Having a difficult time in the horse community - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 24 Old 11-11-2017, 05:06 PM Thread Starter
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Having a difficult time in the horse community

Hey guys, I?ll try to make this short so I don?t bore anyone to death. I started riding 2 years ago and I?m studying to be an equine vet. I wasn?t able to be around horses growing up so I?m still learning. I started off like anyone?horse crazy and excited/eager to learn. My problem started with my BM/trainer. First of all, she kind of flaked in continuing my riding lessons so idk what the heck I?m doing. Second, it?s affordable. She?s very generous with my lease. And last, I?m already very attached to the horses I?ve been leasing from her this past year. One of them has issues here and there and I?m told he is very emotionally scarred. I hate asking her for help because she personally attacks me with,?YOU?RE DOING THIS AND THAT WRONG!? But she rarely tells me how to fix it. She?s not the greatest with people skills. She likes to yell a lot and belittle but she won?t listen to what you have to say. So I started asking around my fellow classmates for advice but I?ve come to realize that everyone looks at me like I?m an idiot. I?ve struggled to make friends in this community because it seems like they have no interest in helping someone who is new to this. The sad part is, we are all in our mid 20?s. I went from being horse crazy to feeling quite lonely, stuck, frustrated, and depressed. I plan on finding a different barn when I make more money at my new job but for now, I?m just trying to get by and enjoy the time left with the 2 horses I?m leasing. I?ve tried talking to my BM about this a couple times but I?ve really just given up and haven?t gotten anywhere. What is your advice to a new horse person? I?m sure I?m not the only one who has felt like this or maybe even been through this but it?s really starting to break me down. Aside from that, it was a difficult decision to leave my leased horses behind.
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post #2 of 24 Old 11-11-2017, 05:47 PM
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I'm sorry to hear about your difficulties. I'm a newbie as well (also started two years ago), but fortunately my experience has been more positive than yours, mostly because I found a coach who really advanced my riding at a brisk pace, and I don't care about making or having friends at the barn. I'm happy if there is someone with whom I can ride, but I'm not sad if there isn't - as long as my horse is happy to see me.

Is there a possibility for you to hire a different trainer? This may have to be reflected in the lease agreement, but if she really doesn't want to coach you while still getting money from you for the lease, that may be a good option. That way you get to work with your horses a while longer, even though it's really good, especially in the beginning, to work with as many different horses as you can.

The horse world does not always attract the gentlest characters due to the horse's nature of seeking to avoid conflict and find a place of peaceful coexistence. This attracts bullies who build their self image by tearing others' down. Go to YouTube, check out some of the comment sections to horse videos made by the young girls and women there. Or enjoy some of the "content" they produce about each other. It'll make Jerry Springer look like David Attenborough. To be fair, I also have two notable YouTube-channel exception to this in mind.

So here's what I'd do:

- Get a coach who is interested in working with you.
- Ignore the hostile b**ches, but don't discount the possibility of finding someone compatible with you in the horse world.
- Get a general education from books and videos. This forum can help you getting started with titles and sources, based on what you already know and what you want to know.
- Ask specific questions in this forum. None of the threads I read here ever went beyond the level of "edgy" or "terse", especially not if someone asks for help. You may have to sift through and evaluate a variety of opinions, but that's a good thing.
- Remind yourself why you got into this: To help horses and to experience horses, not to enrich your social life or become member of a club. If the horses aren't enough for you to stick with it, it probably wasn't meant to be.
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post #3 of 24 Old 11-11-2017, 06:15 PM
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I'm assuming that you pay to lease these horses? Which means that you have a little money to put into your horse hobby/education.
So since you don't actually own these lease horses, have you ever thought of simply taking that money elsewhere and paying a proper professional to give YOU lessons on a regular basis? No specific horse required. I know it is tempting to own/have a special horse of your own, but it is WAY more beneficial at this stage in your horse life to train yourself before training a horse of your own (or fixing the bugs in someone else's).
Good trainers will pair you up with appropriate horses that don't have issues and teach you how to work with them rather than just expect you to pay to use their horses and not care about giving you any guidance. It is their job to teach you and therefore the focus is solely on you. You don't have to pay for the care of the animal. You don't even have to take care of it if you don't want. You don't have to feel responsible for riding it regularly. You can miss a few sessions if you have to and come back when ready or seek a different trainer at any time. No lease agreements. And you will undoubtedly learn more than struggling on your own, surrounded by people who don't care to see you progress. And when you feel confident in your experience level & skills, then go back and commit to one horse.
It's good to open your mind and broaden your horizons, meaning try new things! There are so many different ways of working with horses, and not every way makes sense/works for every rider so you need to find a theory/ method that suits you. But I would also keep in mind what you wish to accomplish as a rider. What your failings are? Your strong points? Do you have any competitive aspirations? and narrow your search for a coach according to those needs. Look around online, or ask around local horse communities for good references. You might be surprised whom you find hiding in the woodworks ;)

"If a horse fails to do something that is because he was not trained to do it. If a horse fails to do something properly that is because he was not trained properly."
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post #4 of 24 Old 11-11-2017, 06:17 PM
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I'd find another barn and leave horses out of the equation when reaching out to make friends. You don't need someone belittling you when you are trying to learn and you say one of the lease horses has issues and is emotionally scarred. Not the best horse to start with. I know your heart is invested but there are other horses. I found my best horse friends through happenstance and non horse related activities. It helped that my background is ag and I lived and worked rurally. They were "real" people with lives that didn't revolve around barn drama. They either knew someone that had horses that they introduced me to or had horses themselves. Are you under grad or grad? I'll say that when I was in school my goal was to become an equine vet. I started at a small 4 year college that fed into the vet school at the state university. I had been offered a spot with scholarships at that state school. I regrettably turned it down to transfer to a neighboring state to a school that had not had women on campus all that long and a woman getting into their program was a very rare occurrence in those days. I paid a pretty heavy price and left a field I loved and excelled at because of school drama. Does the school have any equine activities like an International Horseman's Association, Rodeo Team or Equine Therapy Service that needs volunteers?
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post #5 of 24 Old 11-11-2017, 07:46 PM
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Goodness this sounds like one of my last instructors.

You are not alone. Reach out to the horse community in your area, maybe try 4H? If you were in my area I would try to meet up... Sometimes I feel the same way. But I have reached out and found a lot of great people who want to help and are eager to teach. Don't give up :) there are some good books on the psychology of horses... Do some personal research when you find the time. That will help with understanding them better and will help your riding. Hope this helps.
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post #6 of 24 Old 11-11-2017, 07:57 PM
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There is a much better class of human being out there in the horse world than what you've been dealing with. Go find them! It will make all the difference in the world.
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post #7 of 24 Old 11-12-2017, 08:53 AM
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I'd terminate my lease on the horses immediately. And I'd be finding a better barn and just taking lessons. If you're in vet school, very soon you won't have time for horses on a daily basis anyhow. Call around to some of the better barns in your area, explain your newness and desire to learn everything from handling and groundwork to feeding to grooming to riding. There are much better barns and people out there.

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post #8 of 24 Old 11-12-2017, 09:22 AM
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The college years are tough on young people. There are so many pressures on you with work, school, dating, and trying to figure out life in general.

Horses can be very soothing to a person that is under a lot of stress, but the people surrounding horses can increase your stress.

What is sometimes hard to realize is those people may have problems of their own they are dealing with. They might be so focused on themselves that they just don't have the ability or desire to help you. That's ok.

Take a step back from the people involved and try to just enjoy and focus on the horses. Let this be a time of learning. You plan to be a vet, so understanding horses and the way they interact with other horses and people is an important skill to learn.

Pull up a chair and sit and observe the herd.

Watch your lease horses, do some experiments with how you handle them. Try things like clicker training or liberty work. See what you can learn through experience. Call it research. Read books, read topics on this forum, watch YouTube videos.

I am not saying to do anything that will hurt the horses, of course!

Sometimes we don't know where life will take us, but if you try to embrace what you do have it can make your life easier.
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post #9 of 24 Old 11-12-2017, 09:44 AM
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I recommend ending the lease and changing barns also.

I understand you are fond of the horse you are leasing. Attached to it, even. But you are not getting anything beneficial to your goals, and the horse will be fine. The current situation is already negatively taking up time and emotionally impacting you.
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post #10 of 24 Old 11-12-2017, 09:47 AM
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My thoughts are pretty much the same as everyone else's. Terminate the lease and look elsewhere for lessons. There are many trainers and coaches that are not only willing to help someone new to riding but they want to. There are a lot of valid reasons for a newby to just take lessons only and hold off on the leasing. Or at least lease and take lessons somewhere else where it is more productive for you.

Are lessons included in the lease? Are you supposed to be taking lessons? Are you paying for lessons and not getting them, or are you just leasing and expecting the help for free? I'm only asking because maybe there is some resentment building on the trainers part and doesn't know how to express what it is she was expecting. If you are supposed to be taking lessons and not getting them it's really not right. If it were me when she is yelling "You're doing it wrong" I would then just say "Ok, tell me/show me how to do it right".

If you lived around me, I would help you. I have horses that need to be ridden and I would tell you what you are doing wrong and how to fix it. I'd only yell if you were trying to get yourself killed, lol.
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