Personality issues - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 23 Old 10-12-2019, 04:06 PM Thread Starter
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Personality issues

I知 sorry, this is such a long post. And it sounds like a soap opera. I知 not entirely sure what information might be relevant, so I included it all. I would appreciate any opinions anyone has.

My question / predicament is, should I try to figure out what happened here (see story below) or is there just no point? I mean, even if I figured out exactly what happened, is there really anything I can do about it, so should I even bother?

I should start by saying that I知 not a person who is very sensitive about emotions, personality clashes, and general inter-human dynamics. To stress that point, I can tell you that my husband once had me take a test to see if I was on the autism spectrum. I知 not, but I知 not far off either.

So. My barn owner has a difficult personality. She is nice to me and to other boarders, but she treats people who work for her very poorly, in ways that I壇 rather not get into beyond what I need to explain my situation. She runs through equine professionals (farriers, vets, etc.) quickly and then talks about them after they leave. She doesn稚 treat them very well when they come either. This is why I致e started getting my own people to come out it痴 disappointing to try to build a relationship with someone who has been treating your horse for months only to find out one day that that person supposedly did something unprofessional and will not be back, and in fact will not even be allowed on the property. I figure that by bringing in my own farrier, vet, and body worker, and frankly trying to keep her away from them, then at least if they leave I値l know why.

This was working pretty well, but the new body worker I got (after my old one was injured and unable to work) was recommended by our instructor, who works for the barn owner. Things went well for a couple of weeks, and then all the sudden something happened and no one will tell me what it was. My best guess is that body worker suggested a particular course of training for Moonshine, the instructor worked on implementing it, and then the barn owner somehow felt like that was stepping on her toes (she also gives lessons and she also knows everything there is to know about horses, cough cough), and now the body worker is not welcome back. Our instructor won稚 talk about it. She did take me to talk to the barn owner to see what she (barn owner) wanted Moonshine to work on, and the barn owner went off on a lecture about what Moonshine痴 problems REALLY are (bear in mind that this is just the latest strongly-worded opinion about what Moonshine痴 problems are; past problems have included that she needed shoes, that she needed Regumate, that she needed more training, etc.). She now insists that Moonshine痴 problem is that my daughter is a stressed rider (she is a little, but not much) and that Moonshine is fine when other people ride her (flat out not true).

Moonshine, as I mentioned in my post where I was asking what to do about her, has some sort of lateral imbalance when ridden. Is it because her right hock hurts, so she steps gingerly with it, and that makes her back out of alignment? This is what the first body worker thought. Is it because her back is out of alignment and that makes her step weird with that leg? That痴 what this one thinks. As I mentioned in that post, I am working toward taking her to a lameness specialist (although it will have to wait until after Teddy痴 teeth are done). There is no doubt that she has some sort of physical problem. Anyone with an eye can see it, but the barn owner would rather spout off her own theories and not let anyone else get a word in about it.

OK, enough griping. Here痴 my predicament. This body worker was brought in by my instructor, not by me. I contacted her (body worker) myself, but for whatever reason she preferred to go through the instructor rather than through me. Maybe I should have insisted that she go through me. Because the instructor obviously got chewed out about this by the barn owner, which is bad because (1) she was only trying to help and (2) now she痴 afraid to work on what the body worker thinks needs to be worked on. She痴 having to pretend that Moonshine is just fine, and making her work like any other horse. What the body worker had wanted to do in the next few weeks was to work on getting her more collected and using her body better.

I tried talking to the instructor about it, but she doesn稚 want to talk. This is typical of her. She doesn稚 want to say anything bad, or even anything that could be perceived as being bad, about anyone. I totally get that, and I don稚 want to put her in a difficult position with the barn owner by trying to force her to talk, but it痴 still a little frustrating. I知 not sure if talking to the barn owner really directly (典his is what I want to do, and stay out of it) would be useful, since she痴 the boss of the instructor and I知 afraid she will just somehow get mad at the instructor about it and take it out on her (which seems to be what happened in the first place). I am thinking about calling the body worker and seeing if I can get the story from her. But even if I do figure out what happened, I知 not sure if the body worker will come back out. And even if she does come back out and tells us what she thinks we should do, I知 not sure the instructor will be willing to do that, for fear of the barn owner. So, is there any point in trying? Or do I just chalk this up as a lesson learned?
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post #2 of 23 Old 10-12-2019, 04:23 PM
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Just to make sure, Moonshine is your own horse? Because that sentence about 努hat the Barn owner wanted Moonshine to work on is just confusing. Why would the Barn owner have that level of input? Sure, she can make suggestions but if this is indeed your own horse, she痴 majorly overstepping.

I personally wouldn稚 bother with the body worker because it is rather obvious what happened and the instructor will not work under any one else痴 direction apart of the BO. The person that痴 causing you issues is the BO and that痴 where your attention should be. I would step carefully, though, because this BO sounds like a piece of work. Don稚 get into it with her until you have backup barn lined up. Once you have that, firmly tell her to mind her own business. If she refuses to remove her nose out of you business - move.
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post #3 of 23 Old 10-12-2019, 04:30 PM Thread Starter
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Yes, she is my horse. But the barn owner has firm opinions about her abilities, and I guess she didn't think that she needed to work on what the body worker wanted her to work on.

After the hay issues the barn owner had last winter, I made a spreadsheet with every barn in the area. I contacted each of them, and only one had space for three horses. It was in a small paddock, not a field like my guys are currently in. But IDK, I might look into it again.

I do realize that no place is perfect, and I also understand that a lot of horse people have strong opinions. Sometimes it's hard to know whether things would really be better somewhere else. At least I more or less understand how things work, where I am now. But yeah I think about leaving all the time.

Thanks for taking the time to read and reply.
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post #4 of 23 Old 10-12-2019, 05:19 PM
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All that gave me a headache. It's about time you stood up to that barn owner, she is a detriment to you and your horses. You tell her if she disallows the professionals that you hire onto her property then you'll just have to go elsewhere to get the horses treated like at the end of the road. I know these type of people, this person does that, that person does this, I don't deal well with those type of people, everyone is a problem except them. I usually squash them into their places. I would have been out of that barn like yesterday after the first time a farrier left that I liked. The person you described as the barn owner, those are the type of people I would like to hurt, badly.

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post #5 of 23 Old 10-12-2019, 05:22 PM
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Yeah, this sounds messy. The way I see it, you have a couple of choices. 1 - you start planning a move. Have you checked private barns? I agree, I would not let my horses live in a small paddock, but maybe there is a place that would be willing to let you board there even if it's not officially a large boarding stable. Are you able to do self-care? If you have three horses, I imagine you're there a lot. Someone older, who is down to just one or two horses, might really appreciate the help from a boarder who can pitch in. Option 2 is that you stay, but to do that, I'd recommend just staying on the good side of the BO. She doesn't sound like a reasonable person, or someone who takes constructive criticism. Although you sound very reasonable (btw, I'm like you, I'm terrible at reading people, but in some ways, it's a blessing, because I don't get involved in the drama, in fact, I'm mostly oblivious about it), the BO is definitely NOT. It isn't normal to keep firing people. At some point, won't she run out of farriers/body workers, etc.? I wouldn't want to stick around there long enough to find out.

Because Moonshine's therapy was arranged through the instructor, I wouldn't bother pursuing it. But this can't go on indefinitely. The place is eventually going to fall apart. Start coming up with a plan B asap.

Oh, and the BO has no business telling you what to do with your own horse. The fact that she is doing that tells me this relationship is not one of mutual respect.
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post #6 of 23 Old 10-12-2019, 07:28 PM
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Sounds like the BO is a bully and wants to assert her authority. These are usually insecure people and back down if you stand up to them.

Personally I would tell her that as you are paying the farrier and body worker you have every right to know exactly what was done/said and if something was recommended then you will do your best to follow the suggestion.

With three horses there and assuming you pay your bills on time, you are a valued customer and odds are she will be put in her place.
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post #7 of 23 Old 10-12-2019, 11:45 PM
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I'm a little confused but I think these are the facts:

1. Moonshine is your horse
2. You think she has a physical lameness
3. Your barn owner is scaring off all the professionals you hire to treat YOUR horse
4. The instructor is scared of doing anything other than pretending your horse is fine even though you genuinely feel she has a physical problem.

What the heck? Why should the barn owner even have a say in how you are treating your horse's lameness? If you ask her advice, that's fine, but it is still your horse, the barn owner is just someone you are paying money to take care of your horse. (In a way, she is just like the body worker, the farrier or the vet......someone you are paying for a service). If you think the horse is lame, do what YOU think needs to be done. You have to be your horse's advocate.

When I boarded, I might ask other people's advice on stuff because I'm the kind of person that likes to gather information. I gather as much information as I can from people I respect and then make my own decision. But I would NOT let the barn owner tell me my horse had to be on Regumate, had a behavior problem when I thought it was physical, fire my favorite farrier, etc. She is wayyyyyy overstepping her bounds! If it was her horse, then yes, you have to respect her wishes. But if you are the horse's owner, you do not have to let her walk all over you and tell you what to do with YOUR horse. That would really peeve me off!

PS. I am not upset at you, original poster, from all I have read you are a wonderful, conscientious horse owner. You rock! I just can't get over the nerve of the barn owner!

There's a lot of stupid out there!
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post #8 of 23 Old 10-13-2019, 07:18 AM
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This is a hard one AC. I know you like your job there. But..."For fear of the barn owner." You need to tell the BO that your horse is lame and that no further riding can continue until you figure out what's going on. But if you do that, will she explode? If you're not sure, then you shouldn't say anything until you're ready to grab your horses and tack and leave. Sorry hon. =( If I was dealing with this BO, I'd have steam coming out of my nose and the 'red mist' would be descending. Nevermind the fact she doesn't know how to run a business, she isn't stable. (no pun intended.) Boarding always requires that the owner keep a sharp eye out for anything that resembles abuse of an animal, but that doesn't mean that everything contradictory to her opinions or perspectives is abuse.

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post #9 of 23 Old 10-13-2019, 08:43 AM
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At this point you need to figure out what is wrong with the horse. Once you know that then you can address the issues with the horse. Advice is nice but until you know the reasons for the physical presentations you are seeing and not necessarily this created that or maybe the other way around but that X,Y,Z is wrong you can't move forward with any amount of confidence. Once X,Y,Z have been diagnosed then they can be addressed collectively or individually - look at all the ways to address those problems. If the advice you receive (no mater the source) is based on knowledge of and competence with those issues consider it if not listen politely, nod your head and go on with the plan you and the professional you hired worked out.

That said you pay the BO to house your horses. You expect a certain level of care from that BO. If you as a new horse owner have given over to the BO because you trusted advice on basic care and that has escalated into the BO now invades your personal bubble of responsibility it is time to remind BO that you are 1) a paying customer 2) a rational, mature adult capable of making your own decisions based on the advice of professionals you hire and 3) unless her contract stipulates that you can only bring in professionals with her express permission then she has no right to interfere with those you are paying for services. Lastly if your contract is worded that way then you have learned a valuable lesson and need to remove your horses from her care if no suitable compromise can be made.
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post #10 of 23 Old 11-02-2019, 06:04 PM Thread Starter
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Well, our instructor is quitting. She is telling the barn owner tomorrow.

I can't help but feel somewhat responsible. I finally got to the bottom of what happened with the body worker, although it's probably just as well to not drag that whole thing out here. But I think that was part of why the instructor is leaving, based on what she told me. I guess I don't really want to discuss that here either, since the instructor asked me to not repeat what she told me.

The barn owner goes through so many good instructors. And I don't know, I'm not sure if I'm being self-centered, but it seems like a lot of them leave after I have some sort of interaction with them. Examples:

- I asked one of them why she kept her horse here, given that her philosophy of horse relationships didn't track with the Barn Owner's. I honestly just wanted to know why. She told me later that my question prompted her to find a new barn.

- I asked one flat out not to leave. She told me a week later she was leaving.

- The one before this was with the college riding team, and the whole team and the Barn Owner just got tired of each other (although of course there was other drama), so that's not really my fault. But I asked her if she couldn't just come and give me private lessons, and apparently she talked to the Barn Owner about this and the Barn Owner basically tore her a new one over it.

- This incident with the body worker.

My daughter tells me it's not my fault, but I feel like I am partially responsible for driving out a lot of really good instructors.

I don't know why I'm putting this here, I guess it's just a rant. Maybe I'm feeling sorry for myself. Maybe I really do need to find a new barn.
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