Wednesday, October 26, 2011

barn rules

The number of horses at my barn is about to increase by 150%, as a local lesson barn is moving 15 of their horses and ponies to my barn on the first of November to stay for the winter. I'm not exactly thrilled about this because I like how small and quiet my barn is. I also like that there are minimal kids. There are a few kids at my barn currently but they are pretty mature and reliable. My last barn was all adults, though some of them acted a lot like kids themselves. All of the boarders at my current barn are respectful of each others space, I know all of the horses and their quirks, and I don't have to battle for ring time or play dodge-em with four other horses in the ring.

I know I've been spoiled with all of that space, though, and I've accepted the fact that the circumstances will change dramatically very soon.

My barn owner and I were talking about barn rules. With so many new people moving in all at once, there is the potential for things to get very messy. My opinion is that we should post the barn rules in a very obvious spot and have a barn meeting within the first week of all of the new people being there to introduce everyone and make sure we're all on the same page. The thing is we don't even have official barn rules because we've been able to function just fine with everyone cleaning up after themselves, being respectful of each other, and making sure their horses are behaving themselves.

My main concerns are:

-possibly having to schedule ring time because there are going to be so many lessons that the lesson program could literally take over the barn and all of the space
-if there is a lesson going on (or two), are they going to allow me to ride in the indoor with them? this is New England and it's going to start snowing soon, so though we have an outdoor it may be under 3' of snow until March like it was last year.
-making sure people clean up after themselves. this is a HUGE issue for me. I hate when people pick their horses feet out and then just leave the dirt right in the middle of the aisle.
-ensuring that people are aware of what they can and can't use. I'm lucky that my tack, grain, and other supplies are locked up safely in a small tack room that I share with one other person, but my tack trunk is out in the aisle. I don't keep anything valuable in it but I would hope that no one would go looking for something in there. I am very particular about my things.

So my question is, what rules does your barn have?


  1. There are tonnnnnns of horses and riders at Heritage so things can get a little crowded, especially in the winter. There are always lots of lessons going on, and boarders are allowed to ride at the same time provided that they:
    1. Give the lesson student the rail at all times.
    2. Track the same direction as the lesson.
    3. If the lesson student is jumping boarders are to wait in a corner, and then we proceed riding when the student is taking breaks.

    It can be a little annoying, because it's nice to have the luxury of going the way I want to go when I want to go that way, but it's workable. Also, a lesson board is kept very up to date in plain sight, so on any given day you know exactely when the ring will be used and when it will not which is SUPER helpful.

    Some other little rules include:
    - Sweet before and after you ride (in grooming areas)
    - Always clean up any manure your horse leaves in grooming areas (making sure a muck bucket and pitchfork are nearby is helpful, then there's no excuse for leaving a mess)
    - Absolutely NO "borrowing" anyone else's possessions unless you have direct permission from them! Usually if I am going to allow someone to use my equipment/tack/etc. I alert the barn manager as well, so she is aware when my things will be borrowed, and by whom.

    Hope that helps!

  2. Don't forget about lunging, such as no lunging if riders are present, or lunging permitted if less than x riders, etc.

  3. My barn is pretty lax but our stable owners really strive to make sure that everybody has equal rights. People are allowed to ride in the arena while lessons are going on. They don't pay extra to use the arena for lessons so they don't get sole use of it, even for that hour.

    Once you put your horse away you have to sweep where you had your horse in the asile. You don't have to before you go riding, but before you leave you need to.

    People can lend their items to whatever they want. We don't have any rules on that. We each have our own lockers and we keep our things in there. We do have a bunch of lunge whips and a lunge line that are for the community but that's it. Be smart, don't leave your items out. I trust pretty much everyone at my barn, but I'm still not about to leave any of my things out. Rules can only help so much, if someone's going to steal, then they're going to steal.

    Clean up after your horse. If your horse makes a mess in the asile, you clean it up right away. If it does in the arena, after you ride, you clean it up.

    I think posting the rules and having a barn meeting is a very good idea. That way you know for sure that everyone has been informed of what is and is not allowed.

  4. We always pass left hand to left hand in the arena with multiple riders, and allow boarders to ride while lessons are going on. If jumping with others in the arena, riders are expected to call out their jumps as a heads up to other riders. We also have a lesson schedule posted, so everyone can plan accordingly if they wish to avoid a crowded arena. I know one of my old barns actually had a limit on how many horses could be in the arena at a time.

    Probably the biggest rule though is that you are not allowed to handle another person's horse without the owner/leaser/barn manager's permission.

  5. Definitely encourage your BO to actually POST rules. You'd be surprised how specific you have to be.

    Things like
    -don't leave your horse unattended in cross ties.
    -don't use another boarder's stuff without permission.
    -Of course everyone has trouble with cleaning up after their horses if they poop in the aisle/grooming stall/wash rack.
    -Lessons/ beginners have the right of way.
    -Surprisingly there are some people (who must have been dropped on their heads as infants) who have to be told that they can't smoke in the barn (or anywhere near it).

  6. Barn Rules
    · No dogs
    · No alcoholic drinks
    · SMOKING IS NOT ALLOWED IN THE BARN. Smoking is only allowed on the driveway-patio area and cigarette butts need to be disposed of in the approved container on the driveway-patio. DO NOT put your cigarette butts in the driveway or garbage cans
    · No running, yelling or boisterous play in the barn area, especially when horses are present
    · All motor vehicles must be parked only in designated parking area.
    · BOARDERS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE BEHAVIOR AND SAFETY OF THEIR GUESTS. All Guests who will be riding must sign a Liability Waiver prior to mounting. Guests are not allowed on the premises without being accompanied by a Boarder
    · YOUR HORSE’S BEHAVIOR IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY. If you cannot control your horse during your visits or Management deems your horse unsafe for Staff to handle, you will be asked to put your horse under the care of a trainer (at your own expense) or to relocate your horse to another facility
    · NO BORROWING OF ANYONE ELSE’S EQUIPMENT. We will not be responsible for or mediate disputes regarding misplaced/stolen/broken equipment
    · Any equipment left in the common areas will be put in the lost and found box.
    · CLEAN UP AFTER YOUR HORSE if (s)he soils any of the common areas
    · Only one saddle per boarded horse and one equipment box per Boarder will be allowed in the tack room
    · All horses should have their halter and lead rope hanging on their stalls for quick access during emergencies
    · Shoes must be worn at all times while on barn premises. Close-toed shoes or boots are required if you are handling or riding a horse
    · Boarders are not allowed access to the shavings – horses will be provided with shavings at Management’s discretion. If you feel your horse’s stall needs additional shavings, please address this to Management
    · PLEASE NOTIFY MANAGEMENT IMMEDIATELY OF ANY ACCIDENTS OR INJURIES involving either humans or horses. Any unreported incidents will be the responsibility of the Boarder
    · Permission from Management is required for any non-boarded horses to be present on the barn premises
    · If you are going to be at the barn past 9 PM, please notify Management
    · Be courteous and respectful of all other Boarders and their Guests.

  7. Ha - didn't seem quite that long until it posted :)

  8. Wow sounds like a big change! I have never really boarded before though I grew up riding at a busy boarding barn. But they ran a VERY tight ship so we didn't really have many problems. They didn't have a list of rules out but all the rules were known and fully enforced by all at the barn. Good luck. Post like these make me grateful to have my horses at home, though it is SO much work.

  9. ditto a lot of the riding rules already posted. Fortunately my barn is a private barn (i.e the only ones who can board there have to be in training with my trainer). There are other horses on the property never use our stuff.

    I think a lot of the "barn rules" are unspoken, but everyone definitely has different ideas of what is acceptable or not. We make it work though, and there have never really been any issues. Recently at least.

  10. We have about 25 horses out at our barn and no barn rules. It is definitely cause for some drama sometimes. Just last night a lady came back with her trailer and someone was parked in "her" spot (we do not have assigned spots). Needless to say it leaves the barn manager with phone calls at all hours. So I would whole-heartedly agree with posting in plain sight a list of barn rules.

  11. I like Promise's list of rules--very explicit and to the point. My best experiences have been with boarders receiving a copy of the rules with their contracts/prior to beginning lessons and then also posting the rules in one or more obvious places.

    And then enforcing the rules. Most people want to get along but I don't envy you a stable full of children, that's for sure.

  12. My barn is a pretty busy lesson barn, but since 98% of the people who ride there are college age or older we really don't have too many issues. My lead rope that hangs on my stall will occasionally go for a walk, but it's never actually stolen.

    The lesson schedule is emailed out each week so I know what times are the busiest. We have no rules about riding during a lesson, you just have to stay out of the lesson's way (but we are allowed to continue riding while they are jumping around).

    I totally understand you not being excited about all the additional people, but looking on the bright side, it might be good for Lucy to get used to working around more distractions sometimes.

  13. I work at barn that has 3 indoors and two barns. I think they house between 45-50 horses or so (and one Longhorn cow plus two mini donkeys). We don't have barn rules posted. Even with tons of kids of all ages going in and out, they are always eager to learn the rules and whats right and wrong.
    I'm one of a few barn hands, so I sweep aisles at least once an hour. They also run a very tight ship, and everything has it's place. There are a few rules posted on copy paper here and there, but other than that everyone knows what not to do. One of the barns is just the owners horses as well as boarders horses, and the lessons are not in there often enough to have to post rules.
    The rules we have are things like 'Don't handle/groom/feed/medicate a horse unless asked to do so' or 'don't leave halters on horses in their stalls' and certain horses have signs on their stalls that can't be put in the cross ties. Everything goes fairly smoothly.


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