I try hard to keep this page a positive place, but every once in a while I see something that shouldn’t be ignored. It’s time to re-share this great blog called "Please don't suck when you go to the barn," from Jorna Taylor because, based on what I’m seeing out there, a LOT of people are really sucking right now.
So many posts and comments on Facebook, Instagram and horse forums complaining about barn schedules, rules, and restrictions - the schedules, rules and restrictions designed to keep the very people complaining about them safe!
Two weeks ago, a lot of us in Ontario didn’t even have access to our horses. Now stables here are open for boarders and lesson students alike. We should all be over the moon. Instead people are whining about what they can’t do and what’s not allowed, or bitching that Barn A is doing one thing and Barn B isn’t.
Everybody needs to take a deep breath and put themselves in their barn owner’s shoes. No two barns are alike; no single set of policies or recommendations is going to work for every barn. If your barn owners / staff are older, immune compromised or otherwise at higher risk for COVID-19, your barn will probably have more restrictions. If your tack room is tiny and unventilated, or if you don’t have grooming stalls or wash stalls with adequate physical separation from the rest of the barn you probably don’t have access to them right now. Maybe you’re keeping your tack in your car. Maybe you’re grooming outside. That’s ok.
Whatever policies your barn staff have put in place are for their safety and yours. You don’t have to agree with them, but you do have to abide by them for a while or find somewhere else for your horse to live. Their barn, their rules.
This is not business as usual and very little in our world is even close to “normal” at the moment. Maybe it never will be. Having even an hour of barn time feels like a vacation from the craziness of the past 2 months. It’s a privilege that should be cherished. Our horse time may not be perfect right now, but it’s a whole lot better than nothing.
So please, even if you are feeling frustrated, cut your barn staff some slack. Appreciate their desire for caution stems from a desire to keep everyone safe. Think about the pressure and responsibility weighing on their shoulders, and how they would be affected both personally and financially should a disease outbreak be linked to their business. Instead of bringing them complaints, bring them a bottle of wine and say thanks.
Please don’t suck. And if you’re lucky enough to live in a province where barns are open, please enjoy your horses.
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About the author
I'm a middle-aged, overweight, rusty re-rider who refuses to let any of that get in the way of my passion for dressage.