The barn where I board Moe and Gina has exactly one set of jump standards. I brought two sets of jump standards, eight ground poles, and four sets of jump cups with me when I moved there. I am very diligent when it comes to moving the jumping equipment. I always take it down when I’m finished, it’s always set out of the way, and the few times the barn manager has requested I move the whole lot to a different area, I am quick to comply.
While I was setting up jumps for a lesson I was giving last week, I noticed I only had seven ground poles. I was running behind and in a hurry, so I thought maybe I’d simply miscounted or missed a pole that had rolled away from its pile. After the lesson, I was putting away equipment and recounted the poles: seven. I searched around for the missing pole and couldn’t find it. I was puzzled.
Then I noticed the bowed section of fence that Moe and I like to jump had been replaced. With a pole that looked suspiciously like one of mine.
I thought through several reasons the barn manager would have used a pole he knows belongs to me to repair this fence. I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt. There’s another guy who occasionally works on repair projects around the facility; he knows I use the poles for jumping, but I don’t think he knows they actually belong to me. I thought perhaps the other guy had fixed the fence, using my pole because he assumed it belonged to the facility.
Yesterday, I saw barn manager for the first time since The Pole Incident; I was holding Moe while the dentist was working on his teeth. Barn manager greeted me cheerfully. I said hello and politely said, “I seem to be missing a ground pole, [name redacted].”
He said, “Oh.”
I crossed my arms, leaned back against the barn, and replied, “The new pole on the fence looks a lot like one of my ground poles.”
The barn manager turned red and mumbled, “Well you know, I had to fix that section of fence, because it was sagging so bad that you couldn’t even nail the old pole back up there, you know? Haha…”
I said nothing and stared at him in what I like to think was a cold, calculating fashion.
He looked away and mumbled something about replacing my pole that day.
Now, I am not an unreasonable person. I’m pretty laid back, and I don’t often get my knickers in a twist over things that are ultimately trivial.
But I am fucking pissed about this.
I am pissed that the barn manager used something that belonged to me without my permission and didn’t immediately ‘fess up when confronted.
Did he think I wouldn’t notice? Did he think I wouldn’t care? If it was an emergency (which it wasn’t- no horses were motivated to hop over the 2′ fence- not even Moe or Gina), I could understand using my pole. If he just wanted to use it, I could understand doing so, then notifying me with an offer of replacement. I wouldn’t have been pleased, but I wouldn’t have reached the level of fury I am currently seething in.
Some part of me thinks I’m overreacting and shouldn’t be upset about something like a $10 ground pole. But this incident, combined with a long-simmering (and unvoiced) suspicion that the barn manager isn’t feeding my horses twice a day (as agreed when I moved them there) has prompted me to begin the barn search anew with plans of moving Moe and Gina by the end of August.
What do y’all think? Have you ever been in a similar situation?