All barns need safety rules, for yourself, for your kids, for your visitors and even for your horses. These rules need to be followed by everyone with NO EXCEPTION.
Think about it !!
Why do we need rules for our barn? Why do we have house rules? Why do we have workplace rules? Why do we have road rules? The answer – to prevent chaos and safety accidents.
“No running in the house” I tell my kids on a daily basis. “You’ll trip and fall and hurt yourself”. Same rule applies to the barn. See where I’m going with this. The equine barn safety rules are just as important as any other rules out there.
1000+ pounds of “I’ll test the rules”
Barn rules for the horses may seem ridiculous to some, but trust me, they will test them out. When you’ve had a pushy horse trying to run to his stall for feeding time, it can be quite dangerous for you and your horse. He should respect your barn rules just like everyone else. It again, prevents chaos and accidents.
Sharing my lists
Like a lot of barns out there, mine has a few rules and lists posted at a few different areas of the barn. I expect everyone to respect these rules as they are there not just for reading materiel. I have witnessed a few barn accidents in my days and will not hesitate to ask someone to leave my barn if they cannot follow these rules.
The first one is at the barn entrance for everyone to see when they walk in.
- NO SMOKING
- Children must be accompanied by an adult
- Helmets and closed toe boots if your riding
- No running, climbing or making loud noises
- If you unlock it, lock it back
- If you open it, close it
- If you borrow it, return it
- If you don’t know, ask
- If you turn it on, turn it off
- If you move it, put it back
- If you throw it down, pick it up
- If you ride it, feed it
- If it drinks water, give it some
- If you fall off, get back on
Some of these may seem a little silly, or may seem like common sense, but it’s not silly when you are looking for something for an hour while your horse waits for you and you can’t find it. It’s not silly when you or your horse trip over a bucket that wasn’t put back.
My second list is posted on all my stall doors. It is put there as a friendly reminder.
- Be calm and quiet
- Use a halter and a lead rope to lead your horse
- Never stand directly behind your horse
- When cleaning your horse’s hooves, bend over, do not squat
- when going through a door, make sure the door is wide open
- Never loop your reins or your lead rope around your hands
- The safest place to stand by a horse is at the shoulders
- When grooming, saddling or cleaning your horse’s stall, tie your horse
My third list isn’t posted anywhere in the barn but it’s a horse barn manners list I use to teach my horses what I expect from them from the time they enter the barn to the time they leave the barn
- Leading quietly – your horse should walk beside you quietly paying attention to you and not to other people, other horses or the barn cat. He shouldn’t push you, barge ahead, hang back or push into you.
- “Wait” – your horse should wait until you completely open the barn or stall door and wait for your cue to go through. A horse that rushes into the barn or stall door because he knows he’s getting for, or rushes out because he knows he’s going back to his buddies is very dangerous for both you and him.
- Standing quietly to be tied – you want your horse to stand quietly for grooming, tacking up, for the vet or the farrier. He should not be fussing or pulling
- Kicking the stall walls or stall door is not permitted in my barn. The cause of kicking may be many things, boredom, anxious to get fed, anxious to get out, kicking at the horse next door. It is up to you to work through these issues so that your horse respects his stall.
A better understanding
As you can see, a barn should be a quiet and safe environment for both you and your horse. Although these are my rules, they are not written in stone. Feel free to use them and modify them so they work for your barn.
I strongly suggest having them, following them and enforcing them. It can make a big difference in your barn environment.
I’d love to hear about your barn rules. Please leave a comment below.