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Things your barn does (or you wish it would do) that helps promote sense of "family"?

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  • Original Poster

    Originally posted by cranky View Post
    My new barn has a "Ladies Day" outing coming up. They're going to a cross-country course at another location. After the jumping lesson there is going to be a short trail ride and then a picnic lunch. I'm thinking of taking a vacation day and going -- sounds like so much fun and a nice way to meet other adult riders (and especially nice for someone like me who doesn't know a lot of people up here and am only at the barn once a week, at least currently).
    Sounds fun! Hope you have great weather and a wonderful time!


    • #22
      Originally posted by katie16 View Post
      Sounds fun! Hope you have great weather and a wonderful time!
      Since I don't own a horse, I still have to see if they will have one available for me so that I am able to go. I hope so! I'm looking forward to it. I knew that I was saving that vacation time for something!
      -Debbie / NH

      My Blog: http://deborahsulli.blogspot.com/


      • #23
        Originally posted by katie16 View Post
        Oh, I like that idea! Everyone would have an opportunity to get involved!

        Borders do put stockings up at Christmas if they want. And the generous border puts stockings on all the lesson horse stalls.
        Yup... it is a $5 entry fee, and proceeds benefit the Special Olympics program that rides at the farm. So it is fun and for a good cause. The only rules are that decorations are family friendly and placed where the horses cannot eat them Plus, if a boarder does not want to decorate they can allow a lesson student to "borrow" their stall (lots of the adults allow the kids to use their stall).


        • #24
          Originally posted by katie16 View Post
          In general, I like this idea! My concern is that I would not want anyone to post anything negative about another person. Monitoring it could be tricky.
          I understand. It might be too hard to monitor--if there is a kid or adult who is online a good deal and you trust, they can be appointed "mod" with some clear guidelines.

          As Cranky mentioned, group outings are an excellent bonding tool. They don't have to involve riding per se. My (adult) barn went as a group to the state fair and a foal inspection. Great weekend outings and educational too. Have to organize vehicles for that though.

          On edit: I think you are a great BO for even thinking about this! Makes me happy just to imagine fun things to do.
          Ring the bells that still can ring
          Forget your perfect offering
          There is a crack in everything
          That's how the light gets in.


          • Original Poster

            Originally posted by seeuatx View Post
            Yup... it is a $5 entry fee, and proceeds benefit the Special Olympics program that rides at the farm. So it is fun and for a good cause. The only rules are that decorations are family friendly and placed where the horses cannot eat them Plus, if a boarder does not want to decorate they can allow a lesson student to "borrow" their stall (lots of the adults allow the kids to use their stall).
            Wonderful idea all the way around! Do they decorate and then get judged within the same day? Say a Saturday afternoon or something? Or do they just need to be done by a specific date and time and they decorate at their convenience sometime beforehand? What are the provisions for removal of the decorations? Just curious how you work it as you seem to have a great thing going!


            • #26
              Maybe I'm on my soapbox again. But kids, adults, both - why not organize a "drive" for items or money and donate to a rescue?

              It could be as simple as cleaning out their tack boxes, then have a tack cleaning "party."

              Or even - organize a fun trail ride, and get sponsors (like King's Ransom) for so many cents per mile, with a bring-your-own-dish afterwards party.

              There is nothing like bringing people together to help with a common cause, and everyone feels good afterwards.
              a 501(c)3 organization helping 501(c)3 equine rescues


              • #27
                It's been a loooong time since I managed a boarding barn but while I did it was a blast!
                Had mostly young teenagers boarding there and we used to have spend the night partys in the huge loft. Cookouts. Santa always came and left each horse a stocking with fruit and treats each year. Took some of the children fox hunting, some to shows, some to trail rides. It wasn't always perfect, of course, but almost always.
                You know why cowboys don't like Appaloosas?" - Answer: Because to train a horse, you have to be smarter than it is.


                • #28
                  Originally posted by katie16 View Post
                  Wonderful idea all the way around! Do they decorate and then get judged within the same day? Say a Saturday afternoon or something? Or do they just need to be done by a specific date and time and they decorate at their convenience sometime beforehand? What are the provisions for removal of the decorations? Just curious how you work it as you seem to have a great thing going!
                  Put up date begins approx. 2-3 weeks before the judging day, sometimes a bit before. Put up date for the Halloween party 08 began on Mon. and judging will take place on the 28th during the party. Some wait until the last few days just in case on of the barn cats decides to play with stuff or horses decide the decorations look yummy. You are permitted to use only the front of your stall, and any ledges directly attached. No saddle racks or x-ties may be used. Nothing that makes noise (like those screaming witches, they spooked some horses last year) is allowed. Take down date is within 5 days of judging, but most of it is taken down after the party, and the putter-upper is responsible for taking down or a $10 removal fee is charged (also goes to Special Olympics)


                  • Original Poster

                    Originally posted by pj View Post
                    . . . we used to have spend the night partys in the huge loft . . . .

                    Agh! We just filled the loft last week! We won't have it down enough to do that for months and by then WAY too cold!

                    Hmmmm . . . thinking about it further I am not sure I want (in this day of wonderful liability risks) to worry about some kid wanting to get up in the night to go down the ladder and then down the aisle to the bathroom. "What if . . ."

                    However, I think it would be a well received idea to do outside on our huge lawn in front of the barn next summer! Thanks for the idea!


                    • #30
                      Where I board USED to have monthly pot lucks and holiday parties, but the BO's family is now grown and spread out over the region, so they don't do those any more. It's all I can do to organize a group trail ride, with so many into showing and don't ride outside an arena setting. We are working on a proper Christmas Cookie Exchange for this year, hopefully we can get that off the ground.


                      • #31
                        At my previous barn there were lots of weekend-only folks who I rarely got to see, as they came in, took their lesson, and left. And I wanted to meet them! Very few of them trail rode, so that wasn't an option. What was fun was the annual Christmas party, which was really big, but other than that I hardly saw anyone.

                        Also, even though some people at that barn showed, no one ever announced the upcoming show dates or times, so I never got to see that or join in as a spectator/fan, which I would have enjoyed (see last paragraph)...

                        Even though my current barn has very few boarders, I still see them often, as the owner hosts workshops every month and various people who used to board or who ship in for lessons show up, and we get to know each other while doing group games and exercises. Which makes it easy to call those folks up to meet for trail rides now and then. I love trail riding with a group of 3 or 4 people - lots of time to chat, and we learn from each other, too.

                        At another barn years ago I loved the fact that the head trainer and any of her students who were showing always welcomed "groupies" to tag along to shows. Sometimes there'd be nearly a dozen of us "fans" hanging out, and we'd get interesting comments on other riders we watched, we all got to help with carrying stuff, and holding horses and taking pictures and making snack runs, and that created a social life around the barn, and was educational, too.


                        • #32
                          I think a Saturday morning breakfast is an easy, cheap way to get people together. You can buy a big grill for about $35 - to make pancakes. Add some pre cooked links, & juice and you have a great start. And kids love it - before or after they ride.


                          • #33
                            I'm new at my barn, and trailer in for lessons, so the only people I see are the 3 instructors and the people who take a lesson right after me, but they all seem nice. Last place I was at was terrible for gossip, catty stuff and was very uncomfortable. You know... power of 'exclusion' type of stuff. I have a feeling this BO won't tolerate that, thankfully. I'm probably one of the few adults who rides there, as I'm a beginner at dressage. BO shows a lot and I would love for her to invite students to come as a cheering party or groom.

                            If Iwere a BO I would definitely try to do a 'social night' once a month... wine and cheese type thing. The most important thing is for the BO to treat everyone like they are liked and usually, if the BO is equally friendly to everyone, they all treat each other in a friendly way as well.

                            Trail rides and work days are always great, as well as in-house shows with some fun classes. One place I was at did an 'adult leadline' class for non horsey parents and grandparents. For the ones who were game, they had a blast!
                            Lowly Farm Hand with Delusions of Barn Biddieom.
                            Witherun Farm


                            • #34
                              We have lots of "riding parties"... everyone is invited to come out and we turn on some music and all ride together.. As we are pretty close knit it usually ends up that we randomly switch horses during the ride. We all bring a potluck item and then eat afterwards. Friends and family are invited and usually after the riding (in the summer) we would set up a volleyball net and get a game together.

                              For example: the three trainers at my barn (including me) have all gotten married in the past year, so for each of us we have had riding "bridal showers" where we pop in some tunes about love and have a good time.

                              We also used to do horse movie or horse education night at a boarders house where we would watch training videos and then discuss.

                              We also have a tradition of doing a halloween freestyle party, which is always tons of fun. And we also do a Christmas party with a horsey gift exchange.


                              • #35
                                Well, one barn I like very much had Olympic viewing night on Tivo this year, as well as a George Morris DVD viewing night...

                                I've organized a fair number of barn trail ride/drives in my time, and currently sundays at 3pm are a standing date for everyone in the area (all two of us most weeks...)
                                Do not take anything to heart. Do not hanker after signs of progress. Founder of the Riders with Fibromyalgia clique.


                                • #36
                                  The barn where I board is now a Pony Club Riding Center. There's ALWAYS something going on there. Lemme see --

                                  WIHS barn night -- we all go
                                  Barn owner is trailering a bunch of the older clubbers out to a xcountry fun day next weekend. Just for fun and practice. I could go if I were brave enough and stupid enough
                                  We have a book club where everyone meets once a week and discusses that month's book
                                  Movie night
                                  Spring and fall clean up days. Everyone pitches in
                                  Everyone pitches in to paint the jumps. We're doing that this weekend, I think.
                                  Camps, of course
                                  Sleepovers and cookouts in the big field
                                  Xmas gift xchange
                                  Easter Egg hunt

                                  Mind went blank -- if I think of anything I'll post more

                                  Mad Mare™ Studio
                                  Custom Swarovski®, Czech glass and gemstone browbands in Circlet, Diadem and Tiara styles. Matching stock pins, bracelets and belts.


                                  • #37
                                    With kids... I'd start a "Saddle Club." Get lots of ideas from stuff Pine Hollow does in the kids' books. I know when I was little, I so wanted to belong to a place like Pine Hollow. d; (Though now that I'm an adult and wanted to reread the Saddle Club books, I can't find the darn things for sale anywhere...)
                                    "Remain relentlessly cheerful."

                                    Graphite/Pastel Portraits


                                    • #38
                                      We have an annual fall pig roast (BO's husband has a hog operation), and a fall and spring schooling mini-event. Everyone who isn't showing is encouraged to volunteer, so it becomes a fun social event rather than a day you can't use the rings or trails. The trainers have organized trail rides and hunter pace teams. In general, the BO and trainers set a tone of respect, so that there is very little drama, and what drama does come up (like one boarder's insistence on letting her hyperactive dog off-leash) is dealt with promptly.

                                      My BO had the most brilliant, but unusual, idea for including the husbands/boyfriends/little brothers/sons of boarders and lesson students: she had a stocked fishing pond put in and has a small community stash of fishing equipment. The pond has a dock and a couple rowboats and paddleboats. The men and boys can spend a pleasant afternoon fishing and boating while the women ride. At the end of the day, everyone's happy and it seems to cut down on the complaints about how much time is spent at the barn (not that I would know, since I have no SO).

                                      Proudly owned by 2 chestnut mares
                                      Crayola Posse: sea green
                                      Mighty Rehabbers Clique


                                      • #39
                                        We've done a Halloween Trick or Treat hay ride for the last several years, of course it helps that our barn is inside a residential neighborhood. Pizza Fridays. Barn sleepover on the front lawn.


                                        • #40
                                          I think parties where each person brings what they can might help.

                                          I think it's important to realize the trail riders may NEVER like the show riders and the hunt seat riders may NEVER hang out with the dressage riders. I wouldn't expect too much; people vary alot in how much they ever can get along, but I would expect them to behave basically.

                                          But I think overall, it really is up to the manager and owner and trainer at the barn to work together and keep control of nastiness all the time. It just naturally develops where any women gather (hell, look at this bb if you need proof) and it needs to be constantly 'ridden herd' on if it isn't going to get out of control.

                                          Of course...at the barn where I was at for a long time, the trainer/owner was the worst offender! LOL.