Sunday, May. 26, 2024

Barn Manners



Question: Earlier in the show season, a friend asked me to trailer her horse to a local horse show. I agreed and we settled on a price of a dollar per mile. When the show was over, I let her know that the trip was 225 miles round trip. Six weeks have passed, and I’m still waiting to get paid. I’m getting annoyed. What should I do?

What’s your favorite horse show? I bet you can tell me in five seconds flat. Why is it your favorite? Some of you will say it’s the food—the caramel apples at the New England Equitation Finals! Others might say Lake Placid because of the super intense grand prix, and the fact that there’s so much to do, see and eat in the lovely town.

’Tis the season for “away” horse shows. You and your horse, on the road, at the show, footloose and fancy-free, no email, perhaps limited cell phone capability, no computers…bliss! At the end of the day, you put your horse to bed and return to the hotel room, which is …littered with sweaty horse show clothes, half-eaten food and paddock boot dirt. There’s not an inch of room on the sink counter or a clean towel to be found. Ah, roommates!

Question: A bunch of the girls at the barn are graduating from high school soon. One has mailed me a graduation announcement. Am I obligated to send her a gift? And if I give her a gift, shouldn’t I give the others a gift as well?

Answer: ‘Tis the season of graduations and weddings, and if you’re been invited to several, your joy may be somewhat tempered by the inherent gifting obligations that accompany these celebrations.


Question: There’s a boarder at the barn who loves to offer unsolicited advice. Whether it’s about my horse—“Maybe you should try some calming supplements,” and “Is he always this crazy?” or my riding, “If I were you, I’d really starting working on getting him to bend more, try doing some 20-meter circles.”  She won’t stop! It’s driving me crazy. This person has no more experience than I do. What can I say to make her stop?

I'm nine days in with the new cast, which is a lovely shade of Missy Ann blue. I have been a good patient, if I do say so myself. When I visited the hand specialist last week, I was given the choice of a hard cast or a brace that could be briefly removed.

The doctor is a fellow lacrosse coach, and his son is on the team my husband coaches. Husband and Doctor Phil discussed it and decided I was not to be trusted with a removable brace. So I am in a cast. And yes, they were correct, I cannot be trusted.

Question: I was recently at a horse show with real bathrooms! Four whole stalls and a sink with running water and soap. My joy was short lived. In the stall next to me a woman, apparently a trainer, chatted away on her cell phone. Since I could hear the conversation, it seems she was in the middle of selling a horse and was telling the caller all about how she was really going to make a killing.  I was so grossed out I didn’t know what to do. Is there no place safe from cell phones?

Question: Yesterday I was riding in the indoor when one of the lesson kids’ mom walked right in the ring with her DOG! No “Door!” or anything. She just walked right in without even looking. I had to pull up my 4-year-old to a halt. Luckily no one was hurt. She never even apologized, she just kept walking! I did say to her, “My horse could have hit your dog,” but she just looked at me and kept going. She’s been around the barn for at least two years, she should know better.

Question: I am a junior rider boarding at a show barn that has many junior and adult riders. I own two horses and show much of the year. I know that I am fortunate to have parents that can support my riding, but I often get asked questions by other riders—adults and juniors—that I’m not comfortable answering. I’ve been asked: “How do you afford to show so much?” “What do your parents do for a living that they can pay for two horses?” “How much did you pay for that horse?” and more. I think this is rude. How should I respond?



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