Say it with a Sign!

Whether you are a big riding stable or just a small home barn if you are not using signs you are missing opportunity, making more work for yourself and not playing it safe! Signs are one of the oldest forms of communication, using them effectively is keyWhether you are a big riding stable or just a small home barn if you are not using signs you are missing opportunity, making more work for yourself and not playing it safe! Signs are one of the oldest forms of communication, using them effectively is key

Story originally posted by: Article and Photos: © Dusty Perin

Whether you are a big riding stable or just a small home barn if you are not using signs you are missing opportunity, making more work for yourself and not playing it safe! Signs are one of the oldest forms of communication, using them effectively is key to a well run equine operation.

Signs make us known to the outside world. A beautiful well-placed sign at the end of the driveway helps people find your farm and it advertises you to potential clients passing by. A magnetic sign on your truck and signage on your trailer is wonderful free advertising everywhere you drive and park. Magnetic signs are great when you’re at a horse show but they can even be effective at the shopping mall, you never know where your next customer could be. If you have a web site make sure it is on your sign. Make sure your clothing has signs too, the farm name embroidered onto jackets, baseball caps and shirts is another way to keep your name in front of future customers and it gives others an easy conversation starter.

Signs help out around the barn by letting you work smarter. Do you have designated areas for trailers or car parking? Try marking these areas with small attractive signs and arrows directing visitors, it makes it easy to get folks to park where you want and keeps them off the grass. Are there doors or gates that need to be kept closed? Instead of verbally repeating the same information over and over each time someone new visits, a few well placed signs will help inform visitors and reduce the amount of time you have to spend reminding them. If you have upcoming events planned don’t be shy about posting a billboard type sign to advertise the events and the dates.

Do you have stable help or occasional caretakers when you are away? Make life easy for them by spelling it all out. Post any special dietary needs for each horse both in the feed room and on the horses stall door. Mark the halters with the names of the horses. I recently had one of my horse sitters admit to me that for the past two years she had the names of my mares mixed up, this could have severe consequences because one of the mares has allergies to certain foods.

Signs for safety are a must at both private and public barns, make sure that the exits, fire extinguishers, phone locations and emergency contact numbers are clearly marked. Post "No Smoking" signs, never assume that everyone knows proper barn etiquette. Every horse’s stall should have a card on it with information specific to the horse along with contact info for owner, vet and farrier. Keep your barn safe by posting a copy of the rules.

Equine liability signs for your state should be prominently posted at the main entrance to your barn. If you have horses that nip or you have a no feeding treats policy make it known with a sign. If you are going to be gone for the day or just a few hours put a symbolic rope across the entrance to your barn saying "closed – no admittance please" and put your cell phone number on the sign.

While signs will never be a substitute for a conscientious owner, they are cost effective advertising and will save you time, money and potential costly mistakes. Good signs can make your farm a friendly, organized and safe place to be.