BO has rules about who can ride?

Is it common that some barns won’t let anyone ride except the owner and legit trainers?


BO can have whatever rules they like (even if they seem odd to us).

I haven’t had a situation occur where I wanted someone else to ride my boarded horse where I didn’t clear that with the peeps in charge prior to the ride


I have heard that a lot over the years.
the BO gets to wave his insurance contract.

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Sure, they can have whatever rules they want, but to not write it into my contract and not verbally tell me I can never lease my horse out while I board there? It seems a bit shady. It’s not one of those inconsequential rules like not lunging in the arena while someone is riding.


Try not to get offended before you’ve had a chance to talk to the BO in person.

In this case, it is the prerogative of the BO to set the rules about non boarders riding on her premises.

This could due to her insurance policy or a previous incident that led to this decision.

Even signing a waiver is no guarantee that the BO would not be sued in the event of an accident.

I’m actually on the BO side on this one.

I think she would rather have you mad at her or losing you as a boarder than have something happen and lose her barn and her business.

However, I will also say that she should have made her policy clear and told you up front and in writing so that you knew how it was before you moved your horse there.

If the care is good and you like everything else about this barn ,then I would accept that you won’t be allowed to let anyone else ride your horse.

Her barn, her rules.
Your pocketbook, your feet.


Did your friend sign the waiver prior to the ride? Seems like the BO would have said something when you asked for the paperwork


Pretty common, incredibly reasonable rule.

If I owned a barn, insurance or not - I’d probably have the same one in place. :rofl: Boarding is a unique business because it’s not just transactional - there’s a lot of care and consideration that goes into it. Like hiring a nurse for your elderly relatives, or a pet sitter. There has to be a level of trust above and beyond the typical business of exchanging money for products.

As such, most boarders are decently vetted by barn owners. Is she safe? Is she crazy? Is her horse in good health? Is she surrounded by drama?

When you allow random friends and well wishers out, you immediately lose all of that. I have some friends I would absolutely be comfortable allowing to ride on my property without me there. I have others that I may not allow even with a waiver and a helmet because I don’t want the potential for an insurance claim. If you want unfettered access to your horse, buy your own place and make the rules; not allowing friends to ride has been standard in any barn I’ve been at for the last twenty years.


IME, This is a fairly common rule in boarding barns, but usually better communicated.

I allowed it, but with notice, a signed liability waiver and approved headgear and shoes. And if I felt the guest rider was not competent or respectful of the facility, they weren’t allowed again.

Liability is the most common reason for not allowing this. (A rider leasing your horse is a completely different issue, I wouldn’t conflate the two.) Some barns have this rule in place so your option for either training rides or exercise rides is the barn staff and you can’t circumvent that by having a “friend” ride your horse. There’s also the subtler issue that a BO/BM has a legitimate need to know who is at the barn and riding. A boarding barn isn’t a public resource.

I think this might have unfolded very differently if you had alerted the BO ahead of time that you wanted someone to come ride your horse and asked what the policies were. If I were the BO and glanced out into the ring and saw someone I didn’t know/hadn’t met/wasn’t expecting riding a boarder’s horse, I would be VERY annoyed. Especially if there hadn’t been a release signed prior (your post wasn’t clear about whether a waiver was executed), and triplely so if the rider wasn’t properly and safely attired.

There’s also an issue here that after a month, the BO doesn’t know your horse that well and has no idea how it will respond to a new/strange rider.

So talk to your BO, apologize for not giving her notice, find out what the actual policies are and go from there. Mention that it would be great if the policy was in writing somewhere, either in the contract or in the barn rules.

Bear in mind that no board contract or barn rules can possibly list every instance of unwelcome or rude conduct and that it is unwise to assume that any behavior not specifically prohibited is therefore allowed.

Bears repeating.


Great post @McGurk. I totally agree and I want to add one more problem that the barn owner faces when a boarder lets a random person ride their horse without first telling the barn owner.

There have been threads on it even, well on the topic of people riding a horse without permission.

How does the barn owner know that Jane is allowed to ride Dobbin at all? How does the barn owner know that Jane is not some X-leaser you had who found out Dobbin is at this new place and decided to hop on for a ride, without your permission?
I can totally see you as a horse owner being mad at the barn owner for allowing Jane access to your horse, and how dare they not keep Dobbin safe from Jane, someone they did not even know existed.

Edit to add - Why a lease is different is the fact that the barn owner will likely have a contract with that party too. Right now a random person riding has no contract with the barn owner. They have signed nothing about following any rules, etc.


Yes, this! What if someone showed up and rode a horse without the owner’s permission or knowledge, but told the BO they did have permission? Then the BO is in the wrong for allowing unauthorized use of your horse.

I’ve periodically ridden a friend’s horse for a few months at a time. Her barn required that I be a lessor for insurance purposes, so we executed a free lease that has been kept on file for a few years. Otherwise, no, owners can’t just let their friends come ride at that barn.

As a boarder (different barn), I certainly wouldn’t want other boarders to start bringing out gaggles of friends for pony rides while I’m trying to train, much less have random people show up and take horses out without the owner being present.


^^^ I am the friend :grinning:. My barn owner wants the ‘other’ rider to sign a boarding contract so that liability wise, said rider is no different than the owner…hence the free lease. My barn owner’s are both attorneys and retired judges. I will go with what they say :+1:.



The BO didn’t tell you that you can’t lease your horse. The BO told you that you can’t have a friend ride your horse at her barn. Those are 2 different things. It may be that she also will not let you lease while keeping the horse on her property, but going by what you have written, you two weren’t discussing a lease.


@Mercedes2, please come back and update us after you have a conversation with the barn owner. I am guessing if you go into the conversation as upset as you sound here it will not end as well as you would like it to so make sure you attempt to no be angry.

Common and understandable under all the circumstances listed by others.

The rule is completely understandable. Not conveying the rule to a prospective/new boarder is less so, IMO. I boarded at 8 (?) different barns in two states before bringing my horses home and that rule did not exist at any of them, so I don’t think the OP should have been expected to telepathically pick up on it.


And how would you know what she told me? She said ONLY an insured trainer could ride my horse, and when I texted her back basically saying “oh sorry, my friend rode with the right documentation at the old farm” she said nothing at all. So sounds like there is no in between to me, but of course, you know exactly what my BO is thinking.

Errr I mean… you told us what the BO said? Only an insured trainer. Then it’s been a week and you have not had any sort of convo with the BO in person or otherwise. You don’t know if there is no in-between or not, so obviously neither do we. It was posited that a lease (even a free one) would be ok for your friend to ride, but since there has been no conversation about this, you don’t know and neither do we. We have asked to be included in what you learn so the combined wisdom and experience of COTH can say whether it’s the standard thing with BOs who don’t want to get sued and lose everything, or if your BO is being a control freak.

As a former BO, I would not be happy to look out and see someone I didn’t know riding your horse, even with you present (which is how I read her post, not that someone showed up and rode the horse), because of the lack of a signed waiver. I had the exact scenario happen when I WAS a BO, when I looked out my kitchen window and saw a 14 yo who was a boarder using a lunge whip to try to beat her horse over a jump with an unknown juvenile sitting on the horse. I stopped it immediately and had kids picked up because it was dangerous, it was abusive, and I had no waiver for the other kid (the adult paying board wanted to sign one and when I refused, I got reamed out for being a spoilsport meanie poopiehead and then they left (bye Felicia)). I am not saying this is what you guys were doing, but I see fault here on both sides. If BO was present, he/she should have gone down and had the convo in person. If BO was not present and another boarder or staff member told him/her later and then she texted you, he/she should have called instead or talked to you in person the next time you were out.


Did your friend have a signed release waiver on file ?


I think we are on a similar wavelength here cause I asked this up thread and neither OP or the friend (who also posted up thread) have answered.


Pretty common. You have an agreement with the barn owner that allows you to ride on her property. Your friend does not. The barn owner is not out of line for not wanting to extend her liability to strangers riding on her property, regardless of who owns the horse.

If you lease your horse to someone else, they would be the one paying the bills and thereby having some kind of agreement with the barn owner that gave her permission to ride on the property.

It’s not your property. You don’t get to invite others to use the property. Only the barn owner does.

So I agree with above…apologize for not asking first, and get clarification. It is likely that you could lease your house out but.not guaranteed. You will need to ask.