5 Ways to Help Out at Your Barn

Art by Sherry K. Pues, first place winner in the Art Adult Division in the 2018 USDF Arts Contest.

Barns are usually a communal environment, and often it’s a group effort to keep things neat, clean, and safe. No matter the size of your barn, there are a few small things you can do to make a big impact on the overall atmosphere. Here are some simple habits that anyone can utilize to be courteous the barn.

Sweep the aisle.

There are many things that can make a barn feel clean and tidy, with one of the simplest being keeping the aisle swept. This makes it easy for anyone to walk into the barn without stepping through leftovers from the farrier visit, or someone’s deep grooming (shedding) session, or the post-muck mess. The job can often be made easier by using a quiet leaf-blower, but if you’re looking for a simple, low impact barn exercise, sweeping with a broom can be a good workout. No matter what, all your barn-mates will appreciate a clean aisle, and management will love you for pitching in.

Ask before borrowing your barn-mate’s equipment.

This is a simple courtesy that shows respect to your fellow barn-mates. If you don’t want them borrowing your curry brush or your lead rope, then think twice and ask before you use any of their equipment.

Put halters & leads back in their proper place.

More often than not, your horse is handled by more than just one person. There are barn workers who help turn in/turn out or have to move/ tie up horses before they muck stalls. For some, there are farriers or veterinarians that come and go with assistants that hold your horse. Even if your horse is stabled on your own property, you might have family members or pet-sitters who must occasionally handle your horse. Help all of them by having a designated spot for your halter and leads, and make sure that whoever uses them puts them back. This not only shows respect for the equipment and owner, but is also a great safety precaution in case of an emergency.

Dump muck tubs and wheelbarrows.

This is a great way to be courteous because full muck tubs and wheelbarrows attract flies and create a mighty odor- neither of which are enjoyable for those in the barn. Additionally, if the equipment is communal, others won’t appreciate having to dump your muck in order to clean up theirs. If those tubs are too full to lift or the wheelbarrow too heavy to push, ask a fellow barn-mate to lend a hand, rather than assume someone will get it for you.

Pick up after yourself and your horse- in the tack room, the wash rack, and the ring.

Communal areas often receive the most traffic, such as riding arenas, tack rooms, and wash racks. Do others the courtesy of cleaning up after yourself when you are done using those areas. This means putting your things away and rinsing the floor of the wash rack, or scooping manure and putting away arena equipment (cones, poles, etc). Additionally, put away your tack and keep your tack area tidy- don’t leave equipment hanging that needs cleaned, or sitting on the floor post ride. This will also prevent others from moving or mishandling your tack.

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