The title isn't what I wanted it to be, but here's my story:
My mother just passed away 2 weeks ago. She was literally my best friend, and it's just been incredibly hard. I know it will continue to be so. She had stage 4 breast cancer. She knew she didn't have long, but we never dreamed it'd go downhill so quickly. About 5 weeks ago, she decided to bring her not-quite-2-year-old Friesian filly to my boarding barn. She was worried about her, and wanted her to be cared for, preferably by me. This filly was very, very dear to my mother. She bought her for very little (when compared to other registered Friesians), shipped her clear from British Columbia, and took care of the filly herself. The filly is an absolute doll; she's the barn favorite, and everyone always comments on how well-behaved she is. That's honestly just how she came to us. She's also a growing girl, and the short, awkward filly that arrived at our place over a year ago is growing into a truly beautiful, elegant mare with expressive gaits.
This filly meant a lot to my mother. She was her comfort when I was not there. My mother (who barely had any energy at this past year) would go out occasionally to brush her, pick out her feet, and just love on her. The filly was never consistently worked with, and lived in her own pasture area, yet my mother never had any trouble with her filly. I can tell that this filly really had a connection with my Mom, as she never tried to take advantage of her, and would give her "kisses" and "hugs" without ever being taught.
Most of the people were a bit wary when we brought this filly up to my boarding barn, because she's young, and young horses can really get into trouble. After a week, everyone loved her. One other boarders in particular liked her so much that she emailed my Mom and told her, "If you'd ever like to lease her as a dressage horse, when she gets to be of riding age, I'd be very interested." This woman was previously a lover of warmbloods only, and put down my Friesian mare more than once in passing. So we took this as a good sign that the filly was really getting along at this barn, and that she was really turning into something special. My mother politely said that she'd "keep it in mind" and offered to help the woman find a Friesian of her own, but the woman made it very clear that she didn't want any old Friesian, she wanted this filly. My mother never intended on leasing the filly to her, but figured she'd be polite so that this lady would be encouraged to take care of the filly and turn her out when I wasn't there. (People sometimes ignore my horses when turning out, despite the fact that I am the one to usually turn every horse out, every day of the week.) My mother and I had both seen this woman ride, and while she considers herself confident, she is a very harsh rider. There is just no positive reinforcement, no elasticity in her hands, no calmness of leg or seat, etc, etc, etc. And her attitude is very much, "I NEED to win"; something that my mother and I didn't like. These are my honest observations, and they are unshaped by her attitudes towards my horse. You just feel sorry for the horse when you see her ride.
So my mother has passed, and I returned back to my boarding barn. This same woman makes some comment about how she talks my mother's filly through any potentially scary situations (which in all honesty, the filly doesn't need, as she's very level-headed, but it's okay with me if she makes the effort), and how "anxious horses need a confident rider", and blatantly implies I'm not going to be up to par. I ignored it and went on. When I later explained that my boyfriend was going to help me pay for the filly's board, this woman told me, "Well, if he wants a dressage rider to work with her, let me know." I ride dressage as well, so I have no idea what this meant, and I just shrugged it off.
Now other than this one person, I have gotten along with everyone at this barn. The barn owner (a different person from the woman I'm talking about) can be a really pain in the arse, but she's got good intentions, and she really took care of my horses while I was planning for the funeral and taking care of business. The barn owner even drove 3 hours so she and another boarder (not the same woman referred to in the previous paragraph) could attend my mother's funeral. They have all been incredibly supportive, but this one woman just keeps upsetting me with her somewhat rude comments. Especially when I'm going through such a difficult time. I don't want to put her down directly, because I still want the filly to receive good care. While I know that this woman wouldn't do anything to intentionally hurt this filly, I don't think she'd watch her as closely. And I really don't want to cause any drama, because I still have to board here for another 9 months.
If anything, this woman makes me feel like crap. I'm brutally honest about my riding abilities (and often downplay my abilities because I don't ever want to make anyone else feel inferior), but I have been told that I'm really not a bad rider at all. I can keep my seat on difficult horses (thanks to my former instructor who taught me balance before picking up the reins), but yes, I am aware that I can break, so I don't try stupid things or attempt something before I know I'm ready. I guess my feelings are being a little hurt at the moment, which is something I know I'll just have to get over, but it really stings when I'm already going through hell.
Any advice on how to handle this situation? Maybe "talk" to another boarder that's friends with this woman, and make it clear that I never intend on leasing out the filly, selling her, or etc.? I could just try to ignore the woman, but it's hard to when this is such a small barn.
Any advice would be much appreciated! Thank you!