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How to Be the Tack Room Neighbor Other Riders Don’t Hate

tack room etiquette
Written by Horse Rookie

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Sharing is caring, but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy. For many equestrians, this is never more true than walking into the messy tack room you share with a dozen other riders — and learning someone (no idea who) “borrowed” your girth again. 

Creating a friendly barn atmosphere is largely dependent upon the type of people who ride there and how they treat one another. 

7 Horse Tack Room Etiquette Tips

1. Keep it Clean

Cleaning a communal space can tend to feel like someone else’s job. But, guess what? It’s everyone’s job. 

Grab the broom and sweep without being asked.

Hang up another rider’s girth or bridle that’s fallen on the floor. Arrange your own gear in a neat and tidy way.

2. Stay in Your Lane

Though you’re sharing a room, resist the urge to draw a bold red line in marker around your designated space or set up a folder fort to keep others out.

As equestrians, we all have a lot of stuff. I’ve never met a rider who had way more tack room space than he or she wanted, if not needed. 

Cramming all your gear into a small space is going to be tough, but stay in your lane.

Make sure your neighbor can open her tack box without the lid getting stuck on your saddle. Don’t let your boot collection magically expand into your neighbor’s space.

And never — ever — take over someone else’s “unused” saddle stand or bridle hook without asking.

Their space is their space. Your space is your space. 

group of horse tack

No one has “enough” space. (Source: Pixabay)

3. Put Your Stuff Away

After a long hard ride in the sweltering heat of summer, sometimes you just want to rip off your half chaps and throw them headlong in the general direction of your tack area. 

Or, perhaps you’ve got your arms full of stuff and some of it topples to the floor.

It’s sort of near your spot… so who cares?

Friends, put your stuff away. Keep your space orderly, and do a quick scan of the cross-tie area and your tack room spot before leaving the barn to ensure everything is put away. 

4. Ask Before Borrowing

Borrowing requires permission. Even if you “know” your neighbor is happy to loan out her extra girth or horse shampoo, ask first. 

It’s worth repeating: ask before ‘borrowing’ anything that doesn’t belong to you.

You don’t know what other people are planning to use themselves, and no one is obligated to share the gear they’ve spent their hard-earned money to buy. 

Of course, it’s nice to share when you can — and it’s always OK to ask. Just don’t assume it’s fine to take stuff from the tack room like it’s a candy shop.

5. Look Out for Each Other

Notice someone’s tack is broken or in dangerous condition? Let them know. If you see a forgotten girth left in the tack-up area, put it back where it belongs. 

If you’re heading to the tack store to drop off a bag of dirty saddle pads for laundering, offer to take other people’s so they can skip a trip. 

If you’re the last one out of the barn at night, double-check the tack room is locked. 

Treat others the way you’d want to be treated — especially when no one is looking over your shoulder.

forgotten saddle

If you know where it goes, put back forgotten gear. (Source: Pixabay)

6. Get a Tack Trunk

Organization is key when you’re sharing a tack room. Whether you invest in a tack trunk, Tupperware set of drawers, or a different approach that works better with your space, get organized. 

7. Don’t Be Annoying

Following the advice above, of course, will help avoid this pitfall. But you can be the cleanest, most organized tack room tenant and still make people crazy if you:

  • Seem like you’re always in the common space.
  • Constantly misplace your stuff and ask if anyone has seen your [insert anything].
  • Chit-chat nonstop when it’s clear other riders are in a hurry to tack up or head home.  
  • Treat your gear as important, and everyone else’s belongings as unimportant. 
  • Don’t pull your weight on cleaning duties, but still complain about the state of the tack room.

Parting Thoughts

Have more ideas about how to be a good tack room neighbor? Let us know in the comments (but no names please!).

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About the author

I began riding horses at age six, and I'm just as infatuated (OK, more!) with the sport decades later. My AQHA gelding exemplifies the versatility of the breed -- reined cow horse, reining, roping, ranch riding, trail, dressage, and jumping. We're also dipping our toes (hooves) into Working Equitation!