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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Sep. 7, 2009
    Location
    Lexington, KY
    Posts
    16,845

    Default

    No is a complete sentence. Yes, it's hard when it's family. We used to have the whole family (husband's) descend upon us for a week at Christmas. A whole week. After several years, I got tired of being the maid, cook and tour guide (and footing the bill). Visits were limited to 3 days, no more than 3 guests at a time. Eventually, you have to put your foot down.

    If someone shows up next year with fireworks, tell them to put them away or go home. Extra guests? Sorry, the invitation clearly stated no guest, can't accommodate you...suggest you go to xyz park for your fireworks. As for devil spawn, wow, don't think he'd ever be allowed back.
    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." ~Immanuel Kant



  2. #22
    Join Date
    Apr. 23, 1999
    Location
    Rosehill, TX
    Posts
    6,996

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    Labor Day....Memorial Day....Veterans Day....Easter.....many other days to choose from if you feel the need to have a family gathering but I'd at least follow the advice here and have NOTHING next year and then invite a small contingent to an alternate holiday in a subsequent year
    Nothing says "I love you" like a tractor. (Clydejumper)

    The reports states, “Elizabeth reported that she accidently put down this pony, ........, at the show.”



  3. #23
    Join Date
    Sep. 13, 2006
    Location
    At the back of the line
    Posts
    4,016

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Sport View Post
    I am not sure if this would work, but I would be tempted to right now while it is fresh in everyone's mind, write a letter basically telling everyone what you told us here, well maybe not identifying devils spawn.

    Just note that you realized that the weekend was not really enjoyable for you and that the farm may not be the best place to hold the event.
    List some of the dangers, ie uninvited guests, fireworks near a barn, people in horses space, etc.

    Let them know you will get back to them regarding next years event when you have had time to think about it and that you have decided there are ways you can still have fun with everyone and keep your place safe.
    This will give them time to think about it, maybe think about their own actions and also give them the heads up that next years event may be cancelled, or at the least will be different.
    Assumeing they know what good behavior is. I kinda doubt it with the fireworks story. But this would at least give ammo to the idea of nixing it.

    I like "No is a complete sentence." Maybe host a family reunion at another time if you want to see them again (no fireworks). I guess its true you cant pick your family.

    (If DS had been at one of my family reunions there woulda been a line forming to spank his nether parts. Did Mom do anything or is her snookums too nice for that?)
    “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” Peter Drucker



  4. #24
    Join Date
    Aug. 31, 2006
    Posts
    3,138

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    JohnDeere -- the reason this little kid will never come back to my farm is that his mother and grandparents do not accept that the child has a problem. They don't address it. I was right there when this happened, and I yelled at the child -- he was in shock that he was reprimanded, even with grandmother laying on the ground. So, he started bawling. Within moments, his mother and grandmother came rushing to HIS aide (grandmother still laying on the ground) and made up a total fabrication of the child being scared and falling off the tack trunk and it was all an accident. That is NOT what happened. The child should have been severely reprimanded, but instead these two idiots spent hours "consoling" the poor child for his traumatic experience.

    I had to leave grandmother on the ground, run into the house to get her son and another man to help her to her feet - all the while the other two women were "consoling" the poor child.

    His parents do not believe in discipline, they think the kid is "brilliant" and do not want to repress his natural curiosity. They are lunatics. I do not blame the child, he is damaged in some manner. I am not a doctor, but I do recognize there is something seriously wrong with this child. I blame the parents for sticking their head in the sand and refusing to accept he has a problem and learning to deal with it.

    But it does not matter who is to blame. Facts are facts. The child is dangerous, and will only become more so as he gets bigger. He cannot come here. End of story. I hope I do not have to say it that bluntly, but if I do, I will. There were several other "incidents" involving this child throughout the day, too numerous to mention. I am sorry he is like this, but there is nothing I can do about it other than protect myself, my farm and my animals from him.



  5. #25
    Join Date
    Nov. 25, 2004
    Location
    Greenville, SC
    Posts
    918

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    If you have a handy-dandy physical or electronic address book, I would send out a mass email going something like:

    Dear Family,

    What a wonderful event it was to see all of my relatives in good health and spirits. I do enjoy our annual get-together so much, and look forward to continuing it.

    However, due to a few circumstances, a few new rules will be established for next year's celebration. These rules will be for my happiness as well as the happiness of everyone else attending. They are as follows:

    and list the new rules.

    Anyone doesn't like it or complain, say flat out it is your property being utilized, your peace of mind, your time and energy being spent, and your right to lay down whatever laws you want. They can go cry in their cheerios if they are really that upset.
    Lucy (Precious Star) - 1994 TB mare; happily reunited with her colt Touch the Stars



  6. #26
    Join Date
    Oct. 14, 2010
    Location
    Lakeland, FL
    Posts
    203

    Default

    Please accept my extremely heart felt condolences.
    Been there, done that .......

    But THANK YOU for posting! You have reminded me why I now live in a tiny apartment by myself and board my horse. In my case it was my husband who wanted to host HUGE parties (one year over the course of a weekend I counted over 200 different heads of varying ages). The orchard would be filled with tents and campers for a week or so on end, nothing was sacred. Fireworks, live bands, hordes of strange faces milling through the house, barn outbuildings, and paddocks. Every family has at least 1 demon spawn, I can still see the faces.

    Each year it got larger and larger, my self designated role was sheriff with my office (lawn chair) set up somewhere near the barn. I confiscated air guns, bb guns, paint ball guns, sticks and misc other objects that good minded family members felt their little darlings could have fun with on all that land.
    I turned into the family curmudgeon. I started to dread the onset of summer knowing what was coming.

    Please know my thoughts are with you. I'll pray you have a better outcome.
    "Gypsy gold does not chink and glitter, it gleams in the sun and neighs in the dark"



  7. #27
    Join Date
    Aug. 25, 2005
    Location
    Northeast
    Posts
    10,243

    Exclamation

    Quit, while you are alive.

    There is a time when all good things come to an end.

    You have reached that time!!!!

    When hosting family becomes exhausting and worse yet dangerous, it's time to pack it in!!!
    Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.



  8. #28
    Join Date
    Aug. 7, 2005
    Location
    Georgia
    Posts
    2,500

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    I found myself almost in the same position with my husband's family some years ago and I finally just told them NO, not happening here.
    They wanted to know why and I told them I just had too many things here that could bite, kick, scratch, knock down or drown. Not happening.

    They weren't thrilled but they found a really nice large community center that works just fine.
    I also learned to say NO I am not making potato salad for a hundred people.
    I've turned into a cranky old lady and I'm enjoying it.
    You know why cowboys don't like Appaloosas?" - Answer: Because to train a horse, you have to be smarter than it is.



  9. #29
    Join Date
    Sep. 6, 1999
    Location
    Phoenix, AZ
    Posts
    5,240

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    I like the idea of an after party letter and stating here are the new rules.
    And especially, here's the designated areas. Rope them off too. Must corral townies as well as animals!
    Also, a formal rsvp with who's bringing whom so you know how many people to feed.
    Put it in such a way that you want to make it as enjoyable for everyone as possible.
    And next year, if you catch a whiff that people are going to be a-holes - call it off.
    And for the devil's spawn, just talk to the parents that they are not allowed back because farms are dangerous for such 'specially gifted' children at this stage in their life.
    Had this happen too. Had rednecks at our place though. It was supposed to be for hubby's team members only and they decided to invite their families. They let their kids run around barefoot in our pasture (ick!) and one particular 'lady' just finished her ciggie, put it out in my mulch bed in front of the front door, went into our house and took the hugest smelliest dump ever in our centrally located downstairs bathroom.
    Yeah, hubby took team out to lunch after that debacle.
    Even duct tape can't fix stupid



  10. #30
    Join Date
    May. 6, 2007
    Posts
    1,052

    Default

    Invite only the people you enjoy, and who have the decency and good upbringing to understand and respect the limits of an invitation. You have no duty to be miserable in your own home!
    Don't wrassle with a hog. You just get dirty, and the hog likes it.

    Collecting Thoroughbreds - tales of a re-rider and some TBs



  11. #31
    Join Date
    Jan. 5, 2010
    Posts
    2,152

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    "The pasture is not a playground. Pasture is off-limits except by escort of a knowledgable horse-aware adult, with my explicit permission; No exceptions. This rule is for the protection of your child, yourselves, my horses, and my way of life."

    Family gatherings are important. So are limits.
    Nudging "Almost Heaven" a little closer still...
    http://www.wvhorsetrainer.com



  12. #32
    Join Date
    Jul. 19, 2007
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    10,311

    Default

    Regarding the six-year-old, you mention 'mother and grandparents'--is there no father/absentee father? My cousin (once removed) the future serial killer (I kid, but he was acting out in VERY bad ways) had issues in a large part because he was the middle kid of a big family and dad doesn't pay attention except to discipline them. However, mom and grandparents were better plus visiting Great-Uncle and Great-Aunt (my parents), there was no question about it was their house, their discipline. (I offered to come in and explain he was not in fact the craziest person in this family and I have a shovel and a hundred and twenty acres, so if he tried to get his little sister on the roof again....They passed. But I was only half-kidding.) He responded extremely well to having a firm authority. From the sound of it, they aren't raising this kid so much as untying him periodically, and if they don't allow you to discipline him then not having him around is sadly the best way to go.

    And I confess to liking Sport's solution, only without any prevaricating. If you don't mind the chance of being viewed as the bad guy, explain you will not be hosting next year and explain why. Don't accuse or blame, just straight out this is my home, these are my animals, the privilige of being a guest was abused, this is why we cannot have nice things.



  13. #33
    Join Date
    Dec. 14, 2005
    Location
    Just east of Short Hill Mtn.
    Posts
    2,696

    Default

    We don't do parties often, but have a lot of non-horsey folks bringing bunches of kids to pet the nice horses (I have 5, all relatively well behaved). I've found that family is actually worse than friends in disregarding your requests for caution.

    So, for years now, I tell the moms that the pastures are infested with poison ivy (which they were when we first moved here) and my OTTB will run down anything that comes into the pasture (I once, years ago, saw him chase a dog out of the pasture. He's blue-black, and has a gleam in his eye that makes it believable) If that doesn't deter them well enough, I let them give a few snacks on the fence line (something I usually don't allow), which turns Jazz into a raving lunatic ("Get away, get away!!! Mine, all mine!!!!") and makes the others bomb around in desperation.

    I never seem to have any problems with the kids being where they're not supposed to.
    "Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." - Confucious
    <>< I.I.



  14. #34
    Join Date
    Feb. 7, 2000
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    2,988

    Default

    Nothing keeps people away better than casual references like:

    "we recently fertilized the grass.... The store manager swears it should be ok for adults but there could be a health concern for kids....."

    or "one of our horses has been a kind of aggressive lately. She likes fingers....."

    to keep families away.
    "Whether you think you can or think you can't, you are right." -Henry Ford



  15. #35
    Join Date
    Apr. 17, 2002
    Location
    between the barn and the pond
    Posts
    14,210

    Default

    We host Thanksgiving and I enjoy it as it makes me really get my house in order, but if it ever turns into what you described above: I'm done.

    If you do opt to carry on:

    In the past I've confiscated the remote for the TV so my Dad cannot plug into it and turn up some ridiculous race on Speed Vision or some such. I'll allow college football but not car races. He has 364 other days to watch them push the skinny pedal on the right and turn left.

    Cats are locked away or go into hiding. Horses are off limits. The fence is ON and all the adults know it. YES THE FENCE IS HOT. I might turn it off but they don't know that. We'll make an event of walking to the barn and handing out carrot pieces (precut by me). No pony rides. There are too many people...when the crowd thins I'll take select wee kids on pony rides. But only if I want to.

    Gates I think might be tempting get zip ties on them to discourage such things.

    Fireworks: only sparklers and bottle rockets off our deck. My horses don't care about them, so I'm ok with that.

    It's hard, but it has to be fun for you, too. If you want to do this next year, I'd explain about 60 days out you need an RSVP and here are some good things to note: NO Fireworks. No extra guests. I need a head count to plan seating, and I want this to be about family.

    oh, my big tip: Enlist HELP. Tell your DH what his jobs are. Tell your ____ what her jobs are (checking on ice supply, checking on trash cans overflowing) tell ___ that he's in charge of making sure the collective children are NOT going to the barn. Assign these tasks as 'we're in this together, I love hosting it, but I can't do it all and get to visit, too. Can I ask you to take on a few of the tasks? Delegate. Just do it.



  16. #36
    Join Date
    May. 22, 2003
    Posts
    9,625

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    This seems to me like an issue that could be cleared up pretty quickly by just being direct and firm. Having your husband on the same page and wiling to also be direct and firm also helps. Consistency is key.

    First, have you just flat out TOLD the people who keep bringing uninvited guests not to do that anymore? In no uncertain terms? If this happened to me, if I didn't pull them aside AT the event, I'd have been on the phone with them the very next day. I'd be nice about it, but very clear - You may not bring uninvited guests to my property without getting my express permission first. And I reserve the right to say NO when you ask.

    Second, set clear rules and boundaries. If people haven't been here before, I give them a briefing on the rules, including what areas of the property are off limits. If someone is doing something unsafe, I let them know immediately. I'm not a jerk about it, but I am direct and clear. If it's a kid, I not only tell the kid, I also tell the kid's parents. In fact, I will usually take the kid back to his parents and tell the parents, while delivering them their child to watch. If this doesn't work (and there are just some people who are either incapable or unwilling to parent), those people aren't welcome back. I'm not going to have someone get hurt on my property because I am too worried about being polite.

    Try being clear and direct. Remind these same offenders that no uninvited guests are welcome the next time you extend them an invitation, too. If this has happened more than once in the past, they may think you are okay with it, even though you clearly are not. "Hey, I know last time we had a party, you showed up with X, Y, and Z... but please, this time, the invitation is just for your immediate family. We just can't have so many people at this party, and I'd appreciate it if you didn't invite extra people without asking me first going forward. Thanks."

    If someone showed up here with fireworks, I'd have told them immediately they cannot light them off on my property. Period. End of story. They are welcome to save them to light off on their own property, but it won't be happening on mine. Sparklers for the kids are fine, but nothing else.

    I'm a nice person who likes to have a good time, but I won't be taken advantage of. And I'm sure this post makes me sound like some crazy stuck-up snob who bosses people around, but I assure you I am not. I'm just very clear and direct about issues as they arise.

    I'm sure there are some idiots out there who would get offended that someone actually has boundaries in their own home and on their own property, but no one has ever gotten upset because we have created boundaries and rules here. As long as you're clear, direct, and consistent, most people get the picture.

    It is NOT rude, impolite, mean, etc. to establish boundaries and communicate them to others. If you keep letting people take advantage of your home and property, you will drive yourself nuts. I don't know how we as a society have gotten so wrapped up in being "polite" and not "offending" people that we essentially allow them to walk all over us and disrespect our homes and property. Telling people not to bring uninvited guests and enforcing reasonable rules on your farm is not being rude and isn't going to cause WWIII, unless your friends and/or family are completely batshit crazy. If they ARE, I would let them throw their own parties!

    Seriously, though... Good luck! You're a saint for putting up with as much as you did.



  17. #37
    Join Date
    Apr. 23, 1999
    Location
    Rosehill, TX
    Posts
    6,996

    Default

    confiscate fireworks
    turn away uninvited guests and those that tried to bring them
    Nothing says "I love you" like a tractor. (Clydejumper)

    The reports states, “Elizabeth reported that she accidently put down this pony, ........, at the show.”



  18. #38
    Join Date
    May. 22, 2003
    Posts
    9,625

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by LauraKY View Post
    No is a complete sentence. Yes, it's hard when it's family. We used to have the whole family (husband's) descend upon us for a week at Christmas. A whole week. After several years, I got tired of being the maid, cook and tour guide (and footing the bill). Visits were limited to 3 days, no more than 3 guests at a time. Eventually, you have to put your foot down.

    If someone shows up next year with fireworks, tell them to put them away or go home. Extra guests? Sorry, the invitation clearly stated no guest, can't accommodate you...suggest you go to xyz park for your fireworks. As for devil spawn, wow, don't think he'd ever be allowed back.
    This.



  19. #39
    Join Date
    Mar. 4, 2007
    Location
    Western Washington
    Posts
    2,920

    Default

    I like the post-event letter: We enjoyed seeing most of you .... but the crowd has gotten too large for us... we're thinking about not doing it for next year, so plan to make other plans.

    That will give you a year to decide what to do. You could invite just a few, with clear instructions that you're inviting THEM and not everyone else they know.

    And posting rules is in order. DH and I went to a barbecue at my BO's house. Before we stepped onto the deck we saw the rules: no running ... etc. and "please use the bathroom in the barn because our pets are locked up inside, and some don't cotton to strangers."

    In your case, I would definitely include: only sparklers permitted.

    (My personal rant: we think "backward" of other countries when their citizens fire off rifles in jubilation, but we allow citizens to burn down houses and blow off their hands with fireworks.)

    It is your home and sanctuary, and it's up to you to protect the animals.



  20. #40
    Join Date
    Aug. 25, 2007
    Posts
    8,500

    Default

    Tell the crowd that you're going on a cruise next Fourth and there will be no party. Tell them that there will be one in 2013 (assuming none of the "end of the world scenarios" work out).

    This gives you a break, lets everybody know well in advance that you're taking a break and you can see if time heals some of the wounds).

    Good luck in the future.

    G.



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