Confession: Barn time is real and it sucks me in constantly.
Those people who don’t spend time with horses may wonder, what in the world is barn time? Equestrians understand. Barn time is the magical and wondrous hours spent at the barn where time seems to stand still. Clocks don’t work and life outside you and your horse or horse friends do not matter. You are simply “being in the moment”.
The Goal: Today I went to the barn intending to school Ferrous for about 30 minutes. We’ve been working on really stretching exercises, collecting and moving out in a frame, and then stretching again. It’s been going well and he’s doing it more quickly and easily than before.
But what I intended and what happened are two different things.
The Reality: The hay truck arrived and was unloading in the indoor, so that ring wasn’t available. Luckily the outside ring looked perfect for the first time in 2018. I was so excited to change things up! Off to the paddock I went to retrieve Ferrous. He always stands so nicely for me…..yeah right. Not this time. I arrived to the ponies having quite the party and had to wait until they had tired themselves out.
Luckily I was able to catch their antics on video.
Hmmm, maybe not a good idea to ride outside with windy conditions and a ring he hadn’t seen in a few months. I’d been itching for the opportunity to lunge Ferrous and do some basic groundwork. New plan in place, we set off.
Frankly he was an angel. Probably because he was already tired! We worked on walk, trot, and whoa both directions on lunge. The round pen footing still isn’t ready yet but I’d love to work on a true Join-Up.
When I went to put him in his stall, I realized it was almost two hours since I’d arrived. Time flew!
Simple ways to know if you are experiencing barn time.
1. Losing Time
Sometimes the days pass so slowly that it seems like you are moving through molasses. Other times you blink and the entire day has disappeared. The latter is similar to barn time. How many times have you intended to spend only an hour at the barn?
- You arrive to find your horse is playing like a maniac in the paddock and you watch, hesitating because you don’t want to break up the fun?
- Your horse is incredibly muddy from a good roll and a simple grooming session has turned into a major overhaul.
- You drive up to find a horse (or 2) is loose and spend an unidentified amount of time trying to coax them back with bribery, or failing that drive them back using an extra lead rope you have in your trunk.
Life has a way of throwing challenges in our way, especially when working with animals. But what can I say, time flies when you’re having fun!
2. No Desire to Leave
This happens often. You arrive at the barn and although you’ve done everything you wanted, you still don’t want to leave. So you look for excuses to stay. The excuses could be simple or grand and may include one, some, or all of the following:
- Chatting with friends.
- Watching someone else’s lesson.
- An impromptu lesson with the farrier.
- Working with other horses than you’d intended.
- Mucking stalls.
- Feeding, watering, and haying.
- Visiting each stall to say hello to the residents.
- Taking your camera to the paddocks to catch some fun photos.
- Take video of your friends jumping or training their horses.
- Sitting quietly in the paddock to just enjoy life with your favorite species.
- Hand grazing your horse or pony to extend your time together.
3. Make Excuses to Visit
With the changing seasons there is always worry for colic or other maladies. But be honest, you don’t visit the barn just because you are worried about your horse. You visit because it’s your safe place. Your happy place where nothing outside of your bubble matters. Not while you’re there. So what’s to do except go to the barn more?
- My horse needs the blanket changed.
- My horse is injured and is bored without me.
- My horse misses me.
- I miss my horse.
- I don’t want my horse to forget me.
- My horse gets wild if I don’t ride every day.
- I get wild if I don’t ride every day.
- My horse is overweight and needs exercise.
- I am overweight and need exercise.
- I have a refrigerator full of apples and carrots and no one to give them to.
- My Instagram is bare and I need more photos to post.
- My family is driving me crazy and I just need the barn.
Does any of this sound familiar horse lovers? I even have non-equestrian friends who make excuses to visit my barn. After all, who can blame them?
This is the honest truth about barn time. Who can blame us for wanting to lose ourselves in the magical world of horses, horse smells, and horse friends?