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  1. #1
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    Default Getting along with others in a barn

    This is a subject that could encompass a broad scope of situations. It could potentially lead to considering the overall fundamentals of how relations are formed with others, and the meanings that sustain interrelationships in remaining functional and productive.

    I wanted to bring up this subject because I feel it is very pertinent to many of the experiences I have had with others during my endeavors in horse related affairs, and also I think, for many other horse people as well.

    I'd like to start with the idea of who we like to work with and why. During my career, some of my fondest memories have been working towards common equestrian related goals with others, and that sense of camaraderie that brings individuals closer together as a team, when they share a similarity of beliefs and methodologies, learn from each other, and find reward in working together toward realizing some desired achevment.

    Such feelings can arise during simple things such as being a part of a team who looks after the care of a horse with a health issue, or the training of a prospect, where everyone involved has an emotional investment in attempting to bring about a successful outcome for the horse.

    To more complex situations where the success of a business endeavor is dependent on many working together to apply their respective talents to achieve something greater than no single one might accomplish on their own.

    The above are some examples of an aspect that I really enjoy about horses....

    But we are probably all also aware of those situations when conflicts may arise that can tend to spoil the harmony of a team effort.

    What do you think the "harmonizing" factors might be that make a barn a pleasant place to be, vs. the conflict creating factors that tend to spoil an atmosphere and make it difficult for others to flourish as a group.

    This is a inquiry that I think can be applied to both boarders or professionals, and I think the interesting aspects to be understood/discovered, could be the factors that tend to precipitate diferent types of behavior in people in response to the situations they find themselves a part of.

    This is a question of why we tend to see such productive cooperation in some situations, and such chaos in others....

    What do you think makes people behave the way that they sometimes do? Both in good ways, and in those ways that on occasion may give one a sense of trepidation in coming to a particular barn?



  2. #2
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    Default

    I think it's the same as any club, organization or workplace - it's the tone and example that good leadership sets.

    If people feel like they matter and they are treated fairly, if management does not condone gossip, shows impartiality and maintains a high moral and morale, where they offer inclusion without judgements and recognize individual efforts and reward hard honest work - then people may enjoy the place!
    About the only time losing is more fun than winning is when you're fighting temptation.
    -- Tom Wilson, actor & comedian


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  3. #3
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    I think management plays a huge role in determining whether there is a sense of community or constant strife. I also think that one rotten apple can quickly tear a supportive community apart.

    My favorite experiences have involved management that created formal and informal ways for boarder to interact in and out of the tack. Relaxed group rides, ride-a-tests/clinics, potlucks, weekly events, etc. were great ways to meet other rides and stay connected. I found that in those situations if I was harboring any jealousy towards a rider that the community aspects helped humanize that person and helped me realize that we all have gifts and challenges. It also provided opportunities for me to understand others lifestyles. For example, instead of being peeved that boarder X left the wash rack dirty I would brush it off because I knew she was a single mom trying to squeeze in a ride between her two part-time jobs.

    I think people assume competitive barns have to contain drama but I think it is very possible for that competitive environment to foster deep supportive relationships with proper oversight. I also believe that if management wants that environment they need to take proper steps in screening potential boarders and tactfully addressing problems as they arise. If a BM can quietly step in and talk to a boarder about her malicious gossiping, it will cause far less drama long term than allowing it to rip a community apart.


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  4. #4

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    I board at a rough board barn and we run it as a co-op with no manager. The barn owner mostly stays out of the picture unless there is something outrageous going on, and then she will step in.

    Things get a little sticky here and there, and some people are better at communicating than others. For instance, if someone doesn't agree with the way another one does his or her tasks, it's up to them to let that person know they have an issue, or how else should the person know they need to change things? I don't think it's fair to have an issue about something but not let that person know, and instead go around talking smack about them.

    IMO, things seem to go smoothly when people communicate, treat each other with respect, and don't go off the deep end about something until they have heard both sides of the story. Issues can easily become a he said/she said type of deal and that is just juvenile and dumb.


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  5. #5
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    One of the common things that I've noticed in "enjoyable" barns, is management who understands that there are many different philosophies of horse care, and that many of those philosophies function more for the enjoyment of the horse owner, then they do for the horse.

    There are certainly a wide variety of things that people do that are virtually harmless. There are also things that can be potentially harmful. I think the key is in setting safe boundaries while still accepting people as individuals in how they interact with their horses.

    Something that's never worked out for me, are those who believe their way is the only way, rather then their way just being one way of doing something in a group of many ways.

    I like learning about other peoples ways of doing things, but I don't like it when other people say that their way is better without being able to explain why they think it is better.

    Another "issue" can be "professionals" who can't see past their own egos.


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  6. #6
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    It boils down to communication skills.

    People who have them can disagree reasonably and come to a mutually agreeable solution, productively and non-emotionally.

    People who don't, can't.


    Take for example what happens when a boarder wants to longe their green and explosive horse while someone else is doing a beginner lesson.
    The BO with communication skills says, "Hey boarder, could you possibly wait 20 minutes to longe your horse since that student is a beginner and it would be safest for us to control the environment more."
    The boarder with communication skills responds, "Yes, I can understand this would be safer. In the future though, can you let me know in advance when the ring will be off limits for longing my horse if possible? I can plan my after-work schedule more effectively that way."
    The BO with communication skills in turn understands that that is perfectly reasonable and is also capable of organizing their lesson schedule and sending texts, so it all works out.

    No passive aggressive "notes up in the aisle about longing etiqutte" necessary, and no boarders throwing tantys about ring use if everyone has communication skills.

    Sadly this level of dialog is beyond many people.


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  7. #7
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    I agree with the communication aspect.

    What confuses me are those who seem to be capable of higher level communication skills, yet seem to want some sort of conflict, and then go on to create it.

    What purpose does conflict serve?

    I suppose it's likely some behavioral trait that serves some purpose in other aspects of certain peoples lives, that then gets dumped into the barn environment simply because it's how a particular person functions in general.

    What evolutionary advantage is there in creating drama in a community?

    I'd like to hear some speculation about that...



  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by alterhorse View Post
    What purpose does conflict serve?

    What evolutionary advantage is there in creating drama in a community?

    I'd like to hear some speculation about that...
    Some people just cannot cope unless they are the centre of attention. Creating drama makes and keeps them as the centre of attention, regardless of whether it is good attention or negative attention, it's still attention in their minds. The only way to combat it is to not give them the attention they are seeking, but to do that you have to get EVERYONE ELSE at the barn on board, and that's usually pretty tough.


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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by NorthwoodsRider View Post
    Some people just cannot cope unless they are the centre of attention. Creating drama makes and keeps them as the centre of attention, regardless of whether it is good attention or negative attention, it's still attention in their minds. The only way to combat it is to not give them the attention they are seeking, but to do that you have to get EVERYONE ELSE at the barn on board, and that's usually pretty tough.
    I'm glad that you posted as you sort of hit the proverbial nail on the head regarding a couple of experiences I had in the past.

    So imagine that the person in need of the attention is the barn owner, or the barn manager....

    What is going on in the mind of the attention seeking individual that causes this kind of behavior in the first place? "Can" the behavior actually be functional on any level?

    Is there any common causes for why such behaviors might typically come to exist?



  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by alterhorse View Post
    I agree with the communication aspect.

    What confuses me are those who seem to be capable of higher level communication skills, yet seem to want some sort of conflict, and then go on to create it.

    What purpose does conflict serve?

    I suppose it's likely some behavioral trait that serves some purpose in other aspects of certain peoples lives, that then gets dumped into the barn environment simply because it's how a particular person functions in general.

    What evolutionary advantage is there in creating drama in a community?

    I'd like to hear some speculation about that...
    Some people just like stirring the pot. I believe it is a way of making themselves the center of attention. And, a way of them being able to CONTROL the situation. In my experience, pot stirers tend to be people who want to control the outcome of a situtation.
    **Stacey**


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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by alterhorse View Post
    So imagine that the person in need of the attention is the barn owner, or the barn manager....
    Run away!!! There is no way this can end well. This person probably became a BO/BM because they couldn't survive working for someone else where they might be held responsible for their behavior.


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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by NorthwoodsRider View Post
    Run away!!! There is no way this can end well. This person probably became a BO/BM because they couldn't survive working for someone else where they might be held responsible for their behavior.
    Do you do psychic readings per chance?

    I got out gracefully at the time, and acted as a base of support for a couple of friends also in the situation.

    So it's all good now, we got out unscaved except for emotionally drained feelings that lasted for several months... But in thinking about it retrospectively, I'd really like to know how such behavior might initially develop in people, because it's something I have trouble understanding...



  13. #13
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    Default

    I took a human element course recently and there are certain drivers that underly a person's personality-competence (fear of being humiliated or embarrassment), like-ability, and significance(fear of abandonment and being left out). Most people think they are a mix of these things but if you dig deeper there is usually one that is dominant. Knowing people's drivers and what defenses they may have can help direct communication in a way that is more productive. Hope that makes sense. I will say that some people are not willing to change no matter what you say, this can be tougher in a scenerio where the stakes are high (work and family). At least with a boarding scenario, hopefully there are options for boarding elsewhere or scheduling your barn time at a time when the person isn't there.


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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by alterhorse View Post
    Do you do psychic readings per chance?
    Nope, just work in a situation where 6 people are stuck in a room together for 12 hours at a time, 4 days out of 8. As soon as one the Drama Queens enters the mix it can be disastrous unless the rest of the team bands together and sticks to their "no drama allowed" guns.

    Makes me happy that the barn situations I am in are (barn #1) usually just me and my trainer/bo +horses with no drama, and (barn #2) just me and the horses...



  15. #15
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    I think one of the biggest and most important elements is RESPECT. Respect that every rider is different, respect that every horse is different, respect that not everyone has the same bank account, respect that we all ride for different reasons, respect that every horse deserves to have a chance and has potential...need I continue?

    Throughout my experiences (a very long time) I have ridden at/for and boarded at several different types of facilities. Elite training facilities, local show barns, backyard barns, you name it. I think drama can happen at any of these facilities, not just the higher end show barns. Yes, you may see it there more but I believe that is because people have some sort of expectation of every horse and every human. When you don't fit the mold or meet the expectation, you become the center of conversation often.

    Communication is also key, but again the communication must be respectful. Tactless insults, undermining, pushiness and catty remarks are unnecessary. No matter who you are, you need to respect everyone. Whether you are the BO/BM, a boarder, a lesson student, stablehand, etc. Show respect, communicate in a respective manner and above all else, treat people the way you want to be treated and ALWAYS keep an open mind!



  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by alterhorse View Post


    What evolutionary advantage is there in creating drama in a community?
    In addition to attention, drama serves as a way to divide the community for sake of competition. In anthropology, I had to observe the chimps at the zoo for an hour and speak with their handler. One female kept throwing a fit randomly and then the alpha male and next male in line would fight. The handler explained that the female had a son who died recently. Having a son elevated her status and when he passed, she threw her tantrums to 1) pit the males against each other, thus creating disruption in the hierarchy and 2) bring the attention to her that in a way keeps her significant

    I think this scenario definitely can apply to people!


    On a more personal matter, the type of barn drama I'm used to typically involves petty gossip. Which I tend to ignore. The type of barn drama I'm facing now I can't help but feel is a personal thing between the BO and myself.

    For example, I'm training a 4 y/o who had surgery shortly after I bought her. As you can imagine, a 4 y/o with restricted turn out and a limited work program (with only 90 days undersaddle and then 90 days off/handwalk) was a bit of a handful. The BO said to me "Who's idea was it to get a young one for you anyway? I always buy horses who are quiet"

    I can't help but take that as a personal attack against me, my riding ability, and my horse, which I find completely unacceptable behavior from a woman I write a check to every month.

    Mind you, my horse now is perfect. She went to her first horse show and jumped everything first time, no spooks, is great at home and on the ground. As for the BOs "quiet" youngins that she buys...well let's just say my horse may have acted up when she had a ton of energy pent up, but she's never come close to rearing up and flipping over on a rider.

    I'm thinking about leaving soon. Gossipy stuff I can deal with, insulting me when I'm a client, I can't. It's difficult because the trainer I'm with I really like and the group for the most part is very anti-drama.



  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by JumpsJumps View Post
    In addition to attention, drama serves as a way to divide the community for sake of competition. In anthropology, I had to observe the chimps at the zoo for an hour and speak with their handler. One female kept throwing a fit randomly and then the alpha male and next male in line would fight. The handler explained that the female had a son who died recently. Having a son elevated her status and when he passed, she threw her tantrums to 1) pit the males against each other, thus creating disruption in the hierarchy and 2) bring the attention to her that in a way keeps her significant

    I think this scenario definitely can apply to people!


    On a more personal matter, the type of barn drama I'm used to typically involves petty gossip. Which I tend to ignore. The type of barn drama I'm facing now I can't help but feel is a personal thing between the BO and myself.

    For example, I'm training a 4 y/o who had surgery shortly after I bought her. As you can imagine, a 4 y/o with restricted turn out and a limited work program (with only 90 days undersaddle and then 90 days off/handwalk) was a bit of a handful. The BO said to me "Who's idea was it to get a young one for you anyway? I always buy horses who are quiet"

    I can't help but take that as a personal attack against me, my riding ability, and my horse, which I find completely unacceptable behavior from a woman I write a check to every month.

    Mind you, my horse now is perfect. She went to her first horse show and jumped everything first time, no spooks, is great at home and on the ground. As for the BOs "quiet" youngins that she buys...well let's just say my horse may have acted up when she had a ton of energy pent up, but she's never come close to rearing up and flipping over on a rider.

    I'm thinking about leaving soon. Gossipy stuff I can deal with, insulting me when I'm a client, I can't. It's difficult because the trainer I'm with I really like and the group for the most part is very anti-drama.
    That is really not a personal attack.

    She didn't even say anything negative, she could as easily have said, "well, I always buy bays, whoever would get a grey and have to do all that grooming all the time."

    Her conversatinally stating that green horses are not her thing is not criticizing you for them being yours.

    Meanwhile, if you would like to challenge her statement, it is possible to politely use comunication skills to do it:
    Oh really? Why do you say that? Do you think she has turned out badly or that I do not ride her well enough or were you just stating your personal preference for quieter horses.?

    But that requires...communication skills.



  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by meupatdoes View Post

    Her conversatinally stating that green horses are not her thing is not criticizing you for them being yours.
    Green horses are her thing. She is a BO and professional and owns about 5 horses all under the age of 4.

    The communication aspect is difficult only because there was a lot of drama before my trainer moved to this barn. Everyone seems to get along with the BO besides me so in an attempt to not rock the boat I didn't say anything. I was also taken aback at the moment because her tone was super bitchy.



  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by JumpsJumps View Post
    Green horses are her thing. She is a BO and professional and owns about 5 horses all under the age of 4.

    The communication aspect is difficult only because there was a lot of drama before my trainer moved to this barn. Everyone seems to get along with the BO besides me so in an attempt to not rock the boat I didn't say anything. I was also taken aback at the moment because her tone was super bitchy.
    Well, I think your plan to fume about it and the **leave the barn** over it without communicating directly is what OP is talking about.

    Tell her how you want to be treated:
    "I prefer to have discussions about whether or not horses are suitable for me only with my trainer. Thanks for understanding."

    Politely assert your boundaries.
    It really does not matter whether she owns ten green horses or three purple Morgans.


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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by JumpsJumps View Post

    For example, I'm training a 4 y/o who had surgery shortly after I bought her. As you can imagine, a 4 y/o with restricted turn out and a limited work program (with only 90 days undersaddle and then 90 days off/handwalk) was a bit of a handful. The BO said to me "Who's idea was it to get a young one for you anyway? I always buy horses who are quiet"

    I can't help but take that as a personal attack against me, my riding ability, and my horse, which I find completely unacceptable behavior from a woman I write a check to every month.

    Gossipy stuff I can deal with, insulting me when I'm a client, I can't. It's difficult because the trainer I'm with I really like and the group for the most part is very anti-drama.
    I have a similar situation with a show manager. I think it's real and that if you are writing a check, you are allowed to have an expectation of respect, if they accept it. I also think that insensitivity to and a lack of support for "bringing horses along" is a general cultural issue in this country, and it *is* associated with saying "spend the money and buy a made one, from me". Of course your BO did not encourage you to shop with her...


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