Rider Insider: Barn Rules

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No Whining
When riding in the arena, pass left shoulder to left shoulder.

If you borrow it, put it back.

Don’t feed fingers to the horses.

Regardless of whether you ride at a commercial megastable or just keep a few horses in your backyard, your barn undoubtedly has a few rules. Horses can be dangerous to inexperienced humans, and humans can certainly be dangerous to horses, and many standard barn rules are in place to protect one species from the other.

Other barn guidelines are there with the aim of keeping peace between human members of the barn family. Standards for how the arenas, wash racks and tack rooms are maintained can stop disagreements before they happen.

And then, there are the list of things that should be common sense but become official just to make sure everyone remembers. No smoking in the barn area. Helmets must be worn when mounted. Don’t use other people’s stuff without their permission.

Beyond these standard regulations, what rules do you have at your farm—or what have you seen at other barns you’ve visited—that are unique, important or possibly have a good story behind them? Have you encountered any rules at other people’s stables that leave you scratching your head (or running for the barn door)? Click “Submit a Comment” below to share your story. Some responses may be selected to be published in a future issue of Horse Illustrated!

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45 COMMENTS

  1. At my barn we have a sign that says ride at your own risk. It is very true because you never know what is going to happen.

  2. At my barn we have a sign that says ride at your own risk. It is very true because you never know what is going to happen.

  3. NO RUNNING: I keep my horses in our backyard and I have a lot of younger siblings that like to run around. Even though my two mares are pretty calm and used to the running and screaming, anything could spook them at anytime. So to keep horses and people safe everyone has to walk calmly when they’re in horse territory.

  4. Have a good moral. Be kind, no lying, no swearing, etc. But most importantly, be truthful! I love all of the people at my barn because we all try to be truthful to one-another, no matter what. I have seen first hand the consequences of one little lie loosing a boarder or a horse, or even a friend. So I think that if I had to pick one rule, It would have to be honesty above all others, no matter what!

  5. My horse boards at a meticulously well kept stable with about 20 horses. One of the rules is that all equipment such as poles, cones and mounting blocks must be put back on the grass around the arena when we are done riding. We don’t mind this rule because it enables our owner to drag the arena nearly every day and we love having such a great footing to ride our horses on. We also have specific hours for jumping so those who don’t like to ride then can chose not to. Everyone knows what to expect and is happy.

  6. Have fun. One of the best rules ever. If you fall off get back on. Clean up and put away stuff you took out and after your horses. Always wear helmets. Horses are the main priority. I don’t care if your hot your horse is too and you care for him

  7. Most of our rules are meant for beginner riders that don’t know the way to act around horses. But the alaways standing rule is to alaways wear a helmet, no matter what excuse you come up with, you are not allowed to ride without a helmet!!!

  8. Clean up after your horse and yourself. Put away anything you may have used. Always use a lead line and have control of your horse. Keep your horse away from the studs! Dump your manure on the top not the beginning. Put the barn and gates back to the way you found them!

  9. The official rule that is branded in place at my farm is this: NO GOING IN WITH THE HORSES UNLESS YOU HAVE SPECIFIC PERMISSION FROM THE OWNERS. A few people had to learn this lesson the hard way and so now we make ABSOLUTE sure this rule is clear to all.

  10. Respect and responsibility. Be considerate of other people’s feelings, belongings, and horses. Always put your things where they belong and take proper care of your horse.

  11. Do NOT treat other people’s horses without permission. The horses are all in training and their nutritional needs, feeding plans, and schedules are carefully planned, executed, and monitored. Treating by hand is also a big no, no! All treats not associated with training must be delivered by feed bucket. For example, we do carrot stretches with our horse, but carrots delivered because he’s beautiful and we love him arrive by bucket.

  12. At my barn the owner has strict rules about horse treatment and safety; put boots on your horse if riding, cool down after work, regular farrier and vet mandatory, and most importantly never do anything out of anger. A saying he uses to get people to follow them is “If you love your horse…”

  13. My barn has the incredibly strict rule of triple checking doors and gates’ latches. my mare is amazing at undoing them so everyone as to triple check.

  14. A fun little rule at our barn is that if you fall off your horse, you must bake cookies for everyone! I have baked so many batches so far! But my trainer also says that it takes one hundred falls to make an expert rider. So, I guess there’s a lot more cookies where that came from!

  15. Our barn’s rules are pretty traditional. Always wear a helmet,don’t ride alone, put tack and grooming supplies back were you found them. But we also practice loving one another and building friendships in order to enjoy our time at the barn with one another to the fullest.

  16. our rules are mandatory! groom your horse before and after riding, wash horse off after a long hot ride. clean up after you and your horse. do the “three steps” of working your horse in the round pen before riding. always check gates. make your horse do it! always tell where you are going for a ride.

  17. The main rule at my barn (and what should be the easiest and most obvious) is the horse comes first! If your focus is on the horse’s welfare then you have a much better chance of keeping both of you and the people around you safe.

  18. I have a rule that all horses have to be kissed on their noses before their breakfast and before they go out on an excursion. No one, human or equine, has a problem with it!

  19. At my barn it’s just me and my two horses, but my biggest rule is safety first! I am constantly checking over my horses to make sure that they are as happy and healthy as possible. Everything is to be done with the upmost ca, weth is be something as simple as checking gate latches to something major such as wound care. If there is one little thing that a horse can hurt themselves on, they will find it and they will get hurt!

  20. In my barn, if you fall you have to get back on unless something is broken. And when we ride and our horse acts up, we are not allowed to get off. That is like telling the horse, “alright you win!” I will always stand by these rules

  21. ~Have a good moral (no stealing, no lying, no cheating, treat others, horses and humans, with respect, etc.). This is a big, bit rule at our barn especially since there are so many “troubled” and “rescued” girls there.
    ~Safety FIRST! Go put those flip-flops away and put on your boots.
    ~Always clean up after yourself and your horse! No, you cain’t just leave it there…
    ~Your horse comes first. So put that Popsicle down.
    ~Never say you can’t, because if you try hard enough you can! And sometimes you won’t always see result right away. It took me weeks to be able to post around the whole arena without stirrups.
    ~If you fall off get back on (unless something got seriously hurt from falling off)!! Don’t let the horse think he’s winnin’!
    But above all: HAVE FUN SAFELY!!! 😉

  22. My siblings and I have our own rules at our barn/house
    Rules:
    1.The horses always come first! Always!
    2.Never allow electronics to get in the way of your horse/chores, etc…
    3.Groom your horse daily
    4.Clean your tack when you are done with it
    5.If you get hurt, the other barn members have to get you gummy worms
    6. HAVE FUN!!!!!!

  23. I think our rules at CCF are reasonable! They don’t ask you to buy expensive clothes or stifle the fun. They are just what you need to do to enjoy your horse and have a safe, happy ride! Someone I know was at a barn where they asked you to wear Tailored Sportsmans and a Joules polo! That, to me, seems a bit silly. Too stuffy and just ridiculous. Brands of equestrian attire shouldn’t matter- just that you take pride in the appearance of your horse and yourself!
    1. No jumping without a trainer.
    2. If you make a mess, clean it up!!
    3. Put your things back, and ask before you borrow anyone else’s.
    4. Keep your tack, horse and attire clean. Show your pride in the facilities and our equine friends here at CCF.
    5. If there are issues with other boarders or with anything at the farm, talk first with the barn manager and progress from there.
    6. Helmets are to be worn at all times when mounted.
    7. Closed toe shoes are required if handling a horse.
    8. Smile and have a great ride!

  24. At my stable one of the most important rules is to spoil your horse with love and affection treating them as you would want to be treated.

  25. Rules:
    1) no riding in the barn
    2) no admittance to barn without staff presence
    3) NO abuse of animals
    4) just walk, don’t run
    5) keep calm voice and demeanor
    6) be neat and tidy
    7) no swearing
    8) HAVE FUN!
    at a barn for the handicapped we need plenty of rules, and thus far it’s kept everyone happy and safe!

  26. In my barn we have a few rules.
    1) No jumping over 8 inches without a horsey adult on hand.
    2) Whenever trail riding bring someone with you.
    3) When you are the last to leave the barn, check up on all the horses if they are in and turn off all the lights.
    4) HAVE FUN!!

  27. In my barn we have a few rules.
    1) No jumping over 8 inches without a horsey adult on hand.
    2) Whenever trail riding bring someone with you.
    3) When you are the last to leave the barn, check up on all the horses if they are in and turn off all the lights.
    4) HAVE FUN!!

  28. Please Pick…
    Please pick your horses hooves as you exit the arena to leave valuable footing in the arena and out of the barn isles. Also pick poop after you ride to keep footing nice for everyone 🙂

  29. 1)Always wear closed-toe shoes.
    2)NEVER run in the stable unless it’s an emergency.
    3)Cleanup after your horse.
    4)Always wear a helmet when riding.
    5)Put things back where you found it.
    6)No screaming.
    7)No tank tops.

  30. Horses can be very dangerous, though the benefits of riding are worth it in the end. Riding and being around horses requires a few rules though. All barn rules revolve around the safety of the horse and rider, if they are both are safe, then all is usually well.

  31. Riding comes with a lot of responsibility and with responsibility comes rules. Rules aren’t there to bring you down, they’re there to help you along the way. The sign doesn’t say “pick your horses feet” for no reason! In a way, rules are reminders to get back on track!

  32. Here’s my rules.
    1. Always wear pants and boots.
    2. Never wrap the lead rope around your hand or arm.
    3. Don’t turn a horse out with a halter on.
    4. Don’t smoke in the barn.
    5. Never leave a horse tied up alone for a long time.

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