I always wanted to bring friends to the barn with me. I used to love showing people around the farm. I love introducing them to the horses, and letting them get to know how I spend my free time. Correction: how I spend all my available time.

I never considered what bringing non-horsey people into the barn would be like. I’ve always been convinced they might think it was cool. Hanging out with some big ole animals, spending time outside…

There have been many instances where I thought I wanted to share my equestrian experience. Family in town? Sure, if they want to come see the horses! Friend wants to see how beautiful they are? Sure, I guess you can come. I love horses and barn life, so I’m usually happy to contemplate sharing it.

But then they asked me to leave early. They wanted to “pet my horsey”. I wanted them to stop trying to feed their fingers to my already very mouthy thoroughbred.

It’s hard not to romanticize the idea of sharing passion with someone else. I now live in a very strange fairy tale world where my boyfriend enjoys being at the barn, is good with animals, and aspires to do a very “guys’ guy” version of horseback riding that involves trail rides and whiskey. So, safe to say, I don’t mind when he accompanies me to the barn.

But no, I don’t want to bring you to the barn with me.

It’s a precious swath of time I’ve carved out of my day to reconnect with my favorite part of me. The barn is a place of solace, restoration, and pursuit of my dreams. No, I don’t want to leave before I’m ready. Inevitably, you’ll ask me how much longer I’ll be. I will tell you just a few more minutes, and I’ll throw my un-cleaned tack into my locker so I can appease you.

I’ll probably groom my horse for less time, when I will secretly regret that I offered to let you join me. I’ll probably whisper a lot of apologies to said horse, hoping they’re not suddenly human and feel slighted by my speedy exit.

Life is busy, especially now. It seems to only get busier, too. I go from meeting to meeting, project to project, home to work. Sometimes I sleep and shower, sometimes I eat. It only seems to get busier, but the few minutes or on luxurious occasions the hours I get to spend int he barn aren’t riddled with phone calls. I’m not talking to coworkers. I’m reconnecting with my favorite part of me: the horse girl who would much rather be in the barn than an office.

So no, I don’t want to bring you to the barn with me. I don’t (this may be a lie, I bet your kid is really cute with the horses) want to bring your daughter to check out the farm. I want to be selfish, and revel in the time I get in the barn because there isn’t a lot of it, these days.

Please don’t take this the wrong way. I don’t want to be disappointed when you’re (vaguely) disgusted by the smell, or the dirt turns you off. My solution to this comes in the form of a brief apology: I’m sorry, I won’t bring you to the barn with me.