Boarding your horse is akin to leaving your child at daycare…24/7. It’s hard to be away from him, and sometimes it is difficult not to be a control freak about what exact blanket he’s wearing, how much hay he has, and how many minutes a day he is turned out.
No one can blame you for caring about your horse! But maybe caring too much caused you to snap at your barn owner/manager, act controlling, or make too many demands. If you’ve stepped over the line, there are a few things to consider.
- Your barn owner/manager has a hard job. A really hard job. They probably work crazy hours, 6-7 days a week, in all weather and without vacations. It’s a thankless job, it’s physically taxing, and it’s not at all glamorous. Having some compassion and understanding can go a very long way, and if you keep this in mind in every conversation you have with your barn owner, it will serve you well.
- Appreciation is not only nice, it’s necessary. See the above point. This doesn’t mean you have to bring flowers to the barn every day (that would just be one more thing for them to have to water!) but showing your appreciation with a hot cup of coffee or lending a helping hand can change someone’s day.
- Be respectful. Respect is paying your board on time and cleaning up after yourself. Your barn owner’s job is to take care of your horse, not to clean up after you or hunt you down for money. If you’re going to be late with your board check, a simple text or call explaining why is helpful for their bookkeeping and planning.
- Lend a hand. If it’s pouring rain and all of the horses need to be brought in from their fields pronto, don’t leave the poor barn manager to do it all herself. That phrase “It takes a village” is repeated in horse sports all the time, and even these small tasks are a part of that mentality.