Rules and guidelines for a happy and healthy facility
By Brandy Von Holten
Having rules or guidelines in place will help you keep your facility or the location of your event in tip top shape! You cannot assume that people will know what is expected, especially since we all have different backgrounds and experiences. My husband and I own a trail riding facility that specializes in hosting events. I will share our general rules in this article. We also have arena usage rules and are implementing our stall barn etiquette in 2017.
Here are our facility rules for Von Holten Ranch with a brief explanation for each.
- Negative coggins is required and will be checked.
It is the law. People will argue and tell you that EIA is no longer around or they will explain to you all the problems with the coggins test. Stand your ground; it is for the good of the equine community. Make sure you have your rule posted on your website and on each event flier.
- Only walk horses through camp, no trotting or running horses through camp.
The campground is the most congested area at a facility. You do not want to risk a person being ran over, or getting the other horses revved up. This is equal to a slower speed in a school zone.
- Place all trash in trash barrels. Do not throw cigarette butts on the ground.
Many smokers discard cigarette butts randomly on the ground. Those add up and make a facility look horrible. Plus, a grass fire could start, or equine could eat a cigarette butt.
- Do not ride on the septic laterals or the septic tank lids.
Sewer septics are costly and for the good of the facility; they need to run correctly. With the septic laterals typically being in looser dirt, you could easily sink and crush a pipe. Not only is this dangerous for your horse, but will destroy the septic laterals. If a tank lid moved, you could greatly endanger your equine.
- No smoking in the shower house, office, or the cabins.
This rule is in place to be respectful to nonsmokers, and to keep the building from smelling like smoke.
- Quiet time is from 11p.m.-6a.m.; noise must always be kept to a respectable level.
Guests are welcome to stay up later, just amplified music needs to be off and an attempt needs to be made to allow others to sleep.
- Do not tie your horse to the cabin rails, the shower house porch rails, or the electric posts.
The railings are not designed to be a hitching post. A large equine could pull back enough to destroy the rails and to potentially get hurt. Our electric posts are where guests hook-up to electricity. Due to electricity being involved, it is never a good idea to tie your equine there.
- You must clean your own stall before departing. We will have volunteers available to clean your stall for a tip. Tips should be left in the office.
Some facilities have different policies on stall cleaning. This is our facility’s rule because it is just my husband and I. We cannot devote the time needed to clean potentially 108 stalls each week. Make sure and ask the facility owner what their stall cleaning procedures are and do not assume they are the same for each facility.
- All dogs MUST be on a leash and held onto by a person or attached to a solid object. Dogs are not allowed on the trails, in the guest shower house, or the office. You must clean up after your dog. No exotic animals.
This rule will give you the most grief from people with small dogs. Make sure and fully enforce the rule, even with your friends. Some horses are extremely spooky around dogs and you could cause an accident. If you noticed our rule is more detailed than just “all dogs must be on a leash”. This is due to people putting their dogs on a leash and then releasing them with the leash on. We absolutely love dogs, but value being respectful to everyone.
- Do not bring your own firewood. This is to keep invasive species and plant diseases to a minimum.
Just as animals have diseases, so do plants. Firewood can also be home to insects, snakes, and small animals such as bats that live underneath the bark. You could be introducing a species to our area that could affect our local plant and animal species.
- Every horse must be stalled; only one horse per stall. No picket lines, portable pens, or tying to your trailer (except during saddling).
This is our personal facility rule, please ask facility owners for their individual rules on stalling. We require all horses to be stalled because we host so many events. A horse could do enough damage in one day to have visual effects for a year.
- All vendors must be preapproved.
We have vendor fees and we want to make sure the products being sold are in-line with our personal ideas. We have a lot of time and money invested into our facility; vendors are charged a fee for us providing the opportunity to generate revenue. We also do not want competing vendors at the same time to help ensure a profit for the vendor.
- Have fun and enjoy your stay at Von Holten Ranch.
We want everyone to have fun and enjoy their stay. As a facility owner, we have to look out and be respectful to all trail guests.
By having rules in place, it really helps to keep everyone on the same page and things running smoothly. For our facility, our land is privately owned. Our rules are our personal requests with safety always first.