Friday, May 11, 2012

Confessions of a barn aisle bully

When I dine out with friends, it's easy to tell which ones have worked as a waitress. They are Johnny-on-the-spot in being ready with their order; they are pleasant to the waitress; and they tip well.

I can also tell who has worked at a barn...
Likewise, I can tell which boarders have done barn work. They pull their horse out of the cross-ties when you're turning out or bringing in horses. They  empty the muck buckets. They sweep after themselves. God love them.

I have to confess, never having been a mother, that I'm unused to seeing house chores trashed by a sloppy kid, and I don't have that mom-immunity -- when my work is trashed/taken for granted I notice. It bugs me to see boarders drag flakes of hay across my clean aisle or leave a pile of hoof pickings at the cross ties.

I'm not speaking about any specific barn either. You generally see the same mix of neatniks and the more casually inclined, regardless of what barn you're at. And I've worked at many barns.

Yes, I'm paid. Logically I get it. Boarders have every right to make use of the facilities I've just mucked, scrubbed, swept, and emptied.  It's  fair, it's life. Still,  when someone pulls their horse out of the stall, along with half of the shavings, into my clean aisle,  my inner child -- no, my inner teen-- groans, and a tiny whiny inner voice  says, "do you have to do that??"


  1. I totally get that! I hate when someone decides to "muck" their own stall, then conveniently leaves a wheelbarrow full of horse crap for me to empty!

  2. So true! My friend, and one of the caretakers of our barn, has said much the same - she acknowledges boarders pay enough to not have to worry about certain things but can't help but feel that "did you have to do that??" once in awhile. Of course some habits drive us all nuts :)

    I've never actually worked in a barn but do try to be conscientious. I've mastered the art of leaving the shavings in the stall (it's all in the pause).

  3. Three women and I have the last class of the day on Fridays. We all pitch in with sweeping the aisles and feeding and watering the horses after our lesson. On the other hand, I volunteer as a groom one day a week. I will sweep the areas I messed up when I'm ready to leave but not the whole barn since lessons are still being held and dirt being tracked in. It seems pointless to clean in the middle of the day IMHO.

  4. Yup. What gets me ticked is the boarders who pull manes or clip their horses, then either leave the hair on the floor, or throw it in the spreader! We have a rotary spreader and hair in it is BAD!

  5. Nice comparison and it makes sense.

    This reminds me of the arena. I can tell when someone using the arena before me has not practiced dressage, because there are always poles and barrels in the most inconvenient of places, as if they were carefully positioned just to prevent the opportunity for a round circle. ;)

  6. I have volunteered at several stables and always had to do the cleaning up jobs. Now that I have my own horse I make a concerted effort to clean up after myself and often clean up other boarders messes. I do not feel that since I pay to board does not mean I should make the owner clean up my messes. He has kindly allowed me the chance to use his facilities. Cleaning up is not just about neatness it shows respect. Respect for the barn, those who work there, our horses, and ourselves. Not cleaning up after yourself has become such a huge problem at my barn that the owner has threatened to shut down because he does not need the extra work. PLEASE clean up after yourself!

  7. I worked at enough barns ... as well as now owning my own farm and doing all the chores ... to feel like kicking people that do that.


    Perhaps I am just TYPE A. ;)

  8. I am a firm believer of "if everyone cleans up after themselves, nothing will be dirty" so I always pick up after myself and my horse :)

  9. When I boarded, I always tried not to be "that" boarder. Tidied up after myself and my horse, etc. (although I admit, I wasn't perfect!) Now that I'm my own BO, if I leave the wheelbarrow full of manure... yep, I have to empty it later. If I don't sweep up after myself, I'll have to do it later. Some weeks my barn is neat as a pin, and others, I just deal with hoof pickings in the aisle for a few days. It's my own fault, whatever the state of things!

    And the idea of paying someone else to do it is very, very appealing sometimes, lol!


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