Friday, September 25, 2009

So, are we good guys or bad guys? Survey says...

Here are the results of the survey after one day -- 432 responses! The analysis is about as scientific as the survey itself, with black hats and white hats depicting how most of us answered. I noticed it got distributed on a few listservs, so the sample is broader than just BTB readers. Also people can still answer the survey, so my numbers may be slightly off as more people respond. What have we learned?

We borrow stuff
Only 38% said they would never borrow equipment without asking. The rest of us borrow, but I'm not sure if that's a "black hat" answer. I think in the end it is mostly true that lending/sharing is part of the equestrian community. Who can afford to buy every possible piece of tack that might or might not work for our horses? Generally we help each other out. At the really top competition barns, or among pros, this may be less true.

We aren't all that territorial
I was surprised at the responses to questions about tack being displaced -- 90% let the tack stay where it was or quietly put it back. I've seen some territorial behavior at barns and have been on the business end. One boarder years ago told me in no uncertain terms that she had priority use of a set of cross ties, as she had been at the barn more than 10 years and I was new. Whether a stall, or a convenient cross tie, or their tack spot, I've encountered a certain sense of ownership and protectiveness. The survey doesn't support me in this perception -- not one little bit.

We practice good ring etiquette
With regard to ring manners, 88% responded in the first three "rungs" of the saintly end. However, about 3% approach ring work like a it's a cavalry charge. This corresponds with my experience. We all have our riding goals but most of us keep an eye out for one another. A few "bad apples" -- those 3% -- are willing to do it at the expense of others. Thankfully they are few in number.

We may be treatless but our horses don't go hungry
Forgot to bring treats? In that event, most everyone elected to handgraze (hence the white hat), but a scrappy 9% of us will pretty much steal an apple for our horses. At the barns I've ridden at everyone labels their horse treats in the fridge. Once Bob and I arrived at Riley's barn treatless and we were moaning about it. Bob wondered away and minutes later he marched proudly over with three carrots. "Guess what? There was a big stash in the fridge!" he announced loudly. I hissed in a stage whisper that THEY BELONGED TO OTHERS. Bob's response was something like "It's a 5 cent carrot, and life is too short." I confess Riley really did enjoy his carrots.

No exceptions, no excuses (when it comes to awards)
What do you do when you don't have the volunteer hours to win an award? This is the only question where I feel like there is exactly one correct answer -- accept that you didn't fulfill the requirements and move on. About 93% of us picked it. Only those who DO THE WORK enjoy the benefits of the award.

Um, sometimes it's easier to complain
RE: the boarder with the too-tight side reins? Most of us (85%) would offer to help, but oh my goodness -- 10% of you would take the passive agressive option, so say nothing but complain to others. Readers, I hardly know ye! I admit that my willingness to help would vary with the personality of the lunging party -- some people just aren't receptive.

Roy Rogers, every one of us!
Overall, we're a good group aren't we? Pats and treats for everyone!


  1. Do you know every time Roy Rogers got into a fight on TV his hat always stayed on? Guess it was to protect his "good guy" identity.

    Generally most people I ever boarded with were pretty good too.

    Now, however, I keep losing lead ropes and brushes and stuff....and...and...the barn is in my back yard and I'm the only one here!!

  2. That was a very interesting idea! Thanks for putting it on and posting the results. This just proves that equestrians will do anything for their horse. Steal? Check. Kill? Well it wasn't on the survey :)

  3. Your analysis is enjoyable. I think the "bad apples" make their presence felt, but I wasn't surprised to see that the majority of us are nice folks; just quiet. It a dangerous horse world. We'll look out for each other!

  4. As for tack and treats, share and share alike is the best rule. On the territorial piece, I wouldn't complain about a saddle rack, am happy to use another set of cross-ties, but I have staked a claim on Tucker's stall and would be quite put out if he was relocated. His stall has a window in front and behind so he gets a nice cross-breeze and a little more light. Plus both his neighbors are polite little gentlemen. So maybe I am a little more of an outlaw than the survey suggests? Going west? Staking my claim? Defending my land?


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