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Boarding Etiquette

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I would like to hear your thoughts about boarding etiquette. I'm so new to this, never boarded a horse before. I'm really comfortable with the stables I chose, however, sometimes I feel uncomfortable just showing up to ride my horse around the property and using the facility. The person that I'm dealing with is a very nice and professional person. I think it is me just not knowing what to do. I've asked this owner a zillion, probably too many, questions. He pretty much told me I could come whenever I wanted, just make sure to close the gates back if they were closed, and not worry about it if they were opened. I don't want to wear out my welcome. I'm trying to be really mindful about giving this guy his space and at the same time, I really want to spend time with my horse and know whats going on so I can learn. He told me the first day to not worry about feeding him and basic care, he would do it, and believe me he is doing a great job. I'm thrilled. How do I not get in this person's way, and at the same time, not ask him so many questions about horses and their care, even though I really want to!!! cause this guy is a wealth of knowledge (he's giving me and my daughter riding lessons once a week). I don't want to get to the point where he feels like, here she comes, I'm going to go hide, [Confused] Like I said, it's probably all me just not knowing what to do. I'd love to hear some feedback.

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treat the place like it were yours. i was a million question boarder too. i respected the owners place and wanted them to know that. just don't ask the same questions over and over again. that gets annoying.

good luck

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Relax! He sounds like a nice guy and as long as you arent hounding him all day long I wouldnt worry. Dont ever feel like you cant be with your horse for someone elses sake. I have 2 boarders at my house right at this moment so this is from a managers side.

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I always try to leave everything the way it was when I arrived - and fix things that may be wrong. Now make sure they really are wrong before you change something, because the owner may have a reason for things to be the way they are. However, if you find wire in the field or broken glass in the arena, you're pretty safe to think it's not supposed to be there. Always sweep up the aisle after you are finished grooming and pick up any manure your horse may have deposited in the arena, don't leave grooming items lying around, that sort of stuff.

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relax! [smile]

The basic deal with boarding is that they do the feeding and turnout and basic care. Then you get to ride and go see your horse whenever you want (within reason).

The rules I stick to are:

- be nice to everybody and try not to gossip

- be courteous in riding ares: learn ring etiquette

- don't go to the barn too late at night. Try to respect that people live on the property so don't go out when you wouldn't want people making noise outside your own door

- clean up after yourself and leave everything as you found it, or cleaner. [smile]

If it's a big property with trails, see if you can meet another boarder some day for a trail ride so you can learn your way around. See also if the owner/manager has a map of the property.

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I board our horses,and IM out w/ them 6 out of 7 days (shes closed mondays)Before I boarded there I told the lady "now we comeout w/ our horses every day your opened,and stay til we are tired is thta a problem?"She said no way,in fact people who own should love it when people come out too see their horses for 1 reason it makes for a better horse.Also extra eyes is always a good thing.

The last place we boarded however didnt like it that we came out every day,due too we saw alot of things not getting done like horses left in stalls,empty water buckets in the summer,I could go on but wont.I think if the owner has an issue w/ it,more than likely something is trying too be hid.JMO.

If he/she wanted days w/o boarders Im sure he/she would close for a day during the week like the place I board.Like others said just always pick up after your horse,and I try too leave things cleaner than when I got there.Also since like now its -10outside when I do go see our horses,and they are inside I even clean out our own stalls just too help out,being all the horses are in the owner appreciates it,atleast I hope she does!!LOL!!

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You have gotten good advice from the other boarders out there. As far as your concern about asking too many questions, don't worry. Most people who really know a lot about something (like horses) don't mind talking about their area of expertise and many even enjoy it. I had a great boarding experience because the owner also trained and shod horses and I learned so much just by listening to him. Just watch out if he starts avoiding you or thinking of something else to do when you show up.

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I used to at a barn for my horses board and when I quit I moved him to another facility. I was the same way... I tried not to ask too many questions and always felt like I was bothering them but after talking to them more they said they are glad to help. I always try to keep things clean there- if my horse goes to the bathroom in the arena then I clean it up, put all my stuff away etc. I'm going to talk to the BO about feeding the horses on a weekend day (they mentioned that if I wanted to then I could for $10 each time I fed off my board)... but I have no doubt that my horse isn't taken care of. He's happy, the fields are safe and clean, etc... So just keep everything clean and put away, shut gates etc... like everyone else said- and that's what you are paying for- so other people take care of your horse and you get to enjoy it!

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The barn where I board has a huge indoor arena, so when I have my horse in there, I always make sure I clean up after him before I leave. I do the same when he leaves a mess in the aisle. I also like to help out when I can and do things like sweeping the barn aisle, filling buckets if they're getting low, picking up stuff like wrappers, baling twine - little things like that. I also make sure to let them know when the vet or farrier is coming, even though I'm always there for the appointments. When I need the vet to come out, I usually ask the other boarders if they need her for anything - that way we split the barn call fee. I also make sure to clean up the hoof trimmings after the farrier is done. The barn manager is also a certified trainer, but I'm careful not to ask too many training questions - after all, other people pay him for that information! Most of the horses there are pasture boarded (including mine), so they often end up with those darn burrs stuck all over them, so when I'm out in the pasture, I try to pick them off as best as I can. Of course, I know all the horses and most of them don't mind it.

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Thank you all for these responses. I know this is just me trying to fit in. I think Gyp has already settled in nicely...now I just gotta find my place around too.

Anyway, I'm really excited and am looking forward to this new venture about being a horse person. I've always loved horses, rode them when I was a kid and throughout my adulthood. Funny thing is that the horses I rode were already prepared with saddles and grooming. I used to think I knew alot about horses....hahahaha [Roll Eyes] After these past few weeks...I realized very quickly that I KNEW absolutely NOTHING about horses and their care!!! [shocked][shocked]

The good news is that I'm learning fast and have found something to be passionate about. So far so good. Take care,

Cyndi

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I'll just give you some things from our side of the barn. It is a common joke with the entire family "oppps, here come the boarders...so much for our work." It isn't meant to be mean or nasty, please...ok....it is just that there you are in your groove, you have a schedule to keep, and they show up.

Which is fantastic, don't get me wrong. BUT what happens is that...that boarder chit chats & so on & so forth. They leave, I go back to work....then somebody else shows up. Same thing "oh hey how are ya..nice day for a ride, Henry was a funny boy this morning....blagh blagh" And before ya know it, heck I am really behind now.

We take it all in stride for the most part. We have boarders that care about their horses, they are there everyday, they pay on time....it is just that some days it gets a bit taxing. But I'd rather it be this way than the alternative, believe me! I am not complaining. They don't know that they are the 2nd boarder that has shown up that morning....ya know?

The only bit of other advise I would give is watch out for what you do in giving extras or helping. He said he'd feed & take care of the horse, leave it at that...it would be better.

Example...our one boarder likes to top up the stalls from time to time, give an extra flake of hay from time to time. When she does this a few times a week or more....it costs us money. The barn is run on a very strict budget, everything is recorded each day & has been since 1968. This is how we know how much to charge for board, a fair price etc. Last month she spent her entire month's board in topping up the shavings in the stalls.

Wonderful boarder, really like her, nice horse, easy keeper....BUT I had to get shavings today & I should not have had to until March 1st. I paid for it out of my own account so the farm's account would not suffer(dad would be upset)....see what I am getting at? It's a little thing, but it really adds up. And I am going to feel terrible asking her to stop helping me out. Cause that is really all she is trying to do.

Ok, I'm done, you enjoy your horse and your new place. It is wonderful to see owners come and spend time with their horses everyday! It is...we've got one that we have to chase & he doesn't spend any time with his horses at all. I feel bad, so I spend as much time with them as I can. Believe me I'd rather stand there and chat with the guy for a half an hour than to be checking his horses every morning and night & feeling sad for them.

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If you are afraid of going to the barn to see your horse, i can understand b/c you just dont want to show up anytime so why dont you just try to show up everyday at a certain time and not just whenever... so it's kind of like a schedule. It sounds like the guy doesn't mind answering your questions, and I'd rather see the boarders more often than never.

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I board in a co-op situation, which is a GREAT way to get the hands on and really learn what horse care is all about. That is, so long as you are willing to listen and learn (we had one boarder who tended to over grain and wouldn't listen to anyone, she's gone now).

So long as you're not following the guy around like a little lost puppy, then go ahead and ask questions. Just be sensitive to any subtle signals that he may give you that it's not a good time, or is a great time to ask questions. After you've been there awhile, maybe you can even offer to help out with some chore, just don't get offended if he says no thank you.

We had an issue with equipment dissappearing for a while (same boarder, we think). If it's not yours, then don't assume you can use it without permission. If you do borrow something, be sure you put it back where you got it in the same condition it was in when you borrowed it. Clean up after your horse and yourself. If you remember all this, you'll be fine.

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I board and I am happy with the arrangement and so is my horse. Communication is the most important factor to me.Once I know what my roll is then I feel very comfortable and treat the place like it's my own. I agree with one poster in that asking the same questions over and over might be annoying to the manager.

Good luck. Heaven

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My feeling is people who board there horses shouldnt feel like they are invading the BO's space.If the BO's need extra time cleaning,taking care of horses then set hours up.Thats much easier for boarders,due too feeling like we are in the way.Paying money every month we should be able too ask questions,chit chat w/ the BO,and not be made feel as if we are taking up way too much time.

Setting certain hours would assure things got done,plus you could spend time w/ your paying boarders.Even closeing a day out of the week is a good idea too give the BO's time for themselves.I sure hope your boarders dont ever hear you say "ooh hear comes the boarders"its a bit of a turn off.JMHO

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Legendsmum, do you mean to say that the day(s) the barn is closed, boarders are not allowed to come see/ride their horse? That is unbelievable! If the BO doesn't want to be there, they can take the day off as long as the horses are looked after but telling the boarders they can't come out is ridiculous. If I'm paying board, you better believe I'm coming out on whatever days I want, closed or not. What happens if a horse is injured or taken ill and no one is around to notice? Unreal. I'd be looking for a new place.

[ 02-06-2007, 01:27 PM: Message edited by: Dakota04 ]

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Well it is what I mean,but the BO lives there also.She still feeds,cleans,and looks after the horses.If something was too go wrong she would call the vet 1st and then the horse owner.

You know at 1st I felt the same way,abut being closed on Mondays,and having hours (i actually dont like her hours)but too some point being closed 1day a week isnt so bad gives the BO time alone too do what she needs too,but what does bother me is her being closed on holidays.I dont like that,but I do understand being she lives right there.

I guess w/ everything you take the good w/ the bad shes a very good teacher,and her facility,and trails are awesome and for the money its even better.My point was if BO's cant get things done and still maintain a professional realtionship w/ boarders closeing 1 day a week does work.

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To the OP, I wanted to add that as a boarder and worker at a boarding/riding lesson stable, something I like to do since this is a small family run operation, is to let them know when Im thinking about coming out to ride or work my horse. She also lets me know what is going on business wise or w/ the other boarders so I might have the arena or grounds/barn to myself to ride. Or could pick a time when others are riding so I can work my horse in company. For instance, at our place, everyone and their mother (literally) comes out on Sat for lessons/etc.....but Sunday NO one comes, so I choose to work my horse then. Also, quiet times are good days to ask questions or chit chat. If SAt is the busy day and tons of folks are there, I DONT bother anyone unless its important. Ask your manager when is good for him to come out and maybe gets some hands on experience or just talk to him?

Of course boarders mainly should be allowed to see their horses when they want to, but adding to the courtesy and etiquitte dept, those are just some practices I follow.

Some other things NOT to do at a barn-DONT bring your dog w/o a leash, and make sure your dog is allowed and quiet w/ horses/strangers.

Also dont let your children run up and down the barn aisle screaming and feeding all the horses and dogs whatever they want! Dont invite other peoples children from a sleepover to ride in your child's lessons last minute (yes this happens).

And at a barn that ISNT self care, as in you dont do the feeding and care totally for your horse, dont decide to give your horse/s a bunch of extra hay, grain etc.. and potentially upset every other horse in the barn. As one said, unless YOU are paying for the hay yourself, they have certain rations planned out based on the barn sched and each horses diet, and upsetting all the horses in the barn on your own whims is not helpful or smart. Always be discreet if you are giving your horse a treat or something and respect other's property and the smooth operation of the barn.

Sounds like you are at a great place tho!

SW

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quote:

Originally posted by Dakota04:

Legendsmum, do you mean to say that the day(s) the barn is closed, boarders are not allowed to come see/ride their horse? That is unbelievable!

I dunno- it's pretty standard practice in a lot of barns to be closed on Mondays.

Boarders take up a lot of time from the management- having a day per week that they can just do the work gives them more time to take care of maintenance issues- like, say, fixing lights in the indoor without worrying about horses being in there, or painting, and such.

In the event of an emergency, they're not going to bar you. It doesn't mean the vet can't come out, or that the work doesn't get done.

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You are boarding your horse at the place, and you do have a right to see your horse. You sound really respectful and that is all that matters. I long as you respect his property, don't ride at 12 at night, you will be fine. You could always ask him the best time for him to come out? If he is okay with anytime, just make sure the barn looks the way it did before you came over. Other than that It sounds like you have a nice situation. Relax and enjoy it!

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hehe I am brand new to the boarding experience as well. The people who own the barn are older but really sweet and take very good care of the horses. Howver I think they were surprised that I come out EVERY day, sometimes twice! But They acctually enjoy having me around. Although I am not the questioning type, I just sort of do my own thing with my horse for hours and I thinks thats a good thing. people like to see boarders who really take care of their horse. I act like its my own barn, I dont know if thats a good thing or not, but some days the horses dont get turned out, but I turn my own horse out for the day anyway. I don't really ask, I just do. I figure I am paying for it so I can do what I want! lol.

as for the questions, like what kind are you asking? I dont think the owner would mind at all, just dont go following him around all the time.

the owner of my barn always comes oevr and hangs out with me while I am grooming my horse and what not because I am basically the only person who comes in the winter! hehe

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Hey guys,

First of all let me say Thanks for all this great feedback.

There are NO problems here, whatsoever. My concerns about etiquette were because I've never done this before and needed some feedback, which I got beyond my expectations. Most of the worry's are in my head from just not knowing and thinking of all angles of what I could do to be a good "boarder", and at the same time, be able to establish a relationship between me and the BO, without ruining my welcome by way of too much conversation or questions...yadda,yaddda For what its worth, I live in a tourist area and you always know when someone is from Florida, they are not too difficult to spot. However, I am a person with a strong personality and lots of time to play. I homeschool my daughter and we live a very simple lifestyle. Some people don't understand that...like, I'm usually not in too much of a hurry here in the mountains, If I have a conversation with someone, I give it 150%, I don't talk on my cell phone and I stay until the conversation is over and usually, have plenty of time to be laid back. However, I can be a city girl too. When I do visit a big city...I can get in that mode easily when need be, survival skills kick in automatically. [Jump]

Actually, I haven't seen the BO in over a week. I've spoken with him on the phone (had to rescedule riding lesson) and basically touched base because we had a ton of snow and ice up here last week. My horse came from the South and is still growing a winter coat. Gyp is very happy and is doing great. Since it's winter, it's a good thing that I can't go riding every day because it's giving me time to acclimate to this situation and the BO time to get used to me..slowly. My last conversation with BO was fine. I just basically try to keep it short and if he wants to indulge information, then I allow him to be the talkative one. I find this works out great. I am of the personality that can have long conversations all day long if I'm with the right person. This particular BO is a quiet person, but when he does start talking, he has a way of sparking a sometimes long conversation...too! I try to limit the horse questions during the riding lesson when he's being paid by the hour. Sometimes that isn't always favorable, but I'm quite sure it will all balance out. I'm in the tweeking stages of everything.

Anyway, my horse is in a pasture. None of these horses are kept in the stalls...thank god, me and the BO mutually agree with this concept. I doubt I could lift one of those big rolls of hay, which are always supplied, no need to worry there. This is a very simple arrangement. I just wanted to know if there were any other things I should know about, this is great information. I don't have small children anymore, not a problem. I do have a big Rottweiler. I have not brought him to the farm yet and really don't plan on it much unless he can learn how to do trail riding with us...as we are in the backcountry and having a big Rotty has a good advantage when wild boar or bad people are present. Although, I do pack a pistol too for back country excursions. Anyway, this has been an interesting topic...keep posting, I love reading everyone's point of view. [smiley Wavey]

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Pretty much what everybody else said. We use to board and everyone is usually pretty flexible on times unless it is a training barn where horses are getting trained or lessons given. Use common sense...Don't go for mid-nite rides, etc. Most BOs don't care if you are showing and don't get back until late at night but don't want you around just because you think your pony needs a midnite drink of water. Most of the places we boarded at the barn was pretty much open from 7a-9p, 7 days a week. The one training barn we were at we couldn't ride in the indoor arena during some times because of lessons, but were free to use the outdoor arena.

We also became pretty friendly with the BOs everywhere we boarded and didn't mind giving up our time to help with projects around the farms.

I've gone and picked up hay, shavings, and feed, helped fix fence, etc.

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Most here got the general rules for a boarding facility, but I just want to ad, do not fix anything that is not yours. Only handle your horse unless asked to handle another horse. Do not leave notes and don't ask a million questions. Get books and videos for learning purposes or PAY someone to help you.

Good luck and make some friends.

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