During the summer when kids are out of school, the barn gets more crowded than ever. In order to keep things safe for horses and people, it is important to review the ways that you can prevent accidents and injuries. We have compiled a list of some of the most important barn safety tips.
1. The turtle wins the race: no running in the barn!
With the heat comes lots of wash downs for your horses. All this extra water in the barn can lead to slippery aisles that create the perfect scenario for a slip and fall. Everyone should be walking up and down the aisles so that they are aware of their surroundings, including big puddles that can form. Also, running can spook horses very easily, so walking through the aisles should be a rule all year round. Scared horses can create major accidents.
2. Keep an eye on the kids
Summer camps, working students and other young horse lovers flock to the barn during the beautiful summer months. Though we love having them around, it is important to remember that adult supervision is a must. Make sure you have enough adults around the barn to keep an eye on all of the kids. You may want to create specific hours where children can be left without their parents or require that a parent stay on the premises to reduce the risk of an accident. We love our kids, so let’s keep them safe!
3. Helmets save lives
Wearing your helmet should be rule #1 EVERY DAY of the year. Even during the summer when you decide to take a bareback ride or go swimming in the river, helmets are still needed. It only takes one bad fall to end your riding career forever! Make it known at your barn that without a helmet you can’t mount up—people will listen if they want to ride.
4. Be your own weatherman
Summertime has some crazy weather. Thunderstorms come in without warning and can be very severe. As soon as you hear a rumble of thunder, you should have riders dismount and head out of the arena—whether you are inside or outside. These storms can include thunder, lightning, heavy downpours, hail, tornadoes and more. All of the above is very scary for horses and dangerous for riders as well. Take cover as quickly as possible and keep an eye on your local warnings so everyone can stay safe.
5. Safety at your fingertips
Even if you take all the right precautions, accidents can still happen. If they do, make sure you are prepared by having all the emergency numbers and procedures in an easy-to-reach place. All workers, boarders and lesson students should know where these documents are in case you aren’t around when an emergency arises. Also, remind them to try to stay calm and go over the different procedures so they can be ready if something occurs.
Those are our picks for the top five summer safety tips, but of course, the list goes on and the top priorities can differ from barn to barn. Your safest bet for a safe facility is to have your “barn rules” posted where everyone can see them and making sure that anyone new learns the rules right off the bat. To protect yourself, it is always a good idea for all riders to sign release forms and to have repercussions if rules are not followed. Barns can be a fun place, especially if safety rules are followed! Have a great summer and enjoy lots of time with your horse!
What is your most important barn safety tip? How do you enforce it?