This post over at horsenation.com strikes some familiar chords. I’ve seen most of these boarders over the years and then some.
I would classify my self as an amateur in the categories listed in that article.
As someone who has boarded at a co-op barn for the past 10 years, let me add a couple of other personality types.
The Old Timer: This person might not be old in years, but they are firmly entrenched in the “we’ve always done it this way” school of horsemanship. These folks don’t want to hear that there’s a newer, better or even different way of doing something, because they know the best way to do it. In a co-op barn, this often translates to, “my way or the highway”.
The Learn as You Go : This person is the one who chooses the co-op option because it’s less expensive than full care, not because they have ever taken care of a horse. In a co-op barn, this person can be a quick study, but often time, they have a romanticized view of owning a horse that has little to do with the realities of self care. Unfortunately, these are the people who are also taking care of your horse.
The Shirker: This is the person who rarely volunteers to do the extra job, but just does the minimum. They often underestimate the amount of time and effort required to take care of horses.
The Extra Hand: This is the opposite of the shirker, the person who has a secret desire to be a barn manager and is happy to spend the extra hours mucking stalls, picking pastures and stacking hay. These are the people who are always available to hold your horse for the farrier or help you load a new horse onto a trailer.
The Fixer: This is the person who always has a hammer in one hand and who has a solid knowledge of electric fencing, can diagnose illnesses and do basic first aid. If you’re really lucky, a barn will have a few of these, with a range of special skills. Or they may have . . .
The Horse Husband: These are the men who provide the muscle for digging post holes, the carpentry skills to re-hang stall doors or install latches, and the electrical skills to wire the fencing, and the patience to spend many hours in the mud watching their wives or SOs enjoy their horses.