Be tidy. Pick up trash from the ground, rails, and tack trunks. So what if it is not yours — that is how kids think — be an adult and be responsible and always leave the area cleaner than when you arrived. Small pieces of plastic or metal are hazardous to horses’ sensitive hooves. Wrappers, soda cans, and food items attract flies, yellow jackets, rodents, and can be ingested by curious horses. Bags and paper that fly around in the wind can spook horses.
Manners count. We expect our horses to learn and practice good ground manners. People should, too. Say please, thank you, and show respect to staff, workers, trainers, and other clients.
Obey the rules. If you barn has a policy about not eating or drinking in certain areas, don’t break the rule and sneak food in main areas. No matter how silly a rule may seem to you, riding stables and barn owners are responsible for the safety and welfare of all their riders and horses and there is probably a good reason for certain procedures and rules.
Be considerate. You are not the only rider there to enjoy your horse. Move out of the way to let others through pathways, or pass you when appropriate. Don’t blast music and disturb the peace of those around you. Wearing headphones is not a good idea because you may not be able to hear another horse or rider call out to you. Never borrow tack, shampoo, grooming tools, etc. without asking.
Report problems immediately. Do not assume someone else has noticed and already reported a broken door, fence that needs repair, or a horse that appears to be sick or injured. If you see something wrong or that concerns you, tell someone in charge.
Be friendly. When you establish yourself as being friendly, courteous, and responsible, people are more likely to pay attention to your horse when you are not there.
Don’t feed other horses. Unless you specifically have permission from a horse owner, resist the urge to give other horses carrots, apples, hay, feed, or treats. Many horses have health issues and must be on a specific diet. Older horses may have pre-diabetes and even giving them carrots can make them sick. Horses recovering from colic, abscesses, or leg problems often need special diets, or strict scheduled feeding. Also, hand feeding treats can teach some horses bad habits like nipping, pawing, or begging for treats. Whenever giving treats (with permission) to someone elses’ horse, put treats into a bucket — and do not offer them from your hand unless the owner says it is okay.