(This is going to sound stupid and uninteresting–particularly in light of the post I have planned next about preventing sores in your seat area, but listen up!)
You like to ride and you also like your partner, child, job, etc.
There are no pictures here–this is your life, not mine. But this is the most important part of riding well–getting it done with good communication with your human partners.
Because without that you cannot do it and be happy. End of story.
Rule 1. Make a money budget: Be plain about it, get agreement, and stick to it.
Rule 2. Make a time budget: Be clear about your goals.
Rule 3. Do what is important to you with your time.
If in the “X” amount of time you have, talking to the gal in the next stall about her divorce is important, then do it.
If brushing the tail is a good thing right now–and it can be–then also do it.
Just keep in mind your agreement about “X” time.
And that you are in charge of what happens in that time.
I like to ride, so I don’t talk much with people in the barn.
If you want to, and have the time to talk, it is no issue–do it.
But, with my magic wand I hereby (with all the dubious powers of the Dressage Snob) absolve you from guilt if you politely go about your business.
It’s okay. Just smile, be polite in your other ways, pat the noses, and go on with things.