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Hello 05-12-2010 07:47 PM

So...It's My Fault?
 
Im in a really tough place right now, and i just need to vent, as i have no one else who really cares or understands. Its not in my nature to spill all my feelings to a bunch of complete strangers and i really do try to keep as much to myself as i can..i just have no clue what to think or do.

So my dad fancies himself a horseman. i dont want to seem like a little b****y teenager, but i hate to say hes not. hes got anger issues-severely. He gets worked up over the tiniest thing, and to this day i am amazed how i actually turned out a half competent horseperson from watching him (i eventually learned from trainers, and an instructor, and kind of self-taught stuff..). I feel terrible just writing that, but i need you to understand how bad the situation is.

So now i guess i have to relive some of the worst experiences ive ever had so you can really get the picture... When i was about 11-12 maybe, we got a team of heavy horses. i was a typical young girl who was in love with horses and who thought that if you were nice to them and loved them then you would have a special bond and all that baloney. My dad wanted horses because he had a bunch of horse friends with heavy teams and wanted to plow and drive with them and all that. Well, i was 11 and had never had horses before-how was i supposed to know anything about them? my daddy was so knowledgable and smart with everything else that i fully believed we would have so much fun and be happy and safe and everything would be perfect in lalaland. Well it wasnt a few months before the dream turned into a nightmare. i really dont want to explain everything that happened, but just to give you a brief picture: one of the very worst days ive ever had was when my dad was having a "plowing match" here, and he had the horses on this little cart that he'd built. i guess he took them down the road or something, and it was just luck that i happened to look out the house window to see a huge cloud of dust and a cart go flying down the road-if you can call that luck. I watched as the cart went in the far ditch, and by that point i was used to wagons going in the ditch so i waited to see dad lead the team back up onto the road. But he didnt. for the longest time. I wanted badly to go down there, but mom went down instead and came back angry and shaking, and when mom gets like that it means shes scared. Trucks and cars had stopped at the corner down near the crash site, and i was in more of a frenzy than ever because no one would tell me anything...it actually ended up with no one hurt, but it turns out a rope snapped on the harness and scared the horses, they took off, dad bailed, and when he went to pull them out one jumped on him, plowing him into the ground just as mom drove up-well, that incident screwed dads back up and he had to get surgery...

so long story short: our first year with horses was not fun, and as stupid as it sounds and as wimpy as i feel saying it, it was traumatizing. before then i would have sat on anyones horse or rode them around or helped someone harness, and to this day i still feel a little nervous riding and especially being around teams...luckily im getting over it. Dad kept at it until i refused to help him harness anymore because i was in danger-i'd been reared on and nearly trampled countless times-and until mom told him i was not to help him anymore because-well, because it was really dangerous and terrifying. For the last year or two his horses have sat in the field, and not been hitched a single time, and i think he did-try-to get them out one day last week, which was disasterous (I was at school at the time).

Im quite happy with my horse and the level of respect she has for me and even though i still feel a little nervous riding, im never really in danger-i mean, I know you're always in danger around a horse, but never the amount of danger Ive felt before. Even after dads been with me and watched me learn and be taught and garner information and pick up every little tip i could, he still just...doesnt get it. I dont know HOW he doesnt. He doesnt understand personal space, or perserverance, or respect or anything of the sort. So you can-BELIEVE-i was. SPEECHLESS. when he went out-and bought another team. There was a minute where I just couldnt move. like: what? you ruined your first team, and havent learned any horsemanship skills at all...so you go out and buy a second one? These new horses are massive-taller than any horse we've had before, and powerful, and energetic and excitable since they're the show-bred horses, and the first day he had them home he already started to enforce bad manners. He asked them to pick up a foot and one did while the other moved away from him. And he just left it. I actually had to tell him to make sure he got the foot, or it's teaching the horse that it doesnt have to pick up its foot if it doesnt want to.

I am a natural worrier, and i stress, and when i try to talk to him about how irrational and stupid it was for him to get another team when he hasnt even sold the last one (so now we have 6 horses on less than 3 acres of pastureland) he just gets angry and says: "you just worry about your own horse." Well I do, and i stay away from the new ones, but the fact remains that he hasn't told mom, like he doesnt tell her about anything, and when she does find out it is NEVER him that she gets mad at. Its ALWAYS me. ALWAYS. And dad asked me not to tell her, so what can I do? if mom asked me not to tell dad something I wouldnt, because i always keep promises, and even if I do tell her she's still going to explode anyways.

So because of the fact I dont want mom to be angry, and i am worried that dad is going to be hurt or killed on these stupid horses, and I am only upset with the best of intentions dad still taunts me for being a worrier and a stresser. He tried to walk them today, and their ropes were all tangled up and dad was getting frustrated (he yelled at me because I didn't undo the gate the way he wanted, but w/e, at least he didnt turn that anger to the horses) and even though I didnt want or buy these dumb horses and still dont want them, it's ME that feels guilty because im not helping dad with them. A part of me says that I should be helping him and doing what i can to save him from himself, but the stronger side says that no: he bought the animals, and if he cant control them and gets angry at his own incompetence its his own **** fault. Its not my responsibilty to help him.

more than anything if you're still with me, thank you for reading. Ive tried talking to my friend about this, and she just doesnt understand or really care. The fact that I am going to have to relive what feels like the worst year of my life is a big issue for me. I dont want to and I dont think you should have to be worried for your dads life every time he takes his horses out. Hes been hurt so many times, whos to say the next time he wont be killed? I know i'm a coward, and a wimp, and a worrier, but i just needed to tell someone. So thank you.

darkwillow 05-12-2010 08:15 PM

Wow.
There are some people out there that do these kind of things. Generally guys do (probably a guy thing =P), but they like to have things bigger and better than their mates. Even if it's dangerous, or likely to kill them.

I'm not sure there's anything you can do. It sounds like he won't listen to advice from you, so I think the best thing that you can do is to try helping.

I don't think the horses are dumb or stupid. They didn't ask to be bought by your dad. It's not their fault. They do sound very high spirited, but maybe a change in feed could help with calming them down? Or extra exercise? If they are saddle broke maybe they could be ridden more often?

It's not your fault that your dad bought these horses. Your mum probably doesn't mean to make it sound like it is, she's proabably just concerned for your dad, and like you said, it seems like she gets angry when she's scared.

justsambam08 05-12-2010 08:35 PM

Is there ANY way that you can assert yourself to your dad? I mean, I come from a family of really loud boisterous people, me and my dad argue ALL of the time just for the hell of it, and for the brief period that he's tried to say he knows anything about a horse I've told him "no, you REALLY don't." I'd rather get into a huge knock down drag out fight over something important like personal safety and the safety of the animals tbh, which is exactly what its going to boil down to. You don't have to teach him everything he needs to know, nor should you, but at least get the basics down, like the feet thing, and leading, and respecting his space while leading them, and proper ground work. Since they're so big, its especially important.

Hello 05-12-2010 08:36 PM

:( I know they're not dumb or stupid. I cant honestly say i ever thought of it like that, but ya youre right...its not their fault they ended up here. wow. Im not better than my dad in that sense...he refuses to acknowledge or admit that its his own fault his first horses cant be driven anymore. well, its partly my fault too, but i was acting ignorantly with the best of intentions-i had no idea what i was doing wrong, because I didnt know what was right.

And ive tried to guide him so many times before, when he still tried to work with his other horses...just as I was walking my own horse i'd just casually point out tips so that i didnt totally intrude and be all "hurting his manly pride". And ya, those tips went ignored. If i want something done with them i have to be there with him, guiding him and telling him what to do, and if Im too "bossy" i get my friggin head bit off and he tells me to stop worrying. So basically being told to mind my own business. He wont listen to me or believe me, because hes convinced im too young and stupid and immature to possibly know more than he does, yet when he stands there and b****es at me as im brushing or tacking my horse its totally Ok and i should listen to him because he ALWAYS has to be right.

Hello 05-12-2010 08:44 PM

Gah...Im such an angsty teen >.< it seems like all i do is just complain about my dad, but i really do feel bad for it, 'cause he buys me so much stuff and does so much for me...and that only makes these feelings of anger even more confusing and guilty.

Northern 05-12-2010 09:01 PM

First, I am very sorry for you, & any horses under your dad's care. I believe that you must get intervention. Are there any true horsemen nearby? If so, go to them privately with what's happening, and I'm sure they'd do something to protect the horses. If there's a horsemen's club in the area, I'd try & get reinforcement there, too. They might want to call your dad & offer to help him become a better horseman. If dad gets ugly, they might threaten to call animal control, & if he gets uglier, they might do it. I'm concerned about you as well as the horses. I suggest that you also talk to a counselor who's at school or in your community. There might be a mediation service in your area. If your mom fears him & caves in to his demands, she, too needs outside help, not only for herself but for the fact that she's no protection for you or the horses. Good luck, & keep in touch!

Hello 05-13-2010 07:48 AM

My mom is not afraid of him...Id be ashamed if she was a woman who let herself be overshadowed by a man. She often gets angry at him...unfortunately its me, too, who deals with the brunt of her anger even though i had nothing to do with it, and well both likely receive the silent treatment for a day.. which is why im not sure if i should just tell her and get it over with. Id rather have moms good graces than dads, no offense to dad. There are a lot of horse guys, and they all just joke and laugh about how incompetent he is..behind his back, obv. I mean, one guy has helped dad out when he can, but hes not really concerned or whatever. It seems like im the only one whos really worried, but im almost positive im not overreacting to this, am i?

Appyt 05-13-2010 09:27 AM

{{{HUGS}}} It would be great if you could take him to a horsemanship clinic or demo. See if there are any in your area and invite him to go with you.. Then be silent and let him absorb or not. Parents don't often take their children's correction or instruction well due to them being the parents. Maybe buy a book or 2 on good horsemanship and leave it out. Marty Martins has a great couple of books that have pics an diagrams as well. Clinton Andersons book is very good as it is step by step.. Maybe some videos if there are no clinics close enough. Ask him to watch them with you. Invite, don't try to instruct. ;)

Northern 05-13-2010 06:25 PM

No, I don't think you're over-reacting!
 
In fact, I'm very impressed with how you're keeping it together under such horrific circumstances! If none of the horsemen want to step up to the plate for the horses, that leaves you (& mom?) to try & turn his thinking around so he thinks it's his idea,(good call, Appyt!) (good practice for being with horses!) & notify authorities, as a last resort.

Walkamile 05-13-2010 06:44 PM

Good advice Appyt and I agree Northern that she is handling and holding it together on such adult and serious issues.

My advice first and foremost, is the obvious to me. Tell your Dad that he has X number of days to tell your Mother about the horses. No child should be made to keep a secret like this from another parent! Period. That is between them, not to involve you, shame of him.

After that , maybe between you and your mom you can apply what advice Appyt gave.

Good luck to you dear, and be sure to keep yourself safe. I do not trust you Dad's judgement in this situation.

Keep us posted on the progress (?). We're here for you.


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