Among the many forms of horse care are co-op (cooperative) barns in which all horse owners split responsibility for the barn chores and care of all of the horses. Co-op barns provide an alternative to the standard rough, semi-rough, and full boarding options for horse owners who don’t yet own horse barns of their own. Could a co-op situation work for you and your horse? You’ll want to consider these aspects of co-op barns when making your decision.
Because horse owners all work together to care for all of the horses at a co-op, the cost of boarding your horse at a co-op tends to be less than full care (and sometimes even rough) board cost at another barn. However, the cost of a co-op (and the specific care, such as blanket changes) that is included depends on the individual barn.
Control of Horse’s Individualized Care
At a co-op barn you will be caring for your horse at least part of the time, which gives you more control over his individualized care. Being involved in your horse’s care has its advantages, since you will be better able to monitor his health and make decisions to help keep him healthy and safe.
Membership in a Small Group of Dedicated Horse Owners
At a co-op barn, horse owners tend to be dedicated and very involved in their horses’ care. By boarding your horse at a co-op you may have the chance to make good friends and learn from other experienced horse people.
Increased Workload and Time Demand
Co-ops depend on horse owners caring for the horses, so your workload and time demand will be greater than they would be if you full boarded your horse at another barn. Chores like cleaning a horse stall and feeding will become regular occurrences. Remember, though, that working in a barn is very physical and can help to keep you in shape.
Less Access to Large Lesson or Training Programs
Because co-op barns tend to be small, access to large lesson or training programs may be limited. If you have a trailer, trailering your horse out to other farms for lessons and training might be a good option.
Potential Clash Over Horse Care Opinions
In any group of horse people, differences in opinion when it comes to horse care and training are bound to occur. Horse owners of a co-op do need to be able to agree on the general approach to horse care, but be prepared for differences of opinion.
Uneven Distribution of Duties
Just how effective a co-op barn is will depend on how it is run. In some cases, owners may shirk away from duties and you might find yourself doing more work than others. In well-managed co-op barns, duties are evenly distributed and all horse owners take on their share of the work, or they will be told that they need to move their horse to a new barn.
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Original Source: Could a Co-op Barn Work for You?