[ Podcast version here. ]
Hey! I’ve heard you have [insert animal]. My [insert family member, friend, acquaintance] loves [said animal]! We’ll have to come by your house and see them.”
Uh, why? Do you know how caught off guard I am when someone says this to me. It’s usually at some social function and said by people we barely know or converse with. If we had a dollar every time someone did say it though, we’d already have a second run-in shed. How am I even supposed to respond? You just invited yourself and guests to my house, uninvited. Can I now invite my family, friends and myself to your house in return? Is this real life?
I use one these three tactics in my response.
Have you heard of [insert name]? They have horses too and offer lessons! I typically redirect them to a local barn that has a petting zoo or does pony parties. In Savannah, these are pretty scarce as developers have taken over much of the city, but I googled and found a couple names I keep in my arsenal for when I need to recommend them.
That’s nice. Isn’t this food delicious. I mean… really. Sometimes I don’t even know what to say.
No, you cannot. You want to know why? Because we’re not a petting zoo. It’s a liability. I have one of those state equine liability signs up, but I’m not sure that covers everything. My horses aren’t for beginners or children. This is my home. I hope you understand.
It mostly happens when people hear we have horses. They think that anyone can just jump on a horse and be a cowboy. It occurs sometimes with the chickens and ducks. I imagine it also arises with goats and alpacas and whatever else people might find entertaining for 20 minutes too. It’s rude. It’s intruding. And, it’s unsettling. But, they don’t see it that way. They’re just excited that someone they know, no matter how vaguely, has a link to farm animals and might be able to expose others to them. I mean our future children might have farm-themed birthday parties at our house, but that doesn’t mean that your kid can. 😝