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  1. #1
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    Feb. 28, 2007
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    Question Trainers: Teenagers in the barn: How do you manage?

    I'm working on a story for a national trainers' publication, Stable Management. Having a barn full of teenagers can be trying: the drama, the cliques, the moods, etc. How can you keep everything running smoothly and keep the focus on horses? A friend went through some very big issues with teenagers: drinking in the hayloft, making out in the hayloft, driving a truck around the indoor while she was gone, a party at the house while she was gone. Good times! Oh, and the battles that went on between them! How have you as a trainer dealt with these sometimes "difficult" clients?

    Thanks for your help on this fun and informative piece. I would like to speak on the phone at your convenience if you'd like to contribute.



  2. #2
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    Not a trainer, but my trainer's rules are simple: Behave or get out.

    Her barn is on her property and adjacent to her home. Its a peaceful environment and although the teenagers occasionally do argue, and have teenage moments - they know the rules and the consequences. Drinking, Making out, etc is unacceptable and warrants getting told to pack up and leave.

    Nobody's money is worth that much of an inconvenience. If you're going to act like you have no discipline or morals, then you can do so elsewhere. You are a reflection of the barn and business, and that is not taken lightly. Either do what you are supposed to, or you will quickly find yourself looking for a new barn.



  3. #3
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    May. 21, 2011
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    Quote Originally Posted by TesignedInGold View Post
    Not a trainer, but my trainer's rules are simple: Behave or get out.

    Her barn is on her property and adjacent to her home. Its a peaceful environment and although the teenagers occasionally do argue, and have teenage moments - they know the rules and the consequences. Drinking, Making out, etc is unacceptable and warrants getting told to pack up and leave.

    Nobody's money is worth that much of an inconvenience. If you're going to act like you have no discipline or morals, then you can do so elsewhere. You are a reflection of the barn and business, and that is not taken lightly. Either do what you are supposed to, or you will quickly find yourself looking for a new barn.
    ^^^^^
    Rule with an iron fist. It's the only way to go.



  4. #4
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    Apr. 7, 2004
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    MA
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    It's a home and a business. I imagine it's disrupting the adult boarders who walk in on something unexpected, or can't use the facilities, plus the risk/liability of underage drinking. Same way some parents might tell their kids not to go joy riding through people's front yards when they get their licenses, or have a free for-all at house parties every weekend (well... there's some exceptions to that), BO needs to make rules- and enforce them. No reason for someone to be at the barn if they aren't riding a horse or taking care of one



  5. #5
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    Jul. 15, 2003
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    Brooksville, FL
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    Simple, don't tolorate it at all. When you are at the barn you are on your best behavior. If you are not, you are shown the door. I have girls that no longer ride with me and are no longer welcome that I can use as examples.

    With so many youth at my barn, I know the parents look up to me to keep the peace and not let any bad influences into the facility.

    I do not have a huge operation, 28 horses on the place and most of the horses are youth owned. I am close to most all of the parents and the youngsters and I know the parents are happy to have a place where they can feel safe leaving their children and not worrying about boys, booze or drugs. I have a zero tolorance on the booze and drugs and boyfriends are welcome to watch rides, help the girls with chores, etc. but then they leave. No hanging out all day and no going off to the far corners of the property together.
    Every man has a right to his opinion, but no man has a right to be wrong in his facts.
    Bernard M. Baruch



  6. #6
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    Minors should never be left alone at a barn regardless of their age. Too much liability. Rules should be written and signed by the rider and parent (if under 18).



  7. #7
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    Apr. 2, 2011
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    Quote Originally Posted by PonyPenny View Post
    Minors should never be left alone at a barn regardless of their age. Too much liability. Rules should be written and signed by the rider and parent (if under 18).
    Seriously? So when I was 17 and five times a week went to the barn for five hours to ride my horse, hack a few others, and help muck stalls my mother should have been there the entire time? Thats ridiculous. She has a job and my parents are divorced. If trainers put rules like in in effect I would not be able to ride.

    Also, as to the general nature of this topic...don't generalize. I rode at a barn as a teen with cliques, bad behavior, etc. But I wasn't one of them. I was shy and quiet and terrified of doing something wrong. I worked hard, rode hard, and helped out whenever I could. And I know other teens who did the same.

    There are definitely difficult teenage clients, but then there are also difficult adult clients as well. And difficult child clients. I hate the stereotype of bratty teenager equestrians because I know so many junior riders who work so hard and are very responsible.



  8. #8
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    Wow, is this a real problem? When I was a kid, it was "behave or get out"- I guess the barn rules reinforced what I got from my parents at home: if my grades weren't up, I got in trouble, mouthed off, etc etc- No Horses. Period.

    The group of girls at the barn were like my sisters. As younger kids we worshipped the high schoolers and they showed us the ropes, and then we did the same for the younger girls as we got older. I would have had my hide whipped (figuratively) six ways to Sunday if I pulled any stunts like the ones the OP described, and the one or two incidents I can recall of girls "misbehaving" resulted in loss or riding privileges. End of story. There certainly weren't repeat offenders.

    More than a decade later, I am still friends with many of the girls I grew up riding with, and think a large part of who I am is the result of the discipline that riding throughout my formative years provided.

    I think Rel6 said it really well- bratty clients and b*tchy owners don't just come in the teenage variety, but the best way to deal with all of them is to have a no nonsense, no drama policy. Play nice or you don't play at all.



  9. #9
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    Nov. 22, 2005
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    I make the rules and I do the discipline! There is a time and place for everything and if there is a problem, I WILL address it immediately! We are a small facility and the teenagers we have have been there since they were about 8 or so and have grown up with the rules so follow them. They also know my justice is sure and swift!
    The only problem I have had was when two of the girls got into that typical young teenager animosity based on stupidity thing that kids that age tend to do. I took them aside and told them they did not have to be friends but has to be civil towards one another while on my turf!



  10. #10
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    Dec. 27, 2011
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    [QUOTE=TesignedInGold;6045736]Not a trainer, but my trainer's rules are simple: Behave or get out.

    Exactly Horse stables are to places to share, learn and love horses. Not to hang out or misbehave, if the owner knows whos doing this, confront them! If it was me, I would even block off the hay loft! That behaiour just isn't acceptable



  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by PonyPenny View Post
    Minors should never be left alone at a barn regardless of their age. Too much liability. Rules should be written and signed by the rider and parent (if under 18).
    Wow when I was a kid I would take the school bus to the barn m-f. Would be picked up when ever. Weekend think we would arrive around 9am and leave after horses where bathed, tack clean etc around 8pm or later depending on the sunday.

    That would pretty much get rid of the barn rats wouldnt it... Guess the grooms of said horses would be hte only ones allowed at the barn after the minor is gone to tend to the other stuff and we wonder why so many younrsers have no clue of horsemanship..

    But back on topic..
    Yup pretty much the rule was behave or leave for good. We also had a homework rule if you came by school bus to the barn we had to do homework first before entering the barn area, we also had to carry a certian gpa( not the helmet but grade point) to show etc..

    We as far as I am aware of had no problems with things occuring in the hay loft but then again ours was not hidden and generally viewable from 90% of the farm. Our trainer had a a iron fist on things and had a very firm line in the sand on behavor, if we stepped past the line we were done gone off the property with the horse and equipment that goes with horse.
    Friend of bar .ka



  12. #12
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    Rules and don't put with with pubescent female pscho crap. Cliques are instant, "Get off the proporty...NOW!" offenses. No boyfriends at the barn. No dating of underage girls at the barn (which means, if you have older male barn workers, you owe the girls parents to keep both groups under control). Look at a racetrack back area to see what happens when controls aren't present...nice exercise girls dating track grooms/garbage in no time.

    Smoking and any sort of drugs are instant you're gone offenses.

    Drama...accept no drama, the boarders and horses don't need that behaviour.

    Piggishness...too many girls are pigs in the bathroom, boarders don't want to see evidence the girls aren't in menopause yet.

    A pair of girls or 4 girls works...3 and two will gang up on the single girl.

    Consider hiring males if you can find them...lots simpler and they can do the heavy stuff the girls won't/can't.
    "Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc"



  13. #13
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    Sep. 9, 2007
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    Don't tolerate it. BO's make the rules and expect everyone to follow them. Don't make exceptions for a teenager because she is *special*. One set of rules for all.
    OTTB - Hurricane Denton - Kane AKA Bubble boy
    Boxer - Tugger's - outlasted my marriage



  14. #14
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    Jan. 21, 2010
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rel6 View Post
    Also, as to the general nature of this topic...don't generalize. I rode at a barn as a teen with cliques, bad behavior, etc. But I wasn't one of them. I was shy and quiet and terrified of doing something wrong. I worked hard, rode hard, and helped out whenever I could. And I know other teens who did the same.

    There are definitely difficult teenage clients, but then there are also difficult adult clients as well. And difficult child clients. I hate the stereotype of bratty teenager equestrians because I know so many junior riders who work so hard and are very responsible.
    Well put. The majority of the teens at the barn where I board are extremely well behaved, considerate, kind, and just wonderful girls.

    Interestingly, it was a former trainer (early 20's) that caused the majority of the drama at my barn before she finally left.

    There were some kids that were vandalizing the property (lounges, etc), but they were brothers/sisters/children who were left unattended when mom/dad/sibling was riding. Now I think anyone under the age of 13 has to be directly supervised by a parent. I think it only caused real problems for one boarder who's young daughter lessons on school horses, so Mom rides while daughter watches, then daughter has her lesson. The other parents simply leave siblings/kids at home now.



  15. #15
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    Jan. 25, 2011
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    Treat them the same way as you would treat an adult doing the same thing. Seriously, teens (and I say this being one) are old enough to be accountable for their own actions and have some knowledge of what is and isn't appropriate to do.
    Trying a life outside of FEI tents and hotel rooms.



  16. #16
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    I had great trainers as a young teen and spent long days at the barn riding what was available and helping out with baths/hand walking/etc.

    I was generally a straight shooter but if forced to choose I would have sassed my parents before I ever said boo to one of the trainers.



  17. #17
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    Seriously? So when I was 17 and five times a week went to the barn for five hours to ride my horse, hack a few others, and help muck stalls my mother should have been there the entire time?
    i think PP just means that there needs to be an adult (manager, owner, instructor, whomever) on the property when minors are there. doesn't have to be a parent. (at my barn, parents have to be there when students under a certain age are riding; too often parents drop the kids off and then disappear for hours, expecting the barn to babysit.)

    but as noted above, in my experience the barn brats (their term for themselves) are very hard working and generally don't cause any kind of trouble. at the TR stable where i volunteered they were *great.* the program literally could not have operated without them.



  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by meupatdoes View Post
    I had great trainers as a young teen and spent long days at the barn riding what was available and helping out with baths/hand walking/etc.

    I was generally a straight shooter but if forced to choose I would have sassed my parents before I ever said boo to one of the trainers.
    I made the mistake of talking back to my trainer one time when I was in the early teens. Came slinking back with my tail between my legs!



  19. #19
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    Thanks SO MUCH for these really insightful comments from trainers, boarders (adults and teens). I love the "two sides" of this story and appreciate you weighing in. No category of rider (person) is all "one way," are they?

    I will contact you by email here and would love to include you in my piece. What a great story this is for trainers/boarders, too!

    Happy New Year to you and your horses!
    Stephanie Stephens



  20. #20
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    I never said a parent has to accompany a minor to the barn. I said that minors should not be left alone at a stable for liability reasons. Adults can assume that risk for themselves. Minors cannot no matter how old they are or how experienced they are. Horses can be unpredictable and dangerous. My daughter is a working student for several trainers. There is always some adult at the barn when she is there. If something happened, there is someone to assist or call for medical assistance. Having an adult present, does not mean hovering over you every minute you are at the barn.



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