currently redoing some of my rules for the barn (they were written 5+ years ago and some policies have changed .) Does anybody have any rules that they have at their barn that they would like to share?
You might want to have hours of operation for your barn if you want to keep boarder traffic confined to certain times.
Also, you might want to post your state's horse law in your waiver, your barn rules, and on a sign (i.e: "Equestrian activities are inherently dangerous activity and the rider assumes the risk, etc. etc.)
Another good one: All visitors must sign a waiver, no exceptions.
All of those handling horses must wear closed toe shoes.
Children left unattended will be sold to the circus
I'd add "Clean up cross ties before you leave them." and your visiting dog policy.
(Bold mine). Big one for me! Do it now and do it properly! Many people think "Oh, I'll get it when I get back." But three other people could come and go from it in the time you are gone. Clean up before you leave the area.
I don't know how to word it as a rule, but I have a big thing with people being untidy, especially in the barn aisle. Maybe "Keep your horse's stall tidy" or something along those lines (to me this means fold and hang your blankets neatly, hang your halter and lead up neatly, etc).
Also, a big one for me and one I am always tempted to institute "Always lead horses WITH A LEAD ROPE AND HALTER." Too many people seem to think it is perfectly acceptable to just lead their horses with their halter only. Not safe, at all.
Related advice... I would tell as many boarders/students as you can about the impending rules, especially your best ones. Maybe they even have a couple they recommend. This will go a long way in avoiding any misunderstandings or hurt feelings. And it will encourage them to come to you instead of discussing amongst themselves...!!
My current BO takes great care of the horses but sometimes mucks the personal stuff pretty royally. By shoving rules and price lists into all our trunks, for example, causing boarders to feel uncomfortable. Recently she gave us all bills for our vet, calling her a "friend" and prefacing the note with "Dear Customer." The juxtaposition of friend vs customer was just... Weird. After so many years with this BO, through multiple facility changes, this was just pretty lame. "Client", "Boarder", "horse owner", or my name would have been more appropriate in this context.
Just wanted to chime in as a boarder, two break dealing rules for me are no jumping outside of lessons and hours I can go to the barn. Jumping outside of lessons obv depends on the program but I find it over bearing, regardless. After all it is my horse and I shouldn't be told what I can't do when it has nothing to do with safety etc but like I said program dictates. Would be a deal breaker for me.
Limiting hours is just silly imo, there's so many people like myself who work and go to school or have kids etc and can't get to the barn until later at night.
Good point about hours... In my case the new rules gave hours that would preclude me from weekday riding because of my work schedule!! I was worrying about having to leave when the BO said they were "guidelines" and she understood my case.
Soooo... Be careful about putting very restrictive hours and discuss with at least your most impacted boarders or they may leave...
I find not being able to come to the barn later or on certain days to be extremely impactful... I work a corporate job and can't arrive to the barn until 6:30-7pm, so if the barn closes early I am S.O.L.!
One rule I appreciate is: "juniors may not jump outside of lessons and adults may only jump their own horses outside of lessons."
It is also a generally understood that the extent of the above rule is that you are allowed to school small x-rails/tiny verticals on your own but to leave any serious jumping practice to the trainer in your lessons.
My BO has a sign that says something along the lines of "you are not in a spectator area, and all persons are covered under equine liability law" or something like that in her barn. I like it. It's a standard barn sign and hangs right next to the equine liability law sign.
Her other rules are:
1. clean up after yourself and your horse; clean up after your vet and farrier.
2. if your horse poops anywhere other than the stall or paddock, you must clean it up.
3. helmets required when mounted ((she did allow DH to cross out and initial this part of the boarding agreement for himself...))
4. no abuse of animals permitted, any person abusing a horse will be asked to leave immediately.
5. no loose dogs
6. no smoking in the barn.
She has a few others that I don't like, such as not allowing a horse to drink after exercise, but it's a good list. I've had similar lists. I never require helmets for adults, even though I wear one.
Just make sure whatever rules you have, that you follow them also. I WANT to have the rule of scooping the pooping in any part of the facility, including arenas, but when we have our own place, I know DH won't do it. He doesn't do it now and I've fussed at him for leaving his poop in the BO's DRIVEWAY and claiming "I didn't see it." Um, you drove OVER IT .
A rule I've had in the past is to not leave a horse unattended in crossties. It covers accidents and people who hog grooming/wash stalls. No loose dogs/children. Do not feed other peoples' horses (a biggie for me). Do not handle other peoples' horses w/o permission from owner or Owner (me). No jumping alone. Minors under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.
COTH's official mini-donk enabler
"I am all for reaching out, but in some situations it needs to be done with a rolled up news paper." Alagirl
In previous barns I have managed, we have had hours as to when ring lights could be on. In one facility, it was because we had outdoor ring lights that were pretty close to the BO's family home. They had to two grade schoolers, and didn't want ring lights on at all hours of the night, disturbing early bed times (the shut off time was 9, which was perfectly reasonable and even our latest riders could get their rides done before that).
At the last barn I managed, we wanted lights out by a certain time (I think we said 10), only because the indoor was a ways from the barn and main house. If lights were still on at 11, it was an indication for someone to go check to make sure there wasn't anyone unconscious in the middle of the ring. Again, this was perfectly reasonable for all our boarders (most riding was done by 8, anyway).
At either place we never had "barn hours"...you could be there as late or early as you wanted, as long as the ring lights were out by the designated time.
My current barn does not have any "lights out" rules, which rarely really matters. I've had one instance were a client was just getting on when I came down at night check at almost 10. I felt bad for the horses, as by the time she would have showed up, they would have been all pretty sleepy. I don't like disturbing them unnecessarily (and I REALLY wish this barn had a "night light" so I didn't have to light the place up like a cathedral at night check!).
Anyway, USUALLY, if there are rules regarding hours, they are for legitimate reasons.