“Out Behind The Barn.”
That’s the title of a country tune by one of our favorite country singers. With humorous yet truthful lyrics backed by fast-beat guitar and a jovial original presentation from the shortest, longest-enduring, still-entertaining singer, Little Jimmy Dickens, it still carries many of life’s lessons and lifts one’s spirit a half century after first being recorded.
Actually “out behind the barn” has become a frequent comment in our conversation over the years as we’ve had the opportunity to judge horses shows around the country, and specifically those on the local and youth levels. We were reminded of that plain and simple truth in recent days during our home-county fair, only as an observer at this one.
Many times as young people have exhibited their horses before us, we know they haven’t practiced at home. The exhibitors don’t have a clue what they’re supposed to be doing, let alone their poor horse, that barely knows his handler, or what is expected of him in a strange, public place. His life until that time was generally just one of leisure.
Consequently, we try to encouragingly reprimand the young horsemen that they need to spend “time out behind the barn” working with their infrequently-handled horse, which if only could be given the chance, would perform similarly like others in the class.
Of course, the work doesn’t have to be done out behind the barn, but sometimes like in the old-time song, it is better if the lessons for both sides, the horse and owner, are done in private. Out behind the barn where the level of concentration is not on anything but the endeavor at hand has always worked best for us and others of higher skill levels.
How much effort the young exhibitors had exerted out behind the barn before our county fair this year with their pigs, lambs, goats, cattle and horses was most obvious. Those who had fed, watered, worked and trained their critters ahead of time stood out from the others. We often really do feel sorry for the animals, and it’s not their fault.
While the judges did not word their advice to the youth in our old-man, out-behind-the-barn lingo, each of them did emphatically point out how obvious it was when the livestock knew their owners and they worked as a team. Each time, those who’d obviously practiced out behind the barn moved rapidly into the upper echelon.
Additionally, each of the judges, to our appreciation, with their advice complimented the youngsters, and perhaps more importantly, their parents. They are better individuals and citizens because of the experiences in owning and caring for their projects and participating in activities where they are responsible for the outcome.
While the humorous song “Out Behind The Barn” may be entertaining, the words can still be used adeptly as advice for life we and others give in various forms. Our philosophies are backed in Proverbs 14:23: “Hard work always pays off; mere talk puts no bread on the table.”