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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar. 11, 2011
    Posts
    11

    Default Am I a barn diva or just a pain in the butt?

    I'm new here and it seems that this might be the place to get an honest opinion.

    I have been riding for almost 30 years. I have been an instructor, showed the A circuit as a junior, worked for GP riders.

    I have been at my current barn for about 7 years. I have helped out when needed (feeding, teaching a lesson here or there, bringing the horses in from the field, pulling a mane here or there, meds, etc.) I became known as a go-to person. Always available, I've been around in the industry, and live close. Never asked for anything in return...For a while, i received reciprocity. I had horses to ride when I didnt own any, etc. As a result for always having something to ride, i was happy to help. I liked it and it made me feel like an asset to the barn. I was always brought up to help around the barn and ask nothing in return.

    Now, i have bought my own horse after not having one for about 6 years. He is by far the cheapest horse in the barn (a rescue). That being said, he is pretty fancy and might make up to be a nice horse. Maybe even a show hunter. However, i have VERY limited funds and am happy that i can afford the board, let alone lessons (there's no training rides b/c the BO/trainer doesn't ride) Lately, i am feeling like I am being taken advantage of. Over the past few months, i have fed, brought in, delivered horses for the barn owner/trainer etc. and barely received a thank you, let alone a break in board or anything else. The BO/trainer was away for a month showing and told everyone that was the one who was available to handle any issues (illness, questions, etc.) Then the BO came back and now we seem to have problems. i KNOW that i am part of the problem b/c i feel like i am unappreciated and being taken advantage of. I feel like the BO /trainer takes no interest in my horse or his progress and there has been petty little things happeneing that are driving me nuts.
    I have kind of high standards regarding the ring being dragged, feeding etc. and it seems that the BO is fed up with me. I feel like I am watched and everything i say to anyone else or anything I do is subject to criticism behind my back. I am beginning to wonder if I am just a barn diva PITA.
    I don't even want to go to the barn when there are people there b/c it feels tense. Yet, i live in such a small area that if i go and "shop around" for another place, the BO will find out and I think it will complicate things. I don't want to burn this bridge, but i almost feel unwelcomed. the BO is not approachable and is known to turn things around and make it about him.

    Do i sound like a diva? what would you do?



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan. 10, 2002
    Location
    Area VIII, Region 2, Zone 5.
    Posts
    7,540

    Default

    I would find another barn ASAP. I would leave without burning any bridges, but I would leave.
    Quote Originally Posted by rascalpony View Post
    I refuse to ride my cat out of the kitchen, mainly because I don't want to pay the hospital bills.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb. 19, 2011
    Posts
    1,201

    Default

    Thank you is such a small comment, but it goes a long way. If you're not getting thanked and the BO is not paying attention to your horse and his progression (by the way, purchasing/adopting a rescue-two thumbs up ) then I would shop around for another barn. Find a barn that is good with inexperienced horses and is known for their lesson program. Typically the trainers who spend most of their time with all different levels of riders (beginner-advanced) are generally the nicest and easiest to work with!

    Best of luck!


    And no, you do not sound like a diva. I would be just as concerned as you are if this was happening to me



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun. 30, 2009
    Posts
    6,997

    Default

    Do you have a friend you can barn shop with? - pretend (s)he is the one looking, as a horse purchase is being considered - no actual horse in the story so you don't have to disclose fictitious details ...



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun. 24, 2005
    Location
    Alabama
    Posts
    10,727

    Default

    It sounds as if you are being taken for granted, and I don't think the fact that you bought a rescue horse that's the cheapest in the barn is helping matters. I think that your horse is viewed as a distraction from your work at the barn, and I think that it is time to move ASAP. I also think that your trainer/BO is being a total jerk, and already burned the bridge. You don't have to leave ugly, but you do need to leave before things get worse and there is an incident, or words are said that will rupture the relationship forever.
    You can't fix stupid-Ron White



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb. 19, 2011
    Posts
    97

    Default

    I think it is time to leave the barn. If things changed suddenly when you bought a horse, that is a red flag. Perhaps the BO/trainer doesn't like rescues and has a subconscious resentment of it.

    Or, perhaps you're spending more time away from the barn duties and they've got used to seeing you as a certain kind of person and aren't willing to accept change. Either way, I think it's in your best interest to get out.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr. 27, 2008
    Posts
    2,930

    Default

    IMO there is much more to this story that you are not telling us. Yet. I couldn't say who is reasonable and who is not with such general and hinted-at information. You ask if you are a diva, but you haven't said what it is you do that could be considered diva-ish. I'm sure you don't count the helpful things you've done as part of a possible perception of diva.

    Then the BO came back and now we seem to have problems. i KNOW that i am part of the problem b/c i feel like i am unappreciated and being taken advantage of.
    What problems? Specifically. It sounds like this could be at the crux of your issue, but you haven't given any details at all.

    I have kind of high standards regarding the ring being dragged, feeding etc. and it seems that the BO is fed up with me.
    Specifically why do you think the BO is fed up? What did she do, what did you do? How does the first half of the quoted sentence relate to the second half.

    I don't even want to go to the barn when there are people there b/c it feels tense.
    I don't understand. Are the people treating you as if they know nothing, or is it their attitude toward you that makes you tense? The statement doesn't make sense without more info.

    There's more I could ask, but that's a start. Based solely on what you posted I have no idea if you are a diva or not, if the BO is fair, and whether you should change barns. I will say that if you leave whatever it is you do that caused this "tense" situation will go with you to a new place, unless you get a handle on it now. Good luck!



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct. 14, 2007
    Location
    California
    Posts
    4,218

    Default

    Unwritten agreements end up causing problems. When I first started reading your post I could totally see where this was going to end up and how you would be feeling.

    I don't think your being a diva or a PITA for wanting arenas harrowed, horses properly groomed and tack cleaned... I am just like this - however some people with different ideas can see it that way.... So I gladly except the fact because I like things a certain way.

    Too bad you cant get your own place... that's why I do better with my horses at home... or if they are boarded for training it must be a top notch facility with great care... (which I cannot afford more often than not).
    "The horse should pay attention to two things only: the rider’s aids and his own self-preservation at the jump—not the environment. ~ GM



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov. 13, 2007
    Location
    NW Louisiana
    Posts
    5,302

    Default

    I was in a somewhat-similar situation once. I boarded at a small barn, great care, nice people. I was more than willing to help out, and for nothing in return. They took great care of my horse, and I had the time to pitch in when help was needed.

    Until I found out that the BM was badmouthing me to anyone who would listen. People I had never met had stories about how bad I was as a person. Of course these stories were so far from the truth it wasn't even funny, but in the end I had to leave that barn. The care of my horses started to suffer a bit because BM didn't agree with my supplement choices, which had been recommended by a vet.

    Once I was out of that drama, it was like a huge weight lifted. New BO was awesome, no drama, no talking behind boarders' backs. Pitching in for illnesses, travel, etc, was met with a thanks instead of badmouthing.

    So my advice, if BO is starting to take advantage of you, it's time to get out before the situation goes further downhill.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar. 10, 2009
    Posts
    5,736

    Default

    Your status at the barn has changed now that you are a horse owner. Your concerns are now more personal, since they more directly affect you and your horse.
    After six years, I'm thinking the BO and other boarders are having a hard time making the shift in how they perceive you.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan. 27, 2003
    Location
    CA
    Posts
    11,174

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by maybeadiva View Post
    I was always brought up to help around the barn and ask nothing in return.
    Quote Originally Posted by maybeadiva View Post
    and barely received a thank you, let alone a break in board or anything else.
    These two comments don't exactly go together. You were brought up to help and not expect anything, but you certainly want a thank-you and now that you have horse ownership bills, you may just want a break in board? You're saying one thing, but expecting another. I'm betting you also expected the reciprocity before and because you were receiving it, you didn't actually have to think that what you are saying isn't really the deep down truth for you. If the barn hadn't reciprocated before, would you really have been happy to help out?

    If you now want something in return (which it sounds like you do) and aren't getting it, stop doing whatever it is you are doing. When people come to you with questions, kindly redirect them. If someone asks you to do something, tell them you can't.

    (I do believe they should at least thank-you for helping, but anything else is gravy).

    Quote Originally Posted by Mara View Post
    Your status at the barn has changed now that you are a horse owner. Your concerns are now more personal, since they more directly affect you and your horse.
    After six years, I'm thinking the BO and other boarders are having a hard time making the shift in how they perceive you.
    Yes. I'm guessing your expectations have changed as well. When I was riding someone else's horses, I wasn't nearly as concerned as when it's my own. If they didn't get turn-out? Not a big deal. I wasn't half as concerned about blanketing changes, etc. When I bought my horse, man was I neurotic about everything. I've mellowed some, but I'm still a stickler about footing, hay quality/amount, amount of shavings, etc. I wasn't that way before. I cared about the other horses, but not quite so much.

    It's quite possible you've gotten a little diva-esque. Only you really know. IMO, the best way to solve a problem like this is to talk to the person involved instead of stewing over it and hoping it will magically fix itself....or run away from the problem.

    (*turnout is not guaranteed, is self-serve and is very limited. )
    Keith: "Now...let's do something normal fathers and daughters do."
    Veronica: "Buy me a pony?"



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov. 8, 2010
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    631

    Default

    I was in this situation for several years. I bent over backwards to do everything for trainer, worked my butt off, did everything I could for everybody and got nothing.

    I am one of those people that often gets myself in trouble because I give too much. I want to take care of every horse the best I can, it is expensive, it is time consuming, and it is not practical. We all need to learn when and how to say "no, I'm sorry I can't this time". It will be one of the best lessons you can learn!

    I would find some place else. Just sit down and talk to trainer and tell him exactly how it is. Find a place that is appreciative of what you do. Good luck!
    Last edited by Reagan; Mar. 12, 2011 at 02:21 PM.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar. 24, 2004
    Location
    Central PA
    Posts
    1,317

    Default

    It sounds like you're being taken for granted. Before you go making huge changes and potentially burning bridges by moving to another barn, simply back off on all the extras you provide at this barn. Go ride your horse, take care of your horse, etc, but don't hang out just chatting and being available. Like RugBug said, divert questions or requests for help to the appropriate responsible party. But, don't be curt, snippy, or cold with anyone. Force yourself to smile, ask how people are, make friendly small talk, etc. In other words, act like everything is a-okay with you. Then see what happens.

    Maybe you have had a change of attitude, and it's rubbing people the wrong way. The change in your attitude may, indeed, have been caused by others taking you for granted, but it's up to you to stop being taken advantage of. You can't control what others do and how they act. You can only control how you act and react.

    Does your horse get good care at this barn? If so, that's another reason to give it more time.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    May. 5, 2009
    Location
    Location: Indiana, but my heart is in Zone II
    Posts
    3,319

    Default

    So- could you have said something to a boarder that could have gotten back to BO?

    Also- define "high standards" regarding ring dragging and feeding. Is it not done enough? Or not done the way you want it, need some clarification.

    Sometimes perceptions can be skewed. I don't think it has anything to do w/ your boy being a rescue. Just asking * is it possible* that you are being especially neurotic and the BO is just annoyed?

    You have to ask yourself- how am I contributing to this situation. You should NOT be miseraable going to see your horse, it defeats the purpose.

    I am just asking questions, not judging you AT ALL. I wish you well!!
    Come to the dark side, we have cookies



  15. #15
    Join Date
    May. 16, 2008
    Posts
    581

    Default

    What was your "customer" status before you brought in the horse? Were you a paying customer of some sort? Lessons on barn horses?

    I can't tell, but it sounds like you have may switched from being a non-paid employee of sorts to a customer with new demands and everyone is having trouble adjusting.

    I don't know if you should leave or not, but I would talk to the barn owner about the change, to confirm it, as in, 'Hey, I have my own horse here now and I pay board. I just want to do that and have a good facility to ride in."



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug. 12, 2010
    Location
    Westford, Massachusetts
    Posts
    5,137

    Default

    I think you changed from unofficial "staff" to a paying customer and that has changed the dynamic. You say you have extensive, and pretty high level, horse experience. Is it more than BO/trainer has? Or, even equivalent to what BO/trainer has? Everyone wants well-educated, competent, confident staff with high standards. Anyone even a bit insecure in their ability to deliver first rate service does not want a well-educated, competent, confident customer with high standards. Clueless customers are much easier to deal with .



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Mar. 11, 2011
    Posts
    11

    Default

    First off. thank you all, this has been helpul. Ok i'll try to add a bit more. I would not say i have more experience than the BO. The BO has been in the business for probably 30 years, while I have only been riding that long. I know that i am part of the problem. there are always 2 sides. I don't want to say too much here in case some one reads it and puts two and two together.

    Last year, i free leased a horse in the barn. Paid all expenses, etc. I DID get a break on lessons b/c the bO knew i didn't have a lot of money and they wanted me to show. SO in order for me to show, they cut the lesson rate a little. In return, i helped out as much as a i could. fast forward to current situation...i have no extra money for lessons, bo doesn't even ask i am interested in lesssoning..nothing. Look, when i taught lessons, i took an interest in all the customers. If i saw a kid was riding and having a problem with a certain thing, i would watch for a minute, offer a little suggestion, wait to see if they understood, then go on my way. I'm like that. I'm analytical and really enjoy the theory and mechanisms of riding. For the record, I have never been an employee here. I taught weekend lessons for about 6-9 months (on top of my 9-5 monday to friday job), then i got my amateur status back.

    I know for a fact the BO went to a boarder and complained because I always longe at one end of the ring. Well, he didn't come to me. AND there is not sufficient room anywhere else to longe. Knowing the BO (b/c he talks to me about everyone else) he is complaining about me. I am taking it slow w/ my new horse...really working on balance, flatting a lot. More trot than canter. The BO has made comments that i should not ride my horse that way, that i should just go ahead and start jumping etc. But that's not how I want to bring MY horse along. (BTW everything in the barn goes in draw reins and no one really works on FLATTING them properly)

    Like reagan, i get myself into trouble doing too much and giving all I have to make a team environment for everyone. I am going to re-read these posts again and really think about this. I can maybe give more info in PMs. I;m not comfortable about posting too much here. thanks again



  18. #18
    Join Date
    May. 2, 2006
    Location
    Chicagoland
    Posts
    1,764

    Default

    Have you ever talked to the BO about how you feel? When he went away for a month and told the other boarders you were more or less in charge, maybe he didn't think you had a problem with it because you've been helping out around the barn for so long with no problems. Usually by the time one party starts to feel taken for granted it means a conversation is past due.

    It sounds like you want a discount on your board bill for helping out, which ins't unheard of. But if you've always just happily pitched in without asking for anything in return, the BO may not realize you want more. You can ask to start getting paid or get a reduction in board. Or you could just stop helping out and just be a regular boarder.

    Also, I think you need to clarify more on why you're wondering if you're being a diva. Is the ring never getting dragged and you're always having to ask because it's so bad you don't want to ride in it? Or are you freaking out because it hasn't been dragged since yesterday and there are hoof prints in it? I realize you didn't imply the latter, but you're being kind of vague so I'm looking for clarification.

    I get how you feel. It does sound like you are taken for granted because it's assumed you'll help out all the time, no questions asked. But it sounds like you've allowed that to happen and it's time for a discussion with the BO about the whole situation.

    Edited to add:

    You posted while I was writing.

    How you train and ride your horse isn't really the BO's business unless you're doing something unsafe or cruel, which you are not. So ignore him. Smile and nod and say "That's an interesting idea, thanks." and carry on. As far as where you lunge in the ring, I don't see why that matters unless you're in peoples' way or something.



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Mar. 11, 2011
    Posts
    11

    Default

    thats just it. I ALWAYS make sure that either no one is riding or i stay out of other people's way when i longe, b/c let's face it...i'm the only one who longes regularly. i think the gripe is b/c the footing gets churned up and then the bo has to drag again (it's kind of crummy footing - its hard in spots, deep in others.) But hell, just ask me to longe somewhere else.

    i know my horse is green. i make sure that i stay out of everyone's way. it's better for him, and them...but sorry, when the older kids are goofing off in the ring, clapping their hands over their head b/c their horse is so quiet and it makes my greeniie lose his mind, then i sort of feel like 1) they are inconsiderate and 2) it makes me mad b/c i can't get any work done w/ my horse b/c he is now so tense that it doesnt make sense to ride that day...

    i dont feel comfortable speaking with the BO. the bo does not take criticism well and likes to play the victim...

    sigh.



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jun. 24, 2005
    Location
    Alabama
    Posts
    10,727

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    Start barn shopping, because they don't want you or your horse there any longer. It's sad when a relationship ends, but it happens and it's time to move on.
    You can't fix stupid-Ron White



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