Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Bozo Quotient

I sometimes tell our barn owner (sort of as a joke but really not) that when a boarder leaves and she's looking to fill a stall, that she should look for a boarder who will reduce, not increase, what I fondly call the "bozo quotient".  The bozo quotient is the ratio of bozos to non-bozo boarders.  Bozos include those who don't care about the welfare of their horses - never visit or take care of them, or do things that aren't in the horse's best interests - like ride them very hard for two hours once a week and not at all the rest of the time.  Bozos also include those whose regard for the safety of their horses, themselves and other boarders and their horses is minimal.  I try not to ride when those people are riding and I'd never go on the trail with them - they're the type who will gallop off without warning, or gallop up to and past you on the trail.  I've actually had one of them run into me and Red while we were riding in the indoor. They tend to be rough and ready riders - lots of air between their rumps and their saddles as they're galloping around - with limited control of their horses.

Today Pie and I experienced bozodom.  Two women who were more than old enough to know better - I know plenty of teenagers who aren't bozos - were riding along with two male relatives.  The women have absolutely no sense and their horses are tense and worried, for good reason.  The male relatives, who didn't know the first thing about riding, including basics such as steering and how to stop and start the horse, were "riding" the women's two horses, who deserved better but were trying very hard.  One guy's idea of how to get the horse going was to kick, heave himself up and down and flap the reins (pulling on the horse's mouth in the process).  No helmets on any of them, male or female.

Pie was very alarmed by this - he's got very good sense.  He knew those folks were bad news.  We rode a bit and then called it quits before the bozo women and their bozo male friends caused us a problem.  Good, smart, Pie.   After we left the arena, they closed all the arena doors and one of the women was going in there with a lunge whip - apparently to chase the horses (with bozo men aboard) so they would gallop around the ring.  I didn't look.  As I was leaving, I told the other boarder who was there - a fairly inexperienced horse owner about my age - she said "I don't know that much but I know what they're doing is reckless and I shouldn't ride while they're here" - to call 911 if anything bad happened.

Even Pie is smart enough to recognize a bozo when he sees one - any bozos at your barn?


  1. We boarded ( for years) I've seen all kinds of bozos. Some just plain stupid, others uncaring, cruel, dangerous to everyone. I actually had an older woman who should never have been riding barrel into the side of me and my spooky horse Erik. He didn't even spook he was so surprised.

    I do believe that anyone who owns or manages a boarding barn should have safety rules that everyone should follow and are enforced. We did when we ran our barn business and it ran smoothly.
    ( most of the time ;)

  2. Thankfully I am able to keep my horse at home.

  3. We have a wide range of people at my barn, it being a larger barn. We have a handful of women who are deathly afraid of their horses (some of whom don't ride, and one of whom is way overmounted and gets seriously injured every time she tries), a couple whose sanity I seriously question, and we also have our share of the uptight horse owners that I imagine every barn has... but for the most part everyone is great. We have lots of groups who ride together regularly on the trail and welcome anyone who can make it, people who show and are willing to haul others with them when they go... There are a couple I've had friction with, though, of course. One I won't trail ride with ever again as she and a few others were ready to leave me to find my way back to the barn on my own and go their separate way when Panama was still a youngster and was having a really rough day, and with another I've learned to stay on her good side, at least superficially, as she is perhaps the most uptight person I've ever known.

  4. So sorry you have to endure this - glad Pie know to get out and stay safe. The saddest part of being involved with horses is seeing the innocent horses in our world living this kind of ridiculous life. Drives me insane.

  5. Happy to say that we don't.....we're a small, more private barn. I've seen bozo's firsthand though... :P Seriously, though. People that have never or barely ever ridden should never attempt to gallop. Badddd news ahead.

  6. I keep my horse at home. My next-door neighbor used to board with me (I have a two-stall barn, we had been friends for more than 30 years before we moved in next door to each other) but she started doing things like riding up on us or taking off (and I had a young OTTB at the time who freaked out because he was being left behind or "surprised"). Eventually she developed other issues (making things up, having mini-strokes, I suspect) and we don't ride with one another anymore. At one point years ago, I toyed with running or managing a boarding stable, but in addition to idiot owners, I would have to deal with people who don't know to leave other people's things alone. I had tack and equipment stolen or destroyed when I boarded my first horse and "went through my own feed and shavings" a lot quicker than I should have because others "helped themselves." Dealing with THAT substrata of humanity didn't float my boat, so I never acted on my desire to either board out or run a boarding facility.

  7. I board at a private barn. Bozos definitely would not last long.

    I worked at a farm that had an influx of bozos. Before everything feel apart I quit, but the ingredients for disaster were there. It is especially frustrating (dangerous) when the bozos are in charge.

  8. No bozos at our current barn anymore and it is WONDERFUL. However, I have certainly encountered them and it seems like whenever I haul off the property to go trail riding at a state park ... there are an unusually high number of bozos .... I just try to avoid them.

  9. I have my horses here at home, but I know what you are talking about , even so bad a when I was watching my trainer work with my filly last year, this genius decided she wanted to be a part of the action and was galloping up and doing sliding stops practically on top of my horse. I finally put my camera in my pocket and she seemed to loose interest in showing off, the trainer was calm and settled about it but I did see him go over to talk to her as I left

  10. You're reminding me to be grateful I have my herd at home. Even when we boarded, though, that kind of behavior would not have been tolerated by the barn owner. Wow.

    1. Our barn owner is very hands off and is almost never around - the upside is that I can do pretty much anything I want . . . the downside is that the bozos can do pretty much anything they want . . .

  11. The upside of being at my barn which has a training program is that there are no bozos. I've seen my trainer pull kids off of horses mid-lesson for being unkind to their horses.

    The downside is, of course, that you have to be in the program, which doesn't leave as much room for creativity.

    Other places I've boarded at that don't require lessons usually have one or two people that are a 911 call in the making.


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