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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After 2 years of not riding, I'm finally getting back out there after a falling out with my old farm. I stopped riding as a novice, only jumping small verticals, so I don't know that much about horsemanship. But now, I'm trying to find a new farm and get more involved in horse care.

My question is, do most riders who don't own/lease their own horse do any farm work? At my old farm, we always had help who would clean the stalls and feed the horses while the riders would only retrieve, groom, tack, and wash the horses. Is that usual with most lesson riders? I'm hoping that once I start riding again I can maybe start helping around at the farm to feel more involved with the horses and the people. Should I go out of my way to ask my instructor about it?

Sorry if this is a weird question. Thanks in advance:)
 

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I've always found farm owners, or barn owners, to accept offers of help. With the exception of using the machinery, unless one has experience.

Right now, I'm the chief weed whacker and painter where I also lease pasture. I also keep the full-time hands in baked goods. A dressage rider who boards weeds the owner's vegetable garden. No small task.

There's never any shortage of things that need done.

I hope you find a suitable place.
 

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Some yards, depending on size and type, prefer not to have people getting involved - but that’s rather rare. It’s mainly large yards with a big competition or professional breeding footprint. Most regular yards where you would typically end up as a beginner welcome help. I find that it works better if you figure out what needs doing and offer to do it - painting the ground poles always needs doing, it seems like. Make sure you always ask until it becomes a routine.
 

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Where I lease, my horses are on pasture 24/7. But if for some reason one of them needs to be stalled or penned, I clean the stall or pen and give them hay and water (the barn owner also gives them hay and water, but doesn't clean up). I was never asked to do this, but since I pay for pasture board, not stall board, it seemed reasonable. I also clean up any other mess they make.

Our barn owner will ask anyone and everyone to help out, usually with feeding and turnout.
 

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As a kid before I ever had a horse...
My lesson barn encouraged each of us to spend the lesson day at the barn with the other kids.
We had our lesson, but we also interacted with the horses in stall cleaning, giving baths when appropriate, doing easy chores around the barn, clean tack and just be with other kids...
A start to the never-ending learning that horses take, helped me to be somewhat ready for my first horse to arrive home to my care...
Till you bring them home and they are totally your responsibility in your barn on your land you truly don't know how much you don't know....
Don't care if you do self-care at someone else's facility...suddenly on your land in your care exclusively you find out how much you don't know...its just different!

I've seen, ridden at and worked at barns with many different levels of involvement of rider and the facility.
From the facility where you arrive, sign-in for your lesson, horse is brought to you, you mount, ride, dismount and leave leaving the horse care totally to others...
To the facility that riders come, {horses stalled} get the horse out, brush and clean, tack and bring the horse to the riding arena, get astride and are warmed up for lesson to commence...
To the facility where part of learning to ride and become a equestrian was also learning how to retrieve from the pasture, walk-in, clean, tack, ride and then do all those things in reverse to putting the horse back in the pasture...it can and does vary greatly.

I loved working in barns where the kids, responsible young teens were wanting to learn the other-side of horse where the care of the horses environment took place.
Those who wanted to learn to do stalls, clean tack, watch and learn from the farrier, watch and learn from the vet, find out there is much more than just putting a brush to the horse and tossing a saddle on the back for a hours jaunt around....
When the "kids" wanted to learn they were paired with a worker who would teach as they went through their daily chores.

There is so much to learn to be a well-rounded equestrian if you want to know it, or if your goal is to just be a rider and leave the other things to knowledgeable others, that is fine too...
What is important is you find a place that is comfortable for you...as you decide you want to learn more the opportunity is available but the pressure is not applied that you must.
Not everyone wants to know about hooves, how to read them, how to trim them...
Not everyone wants to know how to give shots, clean serious injuries or wrap a injured leg, to doing vitals of their horse, to being able to recognize health or illness and when to know you are over your head and need emergent care....
There is a comfort zone everyone should find...explore as wanted but not be chastised for being in a comfort spot either...

If you want to do more in the horses environment, then ask if you may...
But do not feel the pressure to do more than you want and are comfortable.
You pay for lessons...
You though would be donating your time doing anything around the place...
Then you can also in time possibly work out a barter of barn work, often stalls, for lessons given.
Just speak with your instructor of what you wish to do...and don't get taken advantage of for "free-labor"...
Only offer to do as much as you can spare time for, or you want...never feel obligated to do more.
:runninghorse2:...
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you all for your amazing replies and kind words:) I really appreciate it.

I've been searching for farms online and just emailed one to get a tour and a small riding lesson and I couldn't be more excited! If it's a good fit, I'll make sure to ask about working around the farm. Thank you all again!
 

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Every barn I have been to has been happy to have volunteer help from regular riders, particularly if it is also a barn that offers trail rides to the public as well.

The tasks you can help with depend on how well they know you and your skills with horses.

If I have time before or after riding, I enjoy helping out bringing in other horses from pasture and grooming or taking them out after trail rides, or just sweeping/scooping up any manure. There is generally always lots to do. When I was in Iceland, the horse farm I went to also had designated volunteers to clean all their horse tack as there were so many horses.
 
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