Wednesday, July 29, 2009


When I got to the barn yesterday evening, one of the first things I noticed in the tack room was that my lunge line had been used and messily hung up in a different place.

Then I noticed that the alpha gelding's halter was on the hook my lunge line had been hanging on.

It took another moment of staring at my grooming tote to realize that Panama's dandy brush wasn't in it. I found it in the alpha horse's tote instead.

I think what happened is that the alpha's owners, who rarely (if ever) visit, actually paid their horse a visit. And apparently, since they're never there they either forgot, or never learned, the number one rule of barn ettiquette: Don't use other boarders' things. Unless it's an emergency — which it wasn't, as there are plenty of other brushes in the tack room. Why did they have to use mine?

This isn't the first time my stuff has been used. The neighbor girl, the one who cut the alpha's mane, has used my lunge line a couple of times to lunge the alpha. (She has permission now from his owners to work with him a little. Not a good idea, in my opinion, because she doesn't know what she's doing. But I suppose at least he's getting some attention now from someone other than just me.) Either she or the girl who gives lessons on the barn owner's mare used my dandy brush once, too. The worst, though, was that about a month after I moved Panama to the barn, my super-soft face brush up and disappeared, never to be seen again.

The weirdest of all was the time that the riding crop went missing. I don't use it, but the instructor was looking for it, and left me a note on the dry erase board. We both hunted high and low for it, only to get a note a few days later from the barn owner that he'd had it. Ummmm... Where? And why? Wait, don't answer that...

It amazes — and frustrates — me that I'm now at the smallest barn I've ever boarded at, yet I'm also having more problems with other people using my stuff than I've ever experienced before. I know part of it is that the barn owner has an amazing collection of tack and grooming supplies that he has allowed everyone to use willy-nilly, and therefore no one realizes that some of what's in the tack room now is actually mine (and apparently can't read, either, since I put Panama's name on virtually everything).

I'm really irritated about my stuff being used, which makes me feel a little bit like a two-year-old who has just learned the concept of "Mine!" Unfortunately, I don't really trust people to do the right thing and replace anything they damage — and sharing brushes between horses can spread skin conditions, or so I've heard.

For those of you who board or have boarded, would you agree that using other people's stuff is against proper barn ettiquette, and would you be annoyed about this too? Or am I really just acting like a toddler with a possessive streak?



At July 29, 2009 at 1:50 PM, Blogger Nuzzling Muzzles said...

I boarded at my neighbor's place, and I won't ever go near or into her tack room unless she's standing right beside me. She has had trainers walk off with her tack and grooming supplies, and I didn't want her blaming me for anything that was missing. I kept my equipment at home and carried it to her place. Every time I ride a horse in her arena, I can't set down my riding crop or she will grab it and claim that it is hers and her granddaughters left it out. I have to explain that it is mine and I just brought it in with me. I tell her to check her tack room for her own crop, and she always finds it there. Next time I buy riding equipment, I'm going to pick out some outrageous color that no one else would choose, so that my stuff won't get mixed up with other people's stuff. Don't be afraid to put a sign on your tote and above your hooks that says, "Don't touch."

At July 29, 2009 at 2:28 PM, Blogger jane augenstein said...

Oh, that's too bad! I would be complaining too, I wouldn't want others using my things unless I was there and they asked first. I really wouldn't like others using my brushes on their or other horses. Rain rot is one disease that will spread by using equipment from an infected horse.
Do you have a tack box that you could lock up, to keep busy fingers out? I think I would invest, pain in the butt, in a wooden box that had a place to put a lock on it then lock it up. Some people just have no manners I guess. So glad that I have never had to board a horse anywhere; mine have always been on our farm.
~Jane and Gilly~

At July 29, 2009 at 6:21 PM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

NM and Jane,

Thanks for the ideas! I think I'm going to start off with a sign, and invest in a tack box that I can lock if that doesn't seem to do the trick.

I also think I'm going to make name tags for Panama's halter and bridle. The alpha's old owner had done that with those dog tags that you get engraved from a vending machine at the pet store. It's a good idea -- maybe it'll help to get the point across!

At July 29, 2009 at 8:16 PM, Blogger Reddunappy said...

I would definatly invest in the tack box that you can lock, signs and warnings wont make them stop. I boarded once and its nice to have the arena and stuff but dealing with the other people is a pain! No one respects any one elses stuff! good luck.

At July 29, 2009 at 8:26 PM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

Pam, if it were a bigger barn I'd agree with you, but literally it's only the owner, TWO other boarders, and one instructor. The only ones I don't talk to are the owners of the gelding, so I think I should be able to just ask people not to mess with my stuff.

I did find out who borrowed my stuff, by the way: the barn owner's daughter. He's going to talk to her about not using my stuff, as he says she ought to know better.


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