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How important is a social life at your barn?

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  • #21
    I think it would depend on the "social group" at the barn. I was at one barn with about 20 boarders, some happy trail riders, some 4-H'ers, some competitors, and it was great. Wonderful social life, all worked together cooperatively, really fun barn - small but not isolated! Also at a larger barn with people I generally did not like. It had great access to trails and as long as people showed up daily to check up, seemed to take good care of the horses. But I rode alone with my BF there, no one rode together, just came and did their own thing.

    I would LOVE a small barn, no drama (yay!) and trails and good horse care, if I had to board again! no drama, no drama, no drama, no drama!!

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    • #22
      The answer depends on your Myers-Briggs personality type.
      "No matter how well you perform there's always somebody of intelligent opinion who thinks it's lousy." - Laurence Olivier

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      • #23
        i've boarded at every "type" of barn known to man over the years and am currently at what will probably turn out to be my favorite. it's just me...the property owner has 3 horses he rarely rides so i'm always alone. i LOVE it. i don't think i would ever want to go back to a big boarding barn (which is fine, bc my next and hopefully last move will be into my own place).

        i'm 30 and happy with where i am with my riding-low level jumpers and the ability to start a horse and bring it along.
        My mare wonders about all this fuss about birth control when she's only seen a handful of testicles in her entire life. Living with an intact male of my species, I feel differently! WAYSIDE

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        • #24
          The worst barns are the small ones with 3 or 4 adults- they EXPECT you to want to socialize with them. If you happen to get along great with them, fine, but odds are you won't, and then you're stuck.
          If it's a big, busy barn, people can form into groups/cliques and you can socialize only with those you want to socialize with- or if you don't want to socialize, it's big enough and busy enough that no one really notices or cares as you run in-ride-run out.

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          • #25
            I prefer to be alone or mostly alone. I don't mind being in the barn with one or two other people, but I really prefer to ride alone and I really prefer not to chat much. I will chat a little more on weekends, but on weeknights after work, I really just want to ride and spend time with my horse without being bothered.

            I find myself absolutely exhausted by people always being in my way, or, even if they are not in my way, I just sometimes find their noise and presence exhausting after a long day at work. I would LOVE a barn that was adult only, or at least that limited kids to only older kids that are serious riders.

            I'm a hunter/jumper person, but I at this point in my life, I really just ride and jump for fun and don't go to shows...both because of money/time and because of the horse I have. My horse is a very sensitive type as well, and a lot of chaos makes dealing with him 1,000 times more difficult. We have tried the "work through it" deal for years - you know, it's just not going to happen with him. He is a particular sort of horse. He requires a particular sort of environment to do well. Period.

            Luckily for me, I really don't like people either...so it suits us both to avoid them.

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            • #26
              I'm 22, and until I was 21 I had been at a small, private barn with no one my own age. Which when your 12, and discover bareback, bridle less, galloping, and the stupid-fun stuff, it's hard to just have to do all that on our own. I had momentarily gone to another barn, but it was so packed full of children I HATED it. I can't stand boarding with children, my barn currently has 2 high school barn brats and one overly enthuastic 7 year old, and I love them, but only them. And that's at my current barn, which is the local university's barn, so loads of girls my age!

              I think social should be second, and well fair of your horse first.

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              • #27
                I don't need a busy barn, but I do like a barn with regular activity, as I have a young, flighty young horse, and I like to have people around to call 911.

                But I have never had issues with barn drama (takes two to tango ) so I don't have any particular issues with groups of people.

                My trustworthy gelding lives at home in my backyard, and I get lonely.

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                • #28
                  Originally posted by Mike Matson View Post
                  The answer depends on your Myers-Briggs personality type.
                  I disagree. I forget what I am, (I think ISTJ?) but I'm definitely an I. I recharge by being on my own.

                  That being said... Would I board at a barn with few people around? Yes. And I have. Is it my ideal barn? No. I do like having a group of people around to chat with, trail ride with, and hang out at shows with. However, I do like a more laid back, amateur geared barn and not a massive busy show environment.

                  The barn I just moved away from was perfect IMO. The lesson program was mainly college students with a couple (3?) well behaved children and 2 teenagers. If you want, you can find ring-time alone, or you can head out on Saturday mornings and hang around and chat for half the day. Most of the adults compete several times a year, but overall everyone there just loves their horses, loves the barn, and loves being with each other. There's no drama (seriously). If you cause drama, the BO WILL ask you to leave. I would move back to that type of barn in a heartbeat.

                  I'm 23 and moving to Costa Rica so my horse life is on hold. But when I come back I'll be that lower level amateur in the hunter ring competing at small shows forever.
                  Proud member of the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique

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                  • #29
                    i'm in my twenties and i've been in nearly every boarding social scenario there is. ultimately, i've found i prefer a small to mid-sized barn with a few people that you can chat with if the mood strikes you. i don't devalue my experience with busy, big barns, primarily because it taught me how to ride with a bunch of people in the arena and a thousand and one things going on within earshot. however, the cliques, rushing to 'claim' common areas, and sometimes having to sit around until a large group lesson is done with did not float my boat.

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                    • #30
                      I'm more likely to socialize in a small barn with only a few people where we know each other, chat, know each other's horses, and that's it (ie only see each other at the barn) than a big barn, where I'd be more likely to get in, ride, get out. Either way I hate feeling coerced into being 'friends'. But when I was looking, I basically wanted a place where Lucky could have lots of turnout,there was space to ride,and the owner/their trainer wouldn't be breathing down my neck. Small, low-drama is good. Kids I can take or leave depending on the kids--BO's grandkids and their friends were fine.
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                      • #31
                        When I tack up and untack, I would love to have people around to chat a bit, and yeah, some mild gossips and lamentations for old ages are actually fun. But once I get on a horse, fewer people, the better, preferably just me in the arena. If I have to choose, I'd choose a very quiet arena rather than a social barn life, unless that other person at the arena happens to be my trainer lol. I have no problem riding in groups - used to ride Morgan hunter pleasures where bunch of hot horses careening around but it gets difficult to school a horse in dressage figures if you have riders in your path of travel all the time. I'm low 40 amateur competing seriously in dressage.

                        If I were to choose a barn, the chance of me getting a very quiet arena in the evening time, plus good footing, will probably be the "it" factor, assuming the care of the horse is sufficient of course.

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                        • #32
                          Originally posted by Wonders12 View Post
                          I disagree. I forget what I am, (I think ISTJ?) but I'm definitely an I. I recharge by being on my own.

                          That being said... Would I board at a barn with few people around? Yes. And I have. Is it my ideal barn? No. I do like having a group of people around to chat with, trail ride with, and hang out at shows with. However, I do like a more laid back, amateur geared barn and not a massive busy show environment.

                          The barn I just moved away from was perfect IMO. The lesson program was mainly college students with a couple (3?) well behaved children and 2 teenagers. If you want, you can find ring-time alone, or you can head out on Saturday mornings and hang around and chat for half the day. Most of the adults compete several times a year, but overall everyone there just loves their horses, loves the barn, and loves being with each other. There's no drama (seriously). If you cause drama, the BO WILL ask you to leave. I would move back to that type of barn in a heartbeat.

                          I'm 23 and moving to Costa Rica so my horse life is on hold. But when I come back I'll be that lower level amateur in the hunter ring competing at small shows forever.
                          I am also a Myers Briggs I, and did not expect to love a big, busy barn, but I can't imagine going back to a small barn on purpose. I do think it might be flooding.

                          Paula
                          He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).

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                          • #33
                            The size of the facility and riding areas dictates my response. I rode during high school at a very busy lesson barn with about 60 horses (more than half were school horses) and over 120 riders. There was always someone there, but there were also about 16 spots to groom/tack up. There was also a generously sized arena, 2 medium sized unfenced areas (one grass, one sand) with jumps, a smaller dressage arena, and a small gymnastics area also on property. If you wanted to ride without people, you could (except maybe Saturday midday!).
                            In contrast, my current barn has about 10 horses in work. It's only the barn owner who teaches lessons, and they are mostly private lessons, except for her high schoolers who are her boarders/show kids. Even then, max riders at a time might be 5. So it's small and not hugely social. However, if there is a lesson going on, while I'm welcomed to ride in the ring, i get self conscious so I'd rather ride on my own, which only leaves one field to ride in, and it isn't ideal (hilly, not big). I think if this barn got any busier, it'd be too much for me. I'd like more options to spread out.
                            Thankfully, all of her boarders and students are kids, so i can go in on my week days off work while they're all at school. I can also ask to ride in a group lesson with her show kids every once in a while if I want a bit more interaction.

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                            • #34
                              Originally posted by GoForAGallop View Post
                              I don't need a busy barn, but I do like a barn with regular activity, as I have a young, flighty young horse, and I like to have people around to call 911.

                              But I have never had issues with barn drama (takes two to tango ) so I don't have any particular issues with groups of people.


                              My trustworthy gelding lives at home in my backyard, and I get lonely.


                              The barn that I board at now is GREAT! It's on the smaller side, but the boarders range in age. I love chit chatting. The barn is really low key, the BO is trying to get into Therapeutic stuff, and nobody there has intense show goals. It's been prefect for me to try to get Herself going, since nobody cranks at me if she's having a moment in the ring and they have to pull up or steer around.

                              I usually ride late at night (read: after 7) so there is rarely anybody around. When I can sneak out earlier, it's nice to know that people will be around to chat too. I also love that the BO lives on site. She keeps an eye on things when I'm there alone.

                              The barn that I keep Will at in the summer is the same. VERY low key, small amount of boarders, and everybody is really relaxed about everything. BO runs a tight ship, so no drama. I pretty much know when people are going to be out riding, so I can choose to go at the same time, or not. It helps I've been a working student for the BO for over 4 years now too.

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                              • #35
                                It goes without saying that the facilities for the horses=the most important, but for me, having pleasant horse people at the barn is a plus. Cool horsepeople who can sense when you want to be alone at the barn alone and when you feel like a chat are gold to me.

                                It's good when you have a barn where you can choose to ride at a quiet time or choose to show up say, busy weekend mornings or afterschool when you're bookended by horsepeople. Most of the time, I like having them around me, even tho I am unbelievably shy. I love 'em all-- little horsecrazy barn rats, fellow older riders, young ambitious ammies and juniors. Nothing better when knowledgeable, enthusiastic people are sitting around me talking "horse." I learn a lot by listening and soak it in. I gain a lot by being around the enthusiastic barn rats and watching them learn. Also watching the young ambitious juniors and ammies. They are so motivating and make me want to work harder and be better, keep the zing going when I want to reach for the "old" card and give myself permission to slack off. I'd love to have more older ladies to ride with, to chat with sometimes afterward about horse books, horse travels, who might remember the old great riders and teachers. I think I was spoiled. I grew up reading too many horse books where the kids hung out together after they rode. Plus I was surrounded during my childhood with horsey friends and after we rode, we'd have slumber parties and talk horse all night long. We'd talk about upcoming shows for months before them, clean tack together, talk and swap horse books. We'd get up the next morning, race out to the fields and jump trash cans and sticks, wear ourselves out, rest and talk some more! I don't think I ever grew up. I miss that. I feel lucky to have had it. People are different though, and it's good that there are lots of barns around so people can find what they need.

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                                • #36
                                  I spent nearly eight hours at the barn over this past Saturday and Sunday and saw no one but the horses. I tacked up alone, rode alone, jumped alone, hacked alone, and cared for my horse alone.

                                  Perfect.

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                                  • #37
                                    I'm in my 30s, have a young WB I want to bring along in jumpers.

                                    When I was looking for a place to board originally, I had two different horses, one being my heart horse, who was retired and unsound. I wanted safe fences, safe barns, safe safe safe. I found the perfect place and I love my barn! Since I started board there (omg five years ago) I've lost Aisha, traded the one horse for another, rehomed her and her mystery cantering-only lameness that wasn't disclosed, and now have my current horse. I've also since married and DH has two mares at the same place, and I've picked up the famous (or infamous) Odie.

                                    This place is similar to described in the OP, minus the indoor. Centuar fencing, matted stalls, lights, hay hay and more hay, beautiful arena, I can bring in a trainer, I store my standards and poles out there, etc etc for no charge. Only two downsides in my book (beyond an indoor): we can't park the trailers there, and we're the ONLY people who come out. The BO doesn't own a horse, her current other boarders are out-of-state boarding two horses there (I don't get it), and the one boarder she had who came out just moved away a few months. I don't like riding alone, in fact I WON'T ride alone, and DH isn't riding right now due to a bum shoulder he's getting another surgery on, and he doesn't like coming out just to stand around and watch me. So I have to sweet talk friends into coming out, and gee, most people have lives .

                                    So yes, I would love a slightly busier barn. I grew up in busier barns, so the drama and whatall doesn't bother me at all. I keep my gear locked up and well-marked, I get along with lots of folks and I don't gossip about anything other than myself . But for me, it's partly social and a lot safety. Where we are now, the neighboring house has people who think nothing of waiting until I get on my horse to fire up the ole weed whacker or sending the 4 and 5 year olds out with the nerf guns, and the BO has two active kids in sports and a working DH, so if I went out and rode at 2pm, I could get hurt and lay there for hours.
                                    COTH's official mini-donk enabler

                                    "I am all for reaching out, but in some situations it needs to be done with a rolled up news paper." Alagirl

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                                    • #38
                                      Small to mid-sized suits me. Horse care and accommodations come first, but I enjoy a barn on the quiet side. I enjoy schooling alone, and I'm happy to be the only person in the barn when I ride. It's calming. This is the type of place I'm at now, and typically I'll see one or two others during weeknights, and weekends are busier with lessons and training. It's a nice balance. Some kids, but always supervised. Most important to me is routine and the ability to communicate about scheduling. I have a busy work schedule and an organized barn with calendars that show lesson times, planned arena work, vet and farrier visits, and show dates really helps me plan my time effectively. I know when I can get in and get it done and I also know when I can count on lots of folks and activity around. Both are helpful depending on what I'm planning on doing.

                                      I'm a 40 something re-rider with dressage aspirations and a recreational trail rider.

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                                      • #39
                                        As I'm more of an introvert, I always thought I'd prefer a smaller barn. But having now experienced a small barn and a large one, I really prefer the large barn.

                                        The small barn is always way too quiet. It's just way too lonely most of the time. Most days I go out there around 4:30pm and never see a single other boarder the entire time I'm there.

                                        Everyone at the large barn is friendly. And the people I don't care for are easily ignored while still maintaining polite relations. I have several people that I love to ride with and we are always out around the same times. It makes the days that you can't do much of anything enjoyable.

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                                        • #40
                                          like the quiet barns, but I love 'some' activity. Currently I am the only boarder who rides between September and February (we have 6 other boarders currently but none ride). I love it because I have the small indoor to myself and can do anything/ everything I want to.

                                          However it does get lonely. Starting in February most of our show team comes back (most have there own farms where they live from Sept-Feb, so our barn gains an additional 5-8 horses between Feb and late March) and after that starts I usually only have the indoor free when I ride at nights. Its funny, I miss the activity of the barn when I'm by myself in January but I am so happy to see everyone leave in September!

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