Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Rachel and Grandma and the Arabian Horse - The Last of Crash and Burn!

Crash and Burn Part 1

That brings us pretty much up to date in this latest happening in the life of the Arabian horse, Scandal Sheet. Except for the fact I have tried several times to get an appointment nailed down with both Rachel and her mother so we can talk things over. I wanted to give Rachel and her mother copies of my letter, talk about its contents and maybe get this resolved.

I even tried to set a specific date which got totally overlooked. Colleen knows that I won't move forward until we have had this meeting. Last I heard she had not told Rachel about any of my concerns or what I've been feeling. I'm pretty sure she hasns't told her about the letter either. I'm getting tired of trying to get this thing set up. I have no intentions of just letting this go. Then I began posting here.

To say that posting about this on my blog has opened up a can of worms would be a gross understatement. I know that Rachel has read the posts because her mother has told me so. I know that she isn't happy and that she thinks I am being unfair. As you can tell we are right where we always seem to be with her mother in the middle.

Her mother isn't happy either but what the paticulars of that are I am not sure. All she will say is that I could have said things differently. I tried to explain to her that telling them differently would not have been true to me or to my horse. This blog is about my passion for Arabian horses and believe me I am passionate about what has happened to Dandy. I think the two go hand in hand.

I feel kind of stuck because it doesn't work out to try to talk to Rachel at the barn. I have tried that before and it has never worked out. Someone is always coming along and interrupting and everything goes sideways. Besides Rachel pretty much just gets defensive and shuts down and then talks to her mother later. I doubt that she ever gets any idea of where I'm coming from. Nothing has ever been resolved this way.

I think the only way we have a chance to get this done is away from the barn with all three of us there. Once and for all, get things out in the open for everyone to hear instead of doing this triangulation thing that is a big part of why things are such a mess. Of course, that will only work if Rachel choses to participate. If she just takes it in and carries it home for later discussion with her mother, it probably won't solve anything but I will have tried. I'm still hoping that we can resolve these problems but only time will tell.

In the meantime, I finally went back to the barn yesterday. Despite a bad fall on the ice Saturday, my body held up pretty well. I only worked a couple of horses becaue I just wasn't sure how my body would react. I don't want anymore relapses or accidents, I really need and want to get back to working horses. I have missed them terribly.

Today I worked all six Arabian horses. They were wild as march hares and mostly they were mad at me. They're not used to my comings and goings being so sporadic. They really let me know that they haven't appreciated my absence and that I have been missed.

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And just to get all things out in the open, I even had a comment left from one of the kids at the barn. It was pretty accusing and for that matter upsetting. I've worked really hard to do right by my granddaughter and getting slammed for it doesn't feel good. Not to mention that having her peers reenforce her behavior instead of supporting the needs of her horse is disconcerting.

I wish that Crystal was back at the barn. I know where she stands on this thing. It would be nice to have some support and maybe Rachel would be more likely to listen to Crystal than me. I'm darn sure the other kids at the barn wouldn't be doing things like slamming the adults from the barn over anything like this if Crystal were around. For that matter slamming adults for anything at all wouldn't go over big. Crystal doesn't have much tolerance for disrespect.

But just for the record I was asked a question in that comment. Would you like to do that every day??????? Yes, actually, I have....and for far more horses than six. I worked ten to twelve hours a day six days a week.

I loved each and every minute of it. I was grateful for the opportunity to learn even the littlest thing and to be around such great horses. I didn't get to ride and I sure didn't get any kind of lessons. I learned by watching and listening and paying attention to detail. And I did every single thing I was asked without a single complaint.

In the beginning my feet burned and my legs, arms and across my shoulders ached. But I didn't let the pain stop me because I wanted to learn everything I could before I owned my first horse. I wanted to be sure that my horse didn't pay for my mistakes because I was new at horses and didn't know anything. You see I don't pay lip service to loving horses. I truly do. That means I take the obligation of caring for them very seriously.

I think I have a lot of understanding and tolerance for new owners and their learning process. However, I have no tolerance for people who take shortcuts at their horses expense. It doesn't matter if it is my horse or someone else's horse. Being a teenager is not an excuse for not being responsible.

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  1. Just a remarkable photograph. These animals are so proud.

  2. Don't let disrespectful kids get you down about the situation. Like you said ... you have the right and responsibility to ensure that your horses are cared for properly. If teens/adults who are working with horses do not understand and embrace the responsibility it entails--they have no business being there. It's not easy to care for horses. It takes time, love, patience, and attention to detail. I'm not terribly far off from being a teen myself, and I know first hand the hard work that goes into being around horses, especially if you're just learning. There's so much more to it than just riding.

    I sincerely hope that Rachel and her friends come to understand that and that she learns what an amazing opportunity she has to work around and learn about horses. If the two of you get this situation worked out, horses will be a special bond you will share for life.

  3. I hope it all works out for you. I find that today most of the kids I come across at barns are irresponsible and lack the work ethic us older folks had. I don't know the reason, maybe things are handed to them to easily and they don't really have to work hard for what they get. The horses are beautiful, he sure was a little cutie as a baby. Good Luck.

  4. You're right he was the cutest darn baby!

    Wow Mikael, how uspetting. Not only for you but also for Dandy. I have a suggestion, but am not sure it' appropriate to comment here. If you want I can email you privately.

    As far as the other teenager commenting, WHOA! Unbelieveable.

  5. I remember back when I was a teenager and I got my "break" in the horse world. One of my parent's neighbors agreed to let me show her horse at the 4-H county horse show BUT it came with conditions. I pretty much had to do anything and everything she wanted me to do which included more than doing daily chores (turn out, feeding, medicating, cleaning stalls, exercising, etc). She had me clean tack, the tack room, and barn, paint the ENTIRE fence around the pastures (which took me near all of my summer "free time" to get done), take care of her dogs and cat when she went camping...she brought me with to haul hay, feed, and bedding as well as hold horses for vet and farrier appointments and I don't remember what else...but I was ALWAYS busy...I pretty much lived there for that summer. I was up every day at the crack of dawn to do chores. And more times then I can count I'd be up past midnight watching show videos and being taught everything this woman could teach me in a couple month time span and then of course I'd be back up again the next morning...EARLY...while everyone else was sleeping in (which was not typical for me...I was one of those teens that LOVED to sleep in until noon if I got a chance). And she made it VERY clear that if I purposely made a shortcut or did ANYTHING to cause either of her horses harm that I would NEVER work with her again. She was VERY strict on every aspect of what we did that summer. If I didn't get things done right the first time to her standards...I did it again until it was right. And more often then not she didn't show me nor tell me how to do it and on the rare occasion that she did her directions were very vague so I pretty much had to figure it out all on my own. Whenever possible she WOULD correct me if she saw me starting to mess up in a big way (but I learned and learned quite well that way). I can't tell you how many times I recleaned tack, repicked out stalls, restacked hay, reorganized and cleaned the tack room, etc trying to get it up to her standards (she was a bit of a perfectionist and wanted everything PERFECT) and I honestly wouldn't have traded all that redoing for anything in the world...I learned a LOT from her. And did I complain about any of this? NO! Not once did I complain nor take a shortcut to get done sooner even when I was hurting and sore with every muscle screaming at me...and why? Because my dream was coming true and I knew that this was a rare opportunity...not every child gets that opportunity and I was so darn grateful to have a mentor even for those couple months. At the end of those three months all the hard work paid off. That arthritic semi-retired nearly 20 year old national show horse and I managed to claim a spot at the state horse show with our county because of our pleasure and equitation/horsemanship rides in both saddleseat and western. We beat out kids who had horses and showed their entire lives (most of which had horses that were much younger and many professionally trained with some of the big name trainers in our area). And did I mention that I had only ridden horse a couple times in my entire life...and on the trails at the local stables no less...prior to that summer AND the horse I was riding hadn't been ridden in years? I was a VERY novice rider. I had that learn not only enough western but saddleseat as well to win that spot AND get the horse (remember he was nearly 20 years old and arthritic) back in decent enough shape to show. Hard work pays off and it just kills me reading about this as I would have given ANYTHING to be in her shoes at her age. I am still so grateful that woman took me under her wing and showed me all she did. That next summer I was "back" at her place again and helping with the horses. I still did chores for her nearly daily and took care of her house while she was away...all without pay...just because I was so grateful and to me I couldn't do enough to pay her back for that one summer. Anyway, ((HUGS!!)) to you and I hope Rachel realizes soon just how lucky she is.

  6. Just to acknowledge your commenters question about "would you want to do that everyday??????" Muck? Yes. Groom? Yes. Turn-out? Yes. Lunge? Yes. Bucket? Yes. And possibly ride? You bet!
    There is never enough time in the day to be with the horses. I felt that way at 12, 16, 30, 45, and now 60. I could never get enough, but what I got as a teenager was only a tenth of what I wanted. To have had the opportunity to take lessons and worked with something other than an old plough horse...
    Doesn't matter. I think it all falls on deaf ears until the opportunity is long gone.
    See if you can get Rachel to write you a letter back.

  7. I guess what it would come down to for me is this.

    Dandy belongs to you. Period. That means if Rachel wants to work with him she must do it the way you want. If she finds it unreasonable, perhaps she needs to .buy. a horse of her own and be financially responsible for it herself.

    if she can't do that, then maybe she has some hard choices.

    I'm glad you take such a deep interest in her, she's very lucky to have someone who does this and affords her this opportunity.

  8. Your horses are so beautiful and magnificant and proud!

    I'm really sorry for the situation you are having with Rachel. I do believe that....someday.... she will appreciate all that you do for her.

    God bless!

  9. the photo is absolutely breath-taking!! it is beautiful!!

    you are definitely stuck between a rock and a hard spot. I remember my stormy teenage years and how I rebeled against anyone with a lick of sense. I feel for ya!

  10. It appears to me that kids go in one of two directions when it comes to this kind of thing.

    Some take it as a wonderful opportunity, really bond with the animal, and learn the value of hard work. They ENJOY the work because it means they are spending time with the horses. My sister took some photos of a relative and her horse last year, and you can really tell this girl ADORES her horse:
    She spends as much time as she can with the horse, and never complains about the work.

    Others see it as a form of entertainment, like a car their parents bought for them. Something they are entitled to. If they mess up the car, mommy and daddy will get them a new one. That bond with the animal never really happens.

    This is just my observation of the few people I know who own or have owned horses. Any person who had that connection with the animal would be guilt-stricken to find out that they caused it injury.

    I hope the situation can be remedied soon, for everyone's sanity.

  11. Like you, and many others of your readers, I wasn't given a horse to ride by my grandmother, or anyone else from my family for that matter. My parents paid for 4 riding lessons, and after that I worked them off. At the age of 12, I had to work for 3 hours a day just to ride for one hour. And work I did - mucking, grooming, cleaning, whatever I was told to do. Along the way I saw kids who were given whatever they wanted and their behavior was deplorable. I also saw many of my friends get out of horses in the teen years because they wanted to do something else. I am the only one who has a horse now as an adult. It sounds like Rachael doesn't have the drive that you did. If she doesn't, then no amount of teaching, giving, chiding, or understanding on your part is going to give her that burning desire to learn, respect horses, and work her butt off.

    Perhaps what you all need to do, instead of going back and re-hashing the issues (cause that doesn't sound like it will work or be very productive) is set clearly defined goals and the steps needed to get there. Let Rachael come up with her own goals. Maybe she is afraid to tell you that she really doesn't want to be a hard-core Class A rider for fear of disappointing you. If she says "I want to do this and this." then you can say "Okay, for you to get there you must do this and this", keeping the goals small at first. Maybe she got overwhelmed and didn't want to admit weakness, and that got her into trouble.

    To be clear, though, I don't think that she is blameless because she made some mistakes. I do think she is acting her age though, and it takes a very special teen to buckle down and work until you want to cry but still keep going because you aren't done. And deep down loving very minute of the sweat, dirt, fatigue, frustration, and toil because you get to be with horses. Those are the teens that make it to Youth Nationals and come home with rose garlands.

  12. Maybe Rachel should read the stories of dressagemom, equinespirit and arthist99, and if she can't (or won't) commit like these folks have, then she will never understand doing everything and anything to attain a goal. Sounds like an intervention is in order.

  13. I love your blog... About Dandy. It is your right to have things done in a way that keeps your horse safe and pain-free. You are not being unreasonable. If you allowed her to do this, then I would worry. And about the kid that was being mouthy. I was taught to check over a horse everywhere before riding, and after. That include turning the saddle pad over and visually checking it, running my fingers over it and brushing it if necessary. I also had to do this with any fleece girths and leg polos. It is not asking too much, it is just a part of riding.

  14. Wow, I'm basically at a loss for words. Sometimes, it's best to let things cool down for awhile. I think to get together, the three of you, is a good idea at some point. Sounds like alot of discussion needs to be had...Good Luck!

  15. I hope everything works out for you!

  16. arbraham, you're right about that.

    jackie, thanks for the support. I was frustrated because it feels like yet another obstacle to deal with. Rachel doesn't need re-enforcements.

    I was hoping this would be a special thing between us, now I'm not so sure.

    grey horse matters, yes I have noticed that about this generation as well.

    kathy c, if would be great if you sent me an email. you can get my addy off my horse website - link is on the blog.

    equinspirit, sounds like you got a great opportunity. I would have loved to be able to start at a young age.

    molly, a letter back is part of the deal and a letter of apology to the horse.

    holly, thanks for the support.

    darlene, I guess only time will tell.

    barngoddess, when did you come out the other side?

    arthist99, you are right about the sanity! LOL

    dressagemom, I don't know how to do this without rehashing the issues since they are the specifics about the care of the horse.

    Other than that I have no investment in youth nationals or a system but either one still requires proper care of the horse.

    It's not the riding work that is the problem, it is the ground work. It is a shame because the kid has loads of talent. But I have no intentions of pushing her into anything. If she doesn't do what it takes, she won't do it with my horses.

    notablogger, I'm not sure I even know how to pull that off. But it is a thought.

    lovelee, yes none of this would have happened had she been checking that pad everyday.

    callie, I think you are probably right about the cool down and the discussion.

  17. It seems like it just boils down to the attempt to get across this message: "It's not about me, it's not about you, it's about the horse."
    Everything you are trying to communicate comes down to that. Maybe that message is getting buried under the list of things that are wrong.
    It seems like she's very focused on you. Your rules, your horse, your experience, your barn, your everything. This is something that goes so far beyond her that maybe she just can't make that leap and consider the horse alone.

  18. I'm sorry about the mean comment i didnt mean it and yes i am out at the barn and i see what rachel has to go through from day to day with the horses,i would love to do what she does but everybody is different.
    instead of being rude like i was in the last comment i should have said that you may believe it or not i cant make you but you guys are makng rachel hate horses, yea she will go far if she sticks through it but at the rate she is going she will give up as soon as she can and i dont want her to do that, all im saying is give her a break, let her take a day off (as long as the horses stalls are not gross), ask someone else to take care of them for a day, give her the day off, just you and her do something that doesnt have to do with horses dont make it all about horses when you 2 are together do something fun with her that you bath can deal with........ i think she wants to do good but when she gets in trouble alot for not knowing and messing up does get to a teen and bothers them for a while because she know that dandy was hurt because of her and she does love him...... maybe someday you can just let her have fun with him instead of always working, she is a teen and will get bored if she cant have fun more offen with the horses work is not all fun all the might think that if she is going to go far she needs to work more offen, but if you give a little (not to much) she might want to do better.
    But i am really sorry about the other comment i was in the wrong 100% i just thought you might want to know what rachel is thinking... and you might think im just some stupid teen that thinks she knows everything and is just trying to help rachel but im not im trying to help you and rachel, i know rachel's talents and i know she will go far but if you keep pushing to fast she she will go the opposite of what you want and i know you and collen want her to stay with it and do good and maybe someday own her own farm or maybe yours i dont know at this point, but i know what its like the get introuble because the horse you are taking care if got hurt, it really bothers teens.... and the day i wrote you that comment i was mad cause rachel is starting to not like horses and it made me mad and she was mad cause of the blog, if you just listen to her a little and not always give but somtimes she might stay with it and start doing better with the horses..... let her do more fun stuff with the horses and with you...
    Again I'm really sorry about the other comment if i could i would take it back but i cant i just want you to know what rachel is going through since i know she wont talk to you about it
    i am really sorry

  19. Anonymous, I have to say that I totally understand what you're saying. But I don't know what to do about that. It's not coming from me.

    I don't believe it's about me. I don't tell Rachel it's about me. For me it does come down to the horse.

    Yes, I want to breed great horses and yes I want them to win someday. But I would be miles ahead as a breeder if I the horse didn't mean so darn much to me.

    I have always done what is best for the horse despite what it's done to my plans or my business. There are lots of examples there for Rachel and her mother to see about what my values are. I live them every day.

    And as for things that are "wrong", I can't do much about that either. I have explained until I am blue in the face, it is NOT about right or wrong it is about what is best for the horse.

    The things that I talk to Rachel about all have direct baring on what it good for the horse. But all she hears is that I think she's wrong and she gets so defensive that everything is lost.

    You may be right that this is just so far beyond her she can't make that leap. But I hope that is not true because I know in my heart that this kid loves horses every bit as much as I do. She is just really confused.

  20. A little late to comment but I was rereading and it made me think of how I have always had to "earn" things for my horse. I have always worked off board and lessons. I am at an awesome barn right now, and I put in 11 hours one day last week and I didn't even ride. I mucked, watered, fed, turned out, and pushed out the tracter I got stuck in the snow. I did it to learn, and to get myself known. I stayed in the freezing cold to watch a particularly talented gelding get worked. Horses are about hard work, and if you can't hack it, don't expect results. I resent the rich riders that ride beautifully, but can't muck a stall. I don't see that as reality. If a person wants something they have to be willing to make sacrifices for it.