“NO ADMITTANCE EXCEPT ON PARTY BUSINESS.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings
· 1.a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.
· 2.a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.
Community! Speak to anyone in this crazy day and age that we live in and they will tell you that what they have missed most over the past two years is a sense of connection. To be a part of a community is to belong. It is the comradery that happens in a group of people who share common interests, experiences, and goals. Community is the sense of security that comes from knowing you are not alone, but that “your people” will always have your back.
Creating authentic community is one of those things that we don’t often think much about but is essential to the success of any barn. Without community all you will have is a bunch of extremely picky customers (no one is more discerning than a horse owner when it comes to their horses care) who will never be quite satisfied with the level of service you are offering.
Unfortunately, horse owners and riders have a reputation for being demanding drama queens and gossips. And we have all met those “horse experts” who know everything there is to know about horses and are only too happy to share their expertise with you! For these reasons finding boarders and students who “fit” in your barn culture is extremely important. As the adage goes: It only takes one rotten apple to spoil the barrel!
At Old Man Willow Farm we see our boarders and students are part of our barn family. Like any family, there are different personalities and perspectives, but that doesn’t stop us from treating one another with kindness, respect, and consideration. Community is about doing life together through the highs and lows and cheering one another on. From celebrating the purchase of a new horse to toasting in the new year. There are many opportunities to gather together as a barn family and mark the occasion.
A word of warning: There are two types of people guaranteed to destroy community in your barn - complainers and gossipers. Think of negativity and gossip as insidious weeds that will quickly take root and spread - causing discontent, breaking trust, and ruining relationships. My advice if you have a complainer or gossiper in your barn: Weed them out!