us the option to go on vacation for a week, or not see our horse for a day as needed. Providing us with a LOT of flexibility to enjoy our lives outside of horses.

And remember to support your facility owner by taking lessons when offered, participating in clinics and events, and just being sure to thank them once in a while for the wonderful facility they make available to you.

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