Back in April, the Wall Street Journal printed an article on Barn Drama. Really?! Must have been a really slow news day.
I just heard about it and, with the wacky world of the internet I was able to find the back issue and read it. It made some valid points but was overall poorly researched and reported – made boarding barns sound worse than the “cool table” at a high school cafeteria.
One point seemed to be that people in a multi-discipline barn just can’t get along. Really?! I have mostly boarded in multi-discipline barns over the past 40 years, usually hanging out with eventers, hunters and jumpers if the barn had good management and care and was easy for my commute. I especially enjoyed boarding with eventers. (“Okay, let’s hit the trails!)
The barn I’m in now is a pure joy. Yes, we all do dressage so there are never jumps set up in the covered arena, although there are some out in the field. My BO takes exquisite care of the footing – it’s watered and dragged daily. We all help each other out and there is a lot of laughing going on. (DQs with a sense of humor?! Really?!) Gossip is kept at a minimum – no need for it when we are all pretty much positive thinkers.
Boarding barns are a microcosm of life in a way. When you get a mixture of people in a tight environment, all with their separate concerns, and then add the pressures and emotions of maintaining an expensive animal, things can get heated. If someone isn’t comfortable in a particular barn environment, the best solution is to find another barn. If that’s not possible, then you have to keep more to yourself and that can be difficult as well, not to mention blunting the enjoyment of spending time with your horse.
But, I have found that barn drama isn’t automatic. Mostly it comes from the attitude and standards set by the people running the barn. If they are positive and considerate, they won’t tolerate boarders who are cranky. If you need to move to a new barn, make sure the person running it is someone you can respect.