Incredibly frustrating people & their horses (a vent)
I board at a "pleasure barn" - limited amenities, but it's decent and cheap. Big problem comes wintertime, because there's limited arena space and it's not very well lit, so more boarders will ride around there than on the trails. The primary riding arena is kind of small - you can fit two riders in there that are actually working their horses as long as you pay attention. I've seen four people cram themselves in there though. Near the riding arena is a round pen, and a grass arena fenced by t-posts hammered into the ground and a string of paracord.
My horse is a nervous creature (we're working on it, it's one of the things I am addressing this winter) and it doesn't take much to set him off. I was riding in the arena working on getting him not to "spook" (wiggle away in a random direction while gawking at something random).
Two boarders are walking along the main driveway with their horses. They are hooting and hollering and making a bunch of noise, riling up their mares and the mares in the pastures they're passing. Ok - whatever. I maintain my horse's attention and we keep working. They approach some barrels that we have standing near the grass arena, and they begin charging their horses in hand to see if they will jump the barrels. Ok, whatever, kept on working.
One of them goes into the roundpen, and is "teaching" her [gaited] horse to canter, except she doesn't know how to get her horse to canter, and her horse has minimal groundwork knowledge. She begins to chase the horse, waving her arms and going CANTER! CANTER! and basically spooks the horse into something of a canter.
The other lady goes into the grass arena and proceeds *to let her horse loose*. Remember, the grass arena is fenced by t-posts and one strand of paracord. The mare begins to run around the arena, screaming for her friends, bucking and generally being a menace. She tests the fence several times by charging at it and stopping short. After the fourth test, she jumps the fence - SHOCKER (sarcasm). The owner begins screaming her horse's name while laughing hysterically. The mare is galloping down the road, slipping and sliding, screaming her fool head off. Of course, my horse just sees a horse running off in a panic and starts to panic himself. Fortunately, I've got a pretty decent 'whoa' on him and while I can feel he's nervous and wound up, he's listening. I walk him around asking for bends and circles, at a pretty slow pace, just asking him to lower his energy. The horse owner starts slowly walking down the road after her horse, while her horse is making a menace of herself 'visiting' other pastures and screaming at horses over the fenceline.
The first lady is now done "training" her horse. She walks over to the shop area and I guess she has to go to the bathroom because she walks away, *leaving her horse untied and unattended* (WHY didn't she just leave the horse in the roundpen?) Well, this horse already has a history of wandering off, so guess what she does?! She already saw her friend run down the road screaming, so down the road she goes. Except, this horse is less concerned about her friends and starts visiting the pasture near the riding arena, which causes much squealing. Horse owner appears and starts yelling at her horse, which of course causes said horse to take off at a mad gaited-canter thing (not quite a canter, not quite a rack), bucking and screaming....which of course completely freaks my horse out again. I make him stop and I can literally feel his heart pounding and he's so wound up he's shaking (I'm guessing it was fear).
I try to get him to walk, but he keeps wanting to bolt (he doesn't though, he just is wound up and wants to), and after a long while, the fear in him is gone but he is definitely tense and nervous. I give up trying to get anything decent from him under saddle and get a lunge line to do some groundwork and get him focused back on me. Apparently, he thought that was an awesome thing to be doing because he was trying exceptionally well to make good choices.
So yes, my horse "should" be better around madly galloping/screaming loose horses. I'm sure many other horses are just dandy in that scenario. My horse isn't. It could just as easily have been someone riding on the trail whose horse could have turned into a runaway or have gotten dumped because of it. Their horses could also have just kept on in any number of directions and caused all kinds of damage to themselves or others.
Am I fussy for thinking that the two boarders acted incredibly irresponsibly with their mounts and somewhat inconsiderately towards me?
This is the second incident in the past month. The first incident was when some kids left the primary arena and came into the grass arena where I was and proceeded to just run their horses around without any concern for direction, or you know... the presence of other horses. They also would "jump" (charge their non-jumping horses at jumps, grab the saddle, scream and hold on) without consideration of whether or not another horse was passing in front of the jump. (I didn't say anything because their parents were there. Their kids, their problem.)
* I'm often reading and posting from mobile and Siri loves to make a mockery of the English language.