Sort Of Like With Car Accidents On The Highway…
It may be a minor accident that causes major delays, just because of curios (nosey)other drivers who just have to try and get a look as they drive by.
It Happens At The Barn Too
At my barn, one-day last week it happened twice in one day!
One of my students was having a hard time in her lesson. The horse was testing her and the kid was not quite confident enough as to be assertive enough to get the horse to cooperate. We had a grumpy, but victorious looking horse in the ring. As well as a very frustrated rider.
This took place in a group lesson. A group of walk/trot kids, some of which had cantered a few times. One at a time they were riding a simple pattern. The fall happened when one of the horses stepped up into a canter and caught the rider off guard. The horse wasn’t being bad, he thought she wanted to canter. Her position and aids were just not strong enough or clear enough to slow him down. She gave it a great ride but ended up falling off when the horse stopped abruptly in the corner. Her pride and confidence were the only things bruised, so all is well that end’s well right?
Getting On With The Story
There were a lot of people ringside for both of these incidents. Parent’s, students coming and going from lessons before and after. As well as the crew that is fondly known as “ the barn rats”. Since they are always hanging around, and luckily most of the time working. When these incidents happened there were too many people hanging around. Too many people staring and whispering. As if it was some kind of circus performance or something, they had to stop and watch. Make sure they didn’t miss any of the “action”. This sucks! And is inappropriate “barn manners” as I would put it. Why? You know I’m going to tell you!
If someone has a bad lesson or gets dropped they are already most likely upset and frustrated. They don’t need the added stress of a peanut gallery watching and whispering about what happened.
Falling off is embarrassing enough on its own. Nobody needs an audience for that. The only audience they should have is the trainer making sure they are alright and supportive parents or friends watching. That is it! It is inappropriate for everyone to come running when they hear that someone is having a hard time or fell off. The trainer has it under control if help was needed they would ask for it. Don’t stick your nose in where it doesn’t belong.
In a lesson barn situation most all the riders are somewhat familiar with the horses in the program. If someone who is inexperienced sees something happen with a horse or rider. It is a good chance they probably won’t fully understand what happened and why. There is also a good chance that they will find it necessary to tell everyone they cross paths with about what they saw. Someone who doesn’t know the whole story should not talk about it. This causes problems! I can’t tell you how many times I have heard how “bad” one of the horses was. Speaking of the horse, or the incident without knowing and understanding what exactly went on makes people begin to think negatively of the horse involved. Since horses don’t get their feelings hurt that is not an issue! The issue is when other riders hear stories or pieces of stories they talk about it to other riders. All of a sudden, because someone who didn’t understand spoke out of turn, it can give the horses a bad reputation. This makes students anxious about riding them and that is absolutely not something that I want someone to experience in my barn.
Things Getting Blown Out Of Proportion
By the time these stories get told and retold, a silly fall because a horse put it’s head down to grab grass can quickly turn into the horse ”throwing them off”. There is a big difference in the two, and there is no reason to have these sort of stories passed around and misconstrued. If the person who was having trouble or the person who fell off want to share what happens, that is up to them to do!
We Should All Be On The Same Team At The Barn
I want all of my riders to feel like they are part of a supportive team. A team that when a rider has a hard ride will support them. Not whisper behind their back. Think of how you would feel if you were the one out there on the horse struggling. If you were the student that just got dropped when it seems like everybody that could possibly be there was watching. Remember how crappy that can feel, and don’t do anything to make other riders feel embarrassed or self- conscious.
For Goodness Sakes People! Be Supportive!
I want everyone at my barn, whether they have been coming here for years or are brand new customers, to feel like they are in a comfortable and welcoming environment. It wouldn’t kill you to give some encouraging words to someone who had a rough ride. It might really make a difference in their day! You know the old phrase “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, well that applies at the barn too!