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Barn etiquette - touching another person's horse

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  • Barn etiquette - touching another person's horse

    Please dont' flame me. I’m being faced with a small dilemma and I’ll be honest not sure how to handle it tactfully as I’ve never had this sort of thing happen before.

    I’ve come to find out that my new horse that I’ve had for just a few months is the barn favorite. I can understand young girls being infatuated with a pretty horse but these are grown women and they have a horse of their own at the barn. While I have my horse in the cross ties grooming him they have come up and talked baby talk to my horse telling him how much they love him. Another woman came right up placed her hands on his face and with her face almost touching him whispered to him asking how he was doing. The whole time I’m right there next to my horse. I was shocked at their boldness and was at a loss for words. I’m sure it showed on my face. Never in a million years would I touch a horse I didn’t know and I wouldn’t without permission first. I feel this has gone beyond safe and is disrespectful. I hope this doesn’t make me sound snobbish but my time with my horse is precious, and they do have their own horse to love on.

    Am I being overly sensitive? Should I just let it go and hope they eventually get over it? It’s a small private stable so I see these women occasionally.
    Moving on doesn't mean you forget about things. It just means you have to accept what happended and continue living.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Ridinwyoming View Post
    Am I being overly sensitive? Should I just let it go and hope they eventually get over it? It’s a small private stable so I see these women occasionally.
    NO... do like others have suggested on here when a horse invades your space. Carry a crop and smack them. They will never do it again.
    The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings.

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    • #3
      If it bothers you enough to say something, do so. If it is something you can live with, do so. They are obviously friendly and like him, and presumably they like you, too. If they are not creating a hazardous situation (say, offering him treats while you are cleaning his feet),just an annoying one, only you can decide if it's a coping deal or a deal breaker deal where you have to say something.

      So long as they aren't lingering about and really bugging you- just think on exactly how precious is that 10 seconds of them lovin' on him?

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      • #4
        I don't think you're being oversensitive. I mean, I'll give a quick pat on another person's horse's nose if he's hanging his head out of the stall as I walk by, or if I'm standing around talking to someone as they're grooming their horse I'll gently touch his shoulder or neck, things like that (the latter example is largely because I feel more comfortable that way--from years of working as a farrier I can often feel if a horse is about to move before I can see it unless I'm just paying attention to the horse ). I don't think it is horrible to do things like that.

        However, what you describe would really bother me too. It seems like too much. It would also make me wonder what else they're doing when you aren't there--are they feeding him? Going in his stall? Obviously they feel very comfortable with him...

        Is there a BO or someone you can talk to about this? It's hard to advise on how to handle things like that without knowing the barn dynamics, since it can vary so much especially with those small places.
        exploring the relationship between horse and human

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        • #5
          You're talking about your horse and not your husband, right?
          __________________________
          "... if you think i'm MAD, today, of all days,
          the best day in ten years,
          you are SORELY MISTAKEN, MY LITTLE ANCHOVY."

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Ridinwyoming View Post
            Am I being overly sensitive? Should I just let it go and hope they eventually get over it? It’s a small private stable so I see these women occasionally.
            Yes, I think you are being a bit overly sensitive. I just moved to a new barn. Several people walked up to my mare on the first day and gave her welcome nuzzles and pats. I took it as a compliment.
            Dreaming in Color

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            • #7
              I can totally understand the frustration. But, I'm also the mean lady who doesn't let everyone and their devil spawn try to pet my dogs, either. Anyway...

              Usually if I know the owner, or work at the barn, and their horse is in the crossties, I will come up to say hello to BOTH horse and owner, and perhaps a quick pat on the nose/neck and carry on my way.

              *shrug* I'm a social person, but I'm with you on personal time with my horse means a lot, and they sound like they're interfering. I don't mind when people come up and ask questions about my horse (he's flashy too and Mr. Personality), pat on the nose or whatever, but I'm pretty sure if a grown woman came up and made baby noises or put her face in my horse's face, I'd have some words for her.

              If I were in your shoes, the next time they do it, just nicely ask them not to because you would hate for your horse to bob his head and smash their nose. If they don't get the hint, then say "well, I'm just not comfortable with xxxxx".

              Kill them with kindness, but remain firm.
              runnjump86 Instagram

              Horse Junkies United guest blogger

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              • #8
                As a boarder, I don't like to touch other horses unless BO says it's okay, or the owner is present and gives permission. As a BO, I would never allow boarders to touch/feed treats/handle another boarder's horse without that boarder's express knowledge and permission. As an owner, I don't want anyone touching/feeding/handlng my horses without my say so. I don't think you're being overly sensitive, but I don't really know what to tell you to make the behaviour stop. I mean, it's not like they're wanting to longe or ride him, or are going into his stall and feeing him treats when you're not there.
                In loving memory of Laura Jahnke.
                A life lived by example, done too soon.
                www.caringbridge.org/page/laurajahnke/

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                • #9
                  It did not bother me when all the kids at first barn used to literally hug Cloudy's chest when he was just a baby and a big clown who enjoyed attention (16.2 and 6 yoa). They kids took turns bringing him in, and grooming him. Poor Callie was ignored by most as she was a stand offish tb mare. I was worried when an adult at another barn would always hug him on his rear end. Now he's old and grumpy, so no one is hanging on him except his mare Hattie.

                  Be flattered that you have the horse that people like. As long as they aren't feeding him or taking him out of his stall or pasture, enjoy the attention. But obviously it does bother you, so I don't know what you can say to others without offending them.

                  ETA Despite being old and grumpy, Cloudy is still good with disabled people and children. One cother sent her autistic sister out to play with Cloudy while she worked at our previous barn. Anyone who wants to groom a dirty grey horse is OK in my book.
                  Last edited by cloudyandcallie; Mar. 13, 2012, 08:13 PM.

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                  • #10
                    Wow - there's obviously a dividing line here regarding how people feel about this issue. I don't mind anyone interacting with my horses at all. When they are in the front pasture, by the road, my neighbors often bring them carrots and pet them. They did ask first, which was nice, and that allowed me to give a quick lesson on how to hand feed horses and keep your fingers. I think my horses are wonderful, and I'm just flattered when other people agree!

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                    • #11
                      I hear you.
                      My red boy has a fan club but they have a modicum of respect for someone else's horse.

                      The woman who did the face thing not only stepped way, way over the line she put herself in danger in doing so.

                      Even good horses can bite and a woman at our stable learned the hard way as she lost a piece of her face (can't say more since it was such a bad, obvious, freak thing everyone would know who I am referring to) to a horse bite - she has had three surgeries and has more to go.

                      Explain to them that it makes you uncomfortable and if they persist (oh but he's so pretty, I'm not hurting him, etc...) Tell them if they want to buy him the price is X thousand (or whatever his bluebook is) then they can do whatever they want but he is your horse right now.
                      Last edited by 5; Mar. 14, 2012, 01:51 AM.
                      A pussycat of a horse with a chewed off tail won the triple crown, The Cubs won the world series and Trump won the Presidency.
                      Don't tell me 'It can't be done.'

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                      • #12
                        Eh… my mare is usually the barn favorite. Everyone one loves snuggling with her. I don’t mind, she gets extra attention and treats. Heck.. at the last barn, the teen girls declared that they were her official fan club, miss mare loved her fans.

                        She will mug the BO for treats (searches pockets), but honestly, I don’t care about that even, because she never mugs ME for treats, and she isn’t aggressive. If that changes (gets aggressive, starts searching MY pockets), I would say something, but as it is now, I am not bothered at all.

                        Yes, they will even pet and talk to her when I am around.. but again, I don’t care that my pony is getting some extra love!

                        If it bothers YOU say something, but do not assume everyone knows that they should stay clear of a horse, because the owner is there, and its “their time with their horse”.
                        APPSOLUTE CHOCKLATE - Photo by Kathy Colman

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                        • #13
                          It would bother me, too. I was raised you don't touch another persons' horse, period. You can ask, but, it's kind of embarrassing if they say no. I don't like to touch others' horses, because things can happen, it is a horse after all. In this day and age, and after my one stab at boarding, people can be sue happy and should something happen...nope, not gonna touch and don't want mine touched. If I know the person well and they want to pat a shoulder, well, okay. Anyone else, nope, hands off.
                          GR24's Musing #19 - Save the tatas!!

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                          • #14
                            Mmmmmmmmm....torn, sorta. I KNOW the horses of the other boarders at my barn. I know which horses may/may not nip, which horses are territorial, which horses like a scritch, which horses' owners permit hand feeding of treats and which forbid it. So, yeah, I'll pat/give a treat/snuggle with the friendly, scritch me please horses, knowing that it's okay with their owners and of course, never do it in a situation where it might cause a horse to move suddenly (i.e., while having its hooves picked out.) I would most likely NOT do such a thing with a horse I did NOT know - but I might ask if it was alright and act accordingly.

                            My last horse was the barn favorite (and seemed to think he was the social director - inspecting all who passed his stall) and all through his life was a total gentleman, so I never cared if anyone wanted to pet/scritch/hand feed or the like. He NEVER overstepped his bounds. Present horse - well, scritch/pet/love him up all you want: but be warned, he is mouthy, despite the fact that he only gets treats in his bucket. Everyone at our barn knows it, and acts accordingly.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by 7HL View Post
                              NO... do like others have suggested on here when a horse invades your space. Carry a crop and smack them. They will never do it again.
                              I think it's a great idea!!

                              I've already bought a sign for my horse's corral, asking that he not be fed treats. He's also on a diet though.

                              Either way, I am not okay with people feeding my horse ANYTHING, EVER, without my approval. Who knows what kind of things horses can be allergic to! And according to some, peppermint will pop a test, so show horses could really be screwed over by some well-meaning boarder who doesn't like to keep their treats or fingers to themselves.

                              I think calmly talking to the BO, asking if she/he sees anyone handling/feeding your horse while you are not around, would be a good idea too. And as a BO, I did not/will not in the future allow other boarders to handle/feed other horses without verbal permission from the owner. That's just asking for all sorts of trouble.
                              runnjump86 Instagram

                              Horse Junkies United guest blogger

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                              • #16
                                One thing I learned when I had kids in daycare is that all love from everyone is good for my kids. Same for my horse-who also has many boarders and casual riders who bring him treats and spend some time petting him (with or without me there).

                                Love is love and it is all good. Boyfriends and husbands, well that's another thing..

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                                • #17
                                  But we aren't talking about treats/feeding.

                                  We're talking about fellow boarders in a little barn speaking to the OP and the OP's horse, and petting the horse's face while he's in the crossties.

                                  You can choose to be flattered and still say something about it being a distraction or how it's cutting into your time with your horse- or you can choose to be offended and condescending (these are grown women with their own horses!). Hell's Bells.I think I know who I'd rather spend my time with in the barn, and they can smooch da Chippy all they wish

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                                  • #18
                                    So, is it the safety issue or the fact that they are taking away from your quality time with your horse that is bothering you? I suspect it is one or the other, and probably the latter.
                                    Yes, I know how to spell. I'm using freespeling!

                                    freespeling

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                                    • #19
                                      Hmm...I'm not sure how I would deal with this either. No adults fawn over my horse, but there is one kid who LOVES her. Different with a kid though.

                                      I guess if it makes you feel uncomfortable, just tell them you don't mind them giving him a friendly pat or talking baby talk, but it makes you worry when they put their faces close to him. All horses are unpredictable and you would feel horrible if they got bitten.

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                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by mp View Post
                                        You're talking about your horse and not your husband, right?




                                        Well, as long as they don't feed...

                                        maybe you could ask if their own horse won't be jealous!

                                        I think it's better to have the favorite horse in the barn...

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