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Thursday, 26 October 2017

My Greatest Fear

My greatest fear has always existed deep in the back of mind. I never knew the exact words for it until about four months ago.  I didn’t really want to post about this (and I clearly haven't until today) but I’m having a bit of a brave moment today I guess.



Memba little Henry at his trot pole show?!




I had mentioned to Coach D about breaking my nose and the trouble I was having with Henry back in June.  I reached out to her for some extra help with Henry (outside of my lessons with ST, just for extra input and ideas). I suggested maybe arranging to haul him to her barn during the week instead of doing my school horse lesson.


For a little background - she has only given me one lesson on Henry (he was a bareback saint) and there was a point in time when she was somewhat interested in buying him. That didn’t work out for a number of reasons.  I’ve taken lessons at her barn with school horses on and off for the past two years.  I have taken a few lessons with her and Apollo at my barn but the scheduling was very tricky (I kind of need lessons to be on the weekends and she has very busy weekends).



#1 Horseloaf


 
She told me that I needed to have this new natural horsemanship trainer/cowboy-type come and ride Henry.  That he would work through his issues.  I was hesitant because of budget constraints and due to my recently horrible experience with RK (another natural horsemanship/cowboy-type).  I said I would keep the NH’s trainer number but wasn’t quite there yet.


She sent this in a text to me (and I am paraphrasing some of this as I deleted the text):


“……Once a horse learns to buck he will never forget.  You need to have NH trainer work with him.  Henry is such a nice horse, it would be a shame if you ruined him.”

And I felt like someone punched me.  But now I had the words.  My worst fear is “ruining” my horses.





I was pretty upset about it at first.  I discussed it a bit with my husband and he thought it sounded like she probably was just worried about my safety (now and in future – fair point), and that I shouldn’t take it too personally. 


I continued to take lessons from her with school horses for a few more weeks but eventually decided due to some shift changes at my part-time job that I didn’t have time for school horse lessons anymore.  I never responded to that portion of her text, I just re-directed to other topics and have not approached her again for further help with Henry. 






Coach D is a wonderful human (who I am currently financing Mystic’s new saddle through) and I don’t think she intended to hurt my feelings.  I think she said what a lot of people have probably thought.


But I would like to take a moment to respond to the idea of “ruining” my horse.  A fear that I too have worried about.   I am a greenish ammy with limited financial resources.  I am riding green horses (mainly without saddles) and trying not to die. 

Here goes:


Fuck that. 


That’s the only rebuttal I currently have.  There are so many other things I want to say.  I want to cite examples of riding green as grass baby horses with no saddles.  I want to post photos of myself riding Mystic all over countryside bareback.  But really I am living my rebuttal to anyone (even myself sometimes) who thinks I’m “ruining” my horses - because I am not quitting.  I am determined to improve as a rider and am not going to give up.




Peace.



38 comments:

  1. Quite frankly I would dump a coach/trainer that said that to me. That is completely unprofessional and unacceptable to me. I'm fuming for you.

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    1. I kind of have :( She usually has been very supportive but I don't know if I can really see myself working with her in the future.

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  2. What. No. I was already a bit irked for you when someone suggested sending your horse to a different trainer. Flag for me. But I'm also waaaay Leary of NH. I have seen a good one, but for most part I think any common sense knowledgeable educated horse person who can read animals can accomplish things too.

    No. Fuck that. You are right. Unless you are getting up there and yeehawing jabbing bloody spur holes in him, then "ruining" him is a out of bounds comment for her to make. What was her reasoning?

    I wish I lived closer. You need someone who had your back more 💗

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    1. Yeah the whole thing was not ok at all. Thank you <3

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  3. K. Fuck that and fuck her.

    Sorry for the harshness, but there is literally NO reason for her to say that. One of the clinicians I rode with a few weeks ago told me that riding horses isn't rocket science - you just ask them to do things and they respond. I don't get why people act so fucking over privileged and say shit like that. I am so sorry for her shit attitude <3

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    1. Yep that's kind of where I'm at with it now. At first I thought I was being a bit too sensitive but the more I think about it the more mad I get. Thanks :)

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  4. yea honestly i tend to be pretty strongly of the opinion that it's a lot harder to ruin a horse than we tend to believe. like, send 'em to slaughter. that'll probably do the trick. but anything short of that? eh, i'm not so sure. tho i would be very distrustful of anybody who uses language like that as a weapon.

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    1. I totally agree that the language was used as a weapon, ie use this trainer or your horse is ruined forever... ugh. I'm riding Henry bareback as I wait for my new saddle so I guess I showed her!

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  5. I'm with Emma. I don't trust people who manipulate with statements like that and that statement sounds like pure manipulation to get you to send your horse to a certain trainer. You're thoughtful and caring, you're not going to ruin him - it'll just be slower going than if you sent him to a trainer (but c'mon, isn't that true for all of our ammy-owned and ridden horses?).

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    1. We will definitely be slow but thank you for your kind words! I will just keep doing my best and take lessons when I can with ST (who would never say that to me).

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  6. My coach once told me that you, as an average caring person, can't ruin your horse. Like, just no, you can't do it, so you need to stop worrying about it. It'll be fine. Worst case, you inadvertently teach them some undesirable habits, but that's what help is for, and that there's nothing a good trainer can't help you fix...it may take time, but it's doable.
    I call BS on the teaching him to buck. They all know how to buck, they're horses. A good majority will do it under saddle if they're scared or confused, or just playful...it's how babies roll, it's how they learn, and I don't think it's a weird or malicious thing at all.

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    1. I love what your coach said. I try to remind myself of that when self doubt rears its head...

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    2. Those are some wise words! Will be repeating that to myself when I need it :) I honestly think that he bucked due to pain from the saddle, and I guess I will find out if that was the case soon enough (whenever my new saddle gets here).

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  7. While there probably are ways to ruin a horse, as Emma said, it's a lot harder to ruin a horse than a lot of professions want people to believe. And honestly? I don't think you are doing enough to even think about ruining a horse. A bad or inexperience profession? Yeah, they can ruin horses. It really bothers me when professionals throw out manipulative statements like that to try and get people to get people to spend money for training (which is almost always followed by more training or you need a new, better horse because of X, Y, or Z reason(s).).

    So, things will go slower without training, but who cares? I'm not sold on all the NH stuff. Some stuff is good, some isn't so I'm a take parts that work and ignore the rest. But I also call complete BS to the bucking thing and think it's just a scare tactic to force you into training you don't want. And I hate that tactic.

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    1. We definitely are moving at a glacial pace but I hope we will reach our goals eventually haha! I agree about the manipulative language being uncool... I don't want to be emotionally blackmailed into using a trainer, that never feels good.

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  8. I am honestly pissed off on your behalf. That was not only unprofessional but wrong. I could go on and on. But here's the thing- what she said was not remotely helpful. Instead it was accusatory and designed to undermine you. Maybe because of my own history but I would not have made it with Carmen if it wasn't for people helping me and believing in me.

    I used to take regular lessons from a very knowledgeable coach. She and I are still friends but looking back I see that she undermined my confidence with Irish rather then helped me gain it. I don't think she did it on purpose but her style was along the lines of 'don't' 'you aren't'. I remember she used to say 'careful, careful' with an anxious voice and I would freeze because I didn't know what to when she said that. I am now far more open and aware of what I need in instruction.

    So to make a long response short- dump her as a trainer. She's not what you need.

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    1. Thanks for sharing your story! It's funny the small and large ways that language can attack our confidence in ourselves. Good for you for moving on to someone who is more positive and bolsters your confidence. I am definitely going to be focusing on my ST lessons instead going forward, she always has something positive to say (but lots of constructive criticism too).

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  9. I really don't believe anything you could do is going to ruin any of your horses. That statement may have been made from a good place, but it is still a really crappy thing to say. Granted, you don't want to create a situation where you are afraid of your horse, but I'm with everyone else that this person doesn't seem like a good fit for you. :-(

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    1. My husband really felt she meant it from a place of safety concern... but I don't know. I will definitely be focusing elsewhere for lessons. :)

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  10. What a crappy thing to say. Just thoughtless and stupid. 'Ruined' is pretty difficult with horses. They show up in the moment and are open to learn and relearn every day. The fact that you care for them, stay open to learning and are working on their training kind of seals the deal that they will be just fine.

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    1. Yeah it really hurt my feelings when I read it. I think we'll figure everything out... eventually :)

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  11. This is my opinion, take it for what it's worth. I'm not a trainer but I've been doing this for a very long time and have formed lots of opinions so here goes. I think that at one time or another most riders feel that they aren't good enough riders to teach their horses correctly. However, what the trainer said to you was just nonsense and a little cruel and self serving. I'm sure she thinks she's a professional and everyone should listen to her no matter what she says. I've known a lot of trainers who shouldn't be allowed near a horse never mind give a lesson. A trainer should never undermine their students and make them question themselves and in some cases make the student lose confidence in themselves and their abilities. You're doing just fine with all of your horses. The one thing that comes through on this blog and your posts is how much you care and how hard you try to do the right thing. I would get another trainer that was a good fit and who could help you progress with your horses. That said, I don't subscribe to any of the Natural Horsmanship bulls...t. There are some things that make some sense but so much of it is just a money making scam in my opinion. You don't need to send the horses to a trainer you're doing fine. The best thing you can do is use common sense and take it slow with each horse. When they learn one good behavior then move on to the next. If they falter go back to something they know and restore their confidence and yours and end on a good note. Horses aren't trained in a few months or even a few years it takes as long as it takes and each horse is different. Good luck.

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    1. Thank you so much for your wise words <3 We will keep on keepin on :)

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  12. Hang in there Kate. I don't have any advice that hasn't already been stated. You know in your gut what feels right concerning your ponies &trainers. Big hugs :)

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    1. Thank you :) Going to seek out more positive instruction in the future for sure.

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  13. What a thoughtless thing for her to say!

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    1. Yeah it didn't really help anything :(

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  14. I was told continuously as a kid/junior that I was ruining my horse. My saint of a horse that won absolutely everywhere no matter what stupid thing I did to him. He never got ruined. That is one of the most toxic statements a trainer can make and I'm angry for you. My current trainer has told me countless times I won't ruin my horse. If something comes up and we have a problem, we will work through it and fix it.
    Also, you were pretty confident Henry's bucking was the result of poor saddle fit and more of a pain response than anything right? So if you fix that pain problem, you should also have fixed the bucking problem. ALL horses figure out how to buck. They learn it usually when they're a few months old. He hasn't learned a new trick. Yes, if he bucks again when you jump him next, you will want to teach him that's not ok. But he's certainly not ruined.

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    1. Toxic is the perfect word to describe it! It doesn't serve any purpose other than making me feel like shit.
      I am really hopeful that the new saddle will be our solution :)

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  15. So, that was an incredibly insensitive and non productive thing for her to say! So, yeah, fuck that. Do what your gut tells you, it hasn't led you astray yet!!

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    1. I agree, it was just hurtful and did no good. I agree - fuck that!

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  16. That would have hurt my feelings, too! She overstepped the mark on that comment... Also, I think it's kind of odd to only promote natural horsemanship when your horse bucks. That's not the only answer! I don't think I'd call that trainer either.

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    1. I totally cried (but I am a soft marshmallow so that's easy to do). I don't think NH would have solved the saddle fit issue, but yeah not interested in her help in the future.

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  17. I agree with all the other comments! You show your horses compassion and respect, they won't be ruined!

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  18. What a shitty thing to say to someone! Personally, I surround myself with people who want to help me and support me -- not people who bring me down. I just don't need that in my life -- I'm hard enough on myself!

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  19. She sounds like an absolute tool. Horses are so resilient, you won't ruin Henry.. and as far as bucking goes, a horses natural response is to buck. they all do it. She's just wow... *hugs*

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  20. THank you for sharing. And good for you for digging and finding finding your drive (also mad props for being gracious and giving her the benefit of the doubt). You know your horses and you know yourself. So long as you strive to be better for them than you were the day before, you are doing it right. THere is no 'right' way to do it, but there is a wrong way to do it. Listen to your gut.

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