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This is a discussion on Rant within the Horse Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category
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    06-20-2010, 04:52 PM

I think there should be a rant section

Okay, so yesterday I went to help my cousin get ready for her first horse show which is today. First, we went out with my mom just to bathe her. She is a 16 year old grey Conemarra mare. We cleaned her very well until she was glowing.

My cousin had a lesson that day so we let the mare dry off then began to tack her up. She was in heat so she kept peeing that is when her "trainer" came in. She told her to clean it up, which is understandable. Then she left and the mare peed again as my cousin was checking her saddle. The "trainer" came back in and snapped at us to clean it up. I told her that she was in heat and had just peed again. Her response was also unpleasant. I do understand that she wanted to keep the barn clean but I think she could have said it more kind.

As they were riding I thought she was just teaching them to look good while riding not actually ride. They rode outside for about an hour. Then they moved inside. As soon as they did this the "trainer" got on one of the ponies (I will call him Bud) and started jumping him. Smcking him on the butt every time he jumped and each time he would go fast after each jump she would yank on his mouth. After a few rounds she got off and let the boy that was riding him get back on.

In my opinion, none of those riders should have been jumping. I don't think any of them had been riding over a year. They were yanking on those poor horses mouths and kicking at the same time. One girl was using a pelham. After jumping a few times they began a course. Apparently this was the first time any of them had jumped a full course. They began and I had to hold back tears. I just had a "feeling" about that place. Although there was no abuse it was very unfair to both the horse and rider.

A girl on a bay mare would circle left instead of right and then giggle when she would be told to go the other way. She kept doing this and said the horse wouldn't circle right. So, the "trainer" got on again and started hitting her on the butt with the crop again each time the mare would take off she would yank on the horses mouth and hit her again. I was appauled. She went over the course twice then got the girl to do it twice as well. Then it was my cousins turn. She began wonderfully but she jumped the wrong jump so she was made to go back and wait. A few more horses went then Bud, the pony I talked about earlier, came out. The boy began the course and was flopping all over the place. He was going down a diagnol line and at the end he was going too fast. He jerked the horse around and the horse fell.

I almost lost it. But, I did not want to leave my cousin there alone. So, the "trainer" got on the pony again and made him go around and around the course. After a while she got off and got the boy to get back on. Bud was breathing so hard I swear he almost collapsed. The boy got on and went over the course a couple more times. The pony was so tired he wasn't even jumping he was just trying to trot over the jumps so he hit each one with his legs becuase of how small he was. Then the boy got off, tied him up, and went somewhere.

They had been going for almost two hours by now. My cousin finally went and only went once. After, she was told to untack. I helped her brush her pony and I made sure the mare was cool and every square inch of her body was clean. The girl on the bay mare that the "trainer" had got on was still going. That poor horse had been going for over two hours. We put away the pony and waited to be picked up.

I was so upset after that it was difficult for me not to cry. I later told my mom what had happened and she said that I could teach my cousins some of the basics of horsemanship and what is acceptable and what is not.

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    06-20-2010, 05:53 PM
Does anyone have any advise on what I should do?
    06-20-2010, 05:57 PM
No idea on what you should do in terms of changing her behavior, but I do suggest having your cousin move to a different barn and telling the trainer exactly why. That's terrible from what you've described :(
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    06-20-2010, 06:04 PM
I think it will be difficult to convince them to move because her parents don't really understand. I think I will speak to my mom a little more about this. I just really don't want my cousin to think that it is always the horses fault.
    06-20-2010, 06:07 PM
Find a horse savvy adult and show them a video of a day's lesson. Have them try to explain it to her parents maybe?
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    06-20-2010, 06:11 PM
I'd switch barns if possible!
    06-20-2010, 06:27 PM
I agree with equiniphile - I'd try to get them to switch barns and not hide the reasons. Just out of curiosity, how many kids were in her lesson?

I cannot even understand why the trainer would get mad at your cousin for the mare peeing... that's ridiculous! I've known trainers who keep their barns immaculate and when a mare's in heat they just laugh and roll their eyes. Obviously it's expected that you should clean it up, but there's not need for snapping at a kid!
    06-20-2010, 09:00 PM
Equiniphile - I did record some of it but I only had my phone.

Carleen - I think there were about five kids.
    06-21-2010, 09:17 AM
We have a few barns like what you describe around here and yes, they are decent horse person's worst nightmare. The truth is, they are very hard to get people out of because people feel like they make so much "progress" in their own eyes. Its very hard to convince people that just because they can stay on doesn't mean they are riding. I have gotten riders from these barns, usually because they either a) got hurt or b) got their own horse and suddenly realized they couldn't train it. Theirs also the occasional person that comes because they want to actually learn more about the horse. Sadly, most riders that I see started in these facilities are very limited in what they can do. Most come in saying "I can canter, I can jump" and they have trouble leading the horse and turning at the walk without jerking the horse in the mouth. There is even one barn around here that has their own private shows that no one else is invited to and they don't go to any outside circuits, which is good because they would be slaughtered.

My advice to you: You won't be able to tell her differently, but you can show her differently. Invite her and her parents to where you ride, I find many of these riders really enjoy learning why the horses they used to ride behaved the way they did. Many of them come to my barn and are surprised when the horse doesn't bite them while being cinched, or how they will wait patiently while being bridled, or that they actually have mouths that can feel basic commands. I've been through this plenty of times before, and as hard as it is, you have to wait until they want to learn, otherwise, they will just build a stronger defense. One thing that works for me when riders want to run and flop is simply saying "I am far more impressed by a rider that can walk well than one that can canter sloppy."
    06-21-2010, 03:39 PM
Switch barns, that's absolutely terrible, poor ponies =(

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