*sigh* In Need of Advice (warning: long post... ranting)
   

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*sigh* In Need of Advice (warning: long post... ranting)

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        03-28-2008, 12:06 AM
      #1
    Showing
    *sigh* In Need of Advice (warning: long post... ranting)

    As many of you know, I'm training "Magic" (not the horse's real name), the first horse I've ever trained "professionally." I say "professionally" because this is the first horse I've trained for profit (I was the stable's guinea pig at my last barn, and have trained a few horses in my time..) Anyways... I was hired on by "Kate" (not using her real name) to train Magic. Kate is really nice, and although Magic isn't the best looking pony, she is cute and honest.

    Last year, Kate sent Magic away for training, where she apperantly was green broke. She came back a month later pregnant and scared poopless. (The guy called Kate one day and said "I hope you like foals... you might have one next year - I just walked out on my stud on your mare.")

    Anyways, the first time I met Magic I couldn't get anywhere near her - ended up chasing her into an adjacent pen to just get her away from her "herd" so I could get a look at what I was working with. Walking away from that initial meeting, I had a sinking feeling and wondered what the heck I had gotten myself into.

    The first session came and I once again had to chase her into the other pen and was able to halter her .. after a ton of running around and playing "dominant horse" with her.
    It took a few weeks just to be able to lunge her properly both directions, and even longer to get her comfortable with ground-driving, but persistance paid off... just the other day I had my first ride on her. Since then, I've had a couple more "rides" and a couple of trot steps under saddle - this is huge from when I first started working her.
    (Note: I only work her 3 times per week, maybe 4 - I can't get out more than that - I have been working her for 2 months now.)

    Anyways, on to my rant: sorry it's a little disorderly)

    - everyone she's had out to look at this mare has said Magic will never be a good riding horse - I have to disagree. She is very trainable but needs a TON of work. Gah.

    - I don't believe she's ever had any formal training. She was fine with being bridled and saddled, but if she had a month's worth of training with a "trainer" shouldn't she lunge? Or ground-drive? This mare had NO idea what I was asking of her when I started doing either!
    My first "real" ride was stupid. The mare has no idea what I wanted when I applied leg and clucked to her when I was riding... finally I had to smack her on the rump some to get her moving forwards. She's finally (after 2 "rides") gotten the idea that "leg/clucking = forwards" but it certainly isn't solid yet - if this horse was EVER even remotely green-broke, she should know at least how to walk around with a rider on her.

    - I am convinced that Kate (bless her heart, she is a really nice woman) is scared of horses, and needs a 20-something dead-broke quiet horse, not this little spooky Arab cross. I like her, and Magic is workable, but certainly won't be a beginner's horse for years - she's 6 and is now JUST started under saddle.. at a walk.

    - Kate won't even go into the paddock to get Magic if she's in with the "herd" (she's now in with Maia, so there's only one other horse to worry about, but still.)

    - Kate knows next to nothing about horses... she has the same "trainer" come out every 6 months to do Magic's worrmings... yes you read correctly. And no, the mare isn't even on a regular trimming program. Did I mention that she "might" be in foal? Nope, no vet preg-checks.

    - Kate comes out every once in a while to watch me work Magic, and I've really found out how much she doesn't know... as in just the other week I taught her how to lunge Magic, and last week she tied Magic up by her bridle.


    Okay I think that's it for now... Thank you to all who actually read this novel, I know it can be tedious at times. I'm just lost.
    I honestly feel that Kate would be better off with a near-dead bombproof horse (she's extremely afraid of falling off)... but this mare brings in $300/month for me (remember, first training job!) and Magic is definitely without a doubt trainable.. she just won't be anywhere near bombproof for a long time.
    I don't know what to do. I like working with Magic, but I almost feel the need to tell Kate what I just ranted about.

    Ideas? Thoughts? Suggestions?
         
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        03-28-2008, 12:58 AM
      #2
    Weanling
    Whew! Okay, well...

    Does Kate want to work with Magic? Does she want to spend time with the pony even if it's not riding time? Does Kate enjoy grooming and braiding her mane and just playing around with her? Does she have that strong desire to just be around her pony and watch her eat grain and poop and do all the lovely horsie things?

    If not, then I'd seriously talk to her about maybe selling Magic to get something with a little more experience. And of course, you could still be her trainer with the new horse! =)

    If Kate wants to stick with Magic, then that's great too! Is she able to come work Magic with you? Or does she work with Magic on days when you don't? I'd just recommend that Kate works one step behind you with Magic. Once YOU can easily halter her and bring her in from "the herd," then Kate can start to learn that. Once you and Magic have lunging down, then Kate can learn to lunge her.

    In a month or so, maybe get Kate hooked on one of the groundwork programs (Parelli, Clinton Anderson, etc etc). That will give her some direction and goals to work towards without having to mount up and be afraid of falling. They'll build up confidence and trust in each other this way too.

    I'd just be very realistic with Kate. Let her know that she probably won't be riding for 6 months, a year, 2 years, whatever you think. I'd also recommend to her that she have the vet out to do a preggo-test. The vet can also formulate a deworming program for her so that she knows which ones to buy and when and learn to do that herself!

    Is the "trainer" who is administering the dewormers the same trainer where she was green broke? If so, s/he sounds like a joke! "Oops, she may be pregnant!"
         
        03-28-2008, 01:17 AM
      #3
    Started
    One of my favorite quotes is "Life's too short to ride a horse that is totally wrong for you." It is even worse waiting for a horse to be ready for you. I think you should have a little "talk" with Kate and give her some professional honest guidance, and then offer to help as far as you will in getting her on the right path.
         
        03-28-2008, 10:59 AM
      #4
    Showing
    first off Equina, than you so much for your extremely in-depth reply, I appreciate it! My answers are bolded

    Whew! Okay, well...

    Does Kate want to work with Magic? Does she want to spend time with the pony even if it's not riding time? Does Kate enjoy grooming and braiding her mane and just playing around with her? Does she have that strong desire to just be around her pony and watch her eat grain and poop and do all the lovely horsie things?
    Honestly, I don't think she did anything with Magic before I got there. Her mane was a mess and she was terrible with her feet; I had to work for weeks to get her to pick up her feet without kicking. She's a pasture pet, pure and simple... and I wish she was so much more than that - she deserves it, she's a really sweet and willing mare!

    If not, then I'd seriously talk to her about maybe selling Magic to get something with a little more experience. And of course, you could still be her trainer with the new horse! =)

    If Kate wants to stick with Magic, then that's great too! Is she able to come work Magic with you? Or does she work with Magic on days when you don't? I'd just recommend that Kate works one step behind you with Magic. Once YOU can easily halter her and bring her in from "the herd," then Kate can start to learn that. Once you and Magic have lunging down, then Kate can learn to lunge her.
    I have taught Kate to lunge Magic, and have never seen the lungeline change position from when I use it. She lunges very well now, although she has a tendency to come into the circle if you're a pushover - which Kate is...
    I do a special tie thing with the leadrope on the fence - one that most people can undo bu tnot put back together - and I've never seen it disturbed off the fence (note: Magic is now in a pasture with only one other horse - Maia, so there's no "herd" to contend with).
    Also, even when Shadow was in with the "herd" I was able to call her name and she'd come running (haha slowly) up to me and just about plunk her head in the halter... no muss, no fuss.. Kate flat out refused to go get her.
    Kate meets up with me one day a week to see the progress that we've made for the previous week.. unfortunately she's usually on the side doing nothing even if I try and get her involved. Last week I gave Magic to her to groom while I groomed Maia, and she just stood there dumbfounded...? Like I said, she's a very sweet lady and I enjoy working with both of them, and Magic is coming along really well... but I'm not sure if/when I can let Kate on Magic without worrying. And I'm not sure she wants to fork out $300/month for the next 6 years...


    In a month or so, maybe get Kate hooked on one of the groundwork programs (Parelli, Clinton Anderson, etc etc). That will give her some direction and goals to work towards without having to mount up and be afraid of falling. They'll build up confidence and trust in each other this way too.
    Good idea.. but I don't practise these techniques (I employ certain parts of each, but I don't say I do Parelli or Anderson stuff) so I'm wondering if that would just get Shadow confused? I'd love input on this!

    I'd just be very realistic with Kate. Let her know that she probably won't be riding for 6 months, a year, 2 years, whatever you think. I'd also recommend to her that she have the vet out to do a preggo-test. The vet can also formulate a deworming program for her so that she knows which ones to buy and when and learn to do that herself!
    *sigh* I completely agree, I just don't know how to go about it.

    Is the "trainer" who is administering the dewormers the same trainer where she was green broke? If so, s/he sounds like a joke! "Oops, she may be pregnant!"
    Yep. Yep. And Yep. I won't let this guy so much as look at Maia - I have my own farrier and vet come out to do Maia!


    LadyDreamer, thank you for your reply as well - I really like that quote. I just have to do some thinking as to what needs to be done... I don't know if Magic will be a good horse for her "soon" or not.. she does learn very quickly, and is a fairly quiet horse, however she will spook out of the blue, and I know that will scare Kate to no end, even if Magic just spooks then goes back to work.
         
        03-28-2008, 04:26 PM
      #5
    Green Broke
    You know, if training horse was JUST training horses... it would be a much easier job! Owners can make things so complicated... :) Here's my opinion. I think your job is to work with the horse as best you can, provide Kate with whatever information and wise counsel you can, and then leave it up to her to make a decision. This could be a really tough conversation! But I'd start off by telling her your honest opinion on the horse. That she's sweet, she's teachable, you like working with her, and that she's making slow but noticable progress but will take some time to work with. But then add that even with training she may not be the kind of horse that Kate will enjoy. Explain to her the kind of horse she would enjoy more and offer your help to find one if she's interested. But let her know that you're willing to continue to work with the mare for however long she wants you to. Because, you can't really make her do what's the practical thing, but she does have a right to know what that is! That decision is purely hers. And you never know, as strange as it might be for us, she might be perfectly content with how things are. There's a woman at our barn who's 50, scared to death of anything that's not bombproof and she was convinced by someone else to buy an extremely expensive unbroke fairly idiotic warmblood. Years later, she's still afraid to do much on her but absolutely loves watching other people ride her. I think that's really what she deep down wants- something fancy that she can be proud of. Is kate like that? (maybe not the fancy part) She likes having the horse but would much rather someone else ride it? Or do you think she's so clueless that she doesn't really know what she wants?

    As far as her previous trainer goes... I've found that the concept of "green broke" is oh so flexible! While it seems that a horse should be able to lunge and do other things, some people will just throw a saddle on a horse, get on, and make them run around as their first training session. A couple of weeks (or days) later the horse is "green broke". I once tried a pony that was a "made short stirrup pony" that didn't know what the bit was, didn't steer, and jumped her first line with me. :roll: Sounds like you just started from the ground up with this mare and that's probably the best thing for her! Could you offer to worm her so you don't even have to deal with her previous "trainer"? (to use the term loosely)
         
        03-29-2008, 01:20 AM
      #6
    Weanling
    Since it doesn't sound like kate is a very horse knowlegable persoN I would ask if she did want to sell the horse that you should offer to help sell him and ask for a percentange that way you will still make some $ and know that he will be going to a good home
         
        03-29-2008, 12:26 PM
      #7
    Trained
    Since you are Kate's trainer, I think it would be best if you would express that a green rider and a green horse do not always make the best match. I would tell her what a perfect horse would be for a green rider, and maybe tell her why that is.

    But you and Magic are making some great progress, I would continue working with her and really show Kate how much she's improved, but she still has a long ways to go. Let her know that training a horse is not an overnight thing and it will really benefit everyone is she got involved. Say even if you just come up and pet Magic and spend time with her. And then when she gets more comfortable, maybe she can groom her and stuff.

    Would you be willing to like supervise her when she's grooming Magic or something? She might feel a little more comfortable with someone experienced there.

    I know you feel like obligated to tell her, but there are some people that will just buy a horse because they look nice and that's it. The horse is totally wrong for them, but since they liked the coloring, they don't want to sell him/her.

    My head is kinda all over the place, so sorry if I didn't make too much sense
         
        03-29-2008, 12:55 PM
      #8
    Weanling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by appylover31803
    Since you are Kate's trainer, I think it would be best if you would express that a green rider and a green horse do not always make the best match. I would tell her what a perfect horse would be for a green rider, and maybe tell her why that is.
    Amen.
    If she's scared of Magic, and she knows it, then I strongly suggest telling her your rant. Maybe it could change her mind; sell her or keep her and really put work into her.
    What will happen when Kate doesn't want to spend the money for you to train her? Would she go back to a being a pasture pet never to be touched again? Or would she go back to a (most likely) cheaper trainer who'd get her breed again and screw her up way more then she was before you started?
    But if you simply talk to Kate, tell her your imput, maybe she'll pay for a few more months of training and sell her. Maybe, you could find Magic an awesome home.
    Also, I agree 100% with LadyDreamer's quote. That's just so true.
    Hopefully, the best will work out.
         
        03-29-2008, 04:31 PM
      #9
    Weanling
    Have you thought about sitting down with kate and asking what she really wants in a horse and pointing out all the work magic needs and how she might want to think about getting lessons and buy a older, dead broke horse? And maybe telling her that,even tho magic is a good horse, she may not be the one for her?
         
        03-29-2008, 05:05 PM
      #10
    tim
    Weanling
    If I were you JDI, I'd be careful not to get too involved in the daily care and training of that horse, Shadow I think you said.

    As it is your first "professional" job, you don't want to get caught in all that controversy over pregnancy, neglect, etc. It could be transfered to you and tarnish your impeccable reputation.

    In normal terms, I'd say if you're training it, you should be very involved, but on top of the reputation issue there is also the issue of a nervous, reluctant owner. If you become the only one that does anything with that horse, you might put yourself in the position of being the only one who spends time with it. The owner could simply begin to assume that "JDI will do it" and suddenly you'll be stuck with another horse to care for, even though it's not yours. I'd make it a priority to get this woman as involved as you can so that total responsibility is not shifted upon your shoulders.

    Hope you consider that.
         

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