I was in a tack store yesterday, shopping for some items for my new "monster horse". On the bulletin board for local ads, there was this one for a boarding barn, and in bold font was this statement, "We pride ourselves as having a drama-free barn".
I could not stop laughing all day.
Seriously, I know what they were *trying* to communicate, and if you've had the unpleasant experience ever of owning, running, managing, working at or boarding at a boarding barn, you would know, too. You have people from all different walks of life, with emotional maturity levels spanning the entire spectrum, with horses of all different disciplines, temperaments, breeds... and every last darn horse is somebody's baby and needs to be treated and handled with the uniqueness and care that nobody has time for. And yes, there is always lotsa, lotsa drama. "Your horse is beating up on my horse!" "My horse needs more turnout time than that horse." "That horse is making my horse stressed." "Can you please give Sweetie-Pie an extra carrot at night before she goes out?" "I want my horse in at night." "I want my horse out at night." "Can you blanket my horse at 50-degrees?" "Can you tell that woman she's an idiot for blanketing her poor horse at 50-degrees?" "Can you tell your helper person that he needs to clean my horses' stall better, I found a pee-spot in there this morning..." "My horse hates country music, can you please change the station?"
And it never ends. I've been around this scenario way too much, in different capacities, but it is always the same in the end.
So I understand what they were trying to say. But the problem is, that there has never been such a thing as a drama-free barn. Heck, one of my horses' names is "Drama" and that gives you his entire life history, cut and dried. So let me give you an example of what it's like in the real world. Welcome to MY barn.
I was up past midnight last night, which is pretty typical of me. I had seen there was a 60% chance of thunderstorms in the area, so I checked my weather station throughout the evening and night to see the futurecast, in an effort to try to determine if my horses should go in or out. Their usual schedule is to stay in the barn during the day, and go out to the paddocks or pasture at night. I had already turned them out after chores, because I figured that they could at least go out and move around a bit and if I had to bring them back in later, so be it. However, no matter how many times I checked the futurecast, it showed no storms, not even any rain, in the area all night long. So I went to bed.
There is no problem with a horse getting wet, it's just the problem of when it's cold and wet. And it's a problem when they're out and wearing blankets if it's really cold, for the blankets to get soaked or soiled. So at roughly 5:30am in the morning, I shot out of bed when I heard the rain and the storm going on outside. I pulled on my raincoat and boots and ran out there, brought everyone in. Every day I open the gates, Drama and Starbucks come in first, I lock them into their stalls. Then Abbey and Sammy go in, I give them a minute to get into their stalls before I let Raz and Gallery in, and then I walk Big Bird in because he's new and he's not used to where he's supposed to go, yet. For the most part, well, there are exceptions, but for the most part they all go into their own stalls and don't give me any problems. That is, for the most part. However, of course, this morning, they all decided to be idiots and not go into their own stalls, but into each others' stalls, and/or not go into their stalls at all and run in and out of the barn in the dark, in the pouring rain and lightning. I was hand-walking Big Bird in, and naturally who was in his stall but the lovely gray mare Abbey, who would've like for nothing more than to kill Big Bird since day one of his arrival here. So there I was, shouting at everyone to get in order and go into their own stalls, while whapping the end of my lead rope at Abbey to try to get her out so that I could get Big Bird into there, safely. I don't know this Big Bird horse very well yet, but even as I was whapping the rope at Abbey and hollering at her to get out, he didn't freak out or do anything stupid, which is why I am liking him more and more. Abbey went out, Big Bird went in, thankfully there was no attack in the process with me in the middle, and then I proceeded to get the rest of the crazies in and locked up where they belong, while giving them each a word of praise for getting where they needed to go, albeit eventually.
Then I noticed that all the winter blankets, which were hanging over the back of Abbey's stall (since she is the ONLY horse that won't mess with them) were getting wet from the blowing rain. I moved them all to the front of her stall, which is facing the aisleway and was protected from the rain. I had just purchased Big Bird his blanket yesterday, (which is when I saw the ad for the drama-free barn) and hadn't even gotten a chance to try it on him yet to see if it would fit. I had my doubts, so I had left the tags on and everything. However, there they were, all piled up on Abbey's stall wall. I scanned the barn for anything else that needed immediate attention, told everyone goodnight, turned off the lights and went back to bed.
I got back out to the barn several hours later, to feed everyone breakfast. The first thing, of course, that welcomed me back was the observation that Starbucks, who is stalled beside Abbey, had been able to reach out and grab some of the blankets off of Abbey's wall and drag them into his stall. He and Drama (who are blood related, incidentally) are tried and proven blanket-destroyers, and if given half a second with a blanket unattended, they immediately start shredding. So of course, it was Big Bird's blanket. It had to be, there was no other way. It couldn't have been Starbucks' own blanket, which was as old as the hills and held together with duct-tape; no, it was the brand-new, tags-still-on blanket that I didn't even know for sure would fit. Well, I owned it now. And also he had gotten Gallery's, but all he had done to hers was pee and poop on it. I commend him for that option, it is indeed an improvement.
I really looked forwards to having a horse wearing a blanket, that was more blanket than duct-tape. Ha. But either way, duct tape was the fix, and on the positive side, the duct tape had to be applied to the inside of the blanket, which nobody will have to see. It could have been far, far worse, trust me. I don't wonder why manufacturers don't just make blankets coated with a layer of duct tape to begin with, it would seem helpful to us end-users with "those" horses. Ah, the drama.
So blankets got repaired and some even got washed. My family hasn't complained, but I am the horsey person/mom that washes our clothes with the horse clothes on occasion. It just happens. And besides, there are days when my son's clothes are far worse than anything that comes out of the barn.
This was a two-cups of coffee day for me. I usually just have one. But you know, I wouldn't trade my drama-filled life for anything else. Yes, there are those times when "boring" looks mighty-fine, but in the end, how would I have possibly befitted from my life being protected, boring, run-of-the-mill, average? No, that is not me. I love my downtime, but it comes infrequently. What I love more is looking back on my life thus far, and thanking God for every pressure, every trial, every tribulation, every problem, every fight, every painful experience... because that's where the depth and the breadth have happened. And I like depth and breadth, much more than I like "drama-free."
So, I pride myself as having a drama-filled barn. Just in case you were wondering. :)