Is there a National Barn Owner Day? If not, there should be.
I think it should be a Friday (or whatever your barn version of a Friday is), so all the BOs out there can drink wine and beer and celebrate all night. And as part of the holiday, they get the morning off from feeding, mucking, holding horses for a farrier, vet calls, and so on and so forth.
This holiday could also apply to barn managers, trainers, or even just that friend who sends you pictures of your horse when you’re away so you don’t worry so much. To all my barn owners past and present, I salute you for the following reasons:
1. If you think about it, many of your most precious possessions are located at the barn
Your horse, your tack, those really expensive horse treats that are supposed to make your horse super shiny and poop rainbows or something. Heck, I’d rather someone steal my car than my saddle, that’s how much I value my horsey things. Never has my BO treated my stuff with anything less than the utmost care and respect. Even when I leave my bridle out hanging on a stall hook. Again.
2. Somehow barn owners know the fine art of how to communicate with a boarder
To anyone who doesn’t have a horse, this probably wouldn’t seem like a big deal. But there’s some sort of special balance of just enough texts to keep a boarder happy, but not so many that they come to expect it all the time.
And more than that, BOs know not just when to contact me with a problem or an issue, but also the best method. Shallow cut on the leg? Text. Cute moment sleeping in the pasture? Text and a picture. Came in from the pasture missing one leg, half a tail, and two shoes? Phone call. But only after a call to the vet first.
BOs instinctively understand that the minute I see “Horse Barn Lady” on my caller ID (yes, that’s how my BO is listed in my phone), I’m prone to a freak out. I appreciate all the work that goes into keeping me calm. Which leads to number three…
3. Evenly tempered
Look, I like to pretend that I’m cool, calm and collected. But I’m not. I’m usually in a good mood, but I’m also just as capable of being cranky. Or pissed off.
And don’t get me started on the tears. Evidently when I was handed out traits, one of them turned out to be “Cries in response to any significant emotional event.” Scared? Tears. Frustrated? Crying. Happy? Openly sobbing into my hands. Particularly cute barn animal moment? Probably claiming that my allergies are acting up as I wipe my nose on my sleeve.
My BOs have never batted an eye at any of my moods, tears included. Instead, they’ve always remained calm and even keeled no matter how I’m acting, and I’ve seen the same treatment given to other boarders as well. My barn owner is like the zen master of horse owner freakouts, the Buddha of boarders. Which is probably just one of the reasons why they are so awesome with the horses. You might say my barn owner holds my hand, and my horse. Literally.
4. Good Cop/Bad Cop
Much like Ross and Rachel circa 2002 Friends, my BO and I are basically in a co-parenting situation with my horse. (I know you all are wondering so I will openly admit I’m Ross.) We have the same ideas as to what behaviors are acceptable in a horse, and when I’m not there, I know they’re doing exactly what I would do in that situation. I never have to worry about my horse getting conflicting information depending on who is handling him, and this two-pronged attack has created horse with (mostly) good ground manners.
5. People person
Let’s be honest. Yes, barn owners manage horses, but I think they spend almost as much time managing people. And really more than people, they manage personalities. I know we all like to think that we’re not that one crazy horse person, but c’mon. We’re all a little crazy, right? Otherwise we wouldn’t be in this sport.
And with such strong personalities come strong opinions. And feelings. And attitudes. And sometimes all those personalities don’t mix, and sometimes those personalities are really demanding. I’ve never had a barn owner that wasn’t good at juggling everyone’s crazy requests or traits because most likely, they have years of experience of being in the horse world and have probably seen it all at this point. I’m not above this crazy behavior myself; I’ll be the first to admit it. Every time I get a text back from my BO saying “No, I don’t think your horse has that rare disease you read about on the Internet,” I thank my lucky stars I’ve got a BO I can count on.
Maybe your barn owner doesn’t have all the listed traits, but no one can argue that day in and day out, they’re out there working their hay-covered tushies off. So get out there and celebrate National Barn Owner Day 2017, coming soon to an arena near you.
About the Author
When Aubrey Moore isn’t riding her horse Flynn or doing near-constant maintenance on her truck, she can be found with a glass of wine in hand, chatting happily with her cat Frankie.