Respecting The Rules: Barn Hours

Barn Hours
Photo by Kate Selig.

BY April Bilodeau

Barn staff and trainers understand your desire to want to spend as much time as possible with your horse. While some barns may have open hours and you may come and go as you please, others may choose to implement barn hours, and for good reason.

You may not think it makes a big difference to come to the barn a half hour earlier than its set “open” time, but consider these few points before pulling up the driveway a little early next time.

  1. Safety: While it may be quiet and peaceful to ride outside of barn hours, a major reason for barns to have set times for riding is to make sure that someone is on property while riders are riding. If something were to happen, whether it be your horse getting loose or you take a fall, who would be able to help you?
  2. Structured Schedules: Most farms have set feeding times, turnout times, a whole daily schedule that the horses get accustomed to. Arriving early may cause anxiety or confusion in horses that expect to be fed upon someone arriving at the barn. Leaving late may disrupt night check schedules by not providing barn management to check on horses at the appropriate time should a horse have to eat late or be cooled out late.
  3. Privacy: Many farm owners live on property, meaning their backyard is a constant flow of people coming and going to visit their horses. It’s important to respect the privacy of the farm owner by visiting during barn hours. Just think how you would be feel about someone being in your backyard at 6am, or 8pm!

If your farm has barn hours that don’t work for your schedule, talk to your trainer, barn manager, or farm owner. Chances are, they are open to being flexible on some days to accommodate your schedule, but in this case it’s better to ask for permission than forgiveness!

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