How Office Life is Like Barn Life


I’m at my office job from about 8 to 5 each weekday, and horses are on my brain 24 hours a day. As a horse person, I often look at office situations through a barn lens. The parallels simply can’t be ignored, and to be quite honest, my horse-to-office-world comparisons help me resolve, or at the very least survive, office happenings. Here are some office situations and the horsey scenarios they remind me of.

Cubicle Guy
For starters, we know what it’s like to be cooped up in a stall all day. Someone get this poor guy a Jolly Ball!

Hold that door! (Please)

Office world: A nice individual holds the elevator door open for me. Why thank you!

Horse world: A nice trainer at the horse show opens the schooling ring gate for her rider. She also holds it open for my horse and me. So kind!

I feel tension

Office world: Someone receives very upsetting news, and the entire floor hears his reaction. There’s tension and also concern among coworkers.

Horse world: A horse unseats her rider. (Thankfully the rider is okay.) The horse is now running all around the barn. Everyone on the barn property is now saying, “Easy girl, it’s okay. Eeeeaaasy,” as we attempt to corner and catch the horse before she hurts herself.

Hard Stop

Office world: I’m in a three-hour meeting, and it’s clear that two team members are not going to agree. Simply. Will. Not. Agree. I wait for someone to use the buzzword “Take this offline” so we can move to the next agenda item.

Horse world: I need my mare to load into the trailer. We have a clinic at a venue about 45 minutes away. She will not enter. Simply. Will. Not. She’s acting as if she’s never been in a trailer before today, and she and I both know, full well, that she has been in the trailer more times than I can count. I wait for someone to become available to waive a tarp behind her so she decides it will be more comfortable to be inside the trailer rather than outside.

It’s a foreign environment

In the Barn

Office world: I walk onto a different floor of my office building, and I feel like I’m in a different universe. I notice some interesting rules, such as ‘no photography’ signs. What if there are rules that aren’t listed on signs? I don’t want to break a rule – I just walked onto the floor!

Horse world: I bring my friend to the barn for the first time, and I have to explain several things, including, but not limited to, avoiding sudden movements, avoiding camera flashes, refraining from opening umbrellas and proceeding with caution when horses are in the barn aisles. She looks overwhelmed, and I can’t blame her. No one wants to break a rule at a barn – horses are big!

Weather affects everything

Office world: It’s a rainy, cold and downright dreary Tuesday, and that’s all anyone can talk about. It’s not that my coworkers and I are necessarily unmotivated, but we are most definitely distracted.

Horse world: It’s cold, and the horses know it. My mare is cozy in her blanket and looks at me with slight disdain when I start to unbuckle the blanket. I know she’s got some pent up energy. I anticipate a quasi-productive ride.

Surely there are fellow horse lovers who have made similar connections between their office and horsey worlds. How does your horsey life help you process your office life?

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