A tongue-in-cheek guide to your local boarding barn.
Keep your grain of salt handy. Here’s a humorous guide to the 10 types of riders you might find in your equestrian life. Recognize any?
Even if you don’t need your horse trained, the “trainer” likes to give his two cents. Any horse-like behavior that your horse demonstrates calls for the trainer to open his mouth. No easy, relaxing trail ride for you when you ride with the trainer. He barks at you to “keep bending, flexing, posting, loping, trotting, halting” every time your horse flicks an ear. The trainer only rides his own horses that he spent six figures on to get trained by someone else. The trainer isn’t really a trainer at all, just a boarder in your barn that likes to give his opinion when it’s not asked. Just for fun, ask the “trainer” to ride your horse for you, just so you can laugh when he gets bucked off.
The borrower always wants to borrow a horse to ride, because they are poor and can’t afford a horse of their own. They beg and beg every time they come to the barn. They promise to help with feeding and barn chores in exchange for a ride (yet somehow those chores never seem to happen). They show up to go for a ride right after the horse is already tacked up, and magically disappear right before it’s time to put the horse away and do chores. When you ask them to clean stalls, they give you an excuse that it will mess up their freshly manicured hands. They are always caught speeding away from the barn in their car of choice, which is usually a foreign luxury model.
Horses scare the scaredy-cat, but she won’t admit that. By doing everything but actually riding the horse, she’s relatively safer. You always catch her in the barn grooming, sweeping, cleaning or feeding, but never actually riding. She tells everyone she rides, but no one has ever been able to catch her in the act. She wears a helmet at all times, so it looks like she just came back from a ride. When you ask her if she would like to go for a ride with you, she makes up every excuse possible. The “I would, but I have to go home and take my mother out to dinner” excuse is getting old, since her mom passed away two years ago.
There’s always one boarder at the barn that thinks she is a three-day eventer. She is really just a trail rider in a cheap saddle, but she must jump/run/cross anything that is in her path. Go out for a relaxing trail ride around the neighborhood and she is jumping picnic tables, taking her horse up the neighbor’s front stairs, trying to jump the swimming pool, racing the school bus; etc. Her dream is to do laps on the golf course. When you suggest to her she should get into eventing, she says “Oh, no, that is way too dangerous for me!”
The whiner whines about everything: the weather, the hay, the other horses, the cost of shoeing, the cost of the vet, why her horse acts the way he does, etc. When you’re schooling in the arena, she’s whining that the other horses are too close. When you’re out on a trail ride, she’s whining that the ground is too hard. When you’re washing your horse, she’s whining that the water is too cold … or hot. Nothing makes her happy. She whines constantly to the barn manager that her horse needs premium shavings that were harvested from a rain forest in South America. That is the only way her horse will be able to have a proper night’s rest.
Pretty in Pink
She spends thousands and thousands of dollars to look the part. Pink is her favorite color, and so is her horse’s, or so she says. She and her horse both have matching flowing pink extensions for their hair. Her horse sports a pink headstall, pink saddle, pink saddle bag and pink polo-wraps. Even her truck and trailer are pink. She can’t ride worth a crap, and thinks the saddle horn is a safety handle, but she sure looks … pink.
This guy loves to hit the bottle. He has an extra pack horse just to carry all the booze for his trail rides. Boozy Barry will only ride if he can bring a bottle of whiskey and a case of beer tucked in his saddlebags. Barry’s horses are trained to carry him home if he passes out. It is speculated that they can even drive the truck and trailer when he’s unconscious. Everyone at the barn makes fun of the boozer behind his back, but they never turn down a beer (or five) when he offers.
Over-the-Hill Harry is pushing 90 years old and still can ride better than all of us. He’s the first one saddled up and the last one to leave. He always posts at the trot to keep his legs in shape, which are more toned than girls and guys a third his age. He always looks good and so do his horses. He probably will outlive us all, and he knows it.
No bit, no spurs, no saddle, no problem … until it’s time to climb aboard. The naturalist likes to tell everyone it’s best to be as natural as possible, just like the mustangs are. She can’t get her horse to go forward, and when he does, she can’t get him to stop. Of course, the lack of bit and spurs aren’t the problem — the problem is he didn’t have his slow feed hay net with him to get him to focus. He’s barefoot, otherwise his bucking problem would be blamed on the shoes. He’s definitely a “happier” horse, being closer to what Mother Nature intended. And it’s all about the horse being happy, isn’t it?
They have never been spotted apart. They have a matching pair of horses that are the same bay color with the same brand on them. They wear matching clothes, boots and helmet covers. They hold hands when riding, and are never out of sight of each other. Their SUV has the stick family in the back with a couple holding hands and two horses. They’ve been together so long that they basically look identical and it’s hard to actually tell them apart from a distance … or close up.
Go laughing. Go riding.