I was at a barn recently, talking to the manager about a client who would be hauling her mule in. A rider standing by wanted warning ahead, her horse (or someone riding her horse) didn’t like mules. A couple of weeks later that same rider told me that my music spooked her horse. She said at first she thought it was coming from a nearby correctional facility, since it was heavy metal but no, it was coming from my boom box. At my age, I’ll take that as a compliment. (It might have been Springsteen. He can’t really be considered more than medium metal, can he?) She got me thinking about barn rules.
We all like a good list of Barn Rules; it’s our chance to control the universe, one horse and rider at a time. I took a look at Infinity Farm’s barn rules and to tell the truth, they are obvious, or feeble, or sound like something a pious hall monitor at a catholic girls school might say. The rules are all negative knuckle-rappers and don’t inspire what I want to inspire!
Then I looked at other barn rules on-line and did some research. Really, it’s no wonder folks don’t read them. Very dull writing, describing arrogant and nitpicking barns that are welcoming to only the most boring riders. And nearly every rule has the word responsibility in it, like that was ever anything we could legislate.
Maybe the Golden Rule is enough. Beyond that, it’s time to breathe some life into these stodgy old rules and get a little more real.
Infinity Farm New Barn Rules.
Forward is always the answer. Get happy.
Put the welfare of your horse above other concerns.
The helmet rule does apply to you, every single ride.
More direction, Less correction.
Long ears welcome. All breeds and tack, welcome. (Small minds, not so much.)
Give your very best to your horse, and expect the same in return.
Reward often. You be the treat.
Children must have adult supervision. Also true for adults behaving like children. (Of course it’s always acceptable to behave like a Horse-Crazy Girl.)
Let the music play. Let the horses dance.
The barn should look like you love it.
Be consistent. Change things up. (Bill Dorrance rule.)
When the donkey brays, go scratch his ears.
Sometimes the answer is Shut up and ride.
Praise more, Criticize less.
Yes, you should pick up poop. You can’t expect Walter and Tomboy (dogs) to get all of it.
Don’t even think about smoking.
Riders with HDD (Humor Deficit Disorder) must wait in the truck.
Forward is still the answer. If it isn’t working, stop pulling on his face and try again.
~Above all else, love your horse.~
What did I leave out? Is there a barn rule you want to add? Is there a rule you break with joy and abandon? Can you even remember any of your barn rules, if you read them in the first place? Chime in!
Anna Blake, Infinity Farm.
16 thoughts on “NEW BARN RULES”
I think this needs an entire lunch conversation. Good Stuff…but I am worried about anyone who thinks the BOSS is heavy metal…signed a Jersey Girl
It concerns me as well…
Rules to live by outside of the barn.
oh this is a keeper. Yes, principles like the Golden rule. But sometimes we have to get a little specific what that might look like because there is always someone who pushes the boundaries or has always “gotten away with it” because they were lucky. I can say that because I fall into that catagory!
Also, what about small minds? Yes, they raise the hair on the back of our necks, but how do we help them unless we are there to set a different example. Coming from a country that was closed off from the rest of the world for decades, I get to see some “unipathedness” (yes, I just made that up). Can we claim to be tolerant if we are intolerant of the intolerant?
love this blog Anna
Ah, Ruth… I agree that more intolerance only breeds more…and intolerants are usually not aware of it… Horses are easy on this, they are tolerant of all of us. My best idea for intolerant people is to tickle them. (At your own risk.) Thanks, Ruth.
Amen! There are no rules at my barn, though I occasionally wish there were. For the most part, people are invested in creating a community they want to be part of, and look forward to interacting with. I learned the following rule a long time ago, hated it as a kid (think “but my horse can’t tolerate X, Y, Z…it should be against the rules to have hay delivered by big rig, play music, let birds live, let ropers practice tossing their ropes, allow long ears, let anyone in the arena with me, and allow THAT horse who annoys mine…”), but cherish it now:
Being annoyed, whether you are horse or human, is an opportunity. Rise to the challenge.
Have to chime in here too: Springsteen? Metal?! *thud*
The only thing that truly frightens my horse is noise. We have a neighbor who does daily target practice with a rifle. Guess who has to work quietly even if the gun is being shot? It’s an opportunity. The next time a car backfires, I’m probably not going to get tossed into the blackberries, and watch in terror as my horse gallops away down the road.
You are so right, it’s about the big picture.
How about “Blinkered minds must be prepared to be gently and lovingly redirected toward the happy trail”
I only have six rules. But it’s just me & my husband and I don’t need rules. 😉
1. If you broke it, fix it.
2. If you opened it, close it.
3. If you finish something, buy more or tell someone who will.
4. If you lost it, replace it.
5. If you loan something out, please get it back.
6. If you borrow something, please return it.
That pretty much solves all our barn problems!
Just the two of us as well – and felt I had to read these six out loud to my OH. So many needless arguments could be avoided!
Used to do holiday rentals years ago and hated having rules, but, as holidaymakers frequently failed to pack their brains, every time someone invented a yet more bizarre way of damaging the property the list of rules lengthened. Eventually I pared it down to one last rule, “No more paying guests”. Thank goodness I don’t run a barn; I’ll tolerate most things fom the horses, but can only take so much from inconsiderate people! 🙂
Horses are always easier than people.
The rule I break: Riding into or down the barn isle when no one is looking….:)
Definitely a keeper!
I read “Riders with HDD (Humor Deficit Disorder) must wait in the truck” as must wait in the trunk!
My mare would like to add a rule to the list. She’s the spokesmare for all the horses in the barn as she resides in the first stall and she’s the opinionated boss mare: “Upon entering the barn, all humans must dispense treats. In the event you are without treats, a scratch on the neck will do”
I am not a part of the Equestrian world but have friends that are and I admire them but all can say is,”In all walks of life you will encounter JERKS ” !!!!!!!!!!
I think that is a Perfect new set of rules. Reminds me of the (awesome) attitude of my old riding instructor.