Try, "Thank you for sharing that." smile, cock your head to the side a little, and just stare at her while you think about what you're cooking for dinner, or something funny that happened at work, or pretty much anything that distracts you from the immediate situation. That way you don't offend her and you don't let the situation upset you.
Horses don't care if their "potential" is wasted in grooming and grazing sessions, so why do we care? If your horse is fed, vetted, and loved, who cares about anything else?
It doesn't matter if you have a stressful job or could be at the barn ten hours a day if you felt like it. Choosing not do doesn't mean "lack of ambition" (I dislike calling it that because it's an inherent value judgement that someone who drags themselves to the barn after working a ten-hour day is better somehow than someone who doesn't). It's your life and your horse. If you've tried the suggestion s of turning it back on her or ignoring her, maybe it IS time to be a little rude if she's the barn busybody and just won't quit. (Or I like the "If you want to buy her, I'm asking $100,000" route.)
You're educating the future of this country and honey if you want to go out and stuff your mare full of treats that's your right. Do you think your horse cares if she gets ridden or not? No. She's just happy to see you and get some attention. And probably some extra cookies.
I go with what everyone else says, get some ear buds and ignore her. And if that doens't help I like the idea of asking her to help in your classroom.
And then you go for the gusto and tell her off. Personally I just go to Debcon Five straight away but some people aren't as short fused.
Most of the horses at my barn are not ridden regularly, if at all. I go out several times a week and ride my horse or do something with him. If one of those other horse's owners shows up when I'm there, do I tell them, "you should totally ride your horse more you're wasting its potential!"
No, I smile and say hi and wish them a nice day.
I agree with the other folks who say just don't engage her. "I'll consider that but I'd like to focus on my horse now." and turn back to your brushing.
If she's SAHM then she likely would be open to doing a little volunteer work. If you can stomach it, invite her along to "help" you out one day...she can help xerox, proof the lesson plans you likely stayed up til midnight writing the night before...
I taught middle school for 4 years. I barely had time to consciously greet my family and the toll it all took on my health... Peace to you, OP! You are much appreciated!!
I think there's another piece to this: most people who are not or haven't grown up with teachers feel that they (teachers) have a ridiculously easy job - work 8:30 - 3 five days a week; weeks off at a time for vacation; six weeks off in the summer....yadda yadda yadda. They don't have one single iota of a clue what lesson plans entail (to say nothing of IEPs, multiple lesson plans, etc.) All they see is the school day hours and the school year days off.
Kinda liking suggestion about her volunteering - phrased something like "I would dearly love to have more time to ride. The school is always looking for volunteers to work in the classroom. If you signed up as my assistant - even a couple hours a week - you might just take enough load off me so I could do that!" Well, maybe not... The sweet potato queen's "Why bless your heart, I know you're just trying to be nice" is probably the best bet. Or the headset.
Good luck! And ENJOY YOUR MARE! I bet SHE enjoys the grooming!
While so many are busy griping that "most people" think teachers have a ridiculously easy job and blah, blah, blah....those same people are assuming that SAHM's have the time and inclination to volunteer at whim. I'll bet some do. And I'll bet some don't. How can you complain about generalizations toward teachers and then in the same breath make such a broad generalization about the other boarder because she's a SAHM? What is true about all professions (including homemaking) is this:
1. They require varying degrees of hard work.
2. The more you enjoy that work, the less it feels like work.
3. No one else really gives a crap how hard YOU work.
Whether or not teachers work hard is neither here nor there and has nothing to do with what's going on at the barn.
I guess I was thinking about my own circumstances and much I volunteered when I was a SAHM and how most of those working alongside me were SAHMs. Most of the folks who volunteered in my classroom were SAHMs and SAHDs. Walking in someone else's shoes or seeing them in action often is an eye opening experience. I worked my butt off as a SAHM too.
Just a sympathetic "why CAN"T people mind their own business?!" story that happened just a few hours ago...
I bought my current show horse to-be when he was 18 months. He is wonderful Gatsby baby, mostly TB with Oldenburg from his daddy. Loads of class, loads of potential, and he was a gift to myself. Decided from the start that A) I am in no rush to get this guy to the show ring and B) I want to do everything right by HIM. So, at age 3, when most people start their horse, I only did ground work, got him used to loading, clippers, spooky tarps, all in all just honing in on his gentlemanly side. Age 4, light longeing and learning cue words. Did not back him until he was 5, and gradually worked him into a full training schedule over several months. He is now 7 and we are aiming for his first show (well, first class, anyway, he's been tagging along to shows for a few years now) coming up in April. I did it this way because I feel good about the fact they he has started off strongly and fully developed, and will be more likely to still be working into his 20's, and that we didn't skip any steps in his education. He is a wonderful partner, always giving 100% and always waiting at the gate to get to work no matter what we did the day before.
But, I am given a hard time a lot, especially by other professionals, because horses are supposed to be put to work! Break them at 3, show them by 5. Anyway, tonite had a client come and say to me in a "Did you know...?" kind of voice that her daughter's friend is riding and showing a horse that is 5, and that his owner "broke him all by herself when he was 3!" Like she couldn't believe how good this person must be, and I should aspire to be that good. Then she asks "How old is Grim now?" I didn't go into it for the risk of coming off defensively, but I feel your pain. Its my horse, let me decide how I manage him! And no, he is not this far behind because I suck at starting horses (although I do have sucky days!)
This reminds me of the time when I heard one of our new barn staff mention the neglected mare.
Her owners *never* came to see her. Poor maresy was locked in a stall and deprived.
Yup - I was the culprit complained of! And yes - this barn staff never saw me and, quite frankly, was fully correct that maresy was deprived. During her shifts which were only sat and sun until 4.
We never rode on weekend morning (agreed a popular time for most) because 1. I hate to interrupt my horses' 'recess' and don't tend to ride during turnout time; 2. Weekend mornings were busy with other life stuff, like groceries and laundry. Our schedule agrees more with riding evenings and we are often the last ones out each night.
So no - maresy was not deprived but from the staffers perspective she was unloved. It is not always what it seems though the mare did appreciate the extra attention and treats.