Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Let's Take a Break!

I have what I think is a great idea. But I'm on pain killers. Go Lightly pointed out that she is a menopausal red-head, subject to hot flashes of temper and hormones which can effect her relationships with horses and bloggers alike.
Me too. Except the red hair is only in my mind.
I have a feeling a bunch of us can go there. If not, I know you've been influenced in some way by an out of control hormonal old horsewoman.
So let's tell stories on ourselves.
I'll start.
First....I LOVE the discussions starting to surface up here. I hope nobody thought I was shutting them down when I asked Ezra to focus on me while I walking her through the lead deal. I just don't want her to get tied up with too much information. I'm planning on storing a bunch of this for myself and she could too. Except plan on using it later, when we've gotten through the initial situation.
I also know I've stomped on a few toes in this blog. The times I get my back up are when I hear the words, "You're wrong, you're ignorant, you've got to train the way I do to be right". I will always tell you guys how I train. I will always listen to how you train. Let's just leave out the right and wrong portion of it. You don't have to ride like me, just don't assume I'm wrong. I know I don't have to ride like you, but I also want to understand what you do and why so I can learn. Does that make sense?
If I think something is cruel I'll say something, other than that I don't care.
And I do reserve the right to have opinions, I'm not all that huggy and peaceful in real life. And I can't help being a smart ass.
So on to the menopause stories.
I trained for a few years out of a wonderful facility. We had a competition sized indoor arena, a rodeo arena outside, hot water at our wash racks and indoor plumbing. It was heaven. I barn shared with a few trainers and we all got along. Then a Hunter Jumper trainer moved in. This woman was really busy. She filled the barn the rest of the way and soon made it very clear she intended to take over the barn. Management was going with the money so I knew my days were numbered.
As you guys know, there is often an attitude between western and english riders. This HJ trainer had an extremely healthy self esteem (to put it mildly).
She felt her rules were the important ones and felt no obligation to try to get along with trainers of different disciplines. Her many, many clients felt the same.
As a rule, I just ignored the lot of them and did my thing.
Unfortunately my silence was mistaken for being a wienie.
So I kept getting pushed.
One winter morning I came to work. It was extremely cold. I was hot-flashing like a maniac. So as I cleaned my stalls I kept shedding clothes. With every stall I would be wearing one less item. First my coat, then my cover-alls. Then my gloves. Then my hat. I kept getting redder and sweatier anyway.
I also found with each stall I cleaned, there was one more very large warmblood cross-tied in the alleyway.
Now I know not all HJ's feel manners are unimportant. But I also know this particular group felt no need to police the behavior of their horses, their dogs, their children or themselves.
So with each horse I had to deal with horse and rider alike who wouldn't move, or had a red ribbon in their tail, or was taking a steamy dump in the aisle to be left for me to step in etc.
I kept getting hotter. And redder.
My hair started working out of it's braid.
I have crazy hair anyway. So pretty soon I was covered with sweaty, sticky, kinky snarls.
Now I was spitting hair out of my mouth as I troddled through the sleek and fancy horses. I knew just how sleek they were because their owners kept dropping horse blankets in my path. So I could admire their sleek and shiny horses every time I hooked a spur in a blanket.
I was in my T-shirt and jeans by the time I finished my stalls. It was about 20 degrees in the barn and I was still sweating.
I started to lead the first of my small, hairy string of horses to my tack room. There were at least 10 giant horses between me and my saddles. Most of them with wringing tails and pinned ears.
I asked the trainer how long she would be.
She stood, looking cool , relaxed and expensive in her cool relaxed, expensive HJ clothes and stared at me like I had a bug in my hair.
I tried to smooth back my hair and snagged what turned out to be some frozen horse slobber (see, no bugs!). My T-shirt was sticking to my back and chest. I could see frost forming in the shape of my jog bra.
"Why don't you just go around," she suggested as she patted her perfect chignon.
I stomped out to arena to unlock the doors and turn on the lights, thinking I might give them time to finish tacking up.
The arena was full of jumps. Again. Even though the rules stated they be taken down on open riding days. (The days I rode)
When I got back all of the horses were still cross-tied in the aisle. There wasn't an owner in sight. It seems they were all in the lounge having hot chocolate before their lesson.
I had a full blown menopausal break down.
I went down to my stalls, got two of my horses out and started down the alleyway. As I walked down I unclipped one side of every cross-tie. Each horse swung away from my wild haired, eye rolling, steam-coming-out-of-my-ears-self and I made my way to my tack room.
I tacked up and headed for the arena.
I tied my horses to the rail and went over to the first jump.
I grabbed a rail and slung it out the arena door into the snow.
I could hear the ruckus in the barn as the HJ horses, still tied with only one rope, realized they could reach each other, the tack boxes, the blankets on the floor, you get my drift.
I laughed (a little maniacally) when I heard the HJ's screaming. I kept dumping jump parts out the arena door. The HJ trainer came flying into the arena just as I was getting up on my first ride of the day. All of the jumps were piled into a big jumble in the snowdrift outside the arena.
"What are you doing?" She screamed.
I smiled. I was at peace. I was Buddha.
"Could you hand me my coat?" I asked.
"I'm feeling a little chilly."

Now it's your turn.


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  2. Come on. Cough em up. You guys know you have some hot-flash tales to tell.

  3. Brilliant !! I loved it I was laughing out loud ,could just picture the HJ trainer. I am not menopausal but I tell ya I more often resemble your description than the other and The Scarlett O'Haras' of the horse world Piss me off big time!

  4. I have never understood the animosity between English and Western riders. I have always ridden English save a few months when I dabbled around with a western saddle as a kid. Perhaps it is the region I live in (Oklahoma), I don't know. But, it drives me nuts. I am well aware that I am in the minority here unless I were to decide to board at a specialty/show barn. That being said, why must western riders act like I am crazy to ride English?
    My fiance's co-worker saw a picture of my horse with an english saddle on and warned him that he was about to marry a snob.
    I was pulled over and when I told the cop I was on my way to feed my horse, his response to my breed of choice (Arabian) was "oh, one of them doofy breeds".
    A guy where I board just last week said "I didn't know you rode English, we've got to get you in a western saddle!"

    What is with all of this???

  5. ROFL!!! I'm not menopausal (sp?), but with six kids running around, I've had momentary melt downs like this, so can relate.

    Unfortunately, I would never have the (ahem) "balls" to do what you did to anyone like that. I love it!!

  6. Sorry to disappoint, but no hot flash tales here yet. Getting there, but no desire to rush! I recently had an endometrial ablation, so at least I won't have any more "Aunt Flo" stories to share!

  7. Just last month at a local schooling show we were unloading ponies off the trailer and tacking up because it was getting dark and the kids needed to school. We were parked in the barn area no more than 15 minutes when another truck and trailer pulls up and the woman starts ranting about us being in the way. I sort of politely told her to give us 5 minutes and we'd be on our way. This was not good enough because she got in my friend's truck and moved the truck and trailer!!! If the kids had been standing there I would have given her and earful. She proceeded to park and unload for over an hour....urgh! What gives with some people???

  8. Mugs you're a hoot. I can relate....don't give up - the hot flashes aren't forever (just seems like it).
    I've lived on all sides of this - people have such a hard time with the concept that there are a lot of times when there is no right or wrong in dealing with a is what ever works for that particular horse and rider combination. Dressage riders can learn from reiners, who can learn from hunters, who can learn from western pleasure show riders, who can learn from old timey back yarders, who can learn from the little kid next door, who.....etc.
    I was showing an awfully good Arab gelding in a local open western pleasure class, and was patiently waiting our turn to enter the ring. In front of us a sparkly twig of a girl was having a hissy fit. She was next in line, ahead of us, to go into the ring. The alley was narrow so she had to go. "But I can't go in in front of them (pointing at me and the very good gelding), they'll go faster and pass us and mess my horse up - it's an Arab!" My eyebrows shot up past my hat...I mean she was really making a needless scene. This little gelding was going to go as slow and low as he was asked - straight, with 3 beats, and happily. The gate man told her to "get in there, you are holding up can circle out of the way if you need to but just go!" Well, I'm not quite a redhead, but I do have a lot of red highlights if they count....I ended up in front of her and my little guy went soooo slow that she had to pass or break down, and I sat there smiling as if I was completely oblivious to her plight. On the reverse, we "happened" to end up on the inside of her rail pass going stride for stride....she was just beside herself and told me to "get away, the judge can't see me." Outside of the ring, she was still complaining that it wasn't fair. I know I should have been the grownup here...causing the poor, loud, whiney, little teeny bopper distress with my wild Ay-rab...but it still brings a smile to my face just to think about it.

  9. Oh my goodness, funny!

    I will say I did experience boarding at a barn with my H/J trainer that we shared with a bunch of team penners. I think we all got along pretty well even though one of them tried to KILL me by letting me ride a cow horse. You know if you make a move they go shooting off? Very different ride from my dead sided TB you have to thump on all day to get lateral movement out of.

    My old trainer moved to a new barn that was also mostly western. I've heard she's making eyes at the big brand new arena they built for the western riders. I wonder how that's going... I guess I'll be finding out soon when I start lessons again!

    I have no going crazy stories to share. At least not when it comes to the horses.

    Oh, Liz! I had that done too. I am loving the idea of never having to worry about the bad combo of a show day period and light colored breeches.

  10. What a great story!

    As someone who started out taking lessosn with an H/J trainer and then switched to western, I have always been privvy to the western/english divide.

    It amuses to no end. Especially the year at our county fair when I was the only western rider in the bunch. Some of those girls acted as though my horse had cooties.

    When I asked for some helping holding her while I bathed her they visibly recoiled- she was a *sniff* western horse.

    Imagine their shock when we cleaned up at the show- taking Grand Champion Showmanship, Grand Champion Halter horse, Grand Champion mare and Reserve Grand Senior Horse overall :o)

  11. HOLY Schnykes Batman!! That sounds like something I would do! Though I'm far from menopausal, lol. I did similar things when I kept my horses at the local county fairgrounds barns...I shared it w/a "race horse trainer". He had about 8 horribly behaved mutt thouroughbreds-nothing against TB's, the good ones are cool in my book-that were less than stellar on the track. He had a hotwalker in the turnout pen behind the barn, so he thought that automatically made him the owner of said barn and/or turnout pen. I can't even count the times that his "help" would insist that I catch my horse b/c Fluffy needed to be put on the walker before the evening feeding. LOL it took at least three people to catch this particular horse IN A STALL, then one on each side to lead it anywhere. My barrel horse at the time didn't like anyone but me, so it was a cinch they wouldn't even open the door, well, they could open it but not without being met with teeth or front feet. He was a bit naughty... They also had this cute habit of washing every horse in the barn every 30 minutes it seemed like, much to my dismay. It was hard enough just to get enough water pressure to fill my buckets for my 3 most of the time, let alone when they would give their "athletes" as they would refer to them their 3 hour baths. I've been around other TB racing folks, and I have no problem with them. Just the particular batch that I had to deal with drove me nuts. There was a full size track at the fairgrounds, so they would usually work one or two horses a week in the mornings during the summer. I'm not dumb, I realize how the race horse thing works. They go the wrong way on the outside till they're ready to do something, then go the right way on the inside. I got it. LOL when they'd come thundering (well, it wasn't so much thundering as it was floundering) up behind me, they'd yell and scream like I was about to smack them with a hammer. I never saw how me riding and ponying another horse on the same track was so detrimental to the "athletes" training, but then again I wasn't a rocket scientist like them...:]
    Ha--that story wasn't really about a menopausal woman, but a gal that I used to haul w/in my younger days is worth mentioning!We were at a big regional barrel race in the middle of the hottest part of the summer here in Oklahoma. This barrel race was being held in a part of the country that's known as "The Hay Capital"...not many shade trees! Lol, it had to have been 100 degrees at least, so we were all pretty miserable. My hauling buddy decided she needed to cool her and her horse off- *she was having a hot flash in the 100+ degree weather!! She filled a 5 gallon bucket w/water, put it on the edge of the pickup bed, mounted her horse, then proceeded to dump the bucket over her head and her horse! It was hillarious-I thought her horse was going to wig out, he was not real sure what was going on, it was too too funny!!

  12. Sorry mugs, no hot flash stories, that's a long ways off for me. I've experienced a bit of this, being that for the most part Iowa is very western oriented (though not so much that I could find a reining trainer to take lessons from) but we do have our random share of HJ barns. I found that I did get the random comments when I made it clear to one of my instructers that I liked english, and they were always pushing me into western saddles on western horses and forcing me to learn how to neck rein (that took alot of getting used to, especially since the horses weren't always the most trustworthy). However later, after they westernified me, I didn't experience any of the things you had happen when I started riding at an extremely fancy HJ barn. Never got any comments on the fact that I was the only one to ever wear jeans there... But I did get a sense that everybody thought western horses were pretty cheap except the trainer who clued them in one day when we were discussing one of my non-english horses and she talked about how training a little WP QH payed for her big expensive WB. Actually the only thing that ever happened was that she asked me to do a rollback once, and there was some major confusion until we figured out our deffinitions were NOT the same. But then I'll have to see what I encounter b/c I've found an eventing barn to get some lessons at :)

  13. I'm not menopausal and can't think of other good stories, but I am finding the english vs western rider discussion interesting.

    As a kid, I started riding English, but rode western fairly often - went on multi-day trail rides western and did some showing western. One year (or two?), I went to these western shows and rode english! Keep in mind I was a kid, probably the only way I got away with that. It was funny at the end of the year to receive the trophy for walk-jog after stubbornly insisting I ride english all season. Now, hearing about all this animosity, I am glad I was a clueless kid. There must have been so many people that wanted to reform me! Guess I owe my dad a thanks for just letting me ride and have fun.

  14. Well Mugs, as to the first part, I am very willing to temporarily shut everyone else's words out because I posted on YOUR blog for YOUR opinion and training methods. The great thing about blogs, I think, is that they will be there for future reference when other issues arrise or if/when something doesn't work.

    lol!! Your story was hilarious. I always get out of control when my naturally curly/frizzy hair does too, or maybe it's vice versa. I wonder now, did they ever be beyatches to you again? Or how long before you got fed up. Our old barn was the same way, damn Walking horses.

  15. I've always been a western girl but dabbled in hunt seat riding too. The barn I currently board at is all hunt seat and I'm the only western rider. They're all perfectly lovely ladies and never look down at me when I'm riding western. The first time I tacked up hunt seat, though, they commented on how they didn't know I rode english and made a big deal out of it. The only problem I have there is that the jumps constantly take up the entire arena. I understand how long it takes to set them up and measure them out, but occasionally I'd like to longe my horse, ride some figure eights to work on lead changes, or just ride off the rail a bit.

    Don't touch those jumps, though, or you'll get an earful!

    No hot-flash tales... I'm too young for that. Although, I would really enjoy one right about now. It is COLD out here!

  16. Ezra- You know, it's interesting. I always blame the trainer or barn owner for attitude, not the client/boarders. Maybe because I have headed a group of people who rode with me at different barns at various times.
    I was always brought to task if "my" group was out of line. If they were copping an attitude it was usually because I was.
    So I learned to be diplomatic early on.
    A lot of the people who rode with THAT woman were really nice. She had started them with horses so they truly didn't know how inconsiderate they were. Of course I showed a high level of maturity by going absolutely ballistic that day. It took one of my long term clients to talk to them and explain what I was so upset about. They were too terrified of me to ask!
    Ah, barn drama, gotta love it.

  17. Mugs, you are my hero!

    There is never an excuse for bad manners, regardless of riding style.

  18. That was hysterical. That trainer SO needed that kind of treatment!

    I bet those horses had loads of fun too being able to get into stuff. Probably even scared themselves a little =)

    I'll try to think of one too...

  19. There was this couple that lived in a trailer at a stable I used to board at. She did some feeding for some folks, and he did some stall cleaning. He was the best cleaner ever too. He would rake each 24 X 24 pen as thoroughly as I do when I am only picking up after my own.

    Anyway he asked me one day if I was going to keep my rescue colt (unregistered and of unknown breed) a stallion so I could breed him. I told him I would be gelding him just as soon as I had him gentile enough to haul to the vet. He also had an umbelical hernia so needed a sterile surgery. He went on for a while about what a shame that was, and how my colt would make such pretty babies. I ignored him, but I was annoyed.

    A couple of weeks later I was taking to him in passing and he commented how much god must love horses cuz he put so many of them on the earth. I sort of flipped out at that point, saying god had nothing to do with it, that the sheer numbers of horses were the result of over breeding by people that shouldn't be breeding in the first place, producing a lot of poor quality crap that will likely end up at slaughter. At that time it was 1000-2000 per week in America.

    The poor guy. He ended up going on about people being a bunch of idiots. After I walked away I remembered that he and his wife had their mare at the breeders. (I have a special talent for putting my foot in my mouth that way) Luckily she didn't take, because within a year they were splitting and both of their horses were the first thing to go.

    That was before I found Fugly. Imagine my delight when I was directed to the FHOTD blog =)

  20. Isn't it kinda nice to have that little upperhand though? Being known as slightly crazy, so everyone's just a little scared and don't want to make you mad? I work for two attorneys and one of them, sadley, is scared to death of me. Not good to blow up in the workplace, but he's just so ridiculous sometimes I had to blow up to get him to stop. Since then, he makes offers to me of pizza and office snacks. lol!! Go figure.

    Sometimes you just have to get crazy to get some respect. Yes, barn drama. It never ends.

  21. Thanks Mugwump. I really don't care what discipline people ride. I guess if I see a bad ride I shrug and think it's that particular rider vs. the ENTIRE discipline.

    I've always appreciated a good ride and think the english riding is way cool but so are many of the western riding events!

    I personally would have liked to learn other disciplines but only have the $$ to put toward one.

    Took me a long, long time to save up to buy my nice show boots and my full seat breeches and my nice dressage saddle...been piecing and parting my way since I was 16 and I'm 38 so.. no way could I begin divvying the $$ up between sports. One is enough!

    I don't really have any hot flash moments... but once I was at a barn and all my grooming brushes kept disappearing. Time after time... a curry here, a stiff body brush there, a soft face brush...

    I AM a weenie. I will probably ALWAYS be a weenie. But this was getting really old really fast so I posted on the communal chalkboard:

    "To the people not returning my grooming brushes; my horse has ringworm."

    I got ALL my brushes back and none of them ever disappeared again....

    When you are a big weenie, you have to be sneakier! :)

  22. ough...maybe that is what my barn owner's problem is. My friend and I board at the same barn, and it is hell. The lady who owns the place will find random reasons to go off (screaming at the top of her lungs, swearing, and then calling our parents and doing the same to them). this happens regularly, about once a month. the next day, or sometimes even the same day, she will act like we are best buddies. she is constantly threatening to throw us out, but never follows through because she cant afford to loose boarders. the truely tragic part is, we cant leave because it is the only place with halfway decent facilities in our area who will take boarders. it's either put up with the shit or sell my horse. i guess menopause isn't funny...

  23. Anon-Seriously, menopause is really, really funny.Maybe not to the people around me, but...As long as the crazy barn owner isn't yelling at your horse and the animals are healthy,I'd just go with the flow.
    Sorry, I couldn't help it.

  24. Its never the 'real' (if you could call them that!) english/dressage/hunter/jumper/barrel racer/cattle penner that bothers me. In most cases these people have expearenced alot in there quest to be the best they can be. And more then willing to share (as in a give and take!) in the right situation.

    Its the 'want to be's' that get me. Ya know the one thats owned her horse for 6 years and still wont show a dressage test that requires a circle at a canter! "Can you belive they would ask that of him? Dont they know how special/cute/too good he is? " We seem to have alot of them around here.

    We do have some good H/J/Dressage pople but they stay away from the anoying ones!

    And I hopefully have a few years to go before the hot flashes

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  26. Thanks for the story--it was great. I'm proud of you. I have bawled out my fair share of tough old cowboys and rough young team ropers in my life (these are the guys I ran with), mostly for beating up a good horse that didn't deserve it, or endangering others life and limb by stupid/agressive behavior. But I can't think of one time that would really make a good story. I'm sure they all thought "Menopausal bi...", but they all backed down. I guess I'm scary when I'm mad, too.

  27. Mugs,
    I loved your story...I wish that I could have the guts to actually DO something like that. I am also a weenie...I probably would have just gone home crying because I was so mad.
    When I was showing my mare back in the late 90s, there was another lady that was also taking lessons at the same barn with me. She was the pampered know, the trainer had her horse saddled and tied up out in the arena ready for her to just get on and warm up. I always saddled my OWN mare and took care of my OWN horse...she NEVER put out any effort to "Help" with her horse. Well my trainer suggested that I go to a really big NCHA show in Oregon, so after a few days of thought, I said, "Ok lets go" Come to find out, this other lady was going. I was not happy. The ONLY way for me to get to Oregon was to ride the EIGHT hours in the car with this other lady...I guarantee you she was NOT happy about me going. She was PISSED! Infact, she didin't say 2 words to me the WHOLE way up there!! I ended up getting into the finals(the other lady didn't LOL)and I got RESERVE Champion! I had a huge stomach ach that nite because I was dreading going home with her...but then my trainer jumped in and said, "You want to ride home with me?" I of COURSE Said "YES!! PLEASE!!"

  28. I am not menopausal but I am overly protective of my personal safety and my horses safety and anyone else in the arena for that matter. We had a gal in our barn that was just awful, she was mean to her horse, rode him all batshit crazy until he would rear, spook, bolt you name it. She almost t boned us twice , then she got off and proceeded to put him in driving lines and crack the whip in our general direction , which made him freak and bolt our way.
    I turned around in front of the rest of the group that was gasping at the spectacle, and I quote to the Barn Owner who never said a word to her.

  29. Hahahahaha...and they're not hot flashes, they're 'POWER SURGES'.

  30. Eh. I've spent a lot of time doing both kinds of riding. English is my main sport, but I spent three years in high school penning cows and doing some gaming. It was fun.

    I hate to see bad riders in either discipline. Well, let me rephrase - bad riders who have a negative effect on their poor horse, i.e. misusing a bit of any severity, constantly giving mixed signals, taking their anger out on their horse, etc. You can get that no matter what shape the saddle is. But, I completely respect a good rider or trainer, again no matter what shape the saddle.

    Now I am a person that tends to be all for polite interactions, and I'd never do what you did to that HJ lady - but oh god the mental image is PRICELESS.

  31. Tee hee - Way too young for menopause here, but the English/Western stuff reminded me that I still haven't posted a picture of the tack I am currently riding my TB in. It is what fit him best AND fit my preferences... He is wearing a french link snaffle (from an English catalog) on a one-ear Western bridle with split reins and an all-purpose English saddle and girth. I just hope George Morris never sees it!

  32. Gah. Horsewomen (and men occasionally) cause more drama than any other single group of people I can think of--including spoiled rotten teenyboppers! Heaven defend us when they are included in both groups.

    Ironically enough I JUST posted my first blog under this name (I was chickenrider before) and it's about the difference between the Western and English idea of the hunter horse. I would LOVE it if someone could come over and explain it to me!!!!!!!!!!!!--I'm very confused!

    I grew up doing the HJ stuff under a witchy lady with no money OR horse sense but I like to think I still wasn't like the women you posted about!

    Before I sold him I taught my OTTB hunter to go in Western tack with a passable jog and "not so trustworthy" neck-reining. :)

    I agree everyone can learn from everyone but the Attitude needs to go!

  33. ROFLOL....that was a VERY welcome relief to the drama going on in other boards. Thanks, and again I marvel at your writing style, you make one feel as if they were watching over your shoulder.

  34. Whatever discipline - once bitten with the horse-bug, it often grows to a lifelong obsession.
    I wonder, what makes the horse-person in you guys tick?
    Most of the days it is hard work. It costs a lot of money. It takes a lot of time.
    For us up here in the Northpole-corner of the world we have a long period of darkness and cold. Not all days are as inviting as others, you might say.
    So why do we do it?
    For me, it’s the riding.
    There are up-days and down-days. There are days in between (most of those).
    If things are working out reasonably well, I go in a kind of yoga-state up there on my horse. I try to tune in. Be in balance, work with the flow.
    I can only concentrate on what’s happening right there, in that very moment. Input from my horse, digest, output. So all the other things in life just have to wait for a while.
    It’s a kind of mental cleansing, I suppose, with a work-out at the same time.
    Some days, the glorious ones, I feel I can just think one thing, and my horse and I are one.
    Then I won’t return to earth for a while.

  35. This whole post just made me shudder at the days when I was involved in that sort of thing. I ride Western (in England), but when I decided to have a proper go at eventing with my mare, I moved her to an English barn.
    Now I rode English when I was little, but I had never SEEN chaos, tears and tantrums like these ladies were having on a daily basis. Livery yards in England usually operate on a 'one person, one horse' basis - there is no trainer, and the person in charge is the owner. Apart from the upside of having no groupies/cult followers of trainers, there are no benefits to this. What tends to happen is that everyone thinks what they do with their horse is sacred knowledge, which should be passed on to everyone within earshot, repeatedly and aggressively. And I hate to say this, but it is ALWAYS women, ALL the time. The majority of female riders make me ashamed of my sex. My boyfriend came to this stables so I could give him his first riding lesson. Whilst there, he witnessed the barn owner and a client having a screaming match, resulting in the barn owner throwing a saddle at the sobbing client, knocking her to the floor. Why are there stable politics? What makes us so irate that we can't keep our cool when it comes to riding? Eventually I left: eventing wasn't worth the way I felt every time I had to go up there. It's meant to be a leisure sport - I hate to sound like a school teacher, but why can't everyone just play nice together?!

  36. Londongirl, you just reminded me of why I am so happy that I keep my horses at my own place. I have one boarder, who is a lifelong friend. He, my son, and I ride together most days, in the arena or on the trail. We have no drama. I am so grateful(!)

  37. Oh my, I loved that story. Just wish I could've witnessed it firsthand. And Donna said "power surges". AHAHA! True!

    I don't have any good menopause stories. For some reason, God flipped my "rage" switch to off shortly after the hot flashes kicked in full force. It's a good thing, because I probably would've killed somebody eventually with that rage/hot flash combo. Now I'm all peacefully sweaty. I do relate to the shedding of layers as I clean stalls though. And I never look nice and neat like other ladies. Always frizzed out hair, red face and pit stains the size of small pizzas. No matter what I do. UGH!

  38. HorseofCourse - I wonder that often too. What makes people choose this sport that is a LOT of hard work and a huge drain on the pocketbook?

    Mugs and I are alike in the sense that I lived in my head most of the time when I was little. It was a world full of the soft nickers and the sweet warm smell of horses I made up. Unlike Mugs I was in a situation similar to her friend Melinda. Horses were both my escape and what tied me to reality. I think my mom sensed enough to know I needed a horse to save myself. I was crazy sometimes, I took risks when I rode, but it was probably far less trouble than I would have gotten into and did get into later when for a short time in high school I stopped riding. What started out as an escape became the single most important passion in my life. I am, on a daily basis, amazed by these big, strong animals that choose to work with us and give us everything when they could clearly choose not too. I don't have any misconception about the fact if my 1300 lb horse decided he was done that it would be over. You can't force a critter 6x your size so you have to learn to work together. That kind of a partnership crosses all disciplines.

    My step-sister and I ride together. I grew up in a more urban area and she grew up in the country. She's always been a little bit cowgirl and riding western suits her. She's worked for a friend starting barrel racing colts and trail rides western. I've ridden english since I was 12 and before that it was just hacking around on trails with my pony. The one thing we have in common is jumping. We both love it but it's harder to do with a saddle horn! She and I have discussed this in depth and there is a moment of freedom over the top of a fence that I have never felt in any other event. I was drawn to English because of the jumping probably because I tend to be a bit of a risk taker and like the adrenaline rush. She rides jumpers because she likes the speed and height. I like hunters because I like the finesse of a perfectly executed course. I stayed with English because I started training for a 3 day event and liked the way dressage teaches you to think about riding. I like really understanding how each movement I make is intrepreted by my horse. I will admit I have been a bit ignorant of western disciplines but I am now finding a commonality between dressage and reining in just the simple fact that you are teaching your mount to be a collected and responsive partner.

    I also used to dance when I was younger. What I found was that any new type you learn only made you stonger at all of the others. I think riding is like that too and it's too bad people can be so closed minded. We can all learn from each other which is why I love this blog.

    I recently got a chance to ride a TWH. I never thought I would have any use for a gaited horse. They don't usually jump or do dressage. But I have to say that racing along in a running walk is the only way I ever think I want to trail ride again. It was awesome! Open minds are a powerful thing.

  39. Well too young for all of that good stuff, but I have a pretty good story. Although I have aquired a reputation of speaking my mind when i think something is wrong. So here we go......

    We all know the "my horse is better than your horse" and the "I am right and you are wrong" people. So I train a small amount of horses in this small town where everybody grew up riding horses and daddy would go to the auction and pick up a few horses for their kids to work with. Basically everybody around here think that they can train horses. So sitting at the barn I board at here comes the barn owner. He is one of the old time farm boy trainers who go with the "I will make this horse do what I say or else" mannerism of training. So here I am getting my filly ready to do some ground work when another one of the borders decides he is going to ride one of the two years olds today (at this point they have maybe 10 ride on them). For one he just got into horses and has never ridden more than twenty or so times in his life. He brings the colt up a starts to saddle him and i notice that the latigo seems a bit old and about ready to break. I give my thought on it and am told to "mind my own business" so I go on my way thinking this is going to be a good rodeo. So he gets all done tacking up and leads his colt out to the round pen.

    Will finish this story when I have more time.

  40. I was complaining one day that I was having trouble sleeping and that my PMS mood swings were getting worse and one of my best friends says "oh, you are perimenopausal". I hadn't really even thought about it till right then. I figured that I had two choices. One was to try to be nicer and be conscience of my behavior, take some drugs, take it easy on my family and the other was to say "yippeee now I can be the onrery so and so I am naturally" Guess which one I choose? It was so liberating. :)

    I am a pretty easy going person, I can take alot of crap, but when I have had enough, I AM DONE. And most of the time, I don't know I am there until it is too late. Several years ago I was boarding at a dressage barn where the trainer was from Spain. He had a wife and was screwing this asst. trainer. I ride western and my favorite breed are quarter horses. He thought quarter horses were direct decendents of badly conformed andulisians and basically half breed pieces of crap with no talent or value. He made no bones about his opinions and I just pretty much ignored him. He felt he was above cleaning stalls and his stall cleaner had a hard time getting to work. I cleanded my stall every evening because I didn't know if they would get done in the morning. The board was reasonable and the facility is close to my house and the only one in the area with an indoor. Or I wouldn't have been there. One day he asked me if he could put my horse outside during the day in portable pens he was going to set up. He said he wanted to let him have some green grass and fresh air. I read, he didn't want to clean the stall and mow the grass. I told him it would be fine as long as the horse was safe and had water. I get there the next day and my horse (who is 16 hands and beefy) is outside in a 10 x 10 pen, up to his ankles in mud, large piece pipe in the pen, and no water. He had been there since 10am and it was after 5pm. I just lost it. I called him and his asst trainer everything but white. I went off about all the stuff that had been bugging me for the two years I had been there. They stood in front of me, mouths open, feet moving but not going anywhere, babbling "we're sorry". When I got done, I started to walk away and remembered I had forgot one thing, I turned around and said "AND quarter horses are not direct decendents of andulisians you dumb ass AND they are not half breed pieces of crap AND they are more atheltic and talented with better temperments than most of the other breeds". It was the best. :)

  41. Mug, love your stories, and how you tell them. Hot flashes last 2-4 years, last time I checked web site. I told my Ob-Gyn a menopausal mom and teenage daughter were too much in one house, and have been on estrogen. But I can still ride in cold weather in the indoor with no coat!! And I had my hair dyed red 12 years ago. Had waited forever for it to change on its own...
    Mugs, a complex question. What should one do if riding a horse that trips? I had read you give them their head. My trainer gave me the are you nuts look, and went on about how dangerous it is if their head falls below their knees, because the rest of the horse may follow, and you need to have control of their head if they snap out of the fall and get other ideas. My daughter repeats what I have been told, give the poor horse his head, get out of his mouth. Trainer is Western, daughter H/J English. Trainer rides wild things that scare me to death, and I have no doubt that he has had alot more horses seriously trip (fall) than most of us mere riders. . and I hope that stays that way for me!!

  42. Anonymous said: "...a sparkly twig of a girl...."

    What a great phrase, great imagery! Hee-hee.

  43. Nagonmom--I don't give them their heads when they trip. I'm with your trainer. I had a horse (a solid, broke, trustworthy rope horse who had never fallen before) trip with me at the slow lope years ago. I was riding him on a completely loose rein because I'd been riding with cutters for many years and they almost all lope on a completely loose rein. Well, this horse's head went below his knees (which I 100% believe I could have prevented had I been riding him on barely there contact as I ride now, by "catching him"), and as your trainer said, the whole horse went down, flinging me onto the ground, which was no big deal as it wasn't far to fall and the arena ground was soft. But I could feel that the horse was somersaulting forward (didn't dare take time to look) and I scrambled forward myself on hands and knees to get out of the way. The horse landed on his back, right where I had been a moment before. Horse and I were both fine. But I never again loped a horse thrown away, and when mine trip for no good reason, I give them a sharp bump in the mouth and another bump with my leg to remind them its not Ok to trip. This is just my method, by the way--I'm not saying its right or wrong. Works for me.

  44. I agree with Laura, Nagonmon. I don't know how brave you are!, but I wouldn't want to be giving a horse his head if I knew he was in the habit of tripping. How old is he? Does he trip just at a faster pace, or at the walk too? He may be clumsy, elderly, or unsound. I would check the feet first, though. I rode a shire who used to trip out of being too damm lazy to pick up his feet. Working his hindquarters, and thereofre lifting his head into a contact helped slightly to resolve this.

  45. Ok sorry guys.
    Ok any ways, the other border has the colt all tacked up and ready to go. So he leads him out to the round pen and starts to longe him about two or three time each way, tightens the sinch and longes him a twice more each way. So about this time I come out of the barn with my filly and lead her over to the other round pen and then I remember that I had for got my longe line and glove in the barn. Then I tie the reins up check the saddle to see if it is still tight for obvious reasons. On my way back to the the barn I say again that I think he sould check that latigo strap, and I am met with a reply of "Shut up and mind your own business. Whatever. So I get to the barn and I had barely taken a step in and I here " Sh**, WHOA DAMMIT, WHOA! WHOA! WHOA!" I run out just in time to see this colt hauling A** around the round pen with the saddle underneath only attached by a back sinch. After about ten minutes of screaming and trying to catch this colt, they finally catch him. I walk passed the pen and smirk and say "Told you so" I met with a glare that could melt the tin sideing of the barn. Well, the saddle, what saddle?? All I see is stirrup laying over there and piece of leather here and the latigo strap on the other side of the round pen. What happen was that when the rider went to get on the latigo strap broke and the colt freaked. At this point I cannot keep from laughing and I can no longer work with my horse because my sides hurt so bad. So I stop and take a break, the border still wants to ride this colt so leads the colt back to the barn, comes out picks up the pieces of the saddle and goes back into the barn. About ten minutes later, here he comes with a new saddle on the colt and brings him in and gets ready to get on him. "I ask aren't you going to longe him first", he replies "I already did". I Smirk and go about my ground work with my horse, no sooner was he on the colt did the colt take off like a bat outta hell bucking and flying around that round pen. I am laughing again, he get thrown off and gets a face full of dirt and the colt finally stops, and is shaking horribly (duh!) So he gets up and goes and gets a longe line and longes the colt for about 15 minutes and then gets back on (he is determined). Well after the longeing the colt has calm down and the border is riding him. They get done and come in to the barn, I already am in there untacking my filly, and he says to me "gosh, he is really jumpy?" (duh!). So that was my entertainment for that day. Lets just say he double checks everything before he rides. Well i have got to say that was the most entertaining one-man rodeo I have ever been to.

  46. Thanks FR,

    Great story!

    Totally worth the wait by the way =)

  47. ok, got another one.
    I had just bought this appaloosa horse right before she was going to be hauled to the aution and more then likely sold to the KB. I am figuring, I need some thing to ride until my filly is ready to ride, so I get the horse off the trailer and start to lead her to the tie post. The most communication this horse has had with people in five years is being tossed some grain here and there. So, I pull her off the the trailer and in my attemps to lead her over to the tie post she is running me over steping on my heels and just being an idiot. So I taker her to the tie post, tie her up and get my saddle, I get her tacked up and attempt to longe her a little bit before I get on. She attempts to kick at me, nearly get me, and when horse kick at me I make sure that they double think that before they try it again. I bring the whip (once) acrossed her haunches. Well, the guy I just bought her from is standing there (he has seen the movie The Horse Whisper, so that qualifies him to be a trainer) and he watches me and as soon as I correct her he starts yelling that I am an abusive trainer and that he is going to take the horse back. I ignore him but he keeps hollering so finally I turn around and say "Well since you seem to know everthing about horse training, why don't you show me how its done." (he has never trained a horse in his life). so he tells me "No, I don't want too" I say "No, really I want you to show me how to do it." I hand him the lead rope and he just stands there. I say "come on, I really need to see how its done." At this point he says "Fine!" So, here we go he attempts to start longeing her and all of a sudden she spins and double barrel kicks at him. He dodges the kick (lucky him). He turns around and says "Here" (attempts to hand me the lead rope) I say "No, I haven't learned anything yet"He finally admits "I don't really know how to longe a horse." My reply " Thought so." "Now can I get back to my training???" He hands me the lead rope and walks off. He to this day has not said a word to me about how to train a horse. I end up riding the horse. Today I still have her and she doesn't kick while being longed any more"

  48. Oooh, That was a really close call for the know it all big mouth =)

    And they say cats have 9 lives...

  49. nagonmom- You have to give me more information. And yes I have been known to give a horse his head if they're tripping. But I also know if they are tripping because they're hanging on my hands. And I have explained to Laura, I don't know that my version of thrown away is the same as anybody else's. I can still catch a horse who is going down....more info please!

  50. This comment has been removed by the author.

  51. I would LOVE to know if she handed you your coat!

  52. I cannot STAND it when people leave horses in cross ties and wander off. Other people don't know if they can pass the horse, if it's safe, if they can go by with a wheelbarrow, etc.

    TIE YOUR DAMN HORSE IN ITS STALL if you are not actively working on it and present...not that tough. Just basic good manners!

    In general, I don't think mixed discipline barns work. I've never seen them work. One discipline always thinks the other is just horrible. And h/j people always leave the jumps up even when they are not supposed to...just like barrel people leave the barrels up. "Clearing the arena" when you are done is a rule at many places and well enforced at none that I can name.

    I am a bit too young for menopause, but I am gonna go ballistic if one more person tells me scratches that have left the horse with huge hairless patches that are raw and horribly painful is "not a big deal." YES it's a big deal and YES it was preventable. It just wasn't prevented. I have also heard lately that water is not a big deal and that "a horse can go all day without water." Are you f'ing retarded? That's the line of people too goddamn lazy to water 2x a day like any decent barn does.

  53. Uh, ok...

    Water is NOT optional! We can all go a while without food, NONE of us will last very long at all without water. Who ARE these people?

  54. Every time I'm in a bad mood I come back to this post, reread it, and am left smiling :)

  55. This post is epic! I wish I had the guts to do something like that. I have dealt with so many bitches in the horse world. I can't understand what it is about horses that creates this population of nice people, dotted with individuals made of pure evil. I swear half of my posts are about those people