Thursday, February 14, 2008

Rachel and Grandma and an Arabian Horse - Now What?

Well, after the last posts Rachel and Grandma and the Arabian Horse Crash and Burn! all h*ll broke loose. Or at least that's how I see it.

I got slammed with a number of comments basically telling me that I was the problem. I didn't post most of them here because they were far off track. Based on the rantings of an angry fourteen year old and not much fact, I didn't see the point in honoring them. Considering those involved hadn't been honest enough to claim their comments, I didn't really see the point.

I did print out those comments so that Rachel and her mother could see them at our meeting. I wanted Rachel to see the consequences of her anger. Flying off into a rage and saying things you don't mean hurts people. Just because she didn't say it to my face, didn't mean it didn't hurt me.

Those people at the barn believed what Rachel said even though it was her anger talking and not what she feels the rest of the time. They thought somehow they needed to stand up for her. They thought that I was forcing Rachel to participate in something she doesn't want to do when nothing could be farther from the truth.

The problem isn't that Rachel doesn't want to do it, it's that she wants to do it her way, which would mostly be the "show princess theme." Her mother and I do the work and she gets to play. Or maybe she does the work if and when she feels like it. She's just bought into the myth of most of her generation that she is entitled and she shouldn't have to work that hard. It is a problem her mother and I are hoping horses will help her overcome.

And just for the record, Rachel doesn't want to ride just any horse. She wants a great one. It is Rachel's dream to win at Youth Nationals. And maybe she does want to be like me in some way but that is her wish, not mine.

Also for the record, Rachel cleans 9 stalls a day, only four of those are for me. Two of my horses are at that barn for Rachel's use. I do the training because Rachel wants to show them but those horses are there for Rachel.

So we had our meeting about a week ago. I printed out copies of my letter for Colleen and Rachel both. I asked them to read them with the idea we could discuss anything they didn't agree with or didn't understand.

I was hoping we could get the lines of communication opened up. Also I wanted to let Rachel know what my expectations are if she is ever going to ride or show Dandy or one of my horses again.

I mentioned to Rachel that all of the comment repeatedly mentioned the six stalls a day that Rachel cleans as part of the problem. I asked Rachel she has only been complaining about cleaning six when she really cleans nine.
I knew the answer to this questions before I asked it. It is because she gets paid for those three other stalls.

She agreed that being paid in cash was why she didn't complain about those other three stalls. I asked her why it doesn't count that I provide her with a $50,000 horse (that is what I turned down to keep Dandy for Rachel to ride him, but please don't tell IRS) and why the six lessons a week that her mother was paying $40 a lesson for before me didn't figure into her thinking. Totally that up for 4.3 weeks in a month comes out to about $1000 for cleaning 4 stalls.

That didn't even include the cost of training one horses, let alone two, for her use. But Rachel hadn't really looked at it in those terms. She asked me to clarify how I can up with the figure and once she understood, she looked a bit sheepish. She really had not thought of it in the terms of what she was getting only what she was having to do.

To be continued..........

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  1. I have always had a problem with those who go to a lesson (a groom tacks up the horse), show the horse (someone else trailers and there is a show groom) etc etc etc. I have not been handed my life on a silver spoon, and perhaps it is jealousy, but I resent people that have. I hope that for Rachel's sake, she can buckle up and get to work and appreciate what she has. I would give a hand to have the chance to train on a horse like Dandy (I guess I would then be stuck with a neck-reined horse). From things you have mentioned she has overcome some adversity, and I hope that she can do it here to. If she wants to go to nationals and win, that is an excellent goal, but she will have to work. Period.

  2. The moment as a kid that I got bratty, snotty or too big for my britches my horses were taken away, as well my show privledges.

    Its hard as a kid to see what you have as a privledge, especially *if* you see other kids getting the same with no work. Fortunately for my parents, we had our own barn, so I didnt have competition and the standards were set by my parents.

    Looking back, I am thankful they made me work for what I had, because now that I have my own horse as an adult, I understand even more what it means and how to properly take care of him.

    You are a good grandma.

  3. I hope this has a good news ending and that you and Rachel (and Coleen) get your relationship back on a happier footing.

    I must admit I get fed up with Smem because she has no idea of the value of what she has, but to her credit she works really hard at everything she does and her first concern is always for the horses' welfare.

  4. It's great that she's starting to realize just how good she does have it. I'm sure many young girls would do anything to have the amazing horses Rachel has to ride. It is unfortunate though that she has to see how much she's getting out of it monetarily. Shouldn't it be enough to get to ride and show such an amazing horse? You learn so much more about horses when you do the work yourself. It makes you a better horsewoman, rider, and person. She's young though, and I'm sure that if she sticks with it, she'll look back one day and be glad that she worked hard for it and learned a lot.

    This sounds like a good start to resolving the situation. I'm anxious to hear the rest of the story!

  5. Off topic here, but I finally got tagged and since I love reading your blog so much I tagged you....please don't hate me....
    You have to post an older photo and explain.

  6. It is the nature of kids today to want everything but not have to work for it, or work very hard for it. I struggle with that with my 16 year old (almost 17 now) every day.

    It sounds like you're on the right track so far. I hope it all has a good ending.

  7. I wasn't asked to do much when I was young. Clipping horses was a job for adults. Training horses was a job for adults. Vet appointments were a job for adults. My jobs were to dress myself and ride well.

    Probably sounds great to Rachel. Problem is this created an adult (me) who loved horses and could ride well but knew very little about caring for horses/horse ownership. I would have loved some responsibility when I was growing up. The "that's not a job for kids" attitude that my "it's just better if I do it" mother had really hasn't served me well as an adult.

    When Rachel is 29 years old, living on her own and has horses, she'll be grateful that she has such a thorough knowledge of horse ownership. Is that something she wants? Horses of her own? Or does she see Nationals as a childhood dream she'll move beyond as an adult?

  8. lovelee,at horse shows I have seen some pretty spoiled kids abusing their mothers and throwing fits over some really silly things. There was no way I was going to turn my granddaughter into one of those. She didn't have a chance! I think she'll get it, it'll just take some time.

    beth, it sounds like you were lucky to have parents who understood what this relationship could do for you.

    I think having our own arena would help loads but that just isn't in the cards right now.

    ro, you are lucky that Smem is so attuned to what is good for the horses. I think Rachel wants to be that way but didn't understand how she was doing things was causing problems. Hopefully she gets it now.

    jackie, Shouldn't it be enough to get to ride and show such an amazing horse? You would sure hope that would be the case but it isn't. At this point, I'm glad that there is anything at all to begin to turn her around. I'm hoping that she will still be able to learn the value of all of this as we go along.

    jamie, I will check out the tag. lol Don't worry I'm not into hate lol but I am so grateful it is not another of those 7 things. Geez........

    lady of chaos, you are right, it is the generation of kids for sure. I have even seen TV shows and read articles on the subject. I hope we're getting this on the right track. Only time will tell...

    katee, unfortunately there are lots of parents who think they are saving their children by doing those things and others who just can't be bothered with taking the time for a child to learn. Neither helps the child with life skills.

    As for Rachel, she has the talent to be an exceptional trainer. I believe that is what she hopes to do some day. It sounds odd that she would feel that way when she shies away from the hard work but I think that it's still what she dreams. We'll just have to see how it all turns out.

  9. Anyone can be a National champion, but hard work has to be done by someone. I can tell you from first hand experience that it means so much more when you're the one that's done the hard work.

    I hope you all can work it out and that her dream (and yours!) for the rose garland comes true.

  10. "show princess theme" one can only dream. right?

    When I showed, I did everything myself. When I was 5 yo, I walked my shetland across the why to the fairgrounds for every 4H and open show I could enter. When I was 16 yo, I was driving myself across MI to shows.

    You pegged it right about their generation and their feeling that they are owed or entitled. I see it in my oldest son and his friends.

    I am glad you communicated what your feeling. A lot can be said for open communications!

    Rachel is one lucky girl, I think she knows it too.

    as for the anon angry comments, why cant they own what they say?

  11. Hi MiKael
    I have finally caught up on this blog. Feeling a bit more human and positive which helps.

    This is starting to sound like it is being sorted out and I certainly hope that is the case because I know how upset and unhappy this has all made you.

    I loved the stories of the first training sessions of each of the six horses before these posts, you make it so entertaining to read but at the same time make the understanding of what is happening and why very clear.



  12. "It is the nature of kids today to want everything but not have to work for it, or work very hard for it. I struggle with that with my 16 year old (almost 17 now) every day."

    I'll start off by saying I agree with you here, to a degree. I think a lot of adults like to generalise kids these days, but I don't think that's very fair. There are still a lot of hard working, focused kids around, they are just being thrown in the shadows by those few that do decide to screw things up. And without going into a huge speech about it, I don't think those who work really hard should be thrown into the same category as those who don't.

  13. Oh, MiKael, this must all be so difficult for your family. It's too bad that things got so far out of hand.

    I'm in no way defending Rachel, but I have to say that kids are just kind of stupid. When I was thirteen, even though I had been told not to, I tied my saintly gelding to a wash rack with the chain under the chin of his halter (we had been practicing showmanship). I figured - the horse never pulled back, so it would be okay - I didn't want to take ten seconds and redo the chain so that it just clipped on the halter or looped around the ring. Ended up, the horse got sprayed in the face by someone else, pulled back, hit the chain, freaked and broke the lead rope. Looking back, I thank God it wasn't worse (flipping over or something). And I knew it was my fault at the time, but it didn't seem like THAT big of a deal. Even the next day, when the horse was ridiculously sore on his face, I took him into showmanship with the chain under his chin. And I watched my trainer give him a tug and cause him to rear (something he never did), but never told her what had happened the day before and said he might be in pain. I even watched her punish him for rearing and kept my mouth closed. Honestly, it didn't occur to me that he might be overreacting to face pressure because of the events the day before.

    Only after a few more years of horse experience, I realized how horrible that whole incident was. To this day I am greatly ashamed of my actions. But at the time it didn't really bother me. I think it takes kids awhile to understand cause and effect, and to understand how an animal might feel about a situation. If I could go back in time, I would strangle my thirteen year old self. I was really stupid.

    I think your letter was a great idea, and I hope Rachel realizes just how great of an opportunity she has been given. She sounds like a nice girl, and I'm sure she will straighten out eventually! I did - it just took a few years of growing up first :)

  14. I meant to ask you the other day whether you moderated out many comments on your blogs.
    havent read the post above this one yet - I am hoping that good communication was restored. Must say I am worried about reading it.

  15. Hi MiKael,
    When I first read here about what was going down at the barn, I was very surprised at the people there getting so involved - I often wonder why on earth people can't keep their noses out of other peoples' business, or have a sense of proportion!

    I really hope you guys can clear this up and have a good relationship - both familial and working [I think it's the inability to separate the two that's a big part of the problem?]. Setting goals and getting things in writing, having a "contract", is a great method to work through the issues you're having. I also wonder if in this case you should also both agree that you only raise issues/get pissed/vent at each other. Cut out the middleman, so to speak. I know you're trying to do that but it's so difficult with families!

    And on a practical note - would it be helpful for you as a trainer to have a clip-on throat mic when training R & D, so you can talk soft and don't have to force your voice?

    Sorry this is such a looooong comment! I'm a real gasbag :)

    Good luck and best wishes to you, Rachel and Dandy.