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Six Useful Tips on being a Good Stall Neighbor at Horse Shows

In almost every event, there is a certain etiquette that one must follow. Whether it be baseball games or even where you sit at work, there are unspoken rules for everything. When it comes to showing horses, one of those things are the rules you must follow to be a good stall neighbor.

As shows become more substantial and therefore longer, stalling on the show grounds is becoming more and more frequent. Whether you are stalled next to barn mates or strangers, every equestrian has a different way of setting up and caring for their stalls. However, there are basic rules and practices competitors must follow to stay on the right side of their stall neighbors.

Here are six things people find frustrating in stall neighbors:

1. Blocking the alleyway – We have all been there before. You’re running late for your class and trying to get to the arena as fast as possible. Then, you turn around, and you can’t get through the aisle because your neighbors have left their horse in the cross ties or their chairs in the middle of the walkway. Cross-tying your horse can be very beneficial when it comes to preparing for classes, but be courteous and think about your neighbors before leaving your horse in them for extended periods.

Likewise, when you leave your stalls, make sure all chairs and equipment are out of the center alleyway, so other exhibitors do not have to navigate through a maze of stuff to get around the grounds. Always moving stuff to get to the warmup arenas or anywhere else on the show grounds can become frustrating.

2. Being loud – Horse shows can be exciting and fun for all involved. Celebrating a win or having fun with your fellow competitors can be noisy sometimes, but there is a time and a place for noise. Your stall neighbors will thank you if you remember to turn your radio down or keep your voices down when not celebrating a win. This prevents other competitors’ horses from spooking and allows everyone to enjoy the show grounds.

3. Being messy – It is easy to forget to throw away the trash from lunch or to put up equipment during the hustle and bustle of shows. But being stalled next to a slob can be frustrating, and smelly. Keeping your stalls clean and organized will not only benefit those around you, but it will also make your time at the show go by easier as well. Taking ten minutes at the end of the day to throw away any trash and put things away can make a massive difference with your stall neighbors.

4. Having naughty dogs – Horse shows and dogs go hand-in-hand. Canine assistant trainers are a vital part of horse shows, and they have come to be expected. But it can be irritating if your stall neighbor’s dog has terrible manners or barks the entire time they are left alone. If you do have a dog at your stalls, be sure to ask your neighbors if they are okay with it running loose. Also, please pick up after your dog if they do their business in the stall area. This, along with basic manners, will ensure your dog will be everyone’s best friend at shows.

5. Riding through the alleyway – Riding through the aisles is not only bothersome, but it can also be dangerous. With chairs, step stools, and equipment in the aisles, there are multiple ways a horse could get hurt if not being handled from the ground. In a split second, the horse could spook, putting the rider and those around it in danger. Taking the extra minute to walk your horse outside, then mounting, could keep yourself and others out of danger.

6. Using and/or moving stuff without asking – More often than not, stall neighbors end up becoming close friends, especially by the end of a long show. Asking to use some tape or hair spray isn’t uncommon, and most people are glad to lend a helping hand. But be sure when borrowing something from your stall mate, that you have permission and that you put it back from where you got it.

Also, if you need to move something to a completely different location, make sure your neighbors know where you moved it. This ensures that they can find their equipment, and they won’t have to go on a wild goose hunt.

Following these six simple rules can help make your time at shows more successful. And who knows, you might end up making a lifelong friend in a stall neighbor.

About the Author: Taylor Riley is from the small town of Cole Camp, Missouri, where she currently attends college at Northwest Missouri State University to pursue a degree in Agriculture Education. Outside of class, Taylor enjoys competing in the APHA all-around events with her paint gelding, Masked N Marvelous aka Radar. As a DIY amateur, much of her free time is spent caring for and training her horses that reside on her family farm.