I don't mind the noise and that kind of thing, its good for the horse to get used to but say you have a kid that finds a longe whip and starts playing with it and freaking horses out and who ever is responsible for them isn't stopping them, that becomes a safety issue. I have no problem with the kids being around, but I'm not going to have one of them get hurt by my horse because someone wasn't keeping an eye them or they haven't been told what not to do.
I think maybe some of it is a situation where the barn can make it easier or harder, too. Not saying that the barn should be responsible for the children (unless it's a summer camp or something where they explicitly take responsibility for X period of time) but if you know you're going to have kids around, think about it a little. Where is a safe place for them to hang out? Is it clearly delineated in some way? That sort of stuff.
For example, one barn I took lessons at had lesson horses and boarders, and all the lesson horses were in one aisle, and they got some paint and painted a nice thick line across the aisle at the end of where the lesson horses and lesson stuff was, and it was pretty clearly stated that if you were there for a lesson you stayed on the lesson side of the line unless invited. Seemed to work pretty well - obviously other boarders bringing their own kids would be a different issue, but the vast majority of kids were for lessons, so it helped a lot.
Likewise, the indoor arena had a viewing area fenced off at one end. If you wanted to watch, you watched from there. No hanging out by the gate or whatever. Clear rule, everyone knew it, everyone reminded everyone else. If you were not riding or helping with a lesson, you did not belong on the arena side of the fence. Since they were very specifically defined areas, it seemed a lot easier for kids to remember where they were and were not supposed to be.
My horses are entirely bulletproof. But at a schooling show on Saturday, with few horses and people about, one particular boy of about 7 or so consistently cut through the lone warm up area without hesitation...well, he would make eye contact with me, and then step directly in front of my horse. Like two strides out, maybe. So you'd think w/ the eye contact he'd check up, but no, it was a look to make sure I saw him, and I could stop or check MY horse so he could jog across. Again. And guys there were a total of at most 5 horses in a space about 200 X 100. Five horses walking and trotting. After literally the fifth time in the same warm up time...maybe 20 minutes? I did not stop - I just looked dead at him and said "I am not stopping this time or the next time. It is YOUR job to avoid me, son. Pay attention or go AROUND.
magically, he bothered others but not me, not again.
His dam never, ever noticed or cared that he was playing Frogger in the warm up. How do you just NOT care?
Honestly, I'm not a kid person. Don't like 'em, don't want 'em. But I have no problem with well-behaved kids who are respectful and being supervised. I have no problem with a kid who will listen when told "hey, we DON'T do that," and maybe who wants to learn about what I'm doing.
My BO has three kids, and the oldest (who is 6) is always out and about. He knows how to navigate the barn, and loves to help out. I let him help brush sometimes, and he particularly likes picking feet - I hold the hoof, he uses the pick at a safe distance off to the side so that if something happens, I'm close enough to intervene. Another boarder has a 3 year old she brings with her sometimes. He's always at her side or playing safely in a designated area that can be seen from several spots in the barn. He's respectful and listens well, and he loves the horses. These kind of kids? I'm fine with them hanging out at the barn.
My issue with kids in the barn comes from the snotty ones who won't listen and aren't being watched. The kids who think it's fun to bring a giant exercise ball into the arena and throw it around while I'm riding, and then ignore you when you yell at them. The kids who go into stalls and throw things around. That obnoxious screaming noise they make. And my favorite is the summer camp kid who came up to my horse, asked to pet him, and smacked him in the face. I don't want these kids in the barn, frankly I don't want them in my general vicinity. Whether that's realistic or not, who knows, but I think it is more than reasonable to complain when a crappy parent brings a snotty kid into the barn.
For example, one barn I took lessons at had lesson horses and boarders, and all the lesson horses were in one aisle, and they got some paint and painted a nice thick line across the aisle at the end of where the lesson horses and lesson stuff was, and it was pretty clearly stated that if you were there for a lesson you stayed on the lesson side of the line unless invited.
This actually seems elitist and rude to me. Naturally there need to be ground rules in place about respecting other people's property and horses, but telling the student's they're not allowed to mingle with the boarders? I wouldn't give my business to a barn that did that - and I'm a boarder. When I was a kid and was always at the barn, I owned my horse, but had several friends who were lesson kids (some of them very good riders). A barn should have a family-like atmosphere, not a seperatist atmosphere. That said, any kids hanging out at the barn need to be expected to follow the same respectful ground rules as the adults, and if they're not old enough, then they need to be constantly supervised.
Originally Posted by katarine
His dam never, ever noticed or cared that he was playing Frogger in the warm up.
I won't comment on the small children bit beyond this; I once boarded at a barn where two children under 3, my ruckus, very stoopid bully/boxer mix, a very aggressive cat, and my baby pot belly pig were allowed free range of the farm. The barn belonged to a friend, definitely wasn't my idea. The dog and the pig had to come with me, but I offered to stall/confine them to a pasture with no climb, but she wouldn't hear of it. The cat and children belonged to her.
That being said, my horses are 110% comfortable with dogs, cats, pigs, and children. The baby used to zip about in one of those rolling walker things and plant herself right in front of my hunter. He would very gently sniff her on the head and then lower his nose so she could "pat" (read: smack) him on the nose. They both seemed to enjoy this immensely. It was the mother's barn and the mother's rules. I didn't think it was a great idea, but I had no say in the matter regarding the kids.
As for the animals. I purposefully expose my dogs to my horses and vice versa. Both my big guy and my 25 lb Augi often go for jogs along side me if I'm out doing trot sets. My horses have absolutely no qualms about the dogs being right next to them or even at their back heels. And the rare occasions they slip into the paddocks, the horses will chase them right out. This has come in handy on more than one occasion at a horse show. Thankfully, I've never had a dog chase my horse during a class, but it's happened in the warm up area. They don't bat an eye. I also know that they wouldn't think twice about protecting themselves if they felt it was necessary. A few of them have cocked a hoof at my bully (again, dumb as a box of rocks, poor guy) in warning. He got the message, thankfully.
I own my farm and it's just me, myself, and I. No one on my staff has pets or children and no one else rides on my farm. It is imperative that my animals live as symbiotically as possible; I don't think it's fair for the dogs or the pig to be cooped up because the horses are out or vice versa. They've all figured it out. And I think that it makes them more well-rounded because of this.
That being said; these are all MY animals. No one is responsible for them except for me. If I had boarders or clients? No way. I would not make someone else responsible for the safety of my dogs, pig, or cats, nor would I want to be responsible for someone else's non-equids. The situation with the children at my friend's farm made me uncomfortable, but they were her children on her farm under her rules and supervision. I'm glad my horses had the exposure, but it's not something that I would allow on my own property.
Nine out of ten times, you'll get it wrong...but it's that tenth time that you get it right that makes all the difference.
Sh*t happens when kids are unsupervised around horses. A boarder's son at our barn was bouncing a ball against a wall in a stall, the ball want over the wall into a wash stall with a horse in it who is a known kicker. Kid goes into the wash stall after the ball and fortunately wasn't kicked before his mother grabbed him.
Unless a parent or other responsible adult is able to supervise a kid at all times they don't belong at the barn anymore than they belong playing on a busy highway. Ditto for dogs. If they aren't tied up or confined in some way, they don't belong at the barn.
I am a single mom with an almost 3 year old and a 16 month old who is renting half of a barn (the other half is a boarding barn) My kids are VERY well behaved and I keep a close watch on them especially when the boarders are there. They are excellent about staying with me and/or in my half and when I need to bring horses in/out they almost always come with (either walking, in a stroller or wagon) or stay there. (Not a far walk from the barn). I keep them busy with their "special" toys to play with at the end of the closed isle. (These are toys they LOVE so they actually do not like to leave them everyday!) They do not touch anything that doesn't belong to them. (I also watch them like a hawk so they don't get that chance )
NOTHING bothers me more then a child running "free" climbing on/destroying other peoples property; same goes for dogs who feel the need to do their business in the barn and on people belongings!!
I think everyone here agrees that well-behaved kids are welcome at a barn. Same with leashed dogs.
It's at the rider's discretion when and where her horse learns about sudden movements and all other things that a normal horse finds distracting and spooky. It's no one else's call or right to say, 'oh, the horse has to get used to that!' So dangerous and thoughtless.
My daughter is 7 and has had the privileged/misfortune of being dragged to every horsey event thing I do. Currenlty we board her pony and one of my broodmares at a private facility. I still have very strict rules for where she can go or what she can do without me.
I want her to have fun and she is just old enough that a barn with more minions her age might be good for her but I don't want her to believe the barn=carnival fun house.
Unsupervised children should be given all the candy they can carry and at least one or two feral barn kittens and placed back into their parents lap !
"I would not beleive her if her tongue came notorized"
I love kids, it is their crappy, lazy ass parents (most of them) that I can't stand.
What ever happened to teaching children, respect, manners and consideration for others?
I have no idea. A lot of parents don't bother teaching their children how to respect others. A case in point - I was on a long flight and was seated in front of a small child, perhaps 3 or 4 years old, who was kicking my seat. I turned around and asked the child to stop kicking the seat. The kid's mother turned to me and said "don't talk that way to my child" to which I responded "I wouldn't have to if you would supervise him".
I really don't like kids at the barn, almost without exception. I've met a VERY small handful of kids that I don't mind around horses, and even those kids really do need constant supervision.
Kids, especially young boys, need nearly constant supervision even in non-barn life. They are at an exploring stage of their lives, and they are still figuring out right and wrong, good ideas and bad. They can't comprehend the danger of horses when things go wrong.
I personally think it is irreponsible to have children at the barn unsupervised. And supervision means more than just being present. I don't think a parent is capable of supervising a child properly while also trying to complete focused tasks with their horse, such as riding, lunging, etc. If you are working with your horse, you are not focused on your kid, and vice versa. I think a great solution for introducing kids to the barn properly would be to bring a babysitter with horse knowledge to the barn with you if you plan to ride or do things with your horse. The babysitter's only focus would be the kid, and you can focus on your horse fully while your kid learns how to behave around horses. Otherwise, I think kids should be left at home unless THEY are at the barn to ride and the kid riding is the focus of the day.
I love kids, it is their crappy, lazy ass parents (most of them) that I can't stand.
What ever happened to teaching children, respect, manners and consideration for others?
^^This... case in point:
Last week I was riding my trainer's just broke 3yo gelding, has less than 10-15 rides on him. This little guy is as sensible as they come, a very level head on him. Picked up steering/w/t/c/lead changes all by himself in that time. One of those "old souls" that just came broke.
The entire family of a one of the kids thought it would be fun to visit all of the horses in the pastures and get them all riled up. Mom, Dad, Timmy, Tommy, Susie, Fido and Rufus. Plus a trailing pack of other young children. Everyone laughing and having a great time. The dogs were racing around like wild things. It was evening time and this got all the horses to gallopping and kicking up their heels... however I am on a barely broke 3yo who becomes distracted himself. The other girl I was riding with, her horse spooked and got all worked up. Luckily Baby spooked a bit because the other horse did but other than watch the other horses running he stayed pretty quiet.
Now as a comparison, the BO has a 4yo son who is well supervised and fully informed of all barn rules. He is to stay out of the ring unless he is standing *quietly and patiently* next to his mother out of the way. The horses are given a wide berth in the aisles and he does not make any loud noises or unsafe movements next to them. He is helpful with washing off sweaty horses or offering them water otherwise he is asked to leave the ring or barn.
It's about the little kids being safe as well as myself when I am riding. Because as much as I trust my riding capabilities and the quietness of my mount, even the quietest horses can spook now and then when they are surprised.
The entire family of a one of the kids thought it would be fun to visit all of the horses in the pastures and get them all riled up. Mom, Dad, Timmy, Tommy, Susie, Fido and Rufus. Plus a trailing pack of other young children. Everyone laughing and having a great time. The dogs were racing around like wild things. It was evening time and this got all the horses to gallopping and kicking up their heels...
This would REALLY make me mad if I was the owner of one of the horses in the paddock! Getting horses all riled up in turnout is a pasture injury waiting to happen. People are SO. STUPID.
Tell me about it, especially dogs- just had an incident two nights ago where a dog chased a cat literally underneath my young TB mare, of course scaring her. Fortunately she wasn't tied, I was holding her because they were about to start the blower, so nothing bad happened, but sheesh! In owner's defense, they did go and get a leash after the incident, saying that had never happened before, and the dog was locked up in a stall until the horses were back in their stalls.
in my opinion, people who object to children tend to make me think they are over 50, fat, and cat hoarders and generally hate everything.
what the heck does THIS mean? I suspect many fat elderly cat-hoarders are quite fond of children.
I object to children because no one teaches them appropriate behavior these days; they think the world is their playground, and if you have to step in to restore order their deranged parents accuse you of child abuse.
I think I hate parents. Children are just victims.
This just seems like an issue of common sense. Safety first. Do you go up to a strange dog and pet it? No, because you don't know if that dog bites or not. Would you have your child cross a street alone without first teaching them to look both ways? Would you not bother to look?
Horses are prey animals, their first reaction to the unfamiliar is flight or defense. If a horse needs to trained to become accustomed to unfamiliar environments and stimuli, then it will have a learning curve. The quality of that training and the horses own demeanor are variables. Some horses were born bombproof and some will never be that way. So, IMHO, it would only make good common sense not to assume anything about a strange horse. There are reasons that USPC teaches safety and horsemanship along with riding. Their are reasons barns post disclaimer signs and there is law not holding the barn owner responsible for accidents, and that professionals often find it very difficult to get health insurance. Horses are big, sometimes, unpredictable animals.
It is the management's responsibility to set the tone of what is acceptable and what is not, be it at a show or the barn.
Wherever you go, the store, doctor's office, the movies or the theater. There are acceptable and unacceptable behaviors. Why should it be different at the barn? I personally think most the people coming out for lessons with their kids haven't any experience with agriculture beyond a petting zoo. They have to be made aware.
I grew up in a rural area in Maryland, and the farmers I knew had a lot of money invested in their equipment and livestock. You just did not leave things thrown about, and a gate left open was a cardinal sin. Yet, today, at the barn where I board, I see saddles left out in the rain, halters and brushes thrown around in the mud, and the list goes on. My barn probably isn't unusual either. So if parents or trainers don't instill in their kids or students that all this costs $$$, that the horse doesn't just fold up and get stored away when they aren't around, in essence, respect the things and animals they are around - then they will behave carelessly.
Kids are like the horses, they have to be taught proper behavior. Whether you love them or hate them, it's just common sense.
I have 2 kids, pretty much grown now. They have behaved appallingly at times. It's a life long process, not a smooth road at all, so I'll give most parents the benefit of a doubt. As for the ones who don't care, I'd have no problem reporting them for child endangerment.