The people who belong to my boarding horse do not fit my mental list of requirements for a boarder. Here’s my list:

1. Comes every day or every other day at the least
2. Cleans their own stall
3. Is very involved with their horse so they are excited about #1 and #2
4. Is so happy to be at my barn that they would occasionally care for my horses when I’m out of town

I had visions of riding together in the arena or on field trips to trail rides and shows. It was going to be an all-around happy time.

Then the husband got involved in finding boarders without consulting my mental list at all. These are the family of a business partner. I hadn’t seen them since the incident of dumping the nuts and bolts into the compost pile a few weeks ago. They came back this weekend. I was grocery shopping. I came home and found a car in my driveway. In the middle of my driveway. So I couldn’t get to my house.

I go in the barn and ask them to move their car to the fine parking area provided on the side of the barn. They obviously know it is there because they parked there on the first day they were here. They look at me like I’m such a bother and tell me that they are about finished and it is muddy.

Muddy? In the past month we’ve had major ice storms and then major flooding across the state. Are they surprised by the fact that there is mud? Wait until spring. They haven’t seen mud yet. Then I looked at their outfits. They were wearing boots. But not boots suitable for mucking out stalls and trampsing through mud. No, these boots were more of the pointy toe and heels kind. The kind of boots that scream at the sight of mud. I see the problem.

Now, my driveway is muddy. But the parking area is much less muddy. I’m followed out of the barn by the mother saying that she thinks she’ll get stuck if she parks in the well gravelled parking area. I don’t dignify this with a comment. I then get to watch the spectacle of a person trying to put a little kid in a car seat in a car in a muddy driveway without getting her feet dirty. It involves standing on a bank near the driveway and leaning precariously into the car. Quite acrobatic in fact. I’d have probably been more impressed if groceries weren’t melting in my trunk.

As they are moving to the parking area the older kid finishes cleaning the stall and comes out. She’s wearing jeans and boots but with a shirt more suitable for flashing people than for manual labor. Actually, while doing manual labor involving bending over I’m sure she was doing a fine job of flashing people. This made the husband laugh out loud. He’s used to my barn cleaning outfits made up of anything on the bottom of the closet that doesn’t stink too bad to wear again.

After all this the part that really bothered me though was the fact that they didn’t go out and play with their horse. She was in the pasture and they were way too clean to have gone out there. I think that’s sad. If I was going to a place where my horse lived I wouldn’t ignore her just because of a little mud. I don’t think they like her very much. That’s too bad because she’s a nice horse who just needs someone to work with her more.