Struggle to stay sane: A large set of unfortunate circumstances
 
 

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Struggle to stay sane: A large set of unfortunate circumstances

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        03-12-2011, 09:32 PM
      #1
    Weanling
    Struggle to stay sane: A large set of unfortunate circumstances

    Alright, I hate my barn. Yep, I said it. HATE. The trainer is probably borderline abusive.

    See more: Fuse has blown-I HATE my barn! (Advice maybe?)
    I recommend reading it all.

    So, I decided I need a diary. Publicly, because I want support here. This is really tough for me.
    I was going to post some "lowlights" from that thread, but its too hard to decipher the really bad from the really really bad.
    My trainer will be referred to as C from here on out.
    Here are the horses and their biographies as of now:
    Blue Eyes: Really old pony, probably in her 40s. Only horse C trusts.
    Cinnamon (Cinny): Rambunctious young pony. C loves him cause he's cute. Doesn't trust him at all, however
    Bridgett: Oddly conformed horse, but a fantastic jumper. Currently leased by someone I trust, but is still a little poorly educated because she rode at this barn her whole life.
    Paquita: My baby <3. I don't lease her, but I wish I could just to spare her from other people riding her badly. She's sorta spooky and a little hot, but really trainable. Unfortunately, she's getting nowhere in her training while being here.
    Hannibal: Only horse with really good confo. Lots of controversy over him because he's "PWETTYOMGILUVHIM" but now ridden by the only person strong enough to...Spur him every stride. Spoiled like crazy. "Leased" by a young and annoying instructor.
    Secret: C's baby. C trained her herself, and it's evident. Needs to be hit hard with a crop to get her to do anything, unless you have an insanely strong leg. Spoiled even more than Hannibal. Very responsive to C's voice, usually with things like "HIT HER" and "CANTER!" Often bucks if you make her do actual work of any kind.
    Mercedes: Had an illness that caused her to have back issues. She really shouldn't be ridden past a walk or trot, as her canter is just sad to look at. She's coming off an injury. She may not recover fully. Full leased by an extremely naive spoiled girl with no horse sense. Girl does not treat the horse well.
    Cinderella: Big fat ol' schoolie. Molasses could beat her in a race. Pretty much dead to the leg at this point. Hates to jump anything that's not a crossrail. (I swear you could make a 3 foot crossrail and she would jump it!)
    Nikki: Leased horse. Horse is a wonderful jumper. Unfortunately she is never ridden by her leasee, and gets really hot when she is ridden. The person leasing her does not ride her well at all, and has little horse sense.
    Ally: Schoolie. She works well if you can use your leg. Hates to jump with a passion unless a good rider is on her (never). C makes her jump anyway.
    Georgia: George Morris trained jumper. Leased by a spoiled girl who is a general nuisance. Girl makes her jump really high even though she is still sort of recovering from an injury.
    Blanca: Greenie. Giraffe neck, sometimes horizontal head. NO BALANCE.
    Lizzie: Sweet horse that has responded very badly to this training. Severe ewe neck from bracing. More on her in a later post.
    Zena: Not much to say. She doesn't have much of a personality. I suspect someone abused a headset into her because she keeps her head close to vertical most of the time, even on a completely slack rein. Doesn't jump, just lifts her legs...
    Abby: Tumorous white horse. She's old and stiff as anything. She's a bucker, but these days she just doesn't have the muscle to. Watching her move is sad.

    Whew! That was hard work. Anyway, in the next post I'm going to dump all the notes I've already written.

    If you read....

    THANK YOU FOR READING!!!!!!
         
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        03-13-2011, 12:13 AM
      #2
    Weanling
    Entry dump. Stuff I've already written down before.

    3/10/11: Memory: Sight of Lizzy:
    Imagine a horse that is very well muscled...In all the wrong places. Got a huge ewe neck going on, and has strong front leg muscles. I'm not sure if she's ever used her hind when working under saddle. That's Lizzy. A girl has told me "When you ride her it feels like her legs are just going to SNAP."
    So I go over to her stall one day, after someone was saying something about a swelling on her wither. Not to me, but it concerned me. Naturally, C said it was nothing and that she should be ridden. She has such a kind eye if you give her a chance. I could tell she was in pain, and it sort of looked like she had a story to tell. Right on her wither is the swelling. About the size of my fist. It is not by any means small or ignorable. And its warm. I felt so bad just looking it. Then, on her rump...Welts. And lots of them. Every time she refuses a fence or runs out, C makes the rider beat her senseless. So now she has these big welts. It's so sad I can't even think about it.
    ---
    3/11/11- Memory: Shoulder in and haunches in
    C (for once) decided to work on them. I was observing the lesson.
    A few people were praised. Not those who did the exercise correctly. No. Only those who YANKED their horse's heads into the right place and just legged them until they awkwardly sidepassed down the rail. It was uncomfortable to watch. One girl achieved haunches in on a greenie. Unfortunately she was also the girl yanking the most and kicking the hardest. The horse was perpendicular to the rail. C has no idea the precision these moves take. Blah.
    ---
    3/11/11- Memory: She's too strong
    C thought Paquita was too strong for me. So she upgraded her gag to a DOUBLE gag! (double offset sweet copper snaffle with gag action). She didn't improve much if at all. I think she even got worse, because she now evades the bit on downward transitions.
    ---
    3/11/11- Bits used and C's reasonings
    Blue eyes- Fat snaffle. C trusts her.
    Cinny- Double twisted offset full cheek snaffle. May become a gag soon, too. "He can get strong."
    Bridgett- Double twisted offset full cheek snaffle. Leaser bought this for her. C says she's allowed to use it because she has "steady hands" and the horse "can get strong."
    Paquita- Double offset gag. "She can get strong." Used to have a fat snaffle gag. Worked MUCH better in the regular one.
    Hannibal- Dr Bristol I think. His old owner bought it. It is used to "pick his head up." No idea if it does that.
    Mercedes- Snaffle gag. "It brings her head up" and "She can get strong."
    Secret- Elevator on the second ring. "It brings her head up." I think that's a decently valid reason, but I'd rather she just train it. She is ridden on contact...
    Nikki- Rubber jointed pelham. "She can get strong."
    Cinderella- Uses Paquita's old snaffle gag to "get her head up."
    Ally- Snaffle gag. "She can get strong from time to time."
    Georgia- Snaffle bought by her old leaser. Leased horses usually don't use gags or pelhams.
    Blanca- A greenie wearing a pelham?? WHY? Oh right. "She can get strong." ...
    Zena- Pelham. "Can get strong"
    Lizzy- Double offset snaffle gag. "Can get very strong!"
    Abby- C trusts her a lot, and even though she can get strong, she is ridden in an eggbutt snaffle.
    ---
    3/11/11- Memory: ACE
    ACE is a tranquilizers. C uses it on horses she thinks are dangerous to ride. She rides them like any other school horse when they're on ACE. Tranquilizer=/= training. Did you know that ACE also mentally ******s horses and makes it very hard for them to learn? So not only is she not training them, she's not even accidentally training them. C needs to stop riding horses and start training them.
    Another memory- Grooming
    Most people here groom really shoddily. Especially on the legs and girth area. Those areas need to be groomed really well...It is unfortunate that these horses have to endure that. Imagine running around coated in caked mud! Not fun.
    --- (Last one...I promise.)
    3/11/11- Lesson-General Disgruntledness
    Horse given 2 ccs of ACE to be ridden.
    Cindy is being annoying and stubborn.
    I honestly can't remember much. I was in a really bad mood and not paying attention to what she was yelling at me for.
    Yay horses shedding!

    That was therapeutic.
         
        03-20-2011, 12:20 PM
      #3
    Weanling
    Alright, its a wee bit upsetting that no one replied to it...Oh well. Just need to vent etc.

    3/19/11- I didn't cry! AWESOME lesson!

    Alright, so this Saturday I had an AMAZING lesson. So first when I get to the barn I brace myself to be upset and cry like I usually do. Its very emotionally upsetting usually. I thought C was going to make me ride a different horse today, but no! I got a ride Paquita. Then, it turned out that none of my lesson was going to come. So instead of a 2 hour group lesson I got an hour private. That's good! Even better, it was with my favorite instructor (D) who only comes in the winter and early spring! Yay! We worked on transitions and extension a bit and generally talked about the way Paquita works. She was super tired. When she gets overly tired she likes to run. She was a bit run-y but otherwise perfect.
    When we got to the jumping part, C's son came in! He came to give a clinic to two of C's favorite students. He's a professional rider and trainer, but he no longer does it for a living. I was finishing up my last course, when he asked D about me. D called me her favorite equitation rider, then proceeding to say form leads to function (basically implying she really really likes the way I ride). The son agreed that I seemed to be a really good rider, and then proceeded to give me a MINI JUMPING LESSON!!!! I was so ecstatic. He could tell I really wanted to learn and do well. He worked with Paquita running away with me, and I was so happy for his help. C gets mad when you don't go to a fence when you're not ready, but he encouraged me to do it! I learned a lot from him, even though we just schooled one course a couple times. It was kind of funny, because C always underestimates me and she seemed to be a little mad that he thought I was good. Shows YOU C! Hah! Anyway, for the first time in a long time I left feeling really good about myself and the training I was getting. THAT lesson is what I will look for in any new barn I go to. I'm still smiling now!
         
        03-20-2011, 12:25 PM
      #4
    Showing
    Why do you stay at that barn? Please be careful about what you write; it's one thing to vent, but one could argue libel.
    Posted via Mobile Device
         
        03-20-2011, 01:20 PM
      #5
    Weanling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JustDressageIt    
    Why do you stay at that barn? Please be careful about what you write; it's one thing to vent, but one could argue libel.
    Posted via Mobile Device
    I'm in the process of leaving. As of now I'm under financial contract to stay until June, and under leasing contract until August from there. My trainer has made it very clear that it would cost us a lot of money (thousands) to leave early. Also, I have yet to find another barn where I could take lessons without leasing or boarding close to where I live.
    What do you mean by argue libel?
         
        03-20-2011, 02:02 PM
      #6
    Super Moderator
    JDI means that should your trainer become aware of what you have written about her, she might consider sueing you for libeling her. (smearing her name and reputation with possibly damaging and/or untrue information. Remember that truth is sometimes subjective)

    I didnot read the whole thread that you cited at the beginning of this thread, so I am not up on all the background. I can see that this would be an extremely frustrating situation. I don't know what I would do in such a situation. This makes me glad I ride out of the tiny, homespun boarding place I am at. I hope things work better fro you in your new place.
         
        03-20-2011, 02:34 PM
      #7
    Weanling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tinyliny    
    JDI means that should your trainer become aware of what you have written about her, she might consider sueing you for libeling her. (smearing her name and reputation with possibly damaging and/or untrue information. Remember that truth is sometimes subjective)

    I didnot read the whole thread that you cited at the beginning of this thread, so I am not up on all the background. I can see that this would be an extremely frustrating situation. I don't know what I would do in such a situation. This makes me glad I ride out of the tiny, homespun boarding place I am at. I hope things work better fro you in your new place.
    Yes, I understand that she would consider that. I DO live in New Jersey...:roll: I avoid using her name for that reason, and also don't go yelling this information at every Tom, Dick and Harry I meet. I'll keep that in mind. I don't plan on using this information to hurt her business in any way. However, I am talking to a woman about my situation to see what her opinion is. She has connections to the ASPCA and will tell me if there is any potential for C to be considered abusive and shut down. I don't know that I would want that anyway. What you're saying makes sense though. This isn't a journal used that's saying "LOOK AT THIS TRAINER NO ONE SHOULD GO TO HER," because there are students that getting the riding they want out of her barn. This journal is intended more to say "This barn is almost the exact opposite of what I want in a barn. I want out!"

    Thanks for the sympathy. If anything remains unclear, please tell me.
         
        03-20-2011, 02:42 PM
      #8
    Super Moderator
    Well, one thing that helps me when I feel angry at anohter person's behavior, behavior that is just plain wrong, is to try and think where that behavior came from. WHAT in that person's background experience created this behavior. Sometimes, people behave badly because they were treated badly. Not always the situation. But, there are times when it helps me to be a bit understanding if I think that the person can't hellp themselves. Just as you would accord a horse some slack for bad behavior that comes as a result of past abuse, the same feeling can be applied to people. This might help you be able to swallow your feelings of anger at her, though I bet I would be boiling if I were there and not at all the calm writer that I am now.
         
        03-20-2011, 02:53 PM
      #9
    Weanling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tinyliny    
    Well, one thing that helps me when I feel angry at anohter person's behavior, behavior that is just plain wrong, is to try and think where that behavior came from. WHAT in that person's background experience created this behavior. Sometimes, people behave badly because they were treated badly. Not always the situation. But, there are times when it helps me to be a bit understanding if I think that the person can't hellp themselves. Just as you would accord a horse some slack for bad behavior that comes as a result of past abuse, the same feeling can be applied to people. This might help you be able to swallow your feelings of anger at her, though I bet I would be boiling if I were there and not at all the calm writer that I am now.
    I'm fairly sure she used to be a good trainer (there are some fairly experienced girls who used to ride with her 5-10 years ago), but then she just stopped accepting new advice. Then, the barn owner (C is the barn manager) changed her beliefs about horses over time. He's blatantly abusive to his polo horses, I've heard. I wouldn't bet on it though.
    I feel like I'm not just mad at her for being a bad trainer for me, but the fact that I'm stuck with her. I realized how bad of a trainer she was a year ago, and it has just been building up in me for the past year, and now it is getting too much to bear. It just plain SUCKS. Once I write it here or in my notebook, it feels like it has come off my chest. Ever since I posted the entry before today's, I have only once or twice thought of Lizzy's welts and the lesson I had that day that upset me so much. Not the MOST healthy way to take care of anger, but better than, say, punching someone. Thanks, though.
         
        03-28-2011, 07:36 PM
      #10
    Weanling
    3/28/11- My ride on 3/26/11:
    Well, I get to the barn and of course C is switching people around. Correction, not people. My and two others. Here's the conversation:
    C: I'm switching everybody today! Go ride Abby. (Exact words, I swear. She said "everybody" then switched exactly two people around.)
    Me: Okay.
    C: I can't have you riding that crazy horse. She's running with everybody.
    Me: ...Okay.
    C: My son is going to ride her later to teach her a lesson or two.
    At first I think, yay! Paquita is going to get some proper schooling! Later I find out that he is not riding her unless she acts up while being ridden by someone fairly experienced. She won't act up, she's an angel for people with an ounce of sense. Anyway...

    So when I see Abby, she's a mess. I made the unfortunate decision of wearing black pants. Abby is a gray. Abby has not seen a shedding blade ever, it seems (even though she is supposedly groomed daily by her riders) and my pants had to take two trips through the wash to get clean. So as I'm going through my normal grooming routine I take mental notes on her condition. I've never taken a good look at this horse in a while, so I found some interesting things:
    -Lots of neck muscle, and in the proper place, too! I realize later it is from cribbing.
    -She is so girthy that even touching her chest makes her threaten to bite. I wonder whether she is sore or simply has bad experiences. I reprimand her when she threatens me, and her threats become weak and baseless.
    -She is very odd about her back feet. When you pick them up, she lifts them high and off the side, sort of like she's going to kick you. I think she's learned that when she does this, little kids will drop her foot and leave her alone. I think she has a sore hind. When I held on, she usually ended up doing nothing. One time she pulsed her foot as if going to kick. I knew she wouldn't, but I reprimanded her and she held her foot nicely after that.
    -There is a DISTINCT lack of muscling on her back. Her spine sticks out. It has nothing to do with weight, she is a good weight if not slightly chubby. I felt so bad I used what I call a double back pad, which is a normal saddle pad but with padding on the top half of it.
    -Her feet seem to be in pretty yucky shape, but I can't tell for sure.
    -She has lots and lots of tumors, including two HUGE ones on her face. She's a gray horse. I'm fairly sure they've been vet checked and are sound, because she's had them forever.
    -Her tail bone looks like a fungusy lumpy mess. C tells me its just the tumors. I have a hunch it is slightly more than just tumors.
    Overall, this horse does not seem to be the happiest camper.

    C goes on one of her tangents this time. This time its about people not properly warming up horses. YES! Thank god. We do a warm up that is fairly sufficient, but not as thorough as I would like. However, it is much better than our normal warm ups! Apparently Abby does auto lead changes. That made my life easier. Anyway, C was preaching us not balancing with our outside rein by lifting it up. While you have to have steady contact and balance with your outside rein, lifting it is not the way to quite go about it. Oh well. I'm just going to please her today. "*I lift the rein basically to my mouth as a way of almost making fun of her* C: Very good!" ....True story. She also told us to bend by using indirect reining, aka bringing your inside hand across the withers to your outside hip. I'm fairly sure that's not what indirect reining is, and I KNOW that's not how you make a horse bend (properly at least).

    Abby is a TERRIBLE ride. She was really walking out even on the ground, and I couldn't tell if it was my manner, my leg, or if she has learned that going fast is less painful then plodding. No clue. Well...I learned what it was like to ride an incredibly uncomfortable horse, seeing as I have only ridden Paquita (who happens to be a super smooth ride) in the past year and a half, save for one or two instances. I don't know why, but this horse threw her head like CRAZY. Mostly at the trot. Maybe she was sore or didn't like that I had a reasonable amount of contact on her mouth. This horse was confusing. She seemed to seek contact from the bit, but at the same time she hated it. When I loosened my reins, her head followed the bit until she could not stretch any further. I wish I could send a good trainer, chiro, farrier, massage therapist, and maybe vet there to figure out all her issues.

    So the jostling my pelvis suffered from that ride re-strained my injured back. It is now once again painful to walk. Thanks, Abby.
         

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