The Things That Happen When You’re in a Rush at the Barn


Time is not always on my side when I head to the barn. On some days, it’s not just time working against me. It feels like the universe wants me to be late for my lesson!

I always try my best to be on and tacked up with enough time to warm my horse up at the walk, trot and canter before my lesson starts. I usually have a lesson after work on weekdays, and without fail, there are a few things that happen when I’m in a time crunch. It fascinates me that these things don’t happen when I have time to spare. A few weeks ago, Murphy’s Law was in fully swing.

Late for a Lesson

I’ll walk you through what happened.

I looked at my computer at work and noticed it was time to head to the barn. I know exactly what time to leave to allow myself about 40 minutes to change out of my work clothes and in to barn clothes, groom my mare, tack her up and sufficiently warm her up before my lesson.

As I rode down the elevator, I checked the traffic on my phone, as I always do. (I’ve found this to be a best practice. There are a couple alternate routes I can take if there’s an accident on the road.) Everything looked clear. Score!

About halfway through my 40-minute commute, traffic came to a standstill. This was not the 20 mph traffic jam. This was the “I’m not even moving – should I just put my car in park?” stand still.

Luckily the jam only caused me about a 10-minute delay. It was just enough to mildly stress me out. I safely arrived at the barn, changed clothes with lightning speed and went to retrieve my horse.

She was covered – COVERED – in mud. She’s a gray mare, so no mud goes unnoticed. I quickly curried her and brushed her off. Really, horse? You choose this day to put on a thick layer of mud-based sunblock?

Then she pooped. Don’t get me wrong – I’m grateful she’s regular, but I was in a rush! As a polite barnmate, I know it’s my responsibility to clean up the tacking up area before I head to the arena. I hustled my way to the manure scoop and took care of her business.

Then! I couldn’t find her martingale. She’s a jumper, and occasionally she decides to stick her head out and invert her neck as if she’s a giraffe. Where was the martingale? My barn is so organized, and the lesson tack room has everything wonderfully labeled. In my two years of being at this barn, I’ve NEVER seen a piece of tack out of place. Why today?!

After a bit of running around to the boarder tack room and then revisiting the lesson tack room, I found another lesson martingale that would work for our ride.

We had just enough time to trot one circle before my trainer called me into the ring for my lesson.

To my trainer’s credit, she made my tardiness work. We had an awesome flat lesson that day. We worked on engaging her hind end at the walk (which she is very resistant to doing), and we ended the lesson with her stretching down in her neck – no giraffe-like movements in sight!


Even when I’m stressed by all the things that might go wrong before my lesson, the moment I’m in the saddle, I know I’m going to be just fine.

Allison Griest is a freelance writer based in Texas. Follow her on Twitter: @allisongriest.



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