Sometimes it is next to impossible to get along with your fellow barn mates. There is a guy who leases a mare from my trainer 3 days a week. He used to ride in Germany for a long time and is now teaching his kids to ride. They are little, I think the oldest one is 7. I have never gotten along with him before and he YELLS at the girls (usually in German) when they ride if they are doing it wrong. I also think he is very hard on the horse. I have attempted to "share" the arena with him only twice before, but he has absolutely NO arena manners at all and gets in my way and changes direction and all sorts of things so that I'm constantly having to be very wary. I've given up. When he rides, I just don't. From here on out, I'm going to call him Mark. (That is not his real name)
I went out to play with my Arab and started to lunge her first to get some energy out. The BM came out a few minutes later so I let my little girl loose in the arena while I helped turn out everyone into the pasture. Mark showed up as I was leading one of the horses out. I was instantly unhappy as I had yet to ride. I had set up a 2' jump in the arena to lunge my mare over. She seems to have a talent for jumping, but it is still very new to her. I'm teaching her slowly. I have yet to even canter her under saddle over a jump. I've only trotted 18" cross rails. I'm not in a hurry and want to go slow and make sure she is comfortable. So Mark sees the jump in the arena and asks me if I'm going to be jumping today. I tell him yes. He said his girls wanted to jump, so he was going to set up a grid for them. Very small things, like maybe 8" cross rails. They are little girls and still learning. I thought great, this is going to suck, but tried very hard to make the best of it.
At First Dreamer (My mare) was very wary of the jumps. She kinda dodged in and out and then around. It was kinda funny/cute at first because he was trying, just didn't really get it. I've never tried taking her over more than one jump before. I figured since they were so low, I'd try it. Well, Mark being his "I know everything" self started telling me how I'm "pulling on her mouth" (I wasn't. And I know I wasn't. And the BM was there and also would have said something if I was) and that, "You really need to use your legs and not your mouth!" and all these other "tips" for me. He also said that she was "resisting" me when she put her head up. Unlike him, I don't ask my horse to collect every second of every ride. She'd better do it when I ask, and she does. But at that moment I wasn't asking, so she had her regular headset, just where it hangs natrually. And he starts yelling at me again that I need to correct this behavior immedietly as she is being a bad horse and not listening to me at all. At that point I just ignore him. I know my mare, I know her personality and behavior. She wasn't doing ANYTHING wrong. Actually, aside from not jumping straight, she was being SUPER good and doing everything I asked, even getting the correct lead in out walk-to-canter practice.
But then I try again and she starts refusing even the very first jump. Mark comes and tries to corral her to keep her from dodging to the side but she slips around him. He starts yelling at me again that I need to get a crop and smack the sh*t out of her when she does that. AGain, I know my horse, YOU DO NOT. She wasn't disobeying. I'll smack my horse if she disobeys. It was pretty clear by her behavior that she wasn't comfortable and that something was wrong. But then he blew the gasket off me. I told him I wanted to pull one jump away from the grid to see if I could get her to do just a single one. He basically told me no, and lets get her to do ground poles isntead. I wasn't really pleased because that wasn't want I wanted, but I thought ok, lets really step down and do just poles. She even refused to trot the poles. So I walked her over them once. Then as I made the turn around the arena to walk them again, he comes running up behind me, yells at me, "Trot trot trot!!!" and Smacks.My.Horse. Dreamer threw up her head and spooked to the side. Neither of use were expecting that and I nearly fell off. I turned, yelled at him, "I didn't want to trot!!!" and left the arena. He rolled his eyes at me and threw up his hands and also walked away. You DO NOT smack my horse. I was so furious. He doesn't udnerstand horses at all.
I'm so done with him. As I'm sure some of the people reading this might have figured out, Dreamer wasn't trying to disobey me. The grid wasn't set to her stride, it was set to the stride of the horse his daughters were riding. THAT is why she wouldn't do it. She physically couldn't. I waited for them to be done with the arena and lunged her over just one jump, starting small and then raising it. She didn't refuse once. That's my girl. <3
He ended up apologizing later, but I'm done. I'm just not going to ride with him anymore. I told my trainer the story and she completely agreed with me: Dreamer wasn't being bad, she just couldn't do it. He was a jerk. I shouldn't ride with him. And we set up a lesson on Tuesday to work on her jumping.
Some people just shouldn't ride. Ever.
~He knows when you're happy
~He knows when you're comfortable
~And he always knows when you have carrots.