Growing up on a horse farm has its perks, but making friends of the human sort is not one of them. It wasn’t until college and entering a boarding barn situation that I learned that barn time can also include things like, oh, having conversations with people.
At first socializing something of a curve ball for me- barn time was horse time, and I was in the habit of going to my inner zen place and focusing on the task at hand at the barn, not catching up on the latest news or getting pulled into barn gossip.
And then I found a barn where the people somehow spoke my language. Everyone had goals and appreciated horse time as that golden hour of getting away from the responsibilities of a working adult. But they also cared about each other, and were excellent sources of advice, a helping hand, or an eye for diagnosing that latest cut/wonky step/braid quality.
Suddenly, barn time could be socializing time as well. Sure, it’s always about riding, but hanging around and chatting became one of the bonuses to the barn- a time to be part of a tribe of people that just get it. It’s a no-judgement zone of the best kind.
I’m lucky to be in another place where I’ve found my tribe, though still regularly stay in touch with the first barn I fell in love with. Nights at the barn can extend well into the wee hours, and it’s a place where the people are as much a part of the barn as the horses.
It’s not always this way for equestrians though. What kind of horse-person are you? Is barn time sacred to just horses for you? Or is socializing a part of the enjoyment? Where do you draw the line when it comes to people versus horses at the barn? Do you see sharing a facility with others as a hindrance or a bonus?
aw i’m so glad you found your barn family! i never had my own horse or even funds for lots of lessons, so i spent a LOT of time helping out and trying to be useful at barns as a way to earn horse and riding time. so it was kinda a natural side effect that there would be a strong social aspect to that. these days tho, i count my barn friends as some of best and closest friends – even as we no longer all board at the same places any more. like, horse time is definitely my #1 priority – i’m absolutely there for the horses above all else. but the social aspect is definitely part of what makes me happy too.
I am usually the last straggler of the day at the barn during the work week, so I experience the social aspect of my barn more on the weekends, and get the quiet time during the week. I like both!
I find the same thing, late evening rides mean that I can often be quite alone during the week. But it’s nice to trade stories with other like minded people when you can
I miss barn social time!!!! I think the two people that lease my horses have only recently become aware of my crazy need to socialize with ponies 😜 But luckily they tend to socialize back!!!! Being a part of Horsemasters/Pony Club has been my way of creating barn social time since my ponies live at home and I love and need it!!!
I like a mix — sometimes I want to go to the barn to be by myself with just my horses, but other times it’s really, really nice to hang out and chat.
My barn life is missing friends for sure. Where I board, I’m the only non-hunter so I don’t show with anyone else (which is prime bonding time for sure), and there are only 2 other adult boarders there- 1 works nights so comes in the AM when I’m never there and the other travels for work so much that I maybe see her 1x/month. The trainer is my age and super cool, so we talk a lot while I’m there, but that’s all. I tend to socialize more at shows.
I had a wonderful social aspect at the last barn I was at (which was one reason it was hard to leave!). We even had a monthly social night where we’d meet after work for snacks and just to hang out – everyone from the teens to the older ladies. It was a wonderful community. I’m lucky that I found another place with a great atmosphere and – BONUS – there are two other riders who are actually my age and are actively competing! As an adult I’ve never had riding friends that are at my own age and stage of life. It’s been so much fun.
Sounds like you have been so blessed with 2 great places to be! It is hard to find that. I know several people who have had a hard time finding the right barn. The environment is so important to peace, happiness, and success.
I love the barn social life. I miss it! When I first took lessons, there were only a few kids, but we had some Christmas barn parties which I think of often. That was all fine and good, but I was really young. Then we got the farm and horses. I loved it and still do. I did not really know any different. When I went of to college, I was basically introduced to social barn life. I loved it. We hung out at the barn, away from the barn, had our own little world. We were there for each other and gave advice. Sometimes too much drama. I could do without the drama. Now, I miss the community and the social aspect of the barn. I still obviously love the farm, but sometimes it does get lonely…I hate to admit that. I miss being able to have someones eyes to help me look for an off step. To have the shared memories and stories. To be around like minded people who get you and your love for your horse. That know when something doesn’t look right and can let you know. My horse time is def my zen sacred time, but it would be nice to have a certain fellowship combined with it.
I don’t mind socializing – but most of my barn peeps didn’t ride when I rode during the week, so socializing was for the weekend which worked out well. Now I socialize with other horse people that I don’t ride with (bloggers etc!) outside of the barn and that’s great too.