Stuck in the middle- two people I like at the barn don't get along - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 07-01-2011, 08:52 AM Thread Starter
Green Broke
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Stuck in the middle- two people I like at the barn don't get along

I've found myself in an awkward position- two people I like at my barn (both instructors who are there a lot) seem to have developed a strong personal dislike for each other, primarily around their methods for handling and training horses. One of them talks to me a lot about everything the other person does wrong.

I really like both of these people as individuals, and learn a lot from both (I only ride with one of them, but chit chat with the other because we're both often the only ones at the barn early in the morning). But, I'm getting increasingly uncomfortable with the bad mouthing of Person #2 by Person #1. I don't ever participate by "gossiping" about Person #2, but realize that I've gotten myself into this position because at first, I was listening sympathetically and letting Person #1 say what she needed to say, not actively agreeing with the critiques but certainly actively listening. I'm not sure if Person #2 is aware that Person #1 is venting with me, but it is certainly clear that other people around the barn are talking about the tension too. And I believe they've had some direct public confrontations, though not in front of me.

I am not a person who has any decision making authority or leadership role at this barn- I ride my horse, take a few lessons, and help out with other lessons a few times a week. I don't want to play the mediator role or help them resolve their differences. I simply want to maintain a positive, upbeat relationship with both people. Am I asking to have my cake and eat it too? Am I going to have to be more direct with Person #1 and tell her I don't want to listen to her vent about Person #2's horsemanship anymore? I'm starting to realize that this probably isn't going to stop unless I do something more active.
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post #2 of 7 Old 07-01-2011, 09:51 AM
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You're going to have to let Trainer #1 know you're not willing to listen to her gripes any longer.

If she starts, simply tell her, 'I don't feel comfortable discussing Trainer #2 like this. If you have an issue with her, I'd rather you take it up with her.' Then change the subject.

If she tries to continue, wash, rinse, and repeat the above phrase. Walk away if you have to. She'll eventually get the message.

You want the truth? You can't HANDLE the truth!
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post #3 of 7 Old 07-01-2011, 10:09 AM
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Option 1- Change the subject. "Oh hey, I was going to ask you where you got your saddle pad" or "Hey what kind of saddle soap do you use?"

Option 2- "Sally, sorry for interrupting but the tension between you and Sandy is making me a bit uncomfortable. I understand your reasons for not getting along and I'm glad that you feel you can talk to me about it but I like you both and I would rather not talk about it. I hope you're not offended in any way, I just don't want to be caught in the middle."

Option 3 - Keep in strictly professional and avoid them both.

~ Starline Stables ~
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post #4 of 7 Old 07-04-2011, 10:45 PM
Green Broke
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Starline - option #2 is terrific. I think you belong in the diplomatic corps or at least in public relations!!

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post #5 of 7 Old 07-04-2011, 11:02 PM
Green Broke
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Maybe I highjack this thread for a moment with a related question?

What if I have two friends who hate each other and have had a major argument over an issue. However, I'm not completely neutral on this issue and have choosen to "side" with one of these people... I don't want to be a pansy and not defend what I believe, but I want to be friends with both these people.

Last edited by Brighteyes; 07-04-2011 at 11:06 PM.
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post #6 of 7 Old 07-05-2011, 12:41 AM
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Originally Posted by QOS View Post
Starline - option #2 is terrific. I think you belong in the diplomatic corps or at least in public relations!!
As a barn owner, I'm learning quickly! LOL

Bright eyes - "Sally, I don't want to offend you but after some thought, I agree with Suzie. Can we agree to disagree? I value both your friendships and I really don't want it to come between us."

~ Starline Stables ~
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post #7 of 7 Old 07-05-2011, 08:45 AM Thread Starter
Green Broke
Join Date: Jun 2011
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Thanks everyone. This is just what I needed to hear- some neutral, objective feedback that I need to stop ignoring what's going on and express my discomfort directly. This is always the best option in work settings, but I was having trouble transferring to my personal life.
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