I voted barn...because when I lived on the farm, I would walk to the little horse barn... however I would generally say 'I'm going out to the horses' because they weren't IN the big barn which was a old huge 4 story cow barn.
When I boarded I would say ' I'm going to see the horses' .
I've always called it the barn, occasionally the stables, sometimes just "the horse." Ranches, in my world, are BIG pieces of property where livestock, particularly cattle, are raised. They can certainly have horses, but I wouldn't call a horse facility a ranch. Farms are places where crops and smaller livestock are grown - and sometimes, maybe kinda sorta, equine breeding facilities, but not a boarding/equestrian center.
Another westerner here (although I ride English).
Barn: structure, but also short for equestrian facility devoted to boarding/training (no shows)
Ranch: large acreage devoted to raising large herds of grazing animals for later market consumption
Farm: large or small acreage primarily devoted to crop production
Horse Park: large equestrian facility strictly devoted to hosting horse shows and other equestrian events
Equestrian Center: can be either synonymous with horse park, or refer to a boarding/training facility (see "barn")
Stables: never, ever, ever heard this used in conversation outside of a proper noun ("Macintosh Stables")
Now, names of trainer's businesses can have any of these in them (except for Horse Park or Equestrian Center) because of tradition and personal preference. They can also include other terms instead, like "Equestrians" or something.
This is just what I have experienced. What an interesting topic!
A farm is usually dairy, or sometimes vegetable. Or may even call where the horse is "the farm" when talking about it in a practical, or abstract kind of way. "If I was going to have my own place, how many acres should I look for in a farm?" "I need to buy a new tractor for the farm."
But any time I'm going to where the horse is boarded, I'm going to "the barn".
And yes, I've noticed, as I've been getting older, that my friends/relatives who hear me say this, who are now beginning to get hard of hearing, have wondered when I started imbibing so frequently.
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Barn; I've lived in the west, midwest, and gulf coast and that is largely what I've heard it called as well.
The only issue I have is with non-horse people. Always, without fail, when they hear me say "I'm heading to the barn" or "I was at the barn last night", they immediately think I said "bar". So everyone thinks I'm a huge alcoholic.
For me, ranch means large tracts of land. We have cattle ranches near by and while the land is fenced into pastures, each pasture is a minimum of 160 acres and up to 640 acres and most have cultivated acres as well for assorted crops from cereal grains to hay production.
Mixed farms come next in size - somewhat smaller and land more scattered.
Farm is grain production, usually on several thousand acres and growing everything from cereal crops to pulses. Some farmers may have a few cows or something.
Stables is boarding facilites.
When I lived in town, I would go to the farm and now that I live here, I just go to the barn or shop or whatever structure. When I lived in a city and boarded a horse, i went to the stables, strangely, when I did self-care eons ago in another city, I went to the 'grounds' which everyone knew was the exhibition grounds where they leased stalls and others with horses at another place went to the (warning, politically incorrect words coming) bug house barns, a complex that was was used to raise food for the patients at a mental health insitution; this included dairy barns, a feed lot, huge gardens and a horse stable for the draft horses that delivered foodstuffs from the farm to the facility.
Bet that helped!!!ROFL
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Barn. Only problem is sometimes people think I'm going to the bar, or that I have bar work to do.
That happens to me all the time! Nevermind the fact that I don't even drink.
And I also love when I am dressed in breeches, paddock boots, and have colorful socks pulled up to my knees, and someone in my OWN FAMILY invariably ask where I am going! Come on guys really? I've been riding for 25 years! Does it look like I am going Salsa dancing?
My barn has Equestrian Center in the title, but in all the years I've been there I've never heard anyone say it. I would feel like a total douche if I told someone I was going to the equestrian center.
East AND West Coast here, and it's always been "the barn."
I'm going to the barn. I work at a barn (which I then change to "horse facility" when people think I say bar...). I met DH at my barn (see above for "horse facility"). Hey, if you're going to the barn, can you grab my clippers?
To me, a ranch is definitely western- or cattle-related. Or dude ranch, yark. Ranch is vast acres, grassy or otherwise.
Farm is generally going to be agricultural in nature, IMO, whether or not it includes horses.
Stables? People say that? It sounds so... Well... Saddlebred Club or something. Even when I've been at places with Stables, Center, Ranch, etc, in the name, I called it "the barn."
And since we're now boarding at two different places, we say "are you going to Sherry's today?" or "I'm off to Jones Rd." Because we want to make it difficult!
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Barn, because I'm American. Where I grew up in Colorado, it could also be called the "ranch" (the name of the equestrian facility in question had "ranch" in it). "Barn" was also acceptable. It's also what we called it on the East Cost where I went to university. "Barn" really confuses British people. "Ranch" would lead to a hopeless communication fail. If I want to be understood, I have to say "yard." But if I forget who I'm speaking to and say that to a Yank, they get very confused.
When i boarded, I called it "the barn". That was out west, where I grew up. We have our own place now in the southeast and, because we raise cattle, and because of my roots, I call our place a ranch. We also grow veggies, have a some fruit trees, and raise chickens, but that is only for our own consumption. What we SELL is cattle.
Another barn vote here. I did use the word stables when I rode at a place with stables in the name.
I do refer to my house as the farm even though we don't grow anything, but do have a barn in the backyard with stalls (sadly no horses in them!). Just a lot of foster dogs on the property! Actually, it's the 'farm of misfits' since we take in rehab cases and returned animals.
MrB's attempt at talking like a horse person, "We'll be entering in the amateur hunter-gatherer division...."
To be honest I only used "stables" when I was referring to the name of the place, sort of like a run-on word, otherwise it was "I'm going riding". I use going to the barn nowadays because I read it on here and it's shorter, but generally I use the name of the trainer, such as "I'm going to Judy's" , or the whole name of the place, such as "I'm going to the Kentucky Horse Park". When I used to say I was going riding at work I'd get all kinds of excited invites to motorcycle club rides so no matter what you say it can be confusing.