Domesticated horses are some of the most beautiful creatures on Earth. They’re used in farming, competition, shows, and even serve as companions. Horseback riding is popular in York, PA for this reason.
But where do you start? Where do you find a place to learn to ride? Where do you keep a horse that you already own?
The answer to all of these questions can be as simple as googling “horse barns near me”, but there are some things you should pay attention to before you commit. Read on to learn what to expect from a reliable and safe horse farm.
Meadow Ridge Horse Farm offers riding lessons to the public. People of all ages and skill levels can come and learn how to care for and ride a horse here in York, PA.
This is excellent exercise, so it’s good for your physical health. Many studies show that horseback riding is also good for your mental health as you form a bond with a horse and learn new skills.
These lessons start with the basics of how to groom a horse and prepare it for riding. You’ll learn how to handle the horse safely and calmly before you ever get on it. You’ll learn what’s safe for a horse to eat and how to feed your horse treats safely.
Finally, you’ll learn how to move at a slow pace on your horse.
As you gain more experience, you’ll learn to trot, canter, and gallop. You’ll learn how to ride bareback and take your horse on trails.
At this point, you might be interested in learning some competitive skills as well. You can learn how to jump and even race if you want to. Some people may even be interested in learning about horse breeding.
The only limit to how much about horses you’ll learn is yourself. Instructors will help you reach your goals whether you want to ride casually or competitively.
Horses aren’t meant to stay inside a barn all day. Even being out in a pasture isn’t enough stimulation for such animals. They need exercise and mental stimulation just as much as you do.
This is one reason why humans ride horses. It’s good exercise for both the horse and rider. However, walking your horse in circles isn’t enough mental stimulation for anyone once you’ve mastered riding a horse.
You need places to take your horse where it won’t already know what direction to go. This keeps it guessing and problem-solving. A horse needs to go uphill and downhill to learn how to control its speed.
When selecting a horse barn, you want to make sure there are at least a few trails that you can take your horse on for exercise. Riding the same trail gets boring after a while, and it’s good for both your horse and yourself to try something new every once in a while. It’s more stimulating for both of you if you do this.
It’s also a great bonding experience. Your horse has to trust you not to lead it into danger. You need to trust your horse to follow directions and help you avoid danger.
Trails give you a fairly safe place to bond this way with your horse and see some beautiful views of York, PA along the way.
If you own a horse in York, PA, then you need a place to put it. Many horse barns make money by renting space to owners to keep their horses. The staff even take care of them when the owner can’t be there.
It’s important to look at the horse farm and barn facilities before you agree to board a horse. Make sure that it looks structurally sound.
Look at the pastures and trails while you’re out there. How much space is there for a horse to roam around? They need plenty of space to run and socialize with other horses while you’re not around.
Ask what kind of material their fencing is made of and how long they leave the horses out in the pasture. Are there any horses that tend to be aggressive? Any other injury concerns for your horse should be addressed before you board your horse.
The barn should have access to clean running water. This is to bathe the horses with and for them to drink. Horses can catch diseases from bad water just as easily as humans can.
On the subject of water, there should be facilities for you as well as your horse. When you’re there, chances are you’ll be there for most of the day. You need a clean and well-maintained bathroom for your use while you’re there for this reason.
Pay attention to the staff when you first visit the facility that you’re planning to keep your horse in, pay attention to the staff. Do they seem knowledgeable about caring for horses? How long have staff members been there?
You should be looking for staff that is attentive, professional, and kind to both you and the animals in their care. They should be well-trained in caring for horses. They should even have a good idea of the personalities of the horses who are currently boarded there.
Ask them how much they feed the horses every day and how often. They should know how long horses are out in the pasture every day too. What kind of exercise or training do they give the horses in their care?
They should know the facilities around the barn well. There should be no hesitation when you ask where the bathroom is. They should show you where the food and water for the horses are as well.
They should also know about the trails around their farm. If there are any potential dangers on any of them, they should tell you this while you’re touring the grounds.
All of this ensures that your horse is in good hands before you leave it with the staff. The last thing you want is for your horse to suffer from neglect.
Cleanliness is just as important for horses as it is for humans. Look around both the barn and the fields while you’re touring horse farms. You want to see that both are clean and safe for your horse.
The barn should be sturdy and well-maintained. Look around at the rafters and smell the air inside the barn. If it looks or smells moldy, then this is a big issue for both you and your horse.
Poke your head into some of the stables. The hay and feed inside should be fresh and mold-free. There shouldn’t be any signs of poop or wet hay inside the barn.
If there is, pay attention to how the staff reacts to seeing it. Horses will poop in their stalls, but it’s up to the staff to clean it up quickly to keep the horse’s living space clean.
The pasture should receive similar treatment. Staff should be scooping any horse poop from the pasture regularly so that it doesn’t get stepped in by the horses or guests. This keeps the horses healthy and hygienic at all times.
The fence should look sturdy and well-maintained. There shouldn’t be any nails or screws sticking out that a horse might hurt itself on. Any such issues should be addressed quickly by the staff for the safety of your horse.
Even if your horse doesn’t have any specific medical needs such as medications regularly, it’s always a good idea to ask about the general medical care of the horses at the facility.
For example, what happens if a horse gets sick? What measures are taken to quarantine sick horses from healthy ones and prevent the spread of disease?
They should have the name of an on-call vet that aids in the care of the horses. The facility should call this vet immediately if there is any kind of an emergency with a horse. This could be an injury or a disease that the horse caught.
All of the staff should know the horses in their care well enough to identify a potential issue. They should be trained to take a horse’s temperature if they suspect there’s a problem.
The staff should know what to do about minor things for the horse’s health such as replacing the horse’s shoes. A horse’s teeth never stop growing, so the vet needs to come and shave them down every once in a while to prevent dental issues as well.
This should all be common knowledge that the staff is trained to deal with so you never need to worry about your horse’s health.
Many horse barns also host events for people to come and enjoy. They often cater to birthday parties and weddings, for example.
Many horse farms even host horse riding camps. Here children can come and ride horses during the day while their parents are at work and then show off what they’ve learned at the end of the day. Many of these are day camps, which only run during typical school hours but some host campers overnight for a week or two as well.
It’s a great opportunity for kids to make new friends and learn responsibility for taking care of an animal. They’ll even want to come back again as soon as possible.
A lot of horse farms will also hold community events for families such as Easter egg hunts. Busy families will enjoy bringing their kids out to search for candy and treats on Easter Sunday. You can even get their picture with the Easter bunny while you’re there.
For horse enthusiasts, many horse farms also cater to birthday parties as well. They’ll help you set up tables for large groups and teach your guests about the care of horses. Guests will even get to take a riding lesson at the party.
In other words, parties at a horse farm are sure to be talked about for a very long time afterward. It also gives the adults a little time to talk amongst themselves too, so everyone there will enjoy it.
What to Wear
When you ride horses, proper attire is essential. You want to make sure you’re safe and comfortable while riding your horse.
This starts with the helmet. This keeps your head protected if you ever fall off your horse. If you ride enough, chances are that you’ll fall off at some point.
Tops depend on what you’re doing and climate. If you plan on keeping your horse at a walk and it’s hot out, then feel free to wear a simple t-shirt. If you’re going fast or jumping, a denim or leather jacket might be a good idea to protect your arms and torso from scapes if you fall.
Always wear long pants when riding a horse. If you wear shorts, you will have heavy chaffing and scrapes down your legs. Jeans are usually preferred since they are fairly protective.
As for footwear, closed-toe and sturdy are your best bet. Boots, sneakers, and even tennis shoes are acceptable. These will provide some protection if a horse accidentally steps on your toes and keep your feet in the stirrups.
Furthermore, you’re much more likely to lose a sandal while riding a horse than a well-fitted boot or tennis shoe. So if you want to keep your shoes, make sure they’ll stay on your feet. Most riders have dedicated footwear that they use specifically for that purpose.
Search Horse Barns Near Me Today
All of these items are important to know when you search for “horse barns near me.” You want to make sure you’re supporting a business that takes good care of its animals. If you’re boarding your horse, you want to know that you’re leaving your companion in good hands.
That’s why one of the best horse farms in PA is Ridge Meadow Horse Farm in York. We’re dedicated to the care of every horse and guest on our grounds. So come take riding lessons with us, board your horse here, or swing by for our camps or Easter egg hunt!
Instead of searching for “horse farms near me” again, contact us today to learn more about us and the horses we care for.