The Equine Expert

Barn rules - How to improve the safety of riders, horses and boarders.
By Tanja Schnuderl

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Whether you own a small private boarding farm or manage a big equine facility, running a barn is a task of great responsibility. One of your top priorities should be to keep everyone safe and sound. Establishing barn rules will help to ensure the safety of riders, horses and boarders. Barn rules can include behavior you expect from people (e.g., to wear a helmet) or state which behaviors are prohibited (e.g., not to smoke on the property). 

The key to successfully establishing barn rules is to make sure everyone knows the rules and that everyone follows the rules. Barn rules should be written down and handed out to every boarder, ideally right away with their boarding agreement. They can also be displayed in a common area like the grooming stalls, the aisle or the tack room. If your boarders are connected via a group text or social media group, pin the barn rules to make them as omnipresent as possible. Following are a few exemplary rules that should be part of your barn rules:

  • No smoking on the property.
  • All riders must wear an ASTM/SEI approved helmet when mounted on a horse.
  • No mounting or riding in the aisle or inside the barn.
  • Please alert other riders in the arena by calling “door” before entering.
  • Do not feed any horse but your own without owner's permission.
  • All gates/stall doors are to be closed and latched securely.
  • Children must be supervised at all times. Parents are responsible for all minor children.  
  • All visitors must fill out and sign the release of liability form before handling or riding any horse.
  • Dogs must be on a leash at all times.
  • Please notify management of any necessary repairs, maintenance, problems, or needed supplies so that repairs may be made or problems remedied as soon as possible.
  • Please respect barn hours (e.g., 8:00 to 8:00pm).

Implementing barn rules will help to avoid injuries or accidents and support a safe environment for humans and horses.

Tanja Schnuderl is a team member with The Equine Expert LLC, a multi-discipline equine expert witness and consulting firm with expert equestrians offering legal expert witness and consulting services in court cases and legal matters. Tanja is an expert on Barn Management and Horse Behavior. She is the Barn Manager for Moon Rising Farm just outside Washington DC and Principal of Sigma Equine LLC, an equine appraisal business. Tanja grew up in Germany and was a paralegal for many years. For more information on Tanja Schnuderl email,


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