*YEARS* ago like over a decade, I boarded at a big lessons barn, so there were always kids and families running around. There was a small viewing area, BUT there was a problem of toddlers and babies SCREAMING while parents were watching their older kids ride. It actually got to be such a problem that they began to spook some of the horses and they had to make a "fussy baby" rule. So to accomidate the paying clientel, they modified one of the stalls furthest away from the arena, and made it in to a playroom. IT WAS AWESOME.
It had dutch doors instead of sliding doors so older kids and parents could leave but toddles couldn't reach the latch, but also a solid top door in case someone was having a meltdown. All of the stalls had rubber mats anyways, but in the play room they got some extra ones and screwed them to the walls. They put in some chairs for the parents, and some toys, and books for the kids to play with. I think even a TV with a VCR or DVD player built in.
On weekends there was always one parent in there who could watch the brood for a bit, but it was safe enough to where if someone wanted to drop there kids off for 15 minutes to switch out a blanket or drop off a check, you could drop the kids off, latch them in and be with in ear shot the whole time.
I know not all barns have the room to do this, but if you're at some place with the space, an extra stall with floor mats make a great, safe play room.
I want to take my girls out to the barn today and let my poor horse out for some expercise and have a little "picnic" with my kids while she runs around then do some grooming. I have never done this before and want to be as safe as possible with my children (3&5yrs old), I have no one to help me. I'm thinking about strapping them in a strollers and parking them by the picnic table with the brake on while I take my horse out to the round pen realy fast, I just don't know if this is appropriate or not?!!!! Do you take your kids with you, what do you do? I could also roll the windows down in the car and leave them strapped in thier car seats, the parking area is RIGHT next to my barn and pens, it would literally maybe take me 2 minutes to get her to the pen. *sigh, just having some anxiety about it!!!
btw, my husband just started back to work on Monday, he has been off for 3 months, I have had my horse a little over a month so I have had help this whole time!