How to Choose the Best Boarding School with Equestrian Facilities
Going away to boarding school doesn’t have to mean that your child must leave their love of equestrian sports and their beloved horse behind. A part of finding the right school hinges on locating a school with great facilities for boarding horses. Here are some qualities to consider as you progress through that search.
Stall Size and Maintenance
You want to become familiar with the facilities where your horse might be spending a good portion of the next several years. Is the stall space large enough to be reasonably comfortable? A typical stall size is about 12 ft. by 12 ft., but that can be smaller for ponies. If you schedule a campus visit, either try to meet with the stable manager directly or be sure that you have access to them to ask them questions at a later time about the stall maintenance as well. Who cleans them—the student or a staff member? How often are they cleaned? What type of bedding do they use, and is that included in boarding fees beforehand? It’s important to ask if hay is stored in the barn or separate from it, as hay within the facility can cause too much excess dust to linger and affect your horse.
How much fresh air your horse is going to get in the available boarding school facilities can have a direct effect on their health and wellbeing. If horses spend most of their days in the stable, it’s important to note that the facilities try to turn them out to pasture at least once a day for a period of time. If horses can remain outside for a good portion of the day, make sure that the area has shade trees or some form of sheltered covering where horses can be out of direct sunlight. Pasture access could influence how often your child needs to take the horse out and work with it for exercise and wellbeing.
Food and Water
It’s wise to discuss the feed options and pricing beforehand so that you know your horse can receive the right combination of hay, grass, and grains that you see as the best for them. Access to salt and water throughout the day are a given necessity. The specifics of a food regimen and your expectations overall should be discussed beforehand so that you know fully what you’re agreeing to, and also so that your child can know just how much they are responsible—or not—for feeding and watering their horse each day.
Medical and Personal Care
Particularly for events and shows, but also for proper care, your horse is going to need access to a furrier and a veterinarian while away at boarding school with your child. Hoof trimmings are going to help maintain overall health and prevent back strains and sensitive feet. It’s also essential that your horse can receive the needed vaccinations at the right time, and that an expert can be called to the scene to help in the event of serious illness with your horse.
Location and Security
Some locations pose a higher security risk than others. If your boarding school’s barn has received permission to be within city limits of a heavily populated area, it may have a higher security threat than a barn and paddock that’s located in a quiet rural setting. Also, your child and their horse are going to be looking at the same bits of scenery repeatedly for months on end as they exercise and work out their event’s routines. It could help their motivation to be looking at something serene like a mountain landscape in place of ordinary houses and roads that aren’t very noteworthy.
Your child and their horse plan to make the most of their equestrian experience at the next boarding school, and the right location choice can help them do just that. Hopefully, these tips will steer you in the right direction. If you’d like to view an example of a quality equestrian facility, feel free to check out what Wasatch Academy’s equestrian program has to offer, and then you can go from there.