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Barn Drama... Is it really worth it??
I have two problems at the barn right now... and I just sort of need to vent about them. I know I rant a lot, but, seriously, I'm getting fed up. There is no other barn around here that I like, I really do love my barn, and drama there is pretty rare, but this week has just been too much. I seriously considered quitting more than once over the week just to get away from my barn. :|
So, problem number one. We have another barn in Virginia, with one of the best instructors I know teaching there, so I decided it might be fun to get away for the weekend & have some fun down there. I was under the impression no one would ride my pony while I was away, because I usually only ride him on the weekends & allow my BO to use him in strictly beginner lessons where he won't be pushed to canter or jump (he is green to both) during the week. My BO went with me to Virginia, and the only person teaching this weekend was Doreen, my trainer. Now, I totally trust Doreen. I love her and she is an amazing person and instructor. So you can see why I did not expect this at all.
I got back from VA on Sunday, to come home and find out that my pony had been ridden in an advanced lesson while I was away. Now, that did annoy me, but not too much, because I do sometimes let other people canter him, and I figured they would be smart enough not to jump. Just to check, I called up Marissa (barn friend). She then told me that a friend of mine had ridden him because I was away (even though I left no orders for him to be exercised while I wasn't there and I honestly don't mind letting him have a few days off..) and she had not only cantered him but jumped him too. The cantering thing would normally be okay with me. He has gotten very good with cantering lately and if you stay out of his way and let him figure it out for himself he is nearly perfect. Marissa told me she'd taken some pictures and videos of this girl cantering & she sent them to me via facebook... I was appalled. This girl was totally begging for diaster. On my green pony, she was sitting there, leaning forward with her reins incredibly short, leaning on his mouth, as he tore off around the ring, totally out of control. I am NOT okay with that. If she doesn't know how to control him, Doreen should not have let her ride him. He is a perfectly sane horse, but if you are riding his mouth too much he will get very, very nervous, and that is just what happened.
Now, even AFTER he had taken off like this, and was already so worked up and scared, she decided to jump him. I was completely shocked. My pony could hardly be considered safe to jump. It is a pretty strict rule that the only person allowed to jump him is me, and he is barely calm when I jump him. She decides not only to jump him, but to try and do bounces, which he has NO experience with what so ever. He completely took off with her, and didnt' stop for a long time, because jumping, quite frankly, terrifies him and the more jumps you add, the more scared he gets. I was just so pissed off that she would be so stupid, and now i'm afraid to try and jump him, because honestly, he's probably right back where we started, terrified of jumps and out of control. I am just so angry about this whole thing and now I might have to give him up because I told my mom I could have him trained, and I did, and I was even on the road to having him calm jumping, and now I have no idea where I am with him. I don't know what to do and I also am starting to mistrust my trainer because she let this girl do these things on him... :?
Problem number two. I recently started takign jumping lessons once a week on a fabulous horse named Chief. He is amazing, I have always had a thing for him, and after undergoing some training he has turned into one of the best horses I know. We do really well together, and I was planning on showing him in hunters this summer. Yesterday, we were doing a 2'6 jump, when he started refusing. It wasn't just because he felt like it or I wasn't steering- there was a little girl that we were leading over it and she kept running into Chief and I while we were approaching the jump. Getting too close really really scares pour Chief, but that's basically his only vice. Even so, when he refused, my BO was furious. She kept telling me he has never refused before, she has no idea what is going on & if I don't get him over that jump she is going to be really mad. After another refusal, we got over it perfectly. The next time, he refused again but we got over it after that too. We did some small outside line courses and he was PERFECT, and I was pretty good too. I was sure we'd ended on a good note and I really wanted to ride him again, because although we'd slipped up a couple times, it was a pretty good lesson... but on the way out of the ring, I asked my BO if I could ride him again, and she goes, "I don't think so. I'll consider it. But I don't really think so, after what happened." WHAT!? He refused a couple times so now I'm banned from him!?! Personally, I think I'm a good match for him and everyone tells me we look amazing on flat, and I've gotten some jumping compliments too. I absolutely LOVE Chief, and I was planning on taking lessons on him for a long time... I am just so discouraged and feel like I'm such a bad rider now. I don't know what to do. I'm not sure if I interpreted what she said wrong or what, but I'm pretty sure she's not going to let me on him again. :cry: I really just need some advice, because I am just so frustrated with everything that has gone on at the barn this week.... :( If you read this whole thing, thank you so much, hhaha.. it helps that someone listens.
About your first problem. Consult your trainer, and explain that your trust in her is severely damaged at her choice of who she chose to let ride your horse and in what kind of lesson. If she wants to deny the problem or letting someone ride, show her the video and point out exactly what you don't like about it...the hanging on the mouth, the out of control canter, the scared girl, etc. If she doesn't seem to think there's a problem, I'd say just stop letting her use your horse altogether.
About the second thing. Wait a few days, maybe take a lesson on another horse, then see if you can go back to chief. Just tell the BO you want to try him out on last time, and if he starts refusing again than you can move on to another horse.
ITA with sambam!
Approach both situations with a calm, cool and collected head - even practice the conversations a few times before you actually approach either individual.
Agreed with above- especially with the first issue. The second issue I can sort of see where your BO is standing- did you explain why he was refusing? If she knows why, she might have been thinking about it before he was refusing and him refusing just gave her a reason. :( Which wouldn't be fun, but it's a possibility.
I also think it's a great idea to plan out what you want to say, and attempt to prepare for any questions you may be asked in return.
Good luck. :)
Hold on - you're coach is refusing you the right to ride a horse just because he refused a few jumps? Shouldn't she instead be helping you learn how to get past that problem? That sounds ridiculous!
As for the first issue, I agree with everyone else - tell her how you feel about what happened and don't be afraid to use the video as evidence.
I realized my above post sounds wicked confusing so I'm going to restate it:
With Chief, there's the possibility that your barn owner (I'm assuming she's your lesson instructor as well?) was already thinking of taking you off this horse, and his refusing the jumps was just her excuse.
Agreed that as an instructor, she should be helping you with your problems.
Well, yeah, I did consider that too. She's been working on me not holding with my heal as much for "when I ride more sensitive horses", so that might have been hinting at something... but i don't know. :\ I really love Chief and I want to stay on him for a while...
I sent a message via Facebook to Doreen about riding Chief instead of my horse this weekend (I think some time off would be good after what he went through last weekend.) it said this...
"I was just wondering if it's possible for me to maybe ride Chief on Saturday? I had a rough lesson on him on Wednesday, and even though we ended on a good note, I feel like we could have done a lot better... I think I just sort of want to prove to myself that I can ride him. I'm just starting to figure him out, and I'd really like the chance to try him out again. :) Our last couple jumps were good, but we had a few refusals before that so I was feeling a little discouraged. I think we could really do well, I just needed to get used to him, so I would love to get to try him at least one more time."
is that good? haha
That sounds like a nice enough message, hopefully she agrees. Did you talk to her about letting that girl ride your horse? Or was that a different lady?
It was the same lady, but I don't think I'm going to confront her about it unless it happens again. It was only because I was away, and I won't be going anywhere for some time now
Though that may be true, you still might want to bring it up. Make sure they know exactly what you're comfortable with him doing. You know? Hope it goes well.
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