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Teaching Juniors Barn Ettiquette

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  • Teaching Juniors Barn Ettiquette

    I'm lucky enough to ride at a great barn with a lot of good people. There are several really awesome junior riders who are not only excellent riders but excellent horsepeople as well. They are tidy, respectful and genuinely interested in the well-being of the horses, the barn and the people in it.

    However, there are some juniors who need reminding about cleaning up after themselves or not using other folks' stuff without permission. A lot of this is just basic people skills and most of the rest is "kid stuff" with the 10 and under crowd.

    So when kids "forget" to pick up poop in the aisle or ruin someone else's rub rag by polishing their boots with it or pester a young horse being braided for the first time, how do you correct them? Does it matter what age the kid is? If the kid is 10 years old versus 17?

    Obviously if there's something unsafe happening in the moment, the right thing to do is to pull the kid out pronto but I'm unsure as to how to remind a teen that they need to rub down the horse that so kindly carried them around for the past hour. Particularly a teen that has a history of not taking these "corrections" very well.

  • #2
    What is your relationship to these kids?

    If you're just a boarder at the barn, you can remind them once, very politely, "Hey Susie, don't forget to [put your stuff away, pick up that poo, whatever]."

    If it's a more persistent problem, or the kids cop a 'tude, you sit down with their instructor and have him/her have "a talk."

    In my opinion, if it's *your* rub rag they're ruining, or your horse they're pestering, then you can raise holy heck right then and there. If not, MYOB, and take it to the trainer!

    Comment


    • #3
      yes, there is a difference between 10 and 17. I think 10 is easier to correct.

      I am on the mischievious side this morning so I am not attempting to throw in solutions.

      But it is pretty simple: make barn rules, enforce them.

      maybe put up a collection jar where infraction fees are paid into, for a nice years end/summer party or something.

      basic rule: your mom does not work here, clean up after yourself!

      Comment


      • #4
        I tell the ones that leave stuff out I'm going to sell it on eBay and get out my cell phone to take pictures. If there is manure in the groom stall as the kid flies by - I just point and say "Poop."

        I am just another client but can't stand mess in the barn. It is not a huge operation but there is no way the guys should come in to work in the morning to a mess. They work hard enough. Mr. Trainer shouldn't have to police their stuff either, he works hard as well. The parents are just happy to not have to nag them at the barn and get them moving. Although some of the parents are a bit put off that the kid is tidier at the barn than at home.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Seal Harbor View Post
          Although some of the parents are a bit put off that the kid is tidier at the barn than at home.
          it's the law of nature!!

          I am always happy that somewhere I taught my kid better than what he exhibits at home.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Seal Harbor View Post
            Although some of the parents are a bit put off that the kid is tidier at the barn than at home.
            Ummmmmmmmmmm... I've always kept the barn neater than my house, even as an adult...

            As a teen I'd have been mortified if someone (other than Mom) had to get after me to clean up my stuff.

            Comment


            • #7
              If it's a matter of a horse's welfare (kid not rubbing down/cooling horse out properly), or making free with others' possessions, I'd confront kid directly and firmly, no matter the age. I would then inform trainer immediately.

              With things like poop in the aisle, and leaving their own things lying about, I'd confront directly the first time, then go to the trainer if the habit persisted. My barn time is just that - mine - and I don't want to be bothered trying to keep up with someone else's spawn that hasn't been taught how to behave or clean up after him/herself. That responsibility belongs to the trainer and parent, and I'm happy to remind them of it, in order to ensure my comfort at the barn.
              In loving memory of Laura Jahnke.
              A life lived by example, done too soon.
              www.caringbridge.org/page/laurajahnke/

              Comment


              • #8
                Nothing better than a trainer, barn owner, or other authority figure who can put the "fear of god" in the kids.

                Not inappropriate if that authority figure is not trainer, but rather another adult member of the barn (or even older teenager, if it is someone the kids look up to).

                Just like horses, children need timely reminders of the rules, and the trainer isn't always going to be there to provide it.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I had this at my old barn. Other boarders (9-19) leave stuff in the aisle, not rub down their horse, use my hoof pick and not bother asking, etc. Alot of times(I was only 15 at the time) I would say, "Hey, _____ don't you think that you should groom Maxx before you put him out again??", I probably said that about at least 5x a week :O. I am one of those kids whose horse, stall, aisle, tack is always spotless but, my room is a mess.

                  I put the using my stuff to an end when ___ used my 3 week old saddle
                  and clippers without my permission. Haha, she was never at the barn when I
                  was again

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    My trainer despises stuff left out - especially when it's hers used on one of her horses. One of the barn kids did a ride and left the bridle, girth etc. out. I happened to be there when the kid came for her next lesson. Trainer had her remove the bridle and replaced it with a halter and two leads; took her girth away (but had to give it back because saddle kept slipping). Kid did the entire lesson, including jumping, with no bridle.

                    Not only did she never forget to put stuff away again, it makes a great story (warning) for the other kids at the barn.
                    And nothing bad happened!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I have more trouble with adults acting like spoiled kids. My barn floor looks like a pony exploded--fur everywhere during shedding/clipping not picked up. Brush boxes left in grooming stalls, halters still attached to cross ties etc. Some adults are just oblivious.

                      I find most kids, if you catch them not cleaning something up or using someone elses stuff, they'll admit they screwed up.

                      Myself, I throw stuff away...if it's hanging on my stall or in my stall rack...if it's not mine, it's gone.
                      "Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc"

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Alagirl View Post
                        it's the law of nature!!

                        I am always happy that somewhere I taught my kid better than what he exhibits at home.
                        AMEN. That comment was made this morning in the midst of estrogen h3)) that they are great at the barn, but snark comes out at home. ARGHHH
                        http://community.webshots.com/album/548368465RfewoU[/url]

                        She may not have changed the stars from their courses, but she loved a good man, and she rode good horses….author unknown

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Maybe this is because I was in barns that lacked a critical mass of kids, but I always watched the old ladies with their nice horses and nice equipment. Those women seemed to have this whole thing really figured out. Nothing was ever out of place, though these women would quickly put an errant horse back in its place. I wanted to be that seamlessly good some day.

                          I think setting amazing examples is what the old ladies, trainers and older good teens can do. Trust me, the little kids are watching if their herd isn't so big that they get swept up on their own mob frenzy.

                          If the people at the "top" of a barn set the tone, it trickles down. The older teens are probably the most effective trainers in barn etiquette for the younger kids. Maybe trainer needs to explain this to them, and give them a part in shaping the younger members of the barn?

                          One of the best features of riding while I was growing up was that no one talked about age, schedule or level of interest as an excuse for not toeing the same line with respect to horse care and cleanliness that everyone else did. Everyone had to be a "good horseman" and there was not "boys will be boys" rhetoric applied to tweeny girls. They were expected to put their horse's care first and spoken to harshly when they did not. This makes sense to me. The handler-- of any age-- can make a horse's life great or miserable. Since even little kids have power over horses, they must be taught to take that seriously.
                          The armchair saddler
                          Politically Pro-Cat

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Pestering a horse I'm working on gives me permission to tell the offender, nicely first that the horse needs to be left alone for now. If it's ignored, then I'm prone to be not-so-nice on 2nd request. I'm not afraid to put wilding kids in their place over disruptive behaviour around horses either..

                            Taking things that aren't locked up really is the problem of the owner. Cleptos are everywhere, not just among the junior crowd.

                            Items habitually left out get thrown out. Sometimes I leave a note saying which trash can. Sometimes not. This is after several reminders. Yes, I was BM at the time, but I don't think I'd be shy about using this approach again if their stuff was always in my way.

                            Similar to poop in the aisle. Ask nicely 3x.. if it keeps happening, poop gets put on the tack trunk.

                            I'm not a kid person.
                            Last edited by Sansena; Apr. 21, 2010, 09:26 AM. Reason: Not IN the tack trunk.. I meant ON!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              We have a few who think trash should be thrown out the back for the workers to clean up, and I always hang it on the front of the stall with a giant note that says "Trash can at the end of the aisle, clean up after yourself, this is a stable not a dump." Only one in 20 years neded a second reminder.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Sansena View Post
                                Pestering a horse I'm working on gives me permission to tell the offender, nicely first that the horse needs to be left alone for now. If it's ignored, then I'm prone to be not-so-nice on 2nd request. I'm not afraid to put wilding kids in their place over disruptive behaviour around horses either..

                                Taking things that aren't locked up really is the problem of the owner. Cleptos are everywhere, not just among the junior crowd.

                                Items habitually left out get thrown out. Sometimes I leave a note saying which trash can. Sometimes not. This is after several reminders. Yes, I was BM at the time, but I don't think I'd be shy about using this approach again if their stuff was always in my way.

                                Similar to poop in the aisle. Ask nicely 3x.. if it keeps happening, poop gets put on the tack trunk.

                                I'm not a kid person.
                                And I thought Coreene and JSwan were blunt!

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I'm not much of a "kid" person, but I do find that the younger kids respond to corrections better than the older kids and (especially) adults at the barn.

                                  Kid's horse leaves a pile of manure in the crosstie area? Usually, a simple "hey _____, could you be sure to clean up after Dobbin when you're done with the crossties?" That's generally all it takes to remind them that they are not living in their own little magical world where elves come in to clean up their messes for them.

                                  I board at a small, non-competitive, generally friendly barn where most of the boarders are adults, and most of the kids who keep their horses there do not have horsey parents so they tend to look up to the adult boarders for guidance. They also cannot go on trail rides without an adult accompanying them, so they know that the best way to get an "invite" to join the grown-ups on a ride, is to show that they can be responsible in an around the barn, too.

                                  There are probably more issues with the teens and adults who don't pick up after themselves. . .in which case, they usually don't get invited to join in on trail rides very often, either. . .
                                  Please copy and paste this to your signature if you know someone, or have been affected by someone who needs a smack upside the head. Lets raise awareness.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    It would be great if telling the kids to pick up stuff worked. We've mentioned it (time and time again) and emails have gone out to the barn at large about all of this stuff. I know a lot of people who have been on the receiving end of snarky, "you're kidding, right?" looks from some of the 14 year olds when told to pick up poop/sweep up after their pony.

                                    If it were my kid, I'd sit on them so hard for that, they'd pop.

                                    but–not my kid, not my horse, not my barn. Incidentally, this makes it a lot easier to stay comfortable with my decision not to have kids

                                    There's a limit to what I can do and say. I also have been getting more and more adults coming to me and saying how frustrated they are with the kids....but won't tell them when they kids are being stupid right then and there.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Everyone - from little kids to adults - at my barn is pretty responsible, which might be why I'm having trouble imagining "correcting" any of the teens or kids. Like anyone else they are all capable of forgetting something, and I would expect teens who aren't yet experienced enough to be on autopilot to be more prone to that. But I'd just let someone know what they forgot without any accusation. That might be why some of the teens aren't reacting very well. I've been known to get distracted and forget to sweep, and would prefer "oh hey don't forget your fur pile!" to "stop leaving messes for other people to clean up, that's so rude, grumble." I look very young, and have had parents talk to me like I was a kid in need of instruction, and did NOT appreciate it. I'm not sure I'd have liked it any more if I actually were 17.

                                      That said, I'm not sure what I'd do with the truly spoiled.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by gieriscm View Post
                                        Ummmmmmmmmmm... I've always kept the barn neater than my house, even as an adult...
                                        Shh. Me too but we aren't going there.

                                        Comment

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