>I am a boarder at a small barn (16 or so horses). I would like to
>know what proper etiquette is for the public areas i.e. the arena and
>the area not the arena or the stalls (where people tack up and so
This list is essentially common courtesy. Most barns extract about 10
major rules from this list. I may have omitted some points as it's
composed strictly from memory ...
- Your horse must be secured, or in his
pen when tacking up. Ground tying is
typically frowned upon as so may people
have not truly taught their horses to
ground tie properly.
- Always clean up after your horse in
aisles, cross-ties, and wash-racks. This
includes droppings from picking your horse's
hooves, swabbing up urine, and picking up
manure your horse leaves behind. Also,
sweep up main/tail/coat hair. Essentially,
the next person should not be able to tell
you were just there.
- Your tack should be left out of the aisles
and out of harms way. Do not leave tack boxes
open in the aisles with blankets draped into the
aisles. Do not leave your equipment around for
others to trip over.
- If your stall has a gate that swings into the
aisle, close the gate so the aisle is clear.
- ALWAYS KEEP THE AISLE CLEAR. Horses cross-
tied in the aisle are the exception to that
- When entering or exiting an arena always
close the gate behind you, unless
you're the last one in the arena.
Some barns ask that you yell "GATE!!!"
before you open the gate so riders
will not smash into you. You should
open the gate outward, if possible so
you don't deck someone as you open the
- Priorities are typically as follows:
- riders have first right to use
- those who want to lunge horses
have second right. They typically
should seek permission to lunge if
there are other riders in the arena.
Typically, no more than TWO horses
lunging in an arena where riders
are working their horses.
- If a horse is going bonkers
while lunging, which spooks
other horses in the arena you
may be asked to leave.
- loose horses have essentially no
rights and may be bumped out of the
arena by anyone who wants to use it
(exc. other horses to be turned out,
in which case one should be *reasonable*
about sharing the arena for these purposes.)
- Should a rider fall off their horse, or horse
gets loose in the arena ALL riders,
lungers, etc. should immediately stop
their horses until the loose horse has
been caught and the rider has been
removed from the arena if they are
- Passing horses on the rail. Some barns ask that
those people just walking their horses on
"the buckle" or talking stay off the rail.
But passing horses - typically a horse is
passed on the *inside* (off the rail). So,
if you're overtaking a horse trotting you'd
move off the rail to do so. Passing oncoming
horses is typically left hand to left hand.
(I hate going clockwise for just this reason -
I'm always moving off the rail.)
Horses circling more than once typically
yield to those horses on the rail (staying
off the rail for oncoming horses to continue
- Abrupt stops: If you know there's a horse
approaching from the rear you might want
to warn them you're about to make an
>Today there was an incident where one of the other boarders let her
>horse loose in this area where people tack up and walk there horses.
If I understand what happened (which I'm not certain I do) then this
action was incredibly dangerous and absolutely stupid. Personally,
when my horse or my own life has been put in danger by stupidity I
light into the offender mercilessly in the hopes that their actions
will never be replayed. However, if you're unable for some reason to
get across to the offender the dangerousness of their actions then you
definitely should seek assistance of the management.
If a manager is unwilling to enforce safety rules, talk with a trainer
and ask them to speak to the offender. Most people will listen to
trainers before they'll listen to fellow riders.
>The owner of the horse claims this is allowed (although I don't know
>why). And she screamed at me for telling her to put her horse away
>(I may have not been to nice because I had already been injured due
>to this danngerous act).
I'm actually not clear if this horse was running around in a turn-out
area next to the stalls or literally down the middle of the aisle
LOOSE. Sometimes turn-out areas can be right next to stalls, in which
case you just have to swallow the bad with the good and take care not
to get hurt as your horse responds to the nutsoid near his/her stall.
But if the horse was NOT in an authorized turn-out area then no amount
of screaming will change the fact that she was being stupid and
abusive. In that case, speak with the manager. They may want to post
an explicit rule about loose horses.
>Does anyone know how to tell the barn owner this is not a good thing,
>or how to approach the owner of the crazed horse that she shouldn't
>do this? Also that her horses are dangerous to put blankets on
>because they have no training (they kick and bite the two of us who
>do this for her)?
Most barn owners are anxious to avoid law-suits and if they hear of
someone out of control they are typically very willing to deal with
them. Telling them is *usually* not difficult.
Telling the woman is another story. She obviously was convinced she
was in the right. It sounds like you did all you could do. Next step
would be to raise a flag and make an issue about the problem with the
As for blanketing her horses -- whatareyounuts! You must have a heart
of gold or a head filled with cotton to work with crazed animals owned
by a woman who refuses to train them. Sorry Charlie. This tuna says
"Not on your life ... blanket your own mules!"
I would like to take this opportunity to publicly apologize to all
mule owners for my recent slur. ;-)
Posting rules at barns is never a bad idea. If rules are not already
posted there I would advise lobbying long and hard to get them posted.
P.S. We had a list started about dangerous things to avoid around
horses ... like buckeling the front of blankets before buckling the
stomach straps, etc. I don't think I saw barn rules or etiquette
mentioned in this list.
Does anyone have the comprehensive list we put together? Maybe we
should add this ... and the other follow-up posts to that list.