Barn Etiquette 101
Barn etiquette is something we preach to every family sharing a pen next to ours and somehow, it’s the first thing we forget while whispering, “can I [quickly] borrow yours?” Emily Post would be ashamed. However, the bonds made over the course of the next few days, despite close quarters, these memories will last a lifetime so let’s make them positive ones. Okay? Okay.
Tensions are high and mom and dad are trying their best to keep calm for your sake as you prepare for your moment in the show ring, but while you’re brushing the last bit of pine shavings off of your animal you find yourself saying through your teeth, "will you PLEASE tell your little brother to stop climbing my calf enclosure…?”
So, let’s run through a few things that can make a long show weekend a bit easier for everyone:
1. If you unlock it, lock it back!
This must be the holy grail of what not to do in a barn. While, you may not see with your eyes the reason the gate/door/room/stall was locked, but you will inevitably feel that sinking feeling of guilt the moment you hear someone screaming ‘NOOOOOO!”
2. If you leave a mess, clean it
Seriously, are you five? Your mother raised you better than this. Not only is it annoying to pause prep-time to be the responsible party, but it’s also hazardous to other people and livestock in some instances.
Please be mindful of how your actions affect others.
3. No running!
I get it - this isn’t a pool, but what’s scarier than falling into a body of water? Spooking an animal and getting kicked in the face.
I’m not saying this happens every time, but the potential is there. Even if an animal never reverts to the ‘fight’ part of their natural instinct, being uneasy can cause the animal stress and a judge will certainly feel this in the ring.
Don’t hurt yourself or someone else’s chances. Keep calm and walk on.
4. If you don’t know, ask.
Lean not on your own understanding. Sometimes, annoyances happen because instead of asking a question, we try to wing it. It’s better to K.I.S.S. the situation (Keep It Simple, Stupid). We can save a lot of headaches by asking a simple question rather than paving our own path.
5. Just say no to smoking.
This blows my mind. In a building sometimes entirely constructed of wood, filled with hay, pine shavings, hay, dry grain, hay, feed sacks and hay, it is mind boggling how some people feel comfortable carrying fire around the premise.
You are welcome to smoke in your house, your car, and your trailer, but please don’t smoke near my animals or in my barn. Cool? Cool.
Listen. We’re all in a rush. We all take shortcuts, we all break the rules and for goodness sake I know we all get a bit stressed during show season, but I hope you take a few minutes to contemplate these, and for Lord’s sake, ask your little brother to get off my calf enclosure ... again.