Do you ever drive by a house that has a gorgeous rose garden in the front yard, or an inviting courtyard, or even a bounce house set up for a birthday party? Do you ever pull over to the curb and wander around these strangers' property?
No. No, you don't. It's called trespassing. I don't know about you, but one of my goals in life is to stay out of jail.
So, given that most people do not even traipse across their neighbor's lawn, what is it about a ranch that invites people to come on in and look around?
The ranch where my horses are boarded does have a steady business with both horses and dogs. There are four horse trainers, riding lessons offered, doggie day care and boarding, obedience classes, etc. We want the facility to be open and inviting to the people who want to board their horses/dogs or take lessons.
But twice now, I've had to tactfully escort people from the property who had "just stopped by to look at the pretty horses." One day, there were two teenagers who were wandering through the furthest barn, petting the horses. This is the barn we affectionately call "Murderers Row." At least 5 of the 8 horses in there would love to sink their teeth into you. They're not mean - just curious. Today, it was two women with a two-year old in sandals in the first barn. This is the kindest, gentlest barn, but still - a two year old in sandals?
I gently explain that there are liability issues, apologize profusely, and show them the gate. So far, they've been very understanding about it.
But one of these days, I'm gonna snap.
"What possesses you to think you can come on private property and handle animals that don't belong to you? And when you get bitten or fall down or scratch yourself on our equipment, you probably expect us to cover your medical expenses, right?
"Get out. Get out now." (This last phrase has a subtle hint of Exorcist Voice. Watch my head spin as I say it.)
I'll try to keep it together, but will someone explain this phenomena to me? If you wouldn't let yourself into a stranger's home, why would you let yourself into a stranger's barn?
P.S. Snoopy enjoyed the visitors. They tasted like chicken.