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How important is Socializing at your barn?

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  • How important is Socializing at your barn?

    I ride and train out of a small barn that has:
    • one other person significantly younger than me who owns her own horse and will show this year; and
    • two people (one junior and one adult with kids) who use the lesson horses and will sometimes show; and
    • a couple of adults who have retired horses who come out and ride once or twice every couple of weeks.

    The facilities are fine, though there is no indoor; the BO is also the trainer and she definitely knows her stuff. The thing is there really isn't anyone at the barn to ride with. I've been there for almost two years now and I can't help but feel that I'm missing out on some of the fun of owning/riding a horse by always doing it by myself, unless I'm in a lesson, of course. The shows will usually have a couple of people going, but no one is my age so I think I might be missing out on some of that fun as well.

    I've posted some of the other issues I've had recently on this board and received a lot of great advice, but I'm hesitant to change. I've heard soooooo many bad things about horse trainers and facilities that I wonder if something like socialization and an indoor arena is the price I pay for a trainer who knows what she is doing and a facility that will keep my horse safe.

    Any thoughts?

  • #2
    You could try to jump-start some socialization, assuming that you otherwise like the people with whom you ride.

    I was always lonely on my Sunday morning rides. Then I made a point to invite some of the other ladies and we turned it into a weekly date -- we called it "Muffins and Mimosa's" and we loved it! Usually between three and five of us showed up, and we split up who brought a bottle of OJ, a cheap bottle of champagne, and some (not fancy) muffins.

    Now THAT'S the way to socialize!

    (We usually drank the mimosa's AFTER riding. Usually...)
    Originally posted by tidy rabbit
    Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community.


    • #3
      At the various barns I've been at in my lifetime, the social scene has almost always been comprised of a variety of people. At some barns it has been 80% about the riding, training and showing, and 20% about socializing. At other places, there have been a significant percentage of people for whom it's 75% about socializing and maybe 25% about riding and training.

      If you are happy with your trainer and the care your horse received, I'd say you are in a good situation. Were you to move to a place with a larger number of people to ride with, then you begin to deal with more crowded rings, etc.


      • #4
        I went from a barn where I rode with someone almost every ride to one where I have to plan to ride with someone. I miss it. I'm kinda looking around because of that.


        • #5
          You could look around for a riding group to join. If you don't have a trailer you might find someone willing to share costs and haul your horse.

          Personally, I'm at the barn to hang out with my horse. I would really rather not socialize and I try to avoid the times when others are around. I feel bad sometimes because there are just some people who will not ride if they can't go with someone else, but going for a 30 minute walking ride isn't run for me.


          • #6
            Riding and showing is a social activity for me. I remember my old BNT asking me if I was going to a particular show and he was shocked when I asked who else is going before deciding. Ha ha. I want to ride and compete with my friends. I will ride on my own but I prefer to be social.
            You don't scare me. I ride a MARE!


            • #7
              Totally impotant for me. I love the people I board with, even go out for drinks after (rarely before lol) riding.


              • #8
                I think this is a very valid question to ask yourself. Because after all, unless we are young and have our sights set on the Olympics we need to visit what this horse "stuff" means to us and how we feel while doing it.

                Honestly even if you do have your sights set on higher goals you should still value not only riding but working with others.

                Saying that, for many years I rode mostly alone and I found myself feeling like I was missing something. Yes, it is amazing being with my horses, riding and even cleaning stalls is a great way to let down after a long day working or whatever the day brings you.

                But recently I had an opportunity to be a part of a A show barn and I had such a wonderful experience. Not only because I am super happy with my young horse "yes that is so fun and I am learning a ton" but the people, the grooms, and the trainer are inspirational and nice. They work hard, don't just meaner around the rings, but they are also friendly. There are days it's clear everyone is working hard, and times that are more for social and there are times for meandering around the rings. Or if you just want to ride and leave that is fine too. I feel I found a really good balance of what I am looking for and I think that's what you are searching for too. Nothing wrong with making that a part of your want list.

                It's too bad you cannot bring in a few riders you like to lesson with etc. Maybe you can talk with your trainer or other riders you like to schedule riding with them.

                But to answer your question; Yes, it is very important to me as to where and who I ride with.

                And of course I had to edit to add that you may, like me, have to drive a bit to find that fit but it can be done.... good luck.
                Live in the sunshine.
                Swim in the sea.
                Drink the wild air.


                • #9
                  I hate riding with other people. I have a plan and a job to do, I don't want other people in my way. I really like other people just not when I'm riding. Once a week I do take my kids on a hack in the fields with me.


                  • #10
                    I'm at a barn alone right now -- sometimes the BO is riding and every now and then a rider from a few miles away trailers in to use the indoor. Honestly, I LOVE the facility, love the owners but I do get lonely! I feel kind of sorry for the girl that trailers in, because I talk her ear off like a crazed person when she is there! Sometimes my mom comes with me to the barn and I love that too (I talk her ear off about my horse's training, my horse's gaits, my plans for my horse etc). However when I'm actually riding I like being alone. I can totally focus, listen to some music, and just hang out with my horse. Plus no left-to-left inside-outside shenanigans!

                    Still, though, I do miss having riding buddies sometimes!
                    "Disapproval of the way other people run their businesses and treat their horses is the meat and drink of the hunter-jumper industry."
                    Working Student Blog
                    Current Blog


                    • #11
                      My boarders/students are social in that we all get along and chat while at the barn, but not much socializing outside the barn. Pretty much everyone gets along with everyone regardless of age, and I try as BO/coach to help people get to know each other.

                      I wonder if you could encourage a barn get together so people can get to know each other and perhaps develope a better social atmosphere? Could be something as simple as a tack cleaning party, barn clean up or?
                      Freeing worms from cans everywhere!


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by CHT View Post
                        My boarders/students are social in that we all get along and chat while at the barn, but not much socializing outside the barn. Pretty much everyone gets along with everyone regardless of age, and I try as BO/coach to help people get to know each other.

                        I wonder if you could encourage a barn get together so people can get to know each other and perhaps develope a better social atmosphere? Could be something as simple as a tack cleaning party, barn clean up or?
                        Horse show so they cheer each other on.
                        You don't scare me. I ride a MARE!


                        • #13
                          Socializing is not important to me. I'm at the barn to spend time w/ my horse. For the most part I do like my fellow boarders but I schedule my barn time around my schedule. I should add that I take a lot of lessons so I do "socialize" a lot w/ my trainer.


                          • #14
                            I have my own place, so I and my book tapes on my iPhone spend a lot of quality time together. I don't really miss company at the barn, though the occasional visitor is fun.

                            If you like your fellow boarders, don't worry about the age differences. Horses in common is the great equalizer -- I can talk to anyone, child to octogenarian, about horses.


                            • #15
                              Do you feel you are missing out because you have heard from others about how much fun they have with their barn and show mates? Or, are you actually lonely riding/showing mostly by yourself? If it's the latter, I'd be more concerned.

                              When I was in my teens, having my friends around the barn was important to me, I really didn't have any other social life, between a demanding high school curriculum and regular showing.

                              I'm well into middle age now and I'm busy enough (job, husband, kids, pets...) that I don't have time to hang around the barn and socialize...I want to ride and get back the million other things on my plate. I like riding alone, as I can work on what I planned to without interference or distraction. I do like having someone to talk to while cleaning tack or sweeping up the aisle. But, a horse or dog will do if there's no one else around . If I'm pretty sure no one will be at the barn, due to time of day or weather, I bring a dog with me for companionship.

                              The barn I'm at is on the small side, though not as small as yours. There is a mix of ages. I'm often there at the same time as a 16 year old girl and/or an 8 year old girl, I enjoy talking to them as I have only boys in my house and work with mostly men...talking horses and girl things with kids is fun .


                              • #16
                                I love having a social barn to go to. My current barn is filled with women my own age who plan social gatherings and sometimes just hang out and chat at the barn. It's a great thing to have but hard to find sometimes. Why don't you try hauling out to other barns for lessons and see if you find another barn that suits you?


                                • #17
                                  I tend to ride by myself because I keep "odd" hours. I'm one of the only adults who rides during the week after work (the majority of the other boarder adults either don't work, have flexible schedules that allow them to ride earlier in the day, or only make it out on the weekends). I usualy lesson alone after work as well. Sometimes there are still juniors around when I ride so I'm not totally by myself but I usually have the ring to myself. I do wish there were other adults around at night becaus I really do enjoy the company of most of them and it's weird being totally alone. But I'll take that over riding in the zoo that is our ring right after school.

                                  The last mare I leased (not my current girl) was evil around other horses so I got in the habit of riding early in the mornings on the weekends so I could be out of the ring before the lesson kids were in there as to not put any of us in jeopardy. I'm still in that habit even with a civil horse. I'm generally off my first horse or finishing up as other people arrive. I like that because I get to have the place to myself to ride (I like the quiet of the barn in the mornings, it's my "me" time) but then I can socialize once I'm done if I want to. It's become a bit of a running joke between my trainer and I because the other earlybird rider at the barn drives us both batshit so my goal in on Saturdays is to be done with at least one horse before she gets there so my blood pressure stays at a reasonable level.


                                  • #18
                                    My barn is fairly social, but I wouldn't say it gets in the way of riding. We're a decent sized show barn but we're all like family. There are about 5 other girls my age that show and a few guys and then there's a few young adults in their 20's that are cool to hang out with as well. Then there's also some nice lesson kids that I talk to. We generally ride and in between rides socialize. If you want more socialization, maybe try out some lessons at another barn in the area?


                                    • #19
                                      I like having a social aspect to riding. It's nice to be able to plan a day/time to meet at the barn to ride together. I like having close enough friendships with barnmates that I can trust them and they can trust me with their horse/stuff etc. At shows it's fun and helpful to all pitch in and then to cheer for each other etc.

                                      I would find riding alone ALL the time to be dull. It's great if you are very focused on a goal or like the privacy, but for me, riding is a hobby and having friends there with me makes it more enjoyable.

                                      Funny thing is that my 2 closest friends date back to high school and neither were schoolmates. They were my teenage riding buddies. Neither is still into riding, but we all stayed close even though thousands of miles now searate us. Having the horsey history seems enough to tie us all together.
                                      F O.B
                                      Resident racing historian ~~~ Re-riders Clique
                                      Founder of the Mighty Thoroughbred Clique


                                      • #20
                                        I really miss the social aspects of my old barn. The one I'm at now is great but it is small and everyone has kids so it is really hit or miss. I hate riding alone and tend not to if there isn't anyone around.
                                        It is really starting to bother me and I am kind of in the same boat as you OP. I love it there and the boys get amazing care but no one is ever around!!!