Dear Funky Chicken Lover,

Dear Stacy,Funky Chicken or elbow flapping with a horse

“The normal personal space in South Africa is about 20cm. My preferred personal space is three times that. After watching the Jac videos, I very nearly started flapping my elbows to make the offenders back up in a line at the store today.”

-Funky Chicken Lover

I understand your urge completely. My personal space is also greater than 8 inches.  I think you will find that the ‘funky chicken’ elbow flap will work quite well in that situation also. However, you should always have a back up plan. Also consider;

  1. wearing your barn cloths directly to the store
  2. wearing your muck boots directly to the store…cleaning is NOT recommended.

I have found that these methods are also quite effective and are more subtle for increasing personal space while shopping. Remember, it is always good to have options.

To see the Funky Chicken explained with a horse see Stacy’s Video Diary: Jac-Episode 2, at 5:55 in the video.


  1. Joyce Pickering on January 10, 2015 at 9:58 am

    I catch myself putting my hand on the back of a car when I walk around behind it just like I do with the horses.

  2. Miss Silphy on January 8, 2015 at 8:43 pm

    I was sexually assulted 2 years ago and I used the funky chicken on a guy in a fight or flight reaction when he got to much in my personal space. He was offended at the time but we laugh about it now, he didn’t know my story back then. Lol.

  3. firnhyde on January 7, 2015 at 1:26 am

    Speaking as a fellow South African: a brisk slap alongside the haunches and “Move your butt, big mare!” guarantees a vast personal space for the rest of your life.
    Well, I assume it would. Despite repeated temptations, I have never been brave enough to try.

  4. Sharon Hill on January 6, 2015 at 9:24 pm

    AACK! I told the same story here last year! At least I am consistent on how I tell it.

  5. Jodi on January 6, 2015 at 8:26 pm

    Guess I’m lucky. I moved from English horse country to Western horse country. Which means I went from an area where breeches and black riding boots were common sights in the grocery, to a place where spurs and cowboy hats are normal. Seen bareback butt in groceries in both places, lol.

    As for using horse command on people – yea, I tell my hubby “move” all the time when he’s in my way. I’ve also been known to cluck when the car in front of me is going too slow…

  6. Georgina Albert on January 6, 2015 at 7:21 pm

    I poke my daughter in the side just above her hip bone to get her to side pass out of my way. :0)

  7. Sharon Hill on January 6, 2015 at 6:17 pm

    Years ago, I went to a concert at the fair. My sister and I were early and had staked out our space. A family sat beside me and soon a big guy squeezed into the small space beside me. I’m with you, I need my space. I started putting pressure on him by moving my leg against his or my arm. If he moved away, I would release at once. I kid you not, I soon had that poor guy with his arms scrunched in front of him and his legs together. LOL This happened without saying a word. I was sitting there trying not to burst out laughing.

  8. Sarah Bernier on January 26, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    If I have to go anywhere after a barn visit, I keep my boots — and spurs — on. Frankly, it’s too hard to remove the spurs & put ’em back on every time you go somewhere “not horsey.” It’s not a big deal — until winter. The longer I’m in a store the more I thaw out and those boots start to emanate … then the looks and wrinkled noses start. Time to get out of dodge!

  9. Nikki B on December 30, 2013 at 11:56 pm

    I’ve also been known to go to work (in school office) with hay in my hair from running late and ditching half a bale over the fence as I head to the car. Thankfully the principal has a sense of humour and just plucks the hay out for me 🙂

  10. Gert on December 30, 2013 at 11:18 pm

    I have to laugh at this because one of my co-workers came up on my blind side (no sight in my right eye) and almost caught an elbow to the ribs but I was able to check myself just in time. My trainer, however, had made contact with both her husband and recently her 10yr old son… in the chest! OUCH! I missed an elbow recently as well as I knew what was coming when I startled her. I also love the idea of the muck boots and barn clothing and often do that. AND to more than just the Co-Op or feed store! 😀

  11. Karen McCarthy on December 30, 2013 at 11:15 pm

    I must have grown up on the moon…I was brought up to remove spurs after riding.Period. Personally I think ppl wear ’em beyond the barn to show off. Just sayin’

    • Linda Wilson on January 8, 2015 at 8:31 am

      Yes, that is why I wear them. Don’t use them on my horse.

  12. […] RSS ← Dear Funky Chicken Lover, […]

  13. dolly on December 30, 2013 at 11:44 am

    yes, done that and yr’re right…at the market, etc people stay away from me. Could be the spurs but I don’t think so. LOL

  14. Missie on December 30, 2013 at 8:21 am

    The wearing of barn clothes out in the general public does draw attention. Especially on those ‘damp’ days where the scent clings a bit extra.

  15. Annie on December 29, 2013 at 11:28 pm

    I live in South Africa and wear my barn clothes to the store all the time, no one even notices … maybe I need to leave my spurs on in future 🙂

  16. Marj Gray on December 29, 2013 at 11:26 pm

    After a fun morning playing with my mare and her filly with alfalfa cubes, I ran to Walmart (of all places) for A few groceries.I looked like a hobo andsmelled like a barn (filly spit) I had put cash in my pocket and when I paid the cashier loose alfalfa (from the cubes) fell on the counter…I apologized but the clerk madly swept up the bits of alfalfa and stated in a panic, “baby your bag done broke” “OMG no…it really is alfalfa,” I insisted. She winked and tried to give me the loose hay back…I left the store quickly and never went back.

    • Stacy on December 30, 2013 at 3:29 pm

      Ahhhhh!!!! That took me a minute to figure out but, WOW! These stories keep getting better!

    • Gert on December 30, 2013 at 11:21 pm

      OK that one made me LOL!!!

  17. Ross MacInnes on December 29, 2013 at 9:46 pm

    I love the spur stories – here’s one I’ll share. I am a veteran of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. My wife and I were married in 1968. I wore my “Service Order #1” which is the red serge, breeks, boots and spurs, to the wedding – standard procedure. During the ceremony I stood at attention with my heels together and toes apart – normal miliary “at attention” position. By accident, I crossed my spurs – didn’t realize that had happened until I stepped off after saying “I do”. Fell flat on my face in front of my bride, the guests, the preacher, and 31 other Mounties. Highly embarrasing, but on the up side, we’re been married now for almost 46 years!

    • Stacy on December 30, 2013 at 3:28 pm

      I agree, spur stories might need their own story! Yours is great…well, I’m sorry it happened at your wedding…but still a great story! And 46 years is very impressive!

  18. Sharon on December 29, 2013 at 8:12 pm

    At a concert the stands had bench seating. I had claimed my space as had the family next to me. Then a big dude sat down next to me, lapping into my personal space. We still had a bit of a wait before the music started. After considering the situation I started apply subtle pressure to the guy’s arm against mine. Anytime he moved his arm away from mine I moved away. It didn’t take long before the guy was holding his arms across his chest, all scrunched together. I had a hard time keeping from bursting out laughing. Pressure and release works on people too!

  19. Darlene on December 29, 2013 at 7:36 pm

    Thanks for the ideas Stacy….I don’t get crowded when shopping, simply because my
    husband gives anyone who gets too close the “eye” and when he turns “that” look on
    whomever is the recipient, they usually start backing up. But the barn boots work too…

  20. Bobbi Naylor on December 29, 2013 at 7:15 pm

    I have been known to run to the grocery store right after a ride. I usually still have muck on my boots and, yep, you guessed it, my spurs. I have found these to be a great deterrent to many people. HAHAHA. And yes, the bareback blue jean look is also quite fashionable. No, I do NOT live in a rural area. So, imagine the stares 😉

  21. Elizabeth Cowling-Jones on December 29, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    The funky chicken is cool, but I do have the nasty habit of running out of time and driving to the supermarket in my barn clothes 30 minutes before closing time. I get all the space i need. The first time we saw the funky chicken we thought great…my other half tried it out on our stallion who has the habit of nipping my partner. (i have never been bitten by the stallion). That day he wasnt attacked or bitten the stallion seemed to stop, then looked, and spent the next hour laughing. I could see the smile on the horses face. Yes my guy looked really silly and the stallion thought so also.

  22. Kim V on December 29, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    I never thought twice about wearing my barn clothes to down… one day while grocery shopping I noticed quite a few people staring at me but figured it was the spurs. I was close… on my dash though my (messy) bedroom before heading to the store I snagged a pair of underpants on my spurs and were dragging them through the store….

    • Stacy on December 29, 2013 at 8:10 pm

      Kim V-This may be the BEST story of spurs in a store EVER! LOL!….LOL!!!

  23. Madeline C. on December 29, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    <3 the funky chicken! I recommend it to a majority of friends who have "too close for comfort" ponies. I find myself doing things to people that I do at the barn with the horses. Best example? My 14-yr old brother was standing on something and not even thinking I put two fingers against his chest and clucked for him to move. I don't even know what's worse though; me asking him to move or him MOVING and not even thinking about it.

    • Nikki B on December 30, 2013 at 11:52 pm

      That is hilarious Madeline, you’ve brought tears to my eyes. Might try that on my daughter and see if I get the same reaction.

  24. Brenda Fawkes on December 29, 2013 at 3:23 pm

    here’s one for you…. I rode bareback one morning then got busy doing other things and forgot what the rear view would look like and went into town shopping

    • Stacy on December 29, 2013 at 8:11 pm

      Brenda…been there, does cause odd looks…

  25. Amber laroe on December 29, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    I like to wear my biggest spurs and some jeans just to get the point across that I’m not messing around.

  26. Suzi Sturgell on December 29, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    Stacy, YEARS ago I attended one of the CHA conferences in PA. I flew there. After staying the 4 days and attending or riding in every horse related clinic I could squeeze into, the final night was an awards gala we all were to attend. I had packed nicer western clothes for that event, but was caught completly off guard to see some of the women (not the ones I was with, we all wore nice western clothes!!) wearing Very fine attire! I sat in a near back row, but a woman in a fancy, shiney dress sat in front of me with her decked out cowboy husband at her side. About 15 minutes into the ‘gala’ I noticed many people making offensive faces and gestures, and it dawned on me that it was ME they were offended with! Pretty dress lady actually turned in her chair and gave me an evil look! Needless to say, I turned several shades of red. It was my boots. Though my CLOTHES were very nice and neat, I had overlooked cleaning the barn off of my boots!!! I sat very uncomfortably the rest of the time, and as soon as it was over I went to the public showers and SCRUBBED the daylights out of my boots because the next morning I was going to be sitting on an airplane for a number of hours! LOL LOL! Oh my, the little things we over look!!
    Yes, you can clear a room simply by wearing your barn clothes!

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