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Boarding Barn, Lesson Barn, Show Barn

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  • Boarding Barn, Lesson Barn, Show Barn

    Boarding Barn, Lesson Barn, Show Barn

    What are the differences?

    Where's the line between each?
    The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings.

  • #2
    To me...a boarding barn is a barn where horses are boarded, primarily. A lesson barn is one that primarily provides lessons. And a show barn is one where primarily, the people there show (at rated shows) and probably their horses are all in a trainer's program.

    So for instance...

    The barn where I board primarily boards horses. I take lessons there, but it's with an instructor I've contracted with to come and teach me, lessons are not offered to he public. It's a boarding barn.

    The barn where I started taking lessons again as a re-rider adult, everyone there, even the boarders, were taking lessons and lessons were offered to the public with school horses so you didn't have to board there to take lessons. So even though it offered boarding, I'd call it a lesson barn.

    I've never actually been a part of a barn I'd term a "show barn". I'm on the low-level end of the horsey spectrum.
    The Trials and Jubilations of a Twenty-Something Re-rider
    Happy owner of Kieran the mostly-white-very-large-not-pony.


    • #3
      I find that Boarding Barn and Lesson Barn can easily be combined. The barn I board at now has a lesson program with about 10 school horses. There are a few different instructors/trainers, ranging from instructors who teach up-down lessons to trainers who ride and train the A show horses and riders. However we're also very much a Boarding Barn - you're not required to take lessons, and many boarders do not. There's about 80-something boarders total, so you could argue that the Boarding Barn part of it is bigger than the Lesson Barn part of it. There are lessons all day every day, for the most part, though.

      My barn is also very diverse. We're not stictly a H/J barn, but that's probably the most common discipline there. We host some H/J and dressage shows, and have riders who do the A's, but I wouldn't consider us a show barn. We have a large pleasure riding client base. I consider a show barn to be one where showing is common amongst everyone in the barn, and everyone is in some kind of training program.


      • #4
        IMO there's no hard and fast rule to determine which is which. A show barn is the easiest to pick out but often show barns have lower level lesson programs that are aimed towards creating clients for the show barn part of the operation.
        I'd say boarding is where you can keep your horse and use the facilities without taking lessons or being in a program, a lesson barn is going to have someone giving lessons and competing for the use of the facilities unless you take lessons too, and a show barn isn't going to let you use any of their facilities unless you are part of their program, ie committed to attending horseshows, having the horse/yourself in some form of training.

        BUT . . . there are all sorts of crossovers that do some of each.
        Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
        Incredible Invisible


        • #5
          Agree with Resomething - as most barns are a hybrid. Usually either boarding + lessons or show + lessons. The "barns" I have been associated with we're primarily boarding/breeding barns that had lesson horses+trainers (often BO) and also hosted clinics and competitions. There were times when the boarders and lesson folks all entered the same competition, so we had an informal "barn/show group." But that was rare and we normally went to competitions as our respective budgets and readiness dictated.
          "Never do anything that you have to explain twice to the paramedics."
          Courtesy my cousin Tim


          • #6
            My current barn is strictly a boarding barn. The horses are boarded and it's full-care, and people come and ride their horses. If they like, they have a trainer of their choice show up and give them a lesson. There's no resident instructor or teaching program, no riders other than the owners.

            Lesson barns can run the gamut, I think. They can be barns with primarily lesson horses, maybe with a few privately owned but mostly owned by the barn. They can be barns with primarily privately owned horses but with a resident instructor, where boarders are expected to be in a lesson program/take minimum x lessons/unit time with said instructor. Or a mix anywhere between, and a mix between that and a boarding barn (ie some people boarding own horses and not taking lessons).

            In a show barn I'd think you'd have to be in a program with one of the trainers from the barn. And presumably commit to showing, or having trainer show the horse.
            Proud Member Of The Lady Mafia


            • #7
              I agree that most barns are hybrids. It is hard to make money doing just one thing, so many barns diversify. I don't see a hard and fast line between the types of barns, nor universal agreement on the definitions.
              Where Fjeral Norwegian Fjords Rule


              • #8
                Originally posted by analise View Post
                To me...a boarding barn is a barn where horses are boarded, primarily. A lesson barn is one that primarily provides lessons. And a show barn is one where primarily, the people there show (at rated shows) and probably their horses are all in a trainer's program.

                But has been said, many barns are a combo of things.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by 7HL View Post
                  Boarding Barn, Lesson Barn, Show Barn

                  What are the differences?

                  Where's the line between each?
                  My non-expert opinion:

                  Boarding Barn: Primary focus is boarding. May/may not offer lessons. May/may not have facilities to offer lessons.

                  Lesson Barn: Primary focus is lessons. May/may not have private boarding. May solely be a lesson business. Offers lessons for people interested in basic lessons up to showing but not necessarily a barn set up for upper level showing, etc.

                  Show Barn: Primary focus is getting horses and riders in condition for showing. May not have private boarding, or if they do, it's a board-and-train program in which boarders must be actively trained under the direction of the in-house instructor. Does not offer lessons for persons uninterested in showing. Primarily focuses on upper level showing. May/may not be a sale or consignment barn that shows to sell.
                  If wishes were horses then beggars would ride...
                  DLA: Draft Lovers Anonymous
                  Originally posted by talkofthetown
                  As in, the majikal butterfly-fahting gypsy vanners.


                  • #10
                    Boarding Barn: a stable to keep your horse and have fun

                    Lesson Barn: a stable to keep your horse and learn to ride better.

                    Show barn: a stable to keep your horse, pay humongous amounts of money to have people place and remove blankets, hold horse for farrier/vet, give supplements, give required lessons, keep horse in stall most of the day, follow required regiments, pay more money when you outgrow your horse, all to win ribbons.


                    • #11
                      Or, you could be in a barn where the line has been erased and a good percentage of all three occur under one roof. We board in one of these. Boarding for full and self care, lessons with three trainers instructing hunt/dressage/western pleasure (saddleseat instruction available), and shows.We think of it as a general purpose barn.You've got to develop the talents you've got to make these barns pay for themselves. Or at least get close to it!
                      "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." Albert Einstein



                      • #12
                        Our barn, I would say, is clearly in the "boarding" category: 20 (or so) boarders, completely diverse disciplines, no lesson horses, and a hodge-podge of instructors brought in by individual boarders to teach everything from eventing to Parelli.
                        *friend of bar.ka

                        "Evidently, I am an unrepentant b*tch, possible trouble maker, and all around super villian"


                        • #13
                          I think one category has been left off, a training barn. A barn can cross lines, not all of them only fit into one category, they can be part boarding barn, part training barn, or part show barn part lesson barn.

                          Boarding barn: Primary function is to offer boarding services. May or may not offer lessons or have trainers available.

                          Lesson barn: Primary function is to offer lessons. Has lots of school horses. May or may not allow boarding, but if they do, usually for people in a lesson program.

                          Training barn: Barn has a primary trainer or trainers. No other trainers allowed. Everyone rides with that trainer. Being in some level of training (weekly lessons up to full training) is expected if not required.

                          Show barn: Barn has a trainer, everyone is in training and you are expected, if not required, to go to shows. This is the kind of barn on the show circuit all season long at the big A shows.


                          • #14
                            I've only ever kept my own horse at a "boarding" barn. They didn't offer much in the way of lessons, didn't really have the facilities to offer a lesson program, and although some of the individual boarders took their horses to small shows and fairs to compete in the gaited horse classes there was no real emphasis on showing, either.

                            It was just a place for people to board their horses, because it was very conveniently located on property with immediate access to a state park with 50+ miles of riding trail. Many of the boarders were very much "novice" as owners.

                            I would consider a "lesson barn" someplace with a string of lesson horses for students of different levels, and maybe offer boarding for students who have decided to stick with it and buy their first horse. Emphasis there is on learning and development of riding skills. The students may have little interest in showing presently or in the future, they just want to learn to ride for their own enjoyment and may go on to buy a horse and ride recreationally.

                            A show barn, to me, may have a lesson program but with a definite "goal" for students to become competitive in a particular discipline/breed/style. It's much more focused on showing. Some barns may require a strong foundation in all types of horsemanship, care and grooming and students are expected to be able to do things for themselves. Others are more like full-service, where a student can ride for years and still not know how to put a bridle together or tack up their own horse.

                            (to me, though, nothing beats having the horses at home)
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