Barn Etiquette

This week I would like to talk a bit about Barn Etiquette. Not only the “what”, but I will tell you the “why” too. This is geared mainly for those in a boarding facility because of my background. This etiquette should cross all lines of horse ownership because most of this etiquette is for safety, health, and sanitation reasons.

Keep Stall Doors Closed.

Why?
If a horse gets loose, he will try to run into the stall. That is where he is fed, and it is a place of comfort. What if your horse gets loose while wearing his saddle? He could rip a door right off the hinges and I’ve seen it happen by an inexperienced horse owner. It wasn’t pretty. She was lucky the horse didn’t break a leg.

Open Stall doors All the way, and make sure all handles are back and not protruding.

Why?
A horse coming in or out of a stall can get hung up. You don’t want to create fear in the horse either. Keep him safe at all times.

Clean up after yourself. If you make a mess, sweep it up. If you take something out, put it away.

Why?
Disorder takes the fun out of the barn. You also don’t want to spend your time hunting down your supplies, be courteous at the barn and clean up after yourself.

If there is no water for your horse, give him water.
Why?
No need to say why here really.

Do not feed the horses unless it is your job.

Why?
You don’t want to start a riot do you? Not only that, but stables usually buy the feed by the month, and they order what is needed. If you feed inbetween, the numbers could be off. Not only that, but it is rude. Picture going to someone’s house and opening up the refridgerator and helping yourself without permission.

If feeding is your job, Put the lids on the bins when you are finished, and don’t drop feed on the floor.

Why?
Lids keep the food fresh and the bugs and maggots out. Spilled feed attracts rats.

Close all Gates.

Why?
Gates break off of the hinges when left to sway in the wind. Hinges cost money, and it is annoying for all to have a broken gate.

Pay all bills on time.
Why?
You know why, but also you don’t want to get a reputation as a dead beat in the horse world.

Make requests nicely. You want something done, be nice about it.
Why?
These are the people taking care of your horse. You don’t want to get on the wrong side! I always liked suggestions. They help me improve.

There are many more things you can do to improve your barn etiquette, these are just a few to get you started.

Upon suggestion from a reader:

“Scoop The Poop”
Why?
If your horse drops a “present” don’t leave it behind. It’s annoying for other boarders and just plain rude.

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About Deanna Castro

Deanna Castro has been training horses and riders professionally for over 18 years. She trains riders in Horsemanship, Western Pleasure, Showmanship and Trail Riding. Deanna is married to Native American Horse Trainer Fredi Castro and she is the author of "Six Weeks to a Better Horse".
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3 Responses to Barn Etiquette

  1. Anonymous says:

    May I add to this? If it’s YOUR horse, and it’s YOUR horses poop, it’s YOURS to clean up before you leave! Sounds simple but some boarders need that reminder. It’s no fun finally finding a little time to work with your horse, groom her, tack her up, head into the arena – only to have to navigate around the “presents” left by the horse owner who was there before you!
    We all forget from time to time – that’s to be expected – but some people are chronic offenders. Yes, the barn hands may be payed to clean up your horses stall, but not to run behind you, muck bucket and fork in hand.
    So be polite, and “Scoop the Poop”! The next rider and barn help will appreciate it!

  2. Deanna says:

    I am going to put that one on the list!

    Thanks, and if anyone else has a tip please post and I will definitely add it.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Plus, in the winter YOUR horse poop turns into very hard, rock-like balls that are not good to ride on in the arena!

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