Friday, April 5, 2013

Respect

Most boarders would get excited about having a long weekend.  Visions of lots of horse time, riding to your hearts content in the arena whenever you feel like it, come to mind.  It's not the case where I board.  Every long weekend, there is a clinic that lasts all weekend.  A trainer comes in to town (LA's trainer, in fact) and does one-hour sessions with riders, usually those getting ready for reining competitions.  It sort of sucks for boarders because the sessions start at 8:00 a.m. and go until 5:00 p.m.   We are allowed to ride in the arena during lunch hour, from 12:00-1:00 p.m.  In the winter, this means the arena is packed with riders.  In the summer, it's not quite so bad; the front paddock is available for the clinics, leaving the arena free.  And, of course, the trails are available.

For someone who only gets one day on the weekend to ride (Sunday), initially I was put out by the inconvenience of having the parking area overrun with trailers and being relegated to one hour of riding.  But, I have come to understand that as long as LA has these very popular clinics, it helps keep the costs down for boarders; there has not been an increase in our board rates for two years, although I am expecting one sometime this year due to the drought-induced rise in the cost of hay. 

Along with the popularity of these clinics comes, unfortunately, a lack of respect for boarders.  It absolutely boggles my mind at how disrespectful "visitors" are and how entitled they feel because they are participating in a clinic.  Here's a few examples:

A rider is not on time for their morning session, so they start late.  They insist on their full hour, so that means that everyone behind them starts late.  This means that the boarders that only have an hour to ride usually end up getting the short end of the stick.  In the past, there were many times where myself and a few other boarders had to wait outside the arena in the cold for the session to finish before we could get into the arena and then could only ride for about 30-40 minutes so that the next session could start at 1:00 p.m.

While boarders are riding during the lunch break, clinic participants feel that it is completely acceptable to lunge their horses, warming up the the afternoon sessions.  We have sometimes had TWO horses being lunged at the same time!  This is not only dangerous, but it reduces the amount of arena space where boarders can ride.

Participants will bring in their "other" horse (yes, they will trailer two horses) into the arena to ride during break because they don't get to ride or practice much in the winter because they don't have an arena.  Boarders have to accommodate their sliding stops, reining patterns, etc.

Participants will leave all of their grooming stuff, saddle stands and extra hay all over the aisle of the barn, making it next to impossible sometimes to maneuver around, particularly if you are guiding your horse out of the barn.  

Participants will tack up and then leave their horse tied to a wall-post or in cross-ties.  Then they will go watch the clinic until it's their turn, leaving the horse in the aisle for boarders to have to deal with and frankly, babysit.

There have been times when I have found a participant's horse left in Gem's stall because the owner has gone to watch the clinic.  I really, really dislike this. 

As the popularity of the clinics increased, LA had to deal with a number of complaints from boarders. She has reinforce old rules and introduced some new ones. 
  • Clinic participants are not to leave their horses unattended. 
  • No one is allowed to lunge while there are riders in the arena (this is an ongoing rule).  
  • Clinic participants are not allowed to ride during lunch break - the arena is reserved for boarders only. 
  • Trailers are to be parked off to one side.  
  • Barn aisles are to be kept clear.  
  • Clinic participants are not to touch boarded horses after handling their own without washing their hands and must bring their own water buckets.
  • Stalls are not to be used by clinic participants.
  • Sessions start on time; if the participant is late they will loose that time.
  • Visitors have to clean up their horse's poop.
So, Sunday a fellow boarder and I gained access to the arena shortly after noon.  Gem and I started our usual warm up.  As Gem and I were walking away from her, I heard my 15-year old fellow boarder say "sure, no problem" to someone.  Imagine my surprise when a clinic participant started lunging her horse, taking up 1/2 of the arena.  As Gem and I got closer to them, her horse started to freak out a bit; a perfect example of why lunging isn't permitted with riders.

Me:  (smiling) Hi there.  Lunging isn't actually allowed when there are riders in the arena.  
She:  (snotty tone, trying to get her horse under control) I am participating in the clinic.
Me:  Yes, I know.  But the lunch break is the only time boarders like myself get to ride when there is a clinic on.  Lunging your horse reduces our rideable space. It's also a safety issue.
She:  (really snotty tone and red faced) I asked her (pointing to my fellow boarder) and she said it was fine.  I am not asking for your permission.
Me: (getting bigger in my seat, looking down at her and her puny horse and in a very precise tone)  These are LA's rules and they are posted in RED on the board next to the gate.  You may want to read them and if you have an issue, please take them up with LA.

Things could have gone a lot nicer if she had just responded politely to my initial comment; after all she is a GUEST.  But no.  Bitchiness prevailed.  She stormed off, put her horse back in the cross-ties and went to complain to the other regular clinic participants, who were sitting around having lunch. (Have I mentioned that I really hate barn drama?? Sigh.)  I noticed a couple of them go to the whiteboard and take a quick look.  I have to admit that I had my fingers crossed that LA's rules were still posted (they were)!!  :-)  

I had a nice leisurely ride on Gem, using the whole arena.  Now, some of you out there may think that I was over-reacting to this woman lunging, particularly since there were only two riders in a fair-sized arena.  Well, most of the clinic attendees are regulars and should know better.  Clinic participants are told what the rules are, yet still choose to ignore them. Frankly, I am tired of the rude behaviour.  Sunday's little kerfuffle with this woman will hopefully remind these visitors of the rules and that it's not all about them.  

I told LA what happened before she went to the arena for the afternoon session.  I didn't want her blind-sided by an angry participant.  LA was supportive of my actions and indicated that she would work harder at making sure that the rules for visitors were enforced.  I felt better.  LA has a tough role to play.  It's a fine balance trying to keep all of her "customers" happy.  Boarders are her first priority, though, and I appreciate her efforts and support.   :-) 

Have a great weekend, everyone!





25 comments:

  1. Good for you! The barn I used to be at had roping twice a week, people hauling in and booking the arena (without any prior warning from the BO), as well as occasional clinics. I still can't believe the rudeness I encountered. Nobody ever cleaned up after their horses, horses tied to everything that you could loop a lead rope (or all too often reins) around, snotty attitudes, reckless behavior...the whole thing. Unfortunately in that barn boarders were definitely second class citizens so...I don't board there any more!

    There is a clinic coming up at my current barn and I admit I'm in a knot because they will be occupying the arena for two days all day. I understand and think clinics are great but it sure will suck to lose that whole weekend. Boarders are definitely not second class citizens here but they also never have clinics here so I fear that the lack of clinic experience will suck for us boarders.

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    1. I guess it's the same everywhere when it comes to clinics! :-) Compared to the first year I experienced clinics and now, it's like night and day. LA's has done a pretty good job, but there still those that treat LA like a second-class citizen by leaving horse crap all over the place and expecting her to clean it up. If you are the only boarder that wants to ride, perhaps they can give you a small part of the arena? I will say that I enjoy watching the clinics. You can learn a lot.

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  2. Maybe everyone attending the clinic could receive a copy of the rules as part of their registration package, and asked to refer to the rules as part of the intro remarks at the clinic? That way, no one can claim they don't know - also LA needs to reinforce that no boarder can waive those rules (as your fellow rider did), even if they're just trying to be nice.

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    1. This is a pretty casual event, with observers either sitting on the blocks of hay or standing at the gate. They register by phone after the event is posted on the barn's Facebook page. The rules are listed on the whiteboard, but I am going to ask LA to post them on her Facebook announcements.

      Your comment about another boarder waiving the rules has highlighted a challenge that I also brought to LA's attention. The past 3 times visitors have lunged in the arena during lunch hour break, they have always asked a younger rider for permission (last Sunday the boarder was 15 years old). The younger riders feel intimidated by the adult and always say "yes".

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  3. That's quite obnoxious. Good idea of Kate's to have a printed list of rules handed out to clinic participants. You kept your cool better than me, I would have lost it on her.

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    1. Although I was tempted to loose it, I didn't want to stoop to her level of rudeness or have LA suffer afterwards. :-)

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  4. That's awful, they should have respect for you as you keep your horse there all the time, It's good that LA is sticking up for/agreeing with you. It's amazing how rude people can be. You did better than me I'd have lost my temper, I hate rude people!

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    1. I have no patience for rudeness...or bad table manners! :-)

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  5. Sometimes I miss the social aspects of having a horse in livery, but when I read your story I remembered what it was also like! I have on one occasion allowed a trainer I was taking lessons with to use my property for a clinic because her venue was cancelled at the last moment. I thought it would be ok because there were only 4 people with horses coming. Never again, it was a total nightmare! Even though the trainer informed everyone they were on private property and to keep their horse in the area allocated to the clinic, people walked into my fields with their horses, put them in my stables and there was poo everywhere. It must be really hard for you to have to deal with clinics on a regular basis, eating into your precious time with Gem. All the more respect for the way you handled that rude person!

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    1. That's awful! They didn't even clean up after themselves? Shouldn't the trainer have made sure that your place was left as found?? I don't understand what goes through people's minds. I remember, many years ago, someone saying that they have put a big hole in a wall of their apartment because of some irresponsible act. I was shocked at their "I don't give a crap" attitude. Why? Because they didn't own the apartment so they just didn't care about damaging it. What is with that??

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  6. I'm really impressed with how you handled the situation. Not sure i would have done as well. I can't stand rudeness or obnoxious behavior from people who think they can run all over someone else's barn. They probably feel that entitlement because they feel they are paying customers. Well, so are you. Unfortunately, I have a few stories about dealing with this but it would fill a book so I won't bore you with it.

    On the bright side the warm weather is coming and you and Gem will be able to ride outside or hit the trails and then they can eat your dust!

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    1. Grrr... rudeness....grrr. There certainly is a sense of entitlement. But, I am at a stage in my life where I have no problem showing or verbalizing my dislike for unacceptable behaviour. :-)

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  7. How annoying!

    It amazes me when people are so all about themselves... so selfish. Sadly it happens in all aspects of life. The tiny island I live on gets overrun by visitors for half of every year and many of them treat our home as if it is their private Disneyland. I have people drive through my gate, park and cruise around on my property several times each season. It's very hard not to sound hostile when I tell them to beat it.

    Good for you for pointing out the posted rules and handling the situation politely. :D

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    1. Good grief. People drive on to your private property?? That would drive me friggin crazy!

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  8. No I don't think you overreacted at all. We've always tried to be well mannered guests. I want to be reasonably well regarded and of course I want my horse to be well thought of.

    I expect she knew exactly what she was doing when she asked a 15 year old to waive the rules...

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    1. See, that's how I think. I wouldn't want people having negative feelings towards me or my horse. That's why LA's mother says she wishes all boarders were like me. :-)

      Yes, the clinic person knew exactly what she was doing when she asked the 15-year old....

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  9. Well, that sucks. As guests, they should try extra-hard to not offend.
    In our last summer of boarding our horses, the stable had a kid's summer camp program. The kids ran wild in the aisles, fed the horses their lunches, went into boarder's stalls, etc. Yes, the kids were brats, but the real problem was the management not watching and taking charge of the goings on.

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    1. We have a summer camp every year, too. The kids are supervised except for lunch hour. Yes, there is a bit of running around while they are waiting for the afternoon session to start, but in general there is staff or boarders around to make sure that no one gets into mischief. :-)

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  10. How frustrating! It's always so awkward and upsetting to have to enforce the rules when others should take responsibility to follow the rules on their own.

    Good for you. If you had let her get away with breaking the rules, than other clinic visitors would think it's ok, too.

    ~Lisa

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    1. I really don't understand how some people think that rules don't apply to them. We see it in daily life. I wish I understood the thought process.....

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  11. If there's one thing I cannot abide, its rudeness. There is no call for it, especially when the other party (that's you, Wolfie) is being polite. I take my hat off to you for dealing with Madame Snotty in so courteous a manner, when she clearly did not deserve it!!! Why oh why do some people think the world owes them?! Glad LA set down rules and is upholding them, though it would make life so much more fun if these so-called 'guests' would stop taking advantage of her and her boarders!

    Hope the weather improves so you and Gem can enjoy as much riding as possible xx

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    1. I know. I have no patience for it. Drives me mad. The weather has started to warm up a bit, but with the warmth brings the mud! :-)

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  12. I'm late commenting but oh well.

    Good for you for saying something, asking a young girl to waive the rules is the wrong thing to do, but I'm sure she knew that. They may be paying to be in the clinic but as boarders, you guys are paying to keep your horse there and have the arena, they need to respect that.


    We have people like that at our stable, except it's fellow boarders, not outsider riders. I've been trying not to say too much about it because I try to stay out of barn drama, but it's coming to all out war between some of the boarders. Barn drama is the worst.

    I think the thing that would annoy me most is the other riders touching boarder horses and putting their horses into boarder's stall. That's a health hazard, you don't know where their hands, or their horses have been. Most boarders at my stable have a strict, no sharing rule so illnesses can't be passed on, and you'd think most people would have that idea, to help keep their horses as healthy as possible.

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    1. Cjay, I totally agree with the no-share policy. Seeing an outsider put their horse in a boarder's stall is very disturbing to me. I know that they have to have all the vaccinations up-to-date, but the thought of a strange horse in Gem's water bucket or food bucket creeps me out. LA tries to enforce the rules, and it's much better than it used to be.

      I hate to say it, but your BO should be keeping the peace where you are. You pay for the luxury of having your horses taken care of and to be able to ride is a safe and clean environment. If that's not happening, then your BO is not being responsible. Just my opinion.... :-)

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    2. My BO's do the best they can to keep the peace, there's been so many rules put into place, people talked to, but the problem is everyone behaves when they're around. It's when they're not that the few bad people start causing drama. Then it turns into a big, he said, she said deal and they have to try to figure who is actually at fault. Overall it's a great place, and most of the people get along well, it's just a few bad seeds that try to ruin it for everyone else.

      I don't want to say too much online, because you never know who might be reading and I'd hate to have someone figure out who I am and start causing even more trouble. Seeing the problems that the BO's have to deal with though, it's convinced me to never run a boarding stable of my own. I don't have the patience to deal with what they have to. A few of the bad seeds have been forced to leave and they've left spreading lies about starving horses (and trust me, there are definitely no starving horses at the stable) and abuse (again, definitely no abuse, especially by the stable owners) so the owners are trying to find a way to keep the peace and not have their reputation ruined by liars. They're a fairly small stable and they get most of their business through word of mouth.

      Sorry this turned into a long ramble, I definitely see what you mean though. It's a very difficult position to be in, I wouldn't wish it on anybody. I maintain that since we all love horses, you'd think we could all just get along.

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