How To Be a Better Barn Boarder
By Nikki Alvin Smith
Being a popular and appreciative boarder at your barn ultimately benefits both you and your horse — your word will be better regarded, your disgruntlements better addressed, and you and your horse will be valued members of the barn community.
Here are some dos and don'ts to factor into your barn lifestyle, in no particular order:
DO pay on time. The barn owner has big bills to cover every month. If you need to talk to the owner/manager about a discrepancy on the bill, do so without delay.
DO tidy up after yourself and your horse. The barn manager is not your parent. Hang up the water hose, sweep the aisle, clean up after your horse in the arena, and put away the tools and equipment you use.
DO ask if children, pets, and guests are allowed to come to the barn before you bring them. Keep them fully supervised while they are there.
DO obey all barn rules — they are there for good reasons.
DO take any grievances you have with your horse’s care or other barn-related issues directly and discreetly to the barn owner/manager for resolution.
DO visit and exercise your horse regularly and keep him up-to-date on all required vaccinations, parasite control, and farrier care.
DO be a team player. Offer to help out and even bring family or friends to assist with big jobs like bringing in the winter hay supply. If the barn holds shows and clinics, support these efforts by volunteering to help.
DON’T offer unsolicited advice to others or criticize other people or their horses. There is always more for all of us to learn and an encouraging comment can go a long way toward helping others who may be struggling.
DON’T be a gossip. Keep your mouth shut. If you can’t say something nice… you know the rest.
DON’T be a complainer. Focus on being positive and help create a happier environment.
DON’T help yourself to supplies such as hay, feed, or bedding, or use farm equipment that is off-limits to you.
DON’T hog the washstall, cross-ties, riding arena, or available turn-out just because you arrived there first — share.
DON’T borrow other people’s supplies without asking and, if they do say yes, always return the item in a timely fashion in the same condition — or even a bit improved.
DON’T invite yourself to other folks’ rides or events. Nobody likes a gate crasher. Always ask beforehand or wait to be invited.
DON’T bring your horse in and leave someone else’s horse to fret in the field and run the fenceline. Instead, resolve the issue by advising the barn owner/manager that you plan to bring your horse in to ride/groom so they can make accommodations for the other horse.
By following these simple rules you will always be welcome at your barn, and you’ll be setting yourself up with a good reference if you move to another barn in the future.
Respect is the name of the game!
Related: 7 Steps to Better Barn Leadership