Navigating Barn Drama - The Horse Forum
  • 5 Post By carshon
  • 6 Post By horselovinguy
  • 2 Post By Filou
  • 1 Post By mmshiro
  • 4 Post By Cedar & Salty
  • 2 Post By PoptartShop
  • 5 Post By tinyliny
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post #1 of 9 Old 04-26-2019, 10:32 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2017
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Navigating Barn Drama

Ugh. 2 more shows. Only 2 more shows and then I'm done.

The new "trainer" that is at the rescue barn has already started problems. She told my trainer that while she was gone I was saying things about how our trainer is a "Poor instructor" and how she "Treats me worse then the other students at the barn". Which resulted in a long text message from the trainer to me, basically saying that I'm causing barn drama and that I have one more chance at the barn but if I mess up again I'm off the team, but she said it in many more words. Let me be clear, I DID NOT say that. Even if I was going to say that, why would I say it to someone who is friends with the trainer and I had just met that day. I thought back at everything we talked about during the lesson and the trainer didn't even come up in our conversations. We mostly talked about what our summer plans were, and how my horses are doing.

I made sure to make that very clear with the trainer and I said that I did not say that, and I'm sorry if anything I could've said could've come across as that. She still didn't believe me. After 4 years of me riding there she chose to believe someone who's been there for 1 month. Anyways, I was furious and I was ready to quit the team. But then I remembered the last time I was at the barn when I went to put Justice away the new trainer was watching me so I was embarrassed to say goodbye and that I loved him to him. I have to say goodbye. After 2 and a half years of him being my partner I need to say goodbye and give him a hug. That's the only thing that kept me from quitting.

So I have to go there tonight to practice, and tomorrow is the show. I haven't seen either of them since I got the text. I'm scared for how awkward its going to be. I don't know how I should act around them now. Any advice? Words of encouragement? Only 2 more shows, and I'm done.
DreamerR is offline  
post #2 of 9 Old 04-26-2019, 10:50 AM
Green Broke
Join Date: Apr 2015
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Hang in there. Barns = drama. And who knows what the other trainers intentions were? You need to rise above it and just let it go. You are not there for the trainer you are there for you. Act as natural as you can and still have conversations - just keep them business like. The more you get quiet and act unusual the more guilty you will look.

You can do this!
carshon is offline  
post #3 of 9 Old 04-26-2019, 10:56 AM
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If you have done nothing wrong...

Hold your head up high and walk forward with confidence...
They are playing mind games, and its working obviously...
If someone says something look them square in the face and eye and tell them you did not, have no intention of saying anything negative and if, if you had a problem you would of spoken directly with the person not had the rumor mill twist your words... Now, you have work to do please get out of my way...
That is how I would handle it...
You don't like confrontation nor do you stick up for you very well...
Just say "I didn't say that. Now get out of my way and leave me alone."

You want to say goodbye to Justice, then tomorrow is the day and then're gone.
There is no joy, no fun or pleasure in being at this place anymore so why bother...
Who cares if someone sees you talking to the horse, hugging the don't need to draw attention to you...
Quietly say goodbye and go...
Make sure all your things are with you when you leave as you aren't going back is how you write.
I see no point in the last show if you are miserable...why?
Just why?
This is supposed to be fun and it clearly is not for you and has not been for quite a while if you are honest...

You have a chance at a whole new beginning with your horses...
Work hard to not speak badly of others...
My mom said when we were children... "If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all."
No complaints, no stories told, no griping...nothing where it can follow you publicly.
If you have issues with people...either ignore them or speak to them face-to-face and work it out...but don't broadcast it to the world.
A private diary, one not written on the internet airs a lot of gripes that no one sees but you...
You can write to your hearts content and describe and name names and no one will know or see...
Keeps you from being a drama-queen, a stirrer of trouble, and out of barn drama...
If you mention anything negative to one person, then it is no longer private and subject to drama food...mum is the word needed to be.

Good luck in your show...
Say goodbye to Justice and leave...
Move-on and move forward with your riding career and your horses...

The worst day is instantly better when shared with my horse.....
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post #4 of 9 Old 04-26-2019, 11:49 AM
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: California
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Even if you do feel your instructor treats you poorly, well, you are entitled to feel that way. Just don't express it without consequence.

I would show up and not talk much unless talked to, try to keep a low profile and make it through the day unnoticed, save the PA-ZAZ for the show when you are in the ring and it's all about you. Then, go back to being being quiet until this blows over. Just how I would handle it.
egrogan and Knave like this.
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post #5 of 9 Old 04-26-2019, 12:03 PM
Join Date: May 2017
Location: NW Connecticut
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If you didn't mention any of this to the new trainer, is there a chance that you talked to someone else who's been gossipping with the new trainer?

In any case, the climate at that barn reminds me of East Germany, where every other person was an informal informant for the state secret police (Stasi). Trust me, I can empathize with how that makes you feel. In East Germany, when a family tried to leave the country, they'd take their children away from them, which was, of course, intended to be a disincentive. Their leverage against you is your attachment to your horse.

I don't really see any way this can have a happy ending... Your only defense is to assume as professional and impersonal a posture as you can.

Whinnie likes this.
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post #6 of 9 Old 04-26-2019, 12:09 PM
Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: Arizona
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Barn drama is good practice for all kinds if drama later in life... work drama, in law drama, barn drama (lol).

You can't control drama and gossip. You can only control your response to it. People believe what they want to believe.

I would speculate and imagine that there is a lot of jealousy at your old barn about your current horse situation. You've gone from being an absolute beginner with no knowledge, grateful to ride any horse at all, thinking your trainer was an expert, to the owner of two beautiful horses with growing knowledge, skill and experience of your own. You've seen what's "behind the curtain" of your old trainer's skill and knowledge, and it doesn't seem like you worship her in the manner she expects. When I read your posts, it seems as if you've probably surpassed her in most areas of horsemanship and ownership. You've bypassed her and found a new mentor to help you with your horsemanship.

I enjoyed lessoning and leasing at my old barn. I have some horse friends from that barn that I enjoy running into at events out and about. I appreciate the knowledge and skills I built there, and I appreciate that my old trainer helped me find some of our horses. I left amicably, and would never badmouth her in public. I will admit that towards the end, I, too, was beginning to "see behind her curtain," and some of the things she said and did regarding horses were not congruent with my values. Once I had my own horses (Salty), she promised to help me, but never did. She gave me some bad advice, and Salty wouldn't be around if I'd followed it.

This sounds boastful, but over the last year, I've become an expert on my own horses. I'm constantly acquiring new knowledge and skills. I've found some great new mentors. I read, I research, I ride, I attend clinics and events, I spend hours with my horses. I really see her more as an equal, now, instead of an expert or mentor.

You are not going to have the same relationship with your old trainer because she doesn't want an equal friendship. She wants to be the expert who owns and controls the knowledge and horses, and you are supposed to be the kid who is unquestioning and ever-grateful. You can't win this one because you've moved past her.

Go tomorrow. Smile, be courteous and kind. Be full of grace and rise above the petty drama. Find a quiet moment at the end of the day to say goodbye to Justice and thank him for his contribution to your journey. Thank your old trainer, turn and walk away with your head held high and a smile on your face, and be done. Cry in the car if you need to.

You have finished that chapter. Turn the page. You are creating your own story and have new things that require your time and attention. Don't look back, keep moving forward.
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post #7 of 9 Old 04-26-2019, 12:14 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2017
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Originally Posted by mmshiro View Post
If you didn't mention any of this to the new trainer, is there a chance that you talked to someone else who's been gossipping with the new trainer?

Nope, in her text she said “while going over how her first weekend alone with you guys was ______ said that you said “ and she mentioned her name multiple times. I also don’t really see or talk to any of the barn girls outside of being at at that barn.
DreamerR is offline  
post #8 of 9 Old 04-26-2019, 12:42 PM
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Location: MD
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There's always going to be drama at places. Heck, my barn isn't a 'dramatic' barn yet there is still SOME drama that is lurking...people are always going to have something to say.

It's very immature of the new trainer. But you really do have to just let it roll off your back.

When I go to the barn, I say hi to people, maybe some small talk, but that's it...I'm there for my HORSE. That's it.

Don't get caught up in the mix. :) Tonight, just be quiet and act like nothing happened, because if you didn't say anything, why does it matter what they think? Don't let them control you.
JCnGrace and JoBlueQuarter like this.

Ride more, worry less.
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post #9 of 9 Old 04-26-2019, 02:32 PM
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Seattle, WA
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These sort of things don't usually happen in a vacuum. Meaning, while you may not have said exactly what you are accused of saying, you probably allowed your attitude toward that trainer to show, as you spoke about tangential matters. People cue into that , and often fill in the blanks.

People who are the subject of gossip are usually the source of gossip, in some way , at some time.

Is this the first time that you have been involved in drama where your opinion on something has somehow gotten warped and circled back to bite you? I am going to be a bit harsh here and say that you are probably saying more than you think you are, with regards to the trainer and your true feelings toward her, and it's being taken and perhaps embellished and enlarged, and the then it eventually comes back to you.

It's a very hard lesson to learn, and one has to keep working on it, but it's super important to keep one's opinion of others to themselves. I have been guilty of being too free with my opinion of others, of laughingly making statements that I thought were just shooting the breeze sort of things, and then finding that that remark went from A to B to C and now I am seen as 'bad' person. Did I deserve to be seen as 'bad'? Well, I certainly don't think so. But, did I say something about that person? I did! So, I am not just an innocent 'victim'. Life's lessons.
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