A family completely of its own nature, a barn family can be made up of many different age groups, types of people and riders. In my experience it is quite the mix and I just love it. We have people who compete, people who don’t, people who ride English and some who ride Western, and then there are the few that do both, and those that do their own thing but still want to remain a part of a larger group.
Barn families can be complicated, but they are supportive and loyal. Everyone may ride a different discipline and have a different view on something, however as a whole they are normally agreeable. I'm not talking fake family or people you just see at the barn, I'm talking about the barn moms who jump in to help anytime, the therapists (not to be mistaken for the people looking for drama), the brothers and sisters and the weird aunts and uncles, seriously, you can have a family member for everything at the barn. It is such a beautiful thing when a real one exists and welcomes newcomers to the family or "herd" without missing a beat.
On the other end of the spectrum, I know there are also barns where it is a house divided, or you work with this trainer and I work with that trainer, then there are those who think trail riders are from Venus and jumpers are from Mars. I have been at those barns and sometimes the tension can be cut with a butter knife. Ideally all riders and trainers would be more accepting of one another so their students, friends and clients could be as well. Even without the most ideal circumstances, how we treat others is a direct reflection on ourselves and is that not the bigger picture?
The support system you gain when you have a true barn family can never really be broken, even if you get out of horses there is always the option to visit or meet outside of a barn atmosphere. Barn families are also your friends for life in most scenarios. They also are there through the good, the bad and the ugly, plus everything in between personally, professional and with your horse or horses.
Hopefully you are abundantly blessed to have a barn family, if not, we hope you are able to find one and that it lasts a lifetime! They really are worth all the effort!