Lesson Barn Conflict - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 15 Old 12-26-2012, 04:26 PM Thread Starter
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Lesson Barn Conflict

I need some perspective on an ongoing relationship with a co-worker at a lesson barn. Sorry for the oncoming wall of text.
"Alice" and I have been riding at the same barn for a long time. Recently, our instructor switched barns and we followed her to the new barn. Ever since the switch, our instructor has paid both of us to help her with lessons (get horses ready mostly) or other tasks (I helped her with a halloween party for the youngest kids, which was a blast) but working with Alice has been increasingly difficult. She seems to be under the impression that she is the boss whenever the instructor is gone and that she is the only one who knows how to do things correctly. Mostly I can just shrug this off--she's only 17 and she probably doesn't realize how she's coming off. But it's just been getting worse.
This week, our instructor went home for the holidays and left the two of us in charge of making sure the lesson horses got some exercise while she was away. Which has led to Alice deciding she needs to divide the tasks, tell me what I'll be doing, and basically micromanage me while she spreads herself too thin doing the "hard" tasks. She told me I wasn't allowed to give one of our horses his medicine, because he's really bad at taking them. When I reminded her I had done just fine giving that horse his meds at the old barn, she just told me he probably spat them out when I had my back turned. She HAS to have the last word in a discussion.
One of our horses is a 3 year old saddlebred, an actually very sweet mare. But I'm not allowed to turn her out because, in Alice's words, "she's a little nutty". At the old barn, I worked with this mare daily. I know how to deal with her, and I've told Alice that several times. But Alice wants to be the one to turn her out, so fine.
I really feel like she enjoys the "prestige" of being the one in charge and dealing with all the tough horses herself. She also likes to point out mistakes other people make, even small ones. "That was smart" is a favorite sarcastic line of hers. Heaven forbid you use it back on her when she does something equally dumb.
But it's getting to the point where I can't just grin and bear it for the sake of barn unity anymore. Today is the last day before the instructor comes back, and fortunately she can't make it to the barn today. I hope once this is over, things will calm down a little. But does anyone else have tips for getting along with annoying coworkers?
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post #2 of 15 Old 12-26-2012, 05:05 PM
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why don't you just talk to her and say what you said in the post? I doubt she knows that she is doing it.
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post #3 of 15 Old 12-26-2012, 05:12 PM
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Talk to her. Tell her how you feel. Or just don't put up with her crap. Do the harder tasks, even when she tells you not to, she is not your boss. There a girl I work with at camp, who I love dearly but sometimes she crosses a line. Like not mucking out a stall entirely, that time we just had on of the higher up staff talk to her. Or you could have the instructor talk to her and explain you two are equals.

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post #4 of 15 Old 12-26-2012, 05:25 PM
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Talk to your instructor about setting up a set schedule of who does what and when. If anything SHE is the "boss" and the one who should manager her "employees".
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post #5 of 15 Old 12-26-2012, 06:49 PM
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Let her do the hard stuff....she'll learn eventually that being a know-all elitist micro-manager is harder than having faith in someone else to do the job right.......myself personally would've gone mad at her by now, but then again why not let her have all the responsibility and when she screws up she has no one else to blame.....that would be smart
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post #6 of 15 Old 12-26-2012, 07:17 PM
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SHe' treating you like this, because you are letting her.

She says you can't give the horse meds, the horse owner says you can. Ignore her and do it, just make sure she knows so they are not given twice.

She says you can't turn out the horse, the horse owner says you can, so turn out the horse.

You are being treated like a doormat and allowing yourself to be.
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post #7 of 15 Old 12-26-2012, 07:23 PM
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Yup, if you really don't want to confront her, just talk to the instructor. Tell her everything that is going on, and just request she make a list for each of you. If she demands she take the harder stuff, remind her of the list. If she STILL tries to be bossy, then you really need to step in and say no. You would be letting her treat you like a doormat at that point.
In your post, you say "She's only 17"- are you older than her? In that case, she should be respecting those older than her anyway, and you should be telling her to back off NOW.
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post #8 of 15 Old 12-26-2012, 09:31 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexS View Post
SHe' treating you like this, because you are letting her.

She says you can't give the horse meds, the horse owner says you can. Ignore her and do it, just make sure she knows so they are not given twice.

She says you can't turn out the horse, the horse owner says you can, so turn out the horse.

You are being treated like a doormat and allowing yourself to be.
Ahaha, this honestly didn't click until you said it. I AM being a total doormat. I don't let ornery ponies treat me like this, why should I accept it from ornery people?

I let her get away with it because I don't want to make a fuss at work, but honestly it's only going to keep getting worse unless I talk to her about it. Maybe I'll invite her out to coffee or something so we can talk about it in a lower stress situation.

Thanks for the advice everyone! It was great to hear a different perspective.
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post #9 of 15 Old 12-26-2012, 09:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Honeybadger View Post

I let her get away with it because I don't want to make a fuss at work, but honestly it's only going to keep getting worse unless I talk to her about it. Maybe I'll invite her out to coffee or something so we can talk about it in a lower stress situation.
It doesn't have to be a fight at all.
If she says you can't turn the horse out, you don't have to stand there and yell. You can just smile sweetly and say it's ok, I got this.
When she tells you that you can't do meds, smile again, and say, thanks for your input, but I can manage just fine. Then just go do them.

No need for the big chat or anything, try that first.
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post #10 of 15 Old 12-26-2012, 11:59 PM Thread Starter
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The problem is, it's never phrased as "You can't give Max his meds"
It's always phrased like she's doing me a favor: "I'll give Max his meds, he's really hard to give medicine to."
And then I go "Oh I don't mind, I have lots of practice/I've done it before"
And she usually just replies with whatever excuse she used in the first place and elaborates to make herself sound better. "Oh no, he's really hard to give medicine to. He probably spat it out when you did it."

Another example:
Her: "Tiffany needs to be turned out today."
Me: "Oh, ok! I'll do it right after this."
"Oh, you know what? I'll do it. She's a little nutty."
"Oh...you know she used to be one of the horses I groomed back at the other barn, I know how to handle her."
"Except she didn't get out yesterday so she'll probably be really wild. I'll just do it."

I guess I could have just grabbed the medicine tube or the lead line and done it anyway. But to keep the peace, I just let her do it.
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