I strongly considered not writing this post. This isn’t exactly one that I want to look back on and remember (some parts of it anyhow).
Me and side eye mare on the morning of my wedding (last minute 5am wreath practice)
I recently had two friends out to meet my herd (on different days). I’m kind of weird about letting people meet my horses. I know that it would really hurt my feelings if someone said something critical of my horses. So I don’t usually give people a chance. #barnhermitrepresent
Friend #1 came out on a Wednesday. She brought frozen coffee drinks and few saddles for me to try on Apollo. I rode Apollo briefly in the saddles and then she asked if we could go see my young horses. Henry was already standing at the fence so he got the first visit. She gushed on how handsome he was looking and offered to train him/ride him when I was ready to send him. She’s an amazing rider who has trained with some of Canada’s top showjumpers. She knew Henry during his first Alberta winter (where he looked terrible) and commended me on the good work I had done nutritionally.
Mystic heard my voice (creepy mare is creepy) and came over to visit too. My friend gave Mystic a few compliments as well. I brought up the idea of possibly selling Henry but how my heart was really struggling with the idea. She felt that Mystic would be a better all-around horse but if I wanted to compete a bit more seriously than Henry would likely be a better fit. It was a positive and helpful experience. So positive, in fact, that I invited friend #2 to come out two days after.
Friend #2 came out on a Friday. To say that it wasn’t a positive experience would be an understatement. She initially complimented Apollo’s weight loss in the diet pen so we were off to a good start. She also was impressed that I managed three horses, a full-time job, dogs and a husband. I called my babies over. They both trotted happily over to greet me.
And then my friend starting tearing apart their conformation.
I didn’t ask for her opinion and it was hard to be around someone who was being so critical. I really tried to tune it out and cut her off when I could. But she was relentless.
She smugly said “Henry doesn’t really have the right shoulder to be a grand prix jumper.”
And “Mystic has the laziest eyes I’ve ever seen.”
Those are the only two things I heard before I stopped listening.
I originally planned to brush both babies and maybe lunge them. I was also going to ride Apollo and let her take a quick spin. Instead I fed everyone their grain and ushered her out of there as soon as possible.
As we were leaving she said “No wonder you have time to take care of all of them, you never do anything with them.”
I was fuming at this point. I haven’t talked to her since. I don’t really want to discuss it unless I can discuss it in person and I want to cool down a bit more. I don't think she meant to be so hurtful....I think she was trying to give me an honest opinion. However, I didn't ask her to critique my horses or really for her opinion at all. I thought it was a friendly meet and greet - wrong!
Friend #2 is a decent rider, but has nowhere near the skills or experience (or tact apparently) of Friend #1.
I’m not perfect. And I don’t think my horses are perfect either. My knees brush together when I walk, I have a crooked back, and a somewhat neurotic temperament. I would fail a vet check!
Vet check failure + dog
And if I wanted a “grand prix jumper” I would have probably spent more than 200 bucks and wouldn't have bought a horse from a feedlot. I just want to fiddle around in the shallow end of the eventing/jumping worlds at some point. I think the horse/human conformation in the herd can handle that.
I am not blind to their flaws or my own - but I think we are so much more than the sum of our parts. I love them with my whole heart, warts and all.
Henry says no rude people at the barn!