3 Ways Any Equestrian Can Avoid Barn Drama And Stress Less

3 Ways Any Equestrian Can Avoid Barn Drama And Stress Less

The brawl isn't worth it, kiddo.

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You can ask any equestrian what they dislike the most about the equestrian world, and more often than not they will say barn drama is the top of their list of things they hate.

It is a mystery how such lovely animals can attract some crazy people, but when you think about it, it does take a person with a strong personality to believe it's a good idea to get on a 1,000 lb animal for grins and giggles.

And with strong personalities in a challenging sport with an even more challenging culture, people tend to have a tough time being mature about a business that isn't theirs. It is so prevalent in the equestrian world that every equestrian has at least dealt with a little bit of drama here and there.

Those who haven't dealt with barn drama yet are probably youngster newbies or adult newbies beginning to learn the ropes of riding.

However, there are ways to deal with barn drama such as knowing the fine line between barn drama and bullying, how to stay out of the line of fire, and knowing when the barn drama is not worth the board.

1. When looking for a barn, look for a nice barn owner too

Ryan Yeaman

Barn owners play an essential role in conflict resolution at the barn, and as Julias Campbell said in Remember the Titans

"Attitude reflects leadership, captain." — "Remember the TItans" (2000)

A fair and stoic barn owner is a godsend because a kind and fair attitude magnetizes other good people and deflects those who are unkind. People who are not only honest and relatively friendly, but also people who aren't crazy.

And if someone does start a conflict in the barn, you have a reliable person to go to if the drama gets out of hand. These barn owners that value fairness and peace in the barn, are also smart enough to know the people who cause tension in the barn is going to drive away business.

And in looking for a barn and a decent barn owner, do not use their age as a tell-tale sign of their maturity.

A person's kindness and maturity have no age — in other words, just because someone is older, does not mean they will handle conflict in a mature manner. Age is not a deciding factor of a person's skill in conflict resolution. My reining trainers, for example, are in their early thirty's and are far more kind and capable of handling conflict in a civil manner than a much older woman, twice their age, whom I boarded with when I was a young teen.

When all else fails you need a barn owner you can trust will maturely handle conflict when it occurs in the barn instead of refusing to address any conflicts because the barn owner had enough money to "play barn owner" without having a lick of sense in how to run a boarding barn or solve disputes in a civil manner.

2. What you say matters

Justin Greene

Because guess what, kiddo, even if what you said had innocent intentions, people will still twist and stir the things you say that can — and most of the time will — be used against you whether they intend to cause drama or not.

There are things whispered at the barn that are entirely unnecessary, and you can avoid saying such things even if you're right. However, let it be known that when you say things such as, "That person shouldn't have bought that horse," "That person isn't a great rider," "They are kind of weird," "They aren't doing things the right way" or "That horse is insane because [insert silly breed stereotype here]," you are very much in the wrong to say it no matter your reasoning.

You may also be a great rider, but even with your skill, you have no right to say such things in the barn. And if you do, then don't be too surprised when people start having sour opinions of you.

Even if the person you are talking about in question is not the same person you are talking to, people become wary of those who speak negatively behind another person's back. This does not apply only to the barn either.

I have pushed friends away who would angrily complain to me about regular things our friends would individually do, but of course would not complain about me, to me. No doubt they are complaining about me to all of my other friends.

I would not be the only one to push these particular people away either, but everyone else in the friendship group would drive these people away, because once it is made aware that a specific person is a routine gossiper, then people will quickly pull themselves out of the relationship.

You can't control what people say about you but lead by example. Since no one likes to be talked about negatively behind their back, don't do it to other people. Don't put out what you don't want to receive.

3. Everyone has a right to vent, but be smart about how you do it and don't be cruel

Christin Noelle

As listed above, everyone, of course, has a right to vent and complain, but there are legitimate complaints and illegitimate complaints.

Before you say anything, at all, first ask yourself, "is the subject of my complaint about something occurring in the barn that significantly endangers a person or a horse?"

If you said yes to that question, you need to go directly to your barn owner with your complaint. A good example would be a single horse, or multiple horses are running out of their water on a regular basis and have to wait a significant amount of time for someone to refill their water.

Another good example is if your horse's pasture has a loose wire in it from failing fencing. These subjects would be worthy of bringing attention to the barn owner, so they may address the matter immediately and are legitimate complaints because they require immediate attention to avoid harm to a person, animal, or someone's property.

An illegitimate complaint is usually insults disguised by the speaker as opinions, and they are generally hyper-criticisms about normal human behaviors deemed unusual by cultural norms.

Meaning, illegitimate complaints is just unnecessary gossip that doesn't seek to better the person being talked about.

A barn drama example of an illegitimate complaint is, "Her toes point out when she rides! What a sloppy rider!" News flash — this does not determine the capability of the rider unless the person's leg is swinging everywhere hitting the horse on accident and the person is flopping in the saddle.

Every rider is on their journey, and making such petty comments is a magnet for drawing gossipers and drama to you, and why cause harm that doesn't offer positives?

Because guess what. Telling Suzy Que that her toes point out when you're not her trainer is a useless and illegitimate complaint even if you're right. Because are you going to offer up your time and sanity to develop a fitness plan in horseback riding lessons? No, you're not, and Suzy Que isn't going to ask you for one.

So if you don't have anything to say that will help someone and you're not a trainer, keep your illegitimate complaint — I mean opinion — to yourself.

Now if something happens at the barn that frosts your cupcakes, vent to someone that doesn't have any association to the barn. That way, if you vent about something and your emotion makes you feel like you want to say some colorful things it doesn't get around the barn and it no longer has the potential to cause harm and burn bridges.

Overall, think before you say, because, in the end, the brawl isn't worth the stress. Unless this is bullying, where the victim no longer feels welcome or safe at the barn, stay out of it for your own sake. Following the advice above are great ways of staying out of it, but you can add to it when you use common sense and treat people the way you want to be treated.

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The Coach That Killed My Passion

An open letter to the coach that made me hate a sport I once loved.
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I fell in love with the game in second grade. I lived for every practice and every game. I lived for the countless hours in the gym or my driveway perfecting every shot, every pass and every move I could think of. Every night after dinner, I would go shoot and would not allow myself to go inside until I hit a hundred shots. I had a desire to play, to get better and to be the best basketball player I could possibly be.

I had many coaches between church leagues, rec leagues, personal coaches, basketball camps, middle school and high school. Most of the coaches I had the opportunity to play for had a passion for the game like I did. They inspired me to never stop working. They would tell me I had a natural ability. I took pride in knowing that I worked hard and I took pride in the compliments that I got from my coaches and other parents. I always looked forward to the drills and, believe it or not, I even looked forward to the running. These coaches had a desire to teach, and I had a desire to learn through every good and bad thing that happened during many seasons. Thank you to the coaches that coached and supported me through the years.

SEE ALSO: My Regrets From My Time As A College Softball Player

Along with the good coaches, are a few bad coaches. These are the coaches that focused on favorites instead of the good of the entire team. I had coaches that no matter how hard I worked, it would never be good enough for them. I had coaches that would take insults too far on the court and in the classroom.

I had coaches that killed my passion and love for the game of basketball.

When a passion dies, it is quite possibly the most heartbreaking thing ever. A desire you once had to play every second of the day is gone; it turns into dreading every practice and game. It turns into leaving every game with earphones in so other parents don't talk to you about it. It meant dreading school the next day due to everyone talking about the previous game. My passion was destroyed when a coach looked at me in the eyes and said, "You could go to any other school and start varsity, but you just can't play for me."

SEE ALSO: Should College Athletes Be Limited To One Sport?

Looking back now at the amount of tears shed after practices and games, I just want to say to this coach: Making me feel bad about myself doesn't make me want to play and work hard for you, whether in the classroom or on the court. Telling me that, "Hard work always pays off" and not keeping that word doesn't make me want to work hard either. I spent every minute of the day focusing on making sure you didn't see the pain that I felt, and all of my energy was put towards that fake smile when I said I was OK with how you treated me. There are not words for the feeling I got when parents of teammates asked why I didn't play more or why I got pulled after one mistake; I simply didn't have an answer. The way you made me feel about myself and my ability to play ball made me hate myself; not only did you make me doubt my ability to play, you turned my teammates against me to where they didn't trust my abilities. I would not wish the pain you caused me on my greatest enemy. I pray that one day, eventually, when all of your players quit coming back that you realize that it isn't all about winning records. It’s about the players. You can have winning records without a good coach if you have a good team, but you won’t have a team if you can't treat players with the respect they deserve.

SEE ALSO: To The Little Girl Picking Up A Basketball For The First Time


Cover Image Credit: Equality Charter School

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Having A Pet At College Has Been A Huge Blessing

When you come home from a hard test, you can snuggle with a puppy who does not care if you have done well or not.

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Having a pet at school can seem like a huge hassle: walking it, feeding it, taking it back and forth and spending more nights at home than going out. Even though having a pet is a large responsibility, they are very beneficial.

A pet not only teaches basic responsibility like being able to take care of another living thing, but it provides a level of comfort. When you come home from a hard test you can snuggle with a puppy who does not care if you have done well or not, and if you are sick your pet will be by your side watching the newest release on Netflix with you. No matter what you are going through, a pet is there to comfort and console.

Even more so, a pet has the ability to get you out of bed when no one else can. They need you to take care of them and count on you to do so. Having a furry friend aids in socialization too. When you take your puppy out for a walk, the other dog owners will talk to you while your puppy also gets socialized. Inviting people over to meet your new cat can create the perfect situation to hang out with friends and new people.

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Overall, pets make you feel less lonely, encourage exercise and health, and decrease stress. In some ways, it seems as if there is nothing a pet cannot do for you. However, if you're thinking about bringing a pet on to a college campus, there is still a lot to consider, like the safety of the animal, if you have the ability to properly care for it and if you can afford to take care of it.

Pets are extremely beneficial for emotional help, especially when the stress of college seems overwhelming. Having a dog on campus definitely has its benefits, especially considering you get a best friend for life.

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