Last week, we asked our readers to take a survey regarding barn drama. For those of you that follow me on Twitter, you know I’ve been experiencing a lot of barn drama lately. So much so that it’s started to ruin the time that I spend with my horses which is awful. I got to the barn to wind down, relax, and get away from all the other stressors in my life. So when the barn starts to be stressful, where do I turn?
Thankfully, I’ve pinpointed the reason for the barn drama, and I’ve come up with a few, short-term ways to deal with the drama. Unfortunately, barn drama exists almost everywhere. For those of you that don’t have it, or have never experienced it, consider yourself lucky! But what else would you expect when you put a bunch of (mostly) girls all in one place competing for top prizes, ribbons, and admiration from judges, trainers, and other riders alike?
So, here are the results of the survey.
- 70.5% of you have experienced barn drama.
- 29.4 percent of you haven’t experienced barn drama.
When it comes to who causes the barn drama, most of you said it was other riders (76%).
- 30% said barn owners or barn managers
- 15% said trainers
- 15% said barn staff, including grooms, mockers, etc.
- 15% said other, with riders’ parents being a submission
When it comes to the frequency of the barn drama, 23% said several times a week while 17% said everyday. There were also 29% of you that never experience barn drama (lucky…)!
So how do YOU guys deal with barn drama?
A lot of responders said they ignore the drama, or they simply “don’t” deal with it.
Some try to politely talk out issues with their barn manager or owners.
I try polite confrontation and talking out the issues when necessary, but other times I stay out of it and let it blow over. My BO and I disagree on vaccination/deworming practices and she contractually obligates clients to do things her way. I have to sometimes buy the dewormer she prefers and then return it just so I have a receipt to give her. I still deworm my horse, but I use a different schedule and rotation which has worked for me and hers does not.
Some of you had the awesome philosophy about simply worrying about yourself.
Take care of my own horse and tack, knowing my courses, being on time for lessons, etc. Every man for himself. Do what you’re responsible for and do it well, and no one can involve you!
Worrying about yourself is a great way of avoiding the drama! If you’re doing what you need to do, and not worrying about anyone else, then you know you’re on the right track and you won’t be consumed with what other riders, staff, or trainers are saying or thinking of you. We know this is easier said than done, but it’s something we personally work on every day!
Some survey takers said they are overly nice and believe that if they keep their head down and interact with the drama-causers as little as possible, it makes them less of a target – advice we agree with. Sometimes drama-starters are looking to purposely stir the pot, and the less you engage in that, the less drama you’ll be involved in.
My personal favorite response was this one:
By beating them all at my shows because their opinions are irrelevant and they spend so much time gossiping that they don’t practice.
There may be some truth to that statement…
And of course, there was the common answer of switching barns which is a great option if there are other nice barns in one’s area that have less drama but the same quality of care, staff, and facility. However, it’s not the right answer for everyone unfortunately.
Our advice for barn drama? Ignore it or try to stay away from it. Drama makes everything less enjoyable. Who wants to spend their time with their horse fighting with other people at the barn or constantly stressing about what others are saying, thinking, and doing? If you do find yourself entangled in drama, take a step back and ask if the argument or dispute is really worth it. If it is, is there a way it can be peacefully resolved? If it is something to do with your horse’s care or well-being, sit down and talk to the person responsible for the care, like a barn manager or barn owner. If the drama is with another rider, try talking to them about what’s going on. Sometimes there really is a peaceful resolution to drama! You could also change your schedule around to avoid any drama-starters, while this tip is more ridiculous and requires the ability to actually change your schedule (and really, why should YOU have to change your time at the barn when you aren’t causing the problem?)
If the drama is really out of hand, and you have found yourself unable to ignore it or resolve it, then maybe it is time to think about switching barns. This might seem difficult, but you never know what you’ll find if you start looking!
While I know that competition and judgment come with the sport, I do wish that everyone at a barn could be supportive of one another, no matter how the person is progressing, what discipline they do, or how much their horse or equipment cost. I am by no means saying that I have never been competitive with or judgmental of another rider – I think it’s in all of us by nature. That little utopian thought of a barn where everyone loves everyone is nice to have and strive for – you know, Kumbaya Show Stables.
I think sometimes we all need to remember that we are in it for the love of the sport and for the love of the horses. Everyone is on their own path, fighting their own battles, and having their own riding struggles, and we need to remember that before we gossip or engage in drama.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments below or send me a tweet (@legaleq)!