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Barn Manners

December 23, 2010

Barn Manners: The Holiday Edition

‘Tis the time of year when people give you a gift, and you don’t have one to give to them. When you receive a pink fuzzy sweater that you’d like to exchange. And perhaps there’s a coffee maker, a box of chocolates or a bottle of wine you’re thinking of regifting.

How’s a polite barn girl to handle these situations? It’s also the time of year when we want to thank the folks who work hard all year to care for our beasts—the barn workers, the trainer, the farrier, the vet. What’s an appropriate gift?

Pink’s not really my color…..

November 4, 2010

Barn Manners: Banish The Borrowers?

Question:  There’s a person in our barn who is constantly borrowing things from everyone else—polo wraps, boots, bits, spurs, stirrups, she even used someone else’s saddle for the entire show season. We all know it’s expensive to ride, and you can’t always afford to buy everything your horse needs. And I don’t mind lending things out once in a while. But this chronic lending seems to be a solution rather than a stop-gap measure. In my opinion, if you can’t afford to be in the sport, get out. Harsh, I know.

September 8, 2010

Barn Manners: How to Get Someone to Settle a Bill

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?

June 18, 2010

Barn Manners: The Good Horse Show Host

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.

June 2, 2010

Barn Manners: Sharing Hotel Rooms

’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!

May 26, 2010

Barn Manners: Graduation Announcements and Gifts

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.

May 14, 2010

Barn Manners: Unsolicited Advice

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?

April 29, 2010

Barn Manners: How To Shake Hands With The Chick With The Cast

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.

March 31, 2010

Barn Manners: Bathroom Behavior

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?

March 25, 2010

Barn Manners: Indoor Arena Etiquette

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.

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