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Hey y’all!
Looking for feedback and personal experiences. I recently started riding again six months ago. I’ve been friends with my trainer and a couple girls at the barn. So now I end up spending more time there than just lessons. Often we all hang out together. I’m very happy to make horsey friends! These ladies are the only ones I have but the more I hang around the more I realize the trainer talks bad about people. Now not gonna lie, most of it I agree with because she’s talking about boarders that are incompetent and/or make bad decisions for their horses against the advice of my trainer. I like being in the “in crowd” but I do think it’s unprofessional. I really enjoy her instruction and she has great horses. If I ever left this barn to train at another, how would I even tell her it’s ‘because of her drama’? It’s a small town and I’m sure I’d see her at horse shows. Again. Any insight on barn drama. Lol. I guess I expect some because like hello it’s a female dominated sport ? but where do you draw the line?
 

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Something I have learned that always shuts the negativity down, say, "That's funny, she always says such nice things about you."

If the bad-mouth session involves someone who would probably not say nice things or someone you don't like, you can end the negativity by remarking on some positive thing that person does, like "She's such a brave jumper" or "She ties her horse so carefully" or "I've noticed she always cleans her horse's feet before a ride".

I think most people start to be uncomfortable when bash sessions start, but they don't know how to get out of them. I've noticed if you can tactfully slide out of a bash session, most people are eager to end them. You can steer the "in crowd" away from the negativity, and most of the time, they will gratefully follow you.
 

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I like @knightrider's advice. I will confess that while I dislike barn gossip/drama, I have found myself, without really thinking about it, engaging in it at times. I like to say that I am as likely to say good things about a person as a bad, but talking about anyone behind their back is a bad habit. I try to NOT engage in this. I am proud to say that over the years, (and some humiiliating experiences where talk got back to bite me in the rear) , I have gotten 90% cured of this. For me, I either do the 'say only good things', or just the "oh? is that so" sort of response to anything that feels like it's inviting me to comment, or just a noncommittal 'huh." and walking off. I wish you the best in your efforts to not engage in it. It's tempting and disturbing, especially if you find out that you, yourself, have become the target. If you leave that trainer, do NOT give the real reason. It can serve you no benefit at all.
 

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Sorry to hear about. Drama seems to come with every yard in some form or the other or when there are a group of women together. Best just to try stay out of it as much as possible or maybe suggest to the trainer that they speak to the person they are talking about to resolve matters.

I wish that people would talk to you rather instead of talking behind your back. I once had a yard owner tell people that I was just galloping my horse around every time I come to ride. Mmmm really. I guess my horse must have been really mistreated now that he is 26 and still in fairly good health. She told us we all had to move to another yard and then she moved with us only to leave a month later and bad mouth the yard that we had moved to lol.

I must say I do miss socializing with people from the stables especially after we started working from home they were the only people that I really saw.
 

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Knightrider is spot on with sensible advice.
Unfortunately, it is human nature to talk about people who aren't there - whether friends at school or older people at a horse show, it is a way of bonding with the people you are with by talking about those who aren't there. We all do it, but we can also ensure that it stays as positive as possible rather than slide into the fun of a back-stabbing fest which makes us feel part of the group doing the back stabbing but leads to regrets later when we worry about our words getting back to the victim of our gossip because we really didn't mean it.

You can learn to say things like, "I'd never take anything we said back to her, but maybe if we have a problem we should speak to her about it," or,"I understand why you feel like that, but I appreciate the help she's given me," or even (with a laugh), 'Gosh, this makes me worried about what you say about me when I'm not here!' You are not openly shutting down the backstabbers, but you are directing the conversation to a more thoughtful area.

I often say, 'All the world remains a Year 9 classroom', and this is never more true than with horse people. Friendships come, go, come again, people gossip, people tattle. I tell my friends that I give them permission to talk about me behind my back and don't feel guilty if they get carried away and say things they regret - I'm fine with it. The real problem people are the ones who run the gossip back to the victim of it... the victim was perfectly happy being ignorant of what was said and then the tattler has to go and tell them, often ruining friendships in the process. Of course, it's best not to talk about others, but we all do - just try and keep in mind, "What will he/she think if my words get back to them?" because they often do get back to them.
 
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