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There was something strange though. I don't know what I was thinking yesterday. I guess the new owner told me that the horse was about 14 hands, and with her thinness it was an optical illusion, plus she was a real moving target. Today I immediately realized she was not even thirteen hands, and when I brought Amore down she looked large next to Estelle, and I'd say she is more like 12 hands. So this is not going to be a horse this gal is riding...I'm really not sure what she was thinking. Her new owner is probably thirty pounds heavier than I am, and I'm way too big to ride this pony. Possibly she might make a fancy little driving pony.
If someone can't tell the difference between 14 hands and not even 13 hands when buying their prospective riding horse, that does indicate either they're not as knowledgeable as they're projecting, or that they've got a situational blind spot here - people can believe all sorts of crazy things to support their objectively insupportable ideas about something - we often see it in religion and politics and also with abused people's views of their abusers, and vice versa ("He's not that bad," vs "It's all her fault, she made me do it!" etc).

Having had my own blind spots for long periods of time, and presumably still having unidentified blind spots (as everyone has), I thought I'd bring this up. There's a difference between wishful thinking and reality.


The plot thickens, however. Let's just say I'm happy to help the pony, but it might not work out so well with the owner. There was an element of having us do all the work, and she didn't even help unload the pony. I chalked it up to her being tired...
Sometimes people can be like that because they are happy to let the expert friend take charge. Sometimes it's laziness, a sign of things to come etc. But you know, I think when we ourselves are happy to do something - like you wanting to help train a horse - we can also be susceptible to wearing rose-tinted glasses when looking at the people we're wanting to work with, help etc. Humans tend to make projections onto new lovers, new friends etc, of what they would like that person to be, instead of seeing who they really are (that takes time, and a determination to be as objective as possible when meeting new people) - and it doesn't help that all of us tend to present ourselves to new people with our best foot forward - show the "chocolate side" as they say in Germany.

Classically we get a honeymoon period where new friends are excited about the projections they've put on each other, but haven't actually seen the true faces. When you start to notice that the person wasn't what you thought they were, the disappointment sets in, but it's usually both people who have contributed to the misunderstanding/misperceptions. I'd say you probably saw this new friend more as the kind of person you wish to have as a new friend than what she really is, and she probably sees you as a keen expert who's happy to work with horses and people out of the goodness of her heart (and probably thinks you're wanting to take more responsibility than you actually do). And of course, another possibility is that she is a bit lazy - but I'd say compared to hyper-achievers like you and me and a lot of our circle here, a lot of people are going to look a bit lazy - at least to us, but of course maybe more widely too.

A lot of this stuff is also subconscious, and people may not be aware of the things that drive them or aspects of what they are like. So while conflict - and this sounds like a situation of conflict to me, where two people are perhaps realising they are wanting different things when they thought they were on the same page - is really uncomfortable, it's also something that has the best chance of being successfully managed when you realise it early, and talk about it early, before each side gets emotional and the blame and defensiveness begin (because then it gets really tricky). And...conflict teaches us about ourselves and how we respond to people, and sometimes gives us insights into things we didn't see or want to see about ourselves (but sometimes, people are also happy to use other people, full stop).


... but then today I was the one who cleaned out the horse trailer, and what ticked me off was that she didn't show up at all to check on her pony. She knew I was going to be at the barn, but she didn't contact me at all to ask if I would feed or check on Estelle. Which of course I did make sure her horse was fed, but she should be super excited to have a new pony, she should be worried about how the horse was doing after the long trip, and it is just a very bad sign to me about our ability to get along.
Assuming that she didn't have a genuine emergency and couldn't get back to you, then yes, that's something I would be troubled by as well. Was the horse's new owner somehow under the impression you'd do all the work? At this stage, you may still be able to sit down and have that conversation, or if more comfortable, put your ground rules for what you're prepared to do and not in writing, to her. (Of course, it would be so much better to do that beforehand, but so often we assume incorrectly that people will act like we would.)

I've had a curly situation myself, and it's still curly because I've put the ball in a friend's court. I'm going to tell you about it so you can take comfort in the fact that all of us still haven't got everything worked out, and so maybe you can offer your own opinion and suggestions on the matter (and other people's thoughtful perspectives are valuable things).

So here goes - and warning, very detailed scenario.

A while back a very good friend asked if she could bring friends to stay at our house when they were all coming to visit the South Coast. She said they didn't have much money and she would pay for a farmstay room for them, since they were her friends and she really wanted to treat them (and because she is my friend, I offered her a very generous discount). But when she had to change her initial date because of a local lockdown in her region, for her new proposed date one of the two rooms was already booked. So I said to her that if she still wanted to come, then her friends could have "her" room instead of her (i.e. no charge) as long as she would be prepared to bring her own camping mattress and bedding and sleep in our office - our only other private space - we still haven't finished our attic. This she agreed to do.

I was very clear that she'd need to bring her own bedding as we had no spare with both guest rooms full, in two separate emails. And she turned up without any bedding, just a camping mattress. Which kind of miffed me inside, but people make mistakes and I found her a sleeping bag from our camping kit, and an old pillow, and didn't make a fuss about it, other than to mention I had actually asked her to bring her own bedding because we didn't have proper spare bedding. It was a winter-rated sleeping bag, but she was complaining about being cold at night the next morning (in a house whose temperature doesn't drop under 20 degrees Celsius) and asking if I had any more spare blankets, when actually I didn't - I told her though that she could see if her friends were using the spare blanket that's part of the equipment of the room they were staying in. And she ended up with that blanket, but one of her basic problems was she actually wasn't using her sleeping bag correctly - not zipping it up, which is how it keeps you warm. And by this time I've got a house full of guests and situations to juggle and my animals to look after, and I'm kind of thinking, "Hey, aren't you a grown-up, can't you work this out for yourself?"

Also problematic was that both her friends were vegans, and we're not, and I'm not prepared to eat vegan more than once a week (vegetarian I can do five times a week, that's fine, but vegan is rather extreme and I personally need to be a proper omnivore to feel physically good). So on the first night, I made spinach and feta pockets and salad for us and our normal farmstay guests (who thankfully were old favourites back on their third visit), and then realised the vegans would object to the feta and made Peruvian fried rice (without the usual egg topping) as well to last a couple of days - and I was just flat chat with lots to juggle. The friends were a bit irritating because they kept barging into my kitchen asking me questions when I really really had to concentrate when I was multi-tasking making different meals and running behind schedule, so I ended up saying to them, "I really can't talk to you at the moment because I'm busy, please go back to the dining table!" - since they couldn't seem to read the situation.

The next morning at breakfast, I was a bit surprised that my friend's friends seemed to expect me to cater for them the same as my farmstay guests - even though they were staying for free - and that they had made no effort to bring some of their own breakfast materials. Complicating factor was I'd told my friend not to bring lots of stuff that needed refrigerating because our fridge is usually really full with leftovers etc - but that wouldn't have precluded them bringing some cereals etc and whatever it is that vegans eat for breakfast and snacks. They did bring their milk replacer but I think that was just my friend. Her friends seemed to have brought nothing, and just sat there expecting to be served; and that's after they got up late, well after my normal guests are scheduled to have breakfast and had already eaten and I had gardening to do, and this really really miffed me - I'm always miffed when I get the impression that someone thinks it's my job to cater for them - because 95% of our farmstay guest don't actually assume like that even though they pay to stay and breakfast is officially included - but everyone is clear dinner is something I do as an extra and it's not something they've paid for, and many guests will bring a bottle of wine or some nice cheese etc, or offer to cook a meal for everyone another night (once, we had a Spanish guest who won third prize in a national Paella competition make us and another set of guests a proper competition-standard Paella, and OMG did I feel spoilt, it was fantastic - she even made the stock from scratch - and she smiled and said it had been the same experience for her with us cooking).

...which is why I was really irritated that my friend's friends contributed nothing to the table, even symbolically.

I suppose a vegan isn't going to present you with a nice Brie. 😁 But I was just having all sorts of alarm bells going off in me and starting to feel used. They weren't paying and were more trouble than paying guests, and contributing absolutely nothing materially to the common table, and it was just the way they were apparently always expecting to be served.

Next morning I made waffles, with the substitute milk for the vegans and a separate batch that didn't fall apart because it actually had evil free-range egg in it for my regular guests and ourselves. Making the two separate batches made us about 15 minutes late for an agreed hiking time, and I was cursing myself for doing that at this point.

That evening my friend and her friends ate out (and nobody asked if we might like to join them, which we could have). Next morning - the morning they were all going back home - they turned up late again at the breakfast table after we'd already eaten, sat very obviously waiting to be served, and I went really cold inside, thought, "Fvck them!" (rare expletive) and just completely ignored them - because it actually wasn't my job to cater to them, and because, and Brett and I had been discussing this already for the last 24 hours, we ourselves would never have behaved like that staying with the friends of friends. I said goodbye to my friend but not to her friends - I was livid with them inside, at this point.

I'm never hosting friends of friends as a favour again. They can come as ordinary farmstay guests on their own accounts or not at all - then we all know where we stand. My friend let me know she was home safe in a quick email and a couple of days later I emailed back to say I hoped she wasn't working too hard, and that's the sum total of the correspondence since that really uncomfortable stay which is now a month ago. Eventually we'll have to talk about it, and that's OK, but it's her turn to email, at the very least. Meanwhile it's contemplation time. Feel free to offer your thoughts, everyone, if you've made it this far!

We actually have a radio programme here on Radio National called the Too-Hard Basket, where people bring up difficult situations and get different perspectives from various different people like philosophers, psychologists, etc. Here's an example of the curly things they discuss:


Because dealing with other people is always going to bring up difficult issues sooner or later... :)
 

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I think that's why most horse people prefer animals to people @SueC ;) I guess I tend to see both sides of a situation, and I can offer a couple of perspectives. @SueC , to your scenario, I could see the friends of friends being told by the original friend, "hey, I'm taking you on this wonderful farmstay vacation," showing them the website and the delicious meals that you prepare, and just assuming that the friend had "paid freight" for them and they got the full experience even though money hadn't changed hands. Being fussy and demanding is annoying, for sure, but I wonder if they just didn't understand they weren't paying guests? Now...all that said...I think sometimes I embarrass my lovely husband because I tend to go overboard with wanting to bring little treats and gifts when we go to someone's house for dinner or a longer stay, and not much makes me happier than to be able to share a dessert or special bottle of beer or fancy cheese with someone who might not know about it or typically treat themselves in that way. I almost always end up paying for dinner and drinks if I've asked someone to go out and do something. That kind of stuff just genuinely makes me happy, but I've learned over time that it can be off-putting or even embarrassing to other people if it somehow implies a sense of obligation on their part to reciprocate in the future...But if I was showing up to your place as a favor to a friend, I sure would have shown up with something delicious or offered to take you out for dinner one night!

For @gottatrot's maybe-new-friend, the first thing I wondered was if she was paralyzed with a sort of buyer's remorse and feeling completely overwhelmed and unable to act. I mean, this horse is feral, is most likely not at all suitable for her intended purpose, took a rodeo to handle...and now, the friend has to figure out what to do with it. I personally can't imagine not being out there first thing the next morning to visit with the horse and try to put together a plan, but I can understand avoidance as a strategy for a person who is very overwhelmed. Similar to above, I'm not making excuses exactly, but trying to see her perspective. At the very least though, I would agree with the advice to have a sit down conversation now to be very clear about roles, responsibilities, and expectations. I know @gottatrot you said you don't want to be paid as a trainer and you want what's best for the horse, but time is valuable too and I sure wouldn't want this person expecting I was the horse's caretaker.

Good luck to all unraveling their tricky situations!

[email protected], the New York Times has a Thursday column called "Social Q's," which sounds similar to the radio show you linked. I am oddly drawn to reading it every week and seeing how my reaction lines up- or doesn't- with the "expert" advise. Social Q’s
 

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Happy Easter everyone!

Is it possible Estelle looks shorter because she is in such terrible shape? I found myself wanting to walk into your video to clean her up and see how awful it really is. Ick. If she is 12 hands, she is nice looking if she were brought back into shape, so I think you could get her gentle and broke and sell her as a kids pony for some decent money (if you could get her nice of course).

I saw the cutest little appy pony, and he looked just like a horse too, but was probably 13 hands. They rode him in the process of getting him broke, and did a lot of ranch work on him. I’d have ridden him too without much guilt, but he was sturdy and tough. I hope Estelle becomes sturdy.

As far as the owner of Estelle goes; I don’t like that story at all! I am sorry. I am always so leery of making friends. I’m so socially anxious that I think I tend to rarely ever even make that step towards an actual friend. I have no excuses for her behavior or anything, and wonder if you are now stuck with the feral pony...

@SueC I actually had the same feeling as @egrogan reading that. I wonder if your friend lied to them. They don’t sound like people you’d want to host anyways, but I wonder if they were told they were in fact paying guests...
 

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I've got to say, I really like your thoughts for both tricky scenarios, @egrogan. For @gottatrot's scenario I was also thinking, "What if the new owner has some kind of mental/emotional health issue?" ...not as an excuse, of course, but to explain why she's not coming up to scratch, particularly now she's perhaps seen she's not made a wise decision buying that horse - or really any horse, without the money for a saddle etc (if I remember correctly) - and I've got to say that would have set off alarm bells in me about working with the person, because then they're not just going to be a time drain (perhaps of something I love to do), but a money drain as well...

For my scenario, yes, possibly my friend didn't actually tell her friends they were staying for free and were under the impression they were all paid up (and had they been, I'd have taken them aside and referred them back to our house rules, which they never signed as they weren't a full booking, and probably never even read). But even if they'd been paid-up guests, I still wouldn't have been particularly comfortable with how they behaved - e.g. repeatedly late for breakfast without prior mutual agreement to serve outside of the normal breakfast slot - without prior agreement, my paid-up guests have then simply missed breakfast and need to have it in town instead. Telling me when I was coming back into the house mid-morning after the morning garden tour that they were now ready for a garden tour, and I said, "Well, the rest of us just did that, we started an hour ago and now I've got other work to do." Bringing large quantities of organic wastes back from various picnics and just wanting to dump it in my indoor organic collection bucket which I would then have had to take outside and dump in the compost in the middle of cooking dinner when I actually needed the space in it myself - without asking, so I said, "No, you can't fill up my kitchen bin with your scraps, please put them in the compost bin in the garden, let our friend show you where." Coming into the kitchen when I was busy to "helpfully" bring me one spoon nobody needed and wanting to know where to put it so it wouldn't have to be washed up, when she had her fingers all over it in a pandemic and therefore it needed to be washed anyway, and I had already asked people to stay out of the kitchen. 👹

And just this general sense of entitlement that seemed to be coming off them and that I am highly allergic to... no thank-you for the extra work of separate cooking for their chosen lifestyle (veganism is not the same as a food intolerance, for most of them; and some get as self-righteous about it as a really annoying religious cult, and anyway, why are they coming to a beef farm? - perhaps they should stay in the middle of a soy monoculture instead - which might also teach them something...👺)

More than that, I'm actually thinking back and recognising on reflection that this particular friend isn't actually the sort of person that offers me a helping hand when I'm overrun with something when she visits, but is pretty happy to have me give up my time in lieu of work to do things for her - and that's 50% my fault - if she's like that, I have to stop offering her extras and just get on with my own work. I've had paying guests spontaneously offering to help me with stuff around the garden etc and have declined, but not this friend of mine. Partly it's a cultural thing - she says thankyou by bringing really nice, thoughtful gifts when she visits. I think when she gets in touch again it's time to have a broader conversation.

The problem is, and for @gottatrot too, if you're generous, people may take advantage, and not necessarily realise it - and you have to make sure you don't let people take more than what you're happy to offer.

@Knave, I just saw your post, and agree with your comments on both situations too. 😎 🤠

G'night, all. House full of paying guests who are all lovely just now. Zzzzzzzz how did it get this late?
 

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Yay for happy ending in the move... aww coz you sound taken advantage off. It's gotta be great and exciting to be part of this but sheesh. I can understand being anxious... I asked my instructor/yard manager to load/unload for me the first few times but I still tidied the box :O I wonder if she's realised this pony isn't what she was hoping for and already quickly disconnected? Or maybe seeing how much effort it already was (despite sounding fantastic given everything) was off putting? I've also seen people, past "Friends", that quickly lose interest in an animal or hobby when someone comes along and connects/does better. Of course the more experienced horseperson is gonna probably do better but the whole point is to learn from the challenge and share the reward :< Maybe a more hands off approach letting her be in full control would help? A real shame but it tells you everything you need to know and I wouldn't be trusting her with very much. After the ordeal you described I'd probably be up there at 3am making sure the horse wasn't colicking and on my knees thanking you for being there! It is a real downer. I am finding each year I am becoming more jaded and losing faith in people. Glad the mare has you and hope the new owner steps up. She's gonna be a real pretty mare once fixed up!
 

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we can also be susceptible to wearing rose-tinted glasses when looking at the people we're wanting to work with, help etc. Humans tend to make projections onto new lovers, new friends etc, of what they would like that person to be, instead of seeing who they really are (that takes time, and a determination to be as objective as possible when meeting new people) - and it doesn't help that all of us tend to present ourselves to new people with our best foot forward - show the "chocolate side" as they say in Germany.

Classically we get a honeymoon period where new friends are excited about the projections they've put on each other, but haven't actually seen the true faces. When you start to notice that the person wasn't what you thought they were, the disappointment sets in, but it's usually both people who have contributed to the misunderstanding/misperceptions. I'd say you probably saw this new friend more as the kind of person you wish to have as a new friend than what she really is, and she probably sees you as a keen expert who's happy to work with horses and people out of the goodness of her heart (and probably thinks you're wanting to take more responsibility than you actually do). And of course, another possibility is that she is a bit lazy - but I'd say compared to hyper-achievers like you and me and a lot of our circle here, a lot of people are going to look a bit lazy - at least to us, but of course maybe more widely too.

A lot of this stuff is also subconscious, and people may not be aware of the things that drive them or aspects of what they are like. So while conflict - and this sounds like a situation of conflict to me, where two people are perhaps realising they are wanting different things when they thought they were on the same page - is really uncomfortable, it's also something that has the best chance of being successfully managed when you realise it early, and talk about it early, before each side gets emotional and the blame and defensiveness begin (because then it gets really tricky). And...conflict teaches us about ourselves and how we respond to people, and sometimes gives us insights into things we didn't see or want to see about ourselves (but sometimes, people are also happy to use other people, full stop).




Assuming that she didn't have a genuine emergency and couldn't get back to you, then yes, that's something I would be troubled by as well. Was the horse's new owner somehow under the impression you'd do all the work? At this stage, you may still be able to sit down and have that conversation, or if more comfortable, put your ground rules for what you're prepared to do and not in writing, to her. (Of course, it would be so much better to do that beforehand, but so often we assume incorrectly that people will act like we would.)

I've had a curly situation myself, and it's still curly because I've put the ball in a friend's court. I'm going to tell you about it so you can take comfort in the fact that all of us still haven't got everything worked out, and so maybe you can offer your own opinion and suggestions on the matter (and other people's thoughtful perspectives are valuable things).

So here goes - and warning, very detailed scenario.

A while back a very good friend asked if she could bring friends to stay at our house when they were all coming to visit the South Coast. She said they didn't have much money and she would pay for a farmstay room for them, since they were her friends and she really wanted to treat them (and because she is my friend, I offered her a very generous discount). But when she had to change her initial date because of a local lockdown in her region, for her new proposed date one of the two rooms was already booked. So I said to her that if she still wanted to come, then her friends could have "her" room instead of her (i.e. no charge) as long as she would be prepared to bring her own camping mattress and bedding and sleep in our office - our only other private space - we still haven't finished our attic. This she agreed to do.

I was very clear that she'd need to bring her own bedding as we had no spare with both guest rooms full, in two separate emails. And she turned up without any bedding, just a camping mattress. Which kind of miffed me inside, but people make mistakes and I found her a sleeping bag from our camping kit, and an old pillow, and didn't make a fuss about it, other than to mention I had actually asked her to bring her own bedding because we didn't have proper spare bedding. It was a winter-rated sleeping bag, but she was complaining about being cold at night the next morning (in a house whose temperature doesn't drop under 20 degrees Celsius) and asking if I had any more spare blankets, when actually I didn't - I told her though that she could see if her friends were using the spare blanket that's part of the equipment of the room they were staying in. And she ended up with that blanket, but one of her basic problems was she actually wasn't using her sleeping bag correctly - not zipping it up, which is how it keeps you warm. And by this time I've got a house full of guests and situations to juggle and my animals to look after, and I'm kind of thinking, "Hey, aren't you a grown-up, can't you work this out for yourself?"

Also problematic was that both her friends were vegans, and we're not, and I'm not prepared to eat vegan more than once a week (vegetarian I can do five times a week, that's fine, but vegan is rather extreme and I personally need to be a proper omnivore to feel physically good). So on the first night, I made spinach and feta pockets and salad for us and our normal farmstay guests (who thankfully were old favourites back on their third visit), and then realised the vegans would object to the feta and made Peruvian fried rice (without the usual egg topping) as well to last a couple of days - and I was just flat chat with lots to juggle. The friends were a bit irritating because they kept barging into my kitchen asking me questions when I really really had to concentrate when I was multi-tasking making different meals and running behind schedule, so I ended up saying to them, "I really can't talk to you at the moment because I'm busy, please go back to the dining table!" - since they couldn't seem to read the situation.

The next morning at breakfast, I was a bit surprised that my friend's friends seemed to expect me to cater for them the same as my farmstay guests - even though they were staying for free - and that they had made no effort to bring some of their own breakfast materials. Complicating factor was I'd told my friend not to bring lots of stuff that needed refrigerating because our fridge is usually really full with leftovers etc - but that wouldn't have precluded them bringing some cereals etc and whatever it is that vegans eat for breakfast and snacks. They did bring their milk replacer but I think that was just my friend. Her friends seemed to have brought nothing, and just sat there expecting to be served; and that's after they got up late, well after my normal guests are scheduled to have breakfast and had already eaten and I had gardening to do, and this really really miffed me - I'm always miffed when I get the impression that someone thinks it's my job to cater for them - because 95% of our farmstay guest don't actually assume like that even though they pay to stay and breakfast is officially included - but everyone is clear dinner is something I do as an extra and it's not something they've paid for, and many guests will bring a bottle of wine or some nice cheese etc, or offer to cook a meal for everyone another night (once, we had a Spanish guest who won third prize in a national Paella competition make us and another set of guests a proper competition-standard Paella, and OMG did I feel spoilt, it was fantastic - she even made the stock from scratch - and she smiled and said it had been the same experience for her with us cooking).

...which is why I was really irritated that my friend's friends contributed nothing to the table, even symbolically.

I suppose a vegan isn't going to present you with a nice Brie. :lol: But I was just having all sorts of alarm bells going off in me and starting to feel used. They weren't paying and were more trouble than paying guests, and contributing absolutely nothing materially to the common table, and it was just the way they were apparently always expecting to be served.

Next morning I made waffles, with the substitute milk for the vegans and a separate batch that didn't fall apart because it actually had evil free-range egg in it for my regular guests and ourselves. Making the two separate batches made us about 15 minutes late for an agreed hiking time, and I was cursing myself for doing that at this point.

That evening my friend and her friends ate out (and nobody asked if we might like to join them, which we could have). Next morning - the morning they were all going back home - they turned up late again at the breakfast table after we'd already eaten, sat very obviously waiting to be served, and I went really cold inside, thought, "Fvck them!" (rare expletive) and just completely ignored them - because it actually wasn't my job to cater to them, and because, and Brett and I had been discussing this already for the last 24 hours, we ourselves would never have behaved like that staying with the friends of friends. I said goodbye to my friend but not to her friends - I was livid with them inside, at this point.

I'm never hosting friends of friends as a favour again. They can come as ordinary farmstay guests on their own accounts or not at all - then we all know where we stand. My friend let me know she was home safe in a quick email and a couple of days later I emailed back to say I hoped she wasn't working too hard, and that's the sum total of the correspondence since that really uncomfortable stay which is now a month ago. Eventually we'll have to talk about it, and that's OK, but it's her turn to email, at the very least. Meanwhile it's contemplation time. Feel free to offer your thoughts, everyone, if you've made it this far!

We actually have a radio programme here on Radio National called the Too-Hard Basket, where people bring up difficult situations and get different perspectives from various different people like philosophers, psychologists, etc. Here's an example of the curly things they discuss:


Because dealing with other people is always going to bring up difficult issues sooner or later... :)
I think a lot of misunderstandings arise between people. A lot of unspoken things and misinterpretations of behavior. I know I lost a friend from a misunderstanding, where I reached to her by phone because I thought it was more personal and appropriate and I didnt know her phone had been lost, so she didnt receive anything. I interpreted it as she was mad at me for something and took distance, she saw it as I let her down in her hour of need and that I didnt actually care about her. Neither of us were right but those kinds of misunderstandings arise often. I think things happen that neither are aware of or speak to one another about but assume the other knows what they have done. It happens a lot in Denmark, people are so scared of confrontation. If they are mad, they simply ignore you and do not tell you what is going on or why they're upset. Which to me is simply childish, adults use words - not assumptions but it is cultural. They dont know how to handle confrontation, things are handled with diplomacy. Example a Dane will never say to you, dont park there - they will just put something in the way, so you can't park there.

In general, humans presume and project a lot. I think it is very easy to misinterpret behavior, we only have our own goggles to see from and some people mean well but dont always say what we want them to or show it in how we think they should. Conversing with some people requires a great deal of diplomacy and tip toeing on eggshells. I find people who are easily offended or expect others to cater to them or say exactly what they want are often quite immature. Emotionally healthy, balanced people can hear different perspective and opinions and handle them with grace. Unfortunately, there are a lot of childish and emotionally immature people in this world who think their projections are facts and take difference of perspective and opinion as a personal insult. To me it's generally a sign that individual is toxic and keep clear.

As for the vegans, it's hard to say. Maybe they did in fact not know they were staying for free, maybe they didnt consider their behavior rude or entitled. But repeatedly missing breakfast than expecting to be waited on, not meeting the time slot designated for certain things - that is their choice and responsibility. They cannot expect special considerations for existing - that is entitlement and rude.

I find there is also a great divide in people who care about "what is said" vs "how it is said." Some people are very sensitive to mannerisms and word choice, while other care more about the substance of the matter. For myself I care about what is said, not how it is said so long as it is done with basic respect and objective honesty. It is interesting how poor we are at perceiving ourselves, I think that is something my study has taught me. To not trust our perceptions and challenge our assumptions because even when we think we are right, we are often wrong. Humans are very strange and complicated and I think we assume we are right more often than we actually are as a form of comfort.

I don't know. People confuse me. I study them and I think I've only become more confused because there are so many variations. The more I've learned, the less sure I am. Hard to be confident or certain when there is so much variation in behavior. I think you have to know someone very well and know their heart, character and general intentions - else it is too easy to project ourselves onto others, rather than judging them as they truly are.
 

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Discussion Starter · #227 ·
Thanks for all the great perspectives. People are difficult and confusing for sure.
With @SueC's situation, it sounds like you were taken advantage of, but discussing it with your friend would be the part I would struggle with. It does sound like it's her turn to contact you, but I would find it difficult to bring up the subject.

Today Estelle's owner texted to ask if I would go out and feed her horse "when I was out there." When I texted and said I was not going out today since I went out yesterday, she said she would try to get out tomorrow. No one is checking on her horse today. She said at work tonight we will need to "discuss schedules." I don't mind feeding her horse every third day when I'm at the barn, but I just can't fathom having a skinny horse in a new situation and not checking on them every day for at least a week or two. It's a half hour drive. I would do that twice a day if I was worried about a horse.

I am understanding now that I met this person not to have a great riding friend, but because she was going to impulsively buy this horse and I would need to help save her. DH thinks it will be a matter of time before she bails out, and says we can keep the pony for a while to get her healthy if that happens. It will be tricky setting limits without creating too much conflict...
 

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I "liked" your post, but that is very disappointing. I am totally with you on this one- if that was my horse, I'd probably be set up there for most of the day at first, just observing, feeding, cleaning up. Without being dense, how does she think her horse will eat, drink, and get human interaction without her being there?? Uggh, I am annoyed on your behalf...

You did make me think about Fizz being delivered to the boarding barn when I first bought her- that whole first week, I wanted to be there multiple times a day to see how she was settling in to a new place, how she was getting along with Izzy, how she did with being worked a little in the indoor and outdoor. And she had no health or training challenges, just a new horse adjusting to a new place. Plus, I also felt like a little kid who got a pony for Christmas- how would she know how much I loved her if she didn't see me every day? ;) 🦄 💘
 

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Awwww, @egrogan! :) This is why I like all you lot, because you're good to your animals instead of treating them like bicycles, manservants etc.

@gottatrot, that's very disappointing - is the horse relying on hand feeding daily? If she's not getting a bucket feed today, does she at least have a roundbale in her paddock and a reliable water supply?

Discuss schedules, indeed... discuss responsibilities, I should think. :cautious: Not fun but necessary...

Goes from texting all the time about buying a horse to not showing up for the horse for how long after she actually arrives at the barn? Doesn't come the first day, and not on the second one either?
 

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Wow. What a mess.
It will be tricky setting limits without creating too much conflict...
No kidding!!!! My heart goes out to you. I had such high hopes for a new friend and a new horse to interact with. I am so sorry.

I listened to the Christmas present radio broadcast and disagreed with the presenters. I would not give gifts to the children. How cold is that? Some people are overwhelmed at Christmas and just would rather not fool with the whole thing. Do kids really need piles of gifts anyway? Maybe it's just kind of unspoken, "Let's not give gifts." That has NOTHING to do with @gottatrot's situation; I just thought it was curious that I was completely opposite of the presenters. I wonder if I am opposite of most people?

I get along with just about everyone. I have had some riders I have invited to ride get presumptuous. I usually find reasons for them not to come out. They come out fewer and fewer times until it just gently fizzles out.

I wish both of you had not had those experiences. I did a farm stay once and I expected to help with the farm chores--that's part of a farm stay, I thought. I fed and took care of the chickens and sheep and helped with the laundry. It was fun.
 

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I disagreed with the presenters too, @knightrider - I'd not be giving presents in that case.

And to be honest, we don't do Christmas presents or cards anymore anyway except some presents to each other - everyone already has so much stuff. But that's regardless of that I disagree with the presenters anyway!

Interesting thoughts about the farm stay! :) At the moment, I've got fairly good uptake of donkey brushing by guests...
 

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Discussion Starter · #234 ·
Today was not a normal barn day but we decided to go out in the evening to check on the pony. Secretly we have renamed the pony from Estelle, which doesn't seem to fit her to Aria. She seems not like a cranky old lady but like a graceful little song. She also looks like a tiny Amore, and the names seemed similar to us.

DH and I had a bet about whether Aria's owner had gone to see her today. She had asked me about what kind of hay to get this morning. So I bet she had finally gone to see her horse. DH bet she hadn't.
DH won the bet.

The barn owner came down to talk to us and said she had received a text yesterday asking her to feed Aria, but the owner had said she would come out today. Obviously she hadn't been there. No manure had been picked up and her horse had no hay. So she hasn't been to see her horse since Friday night when we dropped her off, and this was the third day. She also had only asked someone to feed one of those days.

As DH said, what made it worse was that Aria's owner had said on the way home that she thought Aria had injured her leg. I said maybe, but had noticed that when she had mentioned it while we were trying to catch Aria, she had referred to what I saw as a horse resting her back leg. I had seen no signs of injury or unsoundness, and of course checked her out well the next day. However, this was something her owner has not asked me about, or even if I have been to look at her horse. I have not mentioned that I have fed her. So as far as she knows, her horse might have an injured leg, which she has not checked on.

She also told me the horse was grinding her teeth, and so I had imagined either a horse grinding from ulcers, or else with some kind of misalignment. But when we went to get the horse, and were feeding her, she asked if I heard the terrible sound, and said that it really bothered her, and what Aria was doing was simply chewing with her molars as all horses do.

Of course I had fed Aria a lot on Saturday, enough for a couple days, and the barn owner Monday, and today I also fed her. She is eating great and settling in well. We had a good discussion with the barn owner about the situation. She might actually know an older lady who would want a gentle companion pony if she was trained to be handled and led. I told her I was putting a fast track on gentling her.

DH and I spent a long time in with Aria. She is at least twice as gentle as the last time I visited. She came right up to the gate to greet us, and was searching our hands right away for food. While DH fed her I was able to pet her all over while holding the halter in my hand, and put my hand over her neck, and touch from head back to tail on both sides for much longer than before. Maybe after another couple of sessions I will be able to put a halter on. I took a lot of the shedding hair off, but her mane detangling will have to wait until she has a halter and lead rope on.

It was quite funny when she really wanted grass from DH's hand but had to let him put his other hand on her cheek to reach it. In the end she always overcame her worry to get the food. She also soon would walk between us and let us walk all around her without trying to leave. If she ever began to rush off, of course I would turn and pretend I had been planning to go another way, which always works for horses that think you want to chase them. As long as they're not terrified, they seem to feel silly when you rush in another direction and they believe they misread you. It just makes me laugh to see them stop so quickly and look puzzled.
 

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Aaaargh, aaaargh, aaaargh, aaaargh. 👺👹👾

It sounds to me that the best thing would be if the animal was sold to you before you take any further steps, because to work with her while you've got someone who doesn't know enough, or do enough of what she could actually do, and can veto everything, looking over your shoulder isn't likely to end well... and is a recipe for heartbreak for you. Be really careful here, legally she belongs to another.

Isn't it typical though... your last post so reminds me of when I was a teenager and my 20-something at the time brother, who actually went around saying he hated horses, simply having to have one when I bought my yearling Arabian filly. So someone who'd never ridden or even handled a horse or previously wanted anything to do with them and knew sweet FA about horses went to the same place and bought a weanling Arabian colt, not gelded, but halter broken. He bought a show halter and led him around on it and talked about "My Arabian stallion!" - and did precious little grooming or foot care, and left all the feeding up to my parents (on whose farm all this took place).

The poor horse spent most of his life from then on in a small lunging yard, with a shelter attached. Because my brother refused to have him gelded, he was taken away from communal runs of fillies, mares and geldings when he was around 18 months old and never put back in with another horse while he was on that farm, for most of the rest of his sad life.

I used to feel sorry for the horse and chide my brother about it. "Why do you keep a horse when you have no intention of riding it? Why do you keep a stallion when you're not a breeder, and your horse is dying for companionship?"

He said, "I might breed him one day. And I can't ride him because he's not broken in."

I said, "You personally can't ride - you've never had lessons, etc - and until you can, there's no point discussing you riding an inexperienced horse."

He said, "Well, you seem to have done OK with your filly..." (who was now 4 and I was starting to ride her in endurance etc after years and years training her to do all the usual things, and saddle educating her on my own - his horse was 3) ..."...can't you help me with this one?"

I pointed out he had done none of the many preliminaries you should do with a horse, and he could have done had he read up about it and learnt from others, taken lessons etc. He was only walking him around in a halter once in a blue moon.

He said, "But why can't we just put a saddle on him and ride him like they do in the Westerns? I don't care about lunging and ground driving and groundwork. Just about riding the horse, nothing fancy." ...he actually wanted to shortcut like a movie cowboy, and have me get on a horse's back unprepared and ride it out. Bwahahahaha. So I said, "Do you want to see what's going to happen if you just put a saddle on him without preliminaries?"

I got an old saddle that was no longer fit for riding in and put it on the horse, who had been brought to the tie rail. And then put the lead rope in my brother's hand and said, "Now walk with him." Which he attempted to do. And predictably (with this horse, and this handler), the horse took a couple of steps, got frightened, and took off, buck-jumping madly, getting free of the unprepared handler, and then quickly disappearing into the sunset.

By the time we got the horse back, the old saddle was broken and the horse lathered, and my brother never bothered me again with his ridiculous ideas on teaching his horse to ride. Nor did he want to ride him after seeing what a horse can do if it's panicking. I did explain to him that the his horse could be educated, but no shortcuts, and it was up to him to do all the preliminaries, or pay someone else to do it and the general saddle education for him. But he lost whatever marginal interest he had in the first place, and the horse spent 20 years in this small sandy lunging yard without equine company, bored to tears and shocking himself on the electric fence for something to do. It always broke my heart to see it, but I couldn't do anything about it - not my horse, not my farm, and not something the RSPCA would have bothered with, since the horse wasn't starving or lacking a water source.

When the horse was around 20, after a life like a canary in a cage, he briefly had a better life when he was leased out for two years to a person who wanted to breed their old mare to him to make a pony for his kids (another questionable project, if you ask me - horses live how long, kids have interest for how long, how many excess horses are there already etc etc). He spent those two years in an actual grassy paddock with a mare. And then he returned to his previous existence. Eventually my brother bought a small acreage and my father got sick of feeding and mucking out his horse and doing his feet, so he was asked to collect the horse. He then spent his late 20s in a grass paddock, again without company, and when too many teeth had fallen out, he was put down.

Worth breeding horses for this? I think not. A good idea for very casual people to own horses? I also think not. And I seriously think it's better for many animals that they be shot, than that they end up in the wrong hands and having horrible pointless existences like this, with neither social life nor grazing nor exploration of the world. 😢
 

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I see their worries too Gotta. If you don’t get attached to the mare and don’t care about losing the time to the work with her though, then I guess it wouldn’t be awful if she suddenly became interested in her or decided to sell her.

At least she sounds like a decent little mare. You might have a lot of fun with her! I’m sorry the human didn’t work out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #238 ·
Today I met up with the pony's owner at the barn. She put several bales of hay in, and then we talked. She does not seem to be a very sensitive person, so while I began very gently about my concerns, I realized soon she did not require handling with kid gloves and so I gave her a good scolding. This she tolerated without much push back.

My DH says that what my family considered harsh words when I was growing up, most families would consider dinnertime conversation. So there is that. But I was very clear about being worried she had buyer's regret, that she perhaps did not want a pony she couldn't ride and that I was willing to help find a new home if necessary.

She did lie and say she had checked on the pony, but when I told her I had been checking up and this was not true, she took it back. I told her it was very concerning she had not arranged to have anyone feed the pony when she could not make it out, and she said she had contacted the barn owner. I told her that was only one day, and the other days she had not done so.

She kept reiterating that she wanted the pony, that she was responsible, and that she would be out every day to care for her. I'm not sure if this is true or not. I would like to hope so. She said she had to take care of herself too, and I told her that her horse was a helpless animal, and that should come first. I said I was feeling used because she seemed to think somehow I would fill in the gaps to make sure the horse was cared for, but I had only agreed to help with training and the horse was her responsibility, and if that was too much for her or she wasn't interested, then she should find a new home. At least the idea has been introduced, if she does lose interest.

At first she argued with me about whether she could ride her pony, and I was adamant that the pony was too small, and there was no way she could even find a saddle that would be short enough for the pony and also fit her. I told her possibly the pony could be driven, if she had the right temperament. She said Arabs are ridden by men sometimes, and Icelandic ponies are small. I said if the pony was even 13 hands I could agree with her, but that I'd never ridden a 12 hand pony and would never agree to. I told her that even when well fed, her pony would probably top out at 600 lbs. Then I brought my horses down so she could see how they compared in size. Amore is very large compared to the pony, and Hero looks gigantic.

When we left, she still seemed to think we were friends, and texted me later to say she thought the pony might be able to pull an adult in a cart. Obviously the pony is large enough to pull quite a bit of weight, so I agreed. We will see if she ends up offended by my interference, but she has involved me quite a bit, and if you get my free help you get my opinions also.

Today I was able to really feel Estelle's coat (if she keeps the pony I guess she'll remain Estelle), and all the rain rot scabs down in there. I began introducing a rope, which made her more nervous, but soon she ignored me walking around and swinging it in her general vicinity. I was able to touch her with it a few times, and made her put her nose through the halter nose to eat pellets. I was able to touch her legs and under her belly, briefly, and put my hand over the top of her neck for a moment. She runs to the gate now to greet people, beginning to think we are coming to give her special treats.
 

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I wish you would take a picture of her next to your horses. It blows my mind that she is that small. I do know a family here who starts ponies like that though. They are fancy looking, like regular horses but 12 hands. I was looking at them, when little girl was starting Moon, and kind of thinking the same thing. Moon looked much stronger than them. I could help little girl with Moon just a little and not feel guilty, but of course I would have felt guilty if I was on her much. She was built super strong though, and those ponies looked dainty and beautiful.

I thought they might be a struggle, because to get them well started to sell would take at least a year or two, and the old enough kids would grow over that time frame. I wondered how you could actually get them broke enough for a small child so they could last until that kid was 10 or 11.

Maybe they would work good for a family with many kids, so the older ones could start them and they could be handed down to the smaller ones as they got more broke.

These ponies were super fine though. They were bred interestingly too, with some cutting lines in there so they were athletes, and probably tended to be hot.
 

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I "liked" that a direct, honest conversation was possible and she didn't blow up defensively. But it still seems ridiculous it needed to happen. What does it even mean that "she needed to take care of herself too?" What did she think would happen when she put a horse into self-care board?

I guess what matters now is what she actually does to care for her horse...
 
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