Friday, February 15, 2008

Rachel and Grandma and an Arabian Horse - Now What? Part 2

Now What Part 1

Colleen and Rachel also read the comments that I received regarding this whole mess. Neither of them agreed with the content of those comments but they weren't willing to say that the comments were just based on things Rachel had said when angry. They wanted to blame part of it on the tone of my voice when I speak to Rachel. While neither of them have a problem with my tone because they know me and that I am not angry, they said that other people have heard me and think I am being mean.

Frankly, I wasn't really sure what to think of this. First off, I am an intense person. I will not deny that. It spills over into everything I do. I will not apologize for that intensity. It is who I am. It is the reason I am able to do the things I do.

I think I have written before about my double vision. It is so extreme the leading expert in the field said he didn't understand how come I was upright, let alone walking. He would be amazed at what I do today. I'm sure he wouldn't be able to fathom the idea of me riding horses, let alone training them.

Part of how I get around is by tuning things out around me. I only see what I need to see. When I am teaching Rachel, whether it be in riding lessons or on the ground, I must "see" more than I usually do to get by. This requires an extreme effort on my part.

The only reason I can do this is because of my intensity. It drives me past the point of discomfort to accomplish seeing what others take for granted. The concentration it takes to do this is so intense that it's almost like being in a stupor or trance. People who break my concentration usually look alarmed at my reaction, thinking I am angry, when really I am just startled out of that state.

Add to this scenario the problems with my voice and it is a difficult situation at best for those who do not know me. I have an odd voice. My vocal cords are seriously damaged from torture as a child and it affects my tone. In addition my voice does not carry well. When I up the volume to be heard I sometimes have no control over the range or pitch. It's pretty harsh but it is all I can do.

When I am working with Rachel and trying to "see" what she is doing so I can guide her, both my intense concentration to see and the problem with my voice come into play. The intensity of concentration tone gets affected by the in my voice. If I need to up the volume because she can't hear me, there is one tone and only one that works.

Colleen and Rachel (as well as others in my family) know that it is just me and that I am not angry. They claim they have explained this to those people at the barn. But they also think that this is the reason that part of the comments mentioned how I treat Rachel.

Like I said before, I don't really know how to take this. Even by Rachel's own admission my complaints with her have been about not cleaning up after herself, not remembering to put coolers on the horses, and the injury to Dandy's back. These incidents have been relatively few and no one has been present.

To think that the comments I received were based on the tone in my voice when I give Rachel lessons makes me a bit crazy. I mean who would judge a person totally on the tone of their voice and an angry fourteen year old. Relationships in public barns can be challenging, I understand that. But I think this is a bit over the top. It sure hasn't helped this situation at all. Well, I take that back, maybe it has in that Colleen and Rachel both feel like they need to protect me. That's sure a big difference from where we've been.

So now we are up to date except I think I forgot to mention that one of my requests is that Rachel write a letter of apology to the horse. She is still intent on showing and plans to work harder to pay more attention to detail. I have a list of "requirements" so that it's totally clear what I am expecting. By writing the letter to Dandy and working diligently at that list, Rachel will be able to ride when the hair has grown back in on Dandy's back.

While she's doing that, I will continue Dandy's training. He is not being ridden yet because the hair on his back has not grown in and so he's still sensitive there. I have been working him over poles and doing figure eights and such in the long lines. He's doing well at lifting up the base of his neck through the shoulder which is his problem area. I plan to begin riding in the hunt saddle this coming week.

Currently Rachel is working on conditioning Hope to show in halter at the Daffodil Spring Show. The conditioning, of course, must be complete and she must be living up to the expectations on that list in order to show the mare. It's looking like the hair won't fill in on Dandy's back in time for that show but time will tell. Wish us luck!

This picture is my favorite picture of Scandalous and Dandy. He is two day's old! He was so tall even then.

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  1. Beautiful horses! I owned an Arabian colt (? I think it's called a's been so long) when I was young, but he wasn't trained and I was too young to try and train him myself. We ended up moving to a house where we couldn't have horses and board was too expensive so I don't have him anymore. Wow, that was almost 20 years ago and I'm only 28. Makes me miss horses thinking about it. I grew up around horses and I am so sad that my kids have never been around them, much less ridden them. They are beautiful creatures. My husband loves horses too. Too bad we live on a 1/4 acre lot. Something we have always dreamed about is owning a horse ranch. I doubt it will ever happen, but it's a great dream.

    Thanks for visiting my blog! Annie

  2. The photo is great to see. The pair are perfect for me.

  3. This has been quite a battle. I read through it. She has a lot to learn in terms of responsibility. It is very hard on you (I would want to pull the horses out and tell her to find her own trainer) but I can see it from her side as well. Although you can't ever justify not taking care of horses - if your tone of voice is really how you describe it, that would make things stressful for her too. Well done for soldiering on and trying to find middle ground.

  4. It sounds like you have a plan. Take good care of Dandy...Abu and I are sending special healing inter net carrots...{> {> {>
    well they kinda look like carrots.
    Show Brats and Show Moms both scare and annoy me beyond just about anything. Good for you for taking a stand...

  5. I have been reading all of your posts about Rachael and Dandy's situation. Let me first say that there are a million horseless kids out there that would give anything in the world to be in Rachael's position. I should know because I was one of them. When I was in Jr. High and High School...all I wanted in the world was to be around horses, horse shows, trail riding...whatever. I wanted my own horse as a child, but was never lucky enough to have one. I did not get Griffin until after I was out of college. Because I wanted a horse so badly as a child, I worked for a lot of different horse people in exchange for being able to ride and work around horses. Some of those people were nice and some of them were horrible to me. My mom actually forced me to quit working for one woman when she repeatedly "used" me to clean her pastures, all her stalls, and act as her personal groom at horse shows. I did all this in exhange for being able to ride maybe a half hour once weekly if I was lucky.. Looking back, I don't know what kept me going with this lady -- to do all that work for such little "reward." The only explanation I have is that I loved the horses so much that, to me, a half hour of riding for a week's worth of work was more than I was getting anywhere else.

    My whole point here is that as a responsible horsewoman, you need to learn to accept the good with the bad. If you truly love horses, you don't ride in your classes and then hand them off to a groom to go do something else! People that do that aren't true horsepeople. They don't care about their horses. They're the type of owners that when one of their horses gets an injury and they can't ride it for awhile --they just sell it and buy a new one. If they have the money to do it, why not...why care?? It's all about the ribbons and winning with them -- why bother actually developing a RELATIONSHIP with their horse.

    Rachael needs to learn that a relationship is made by CARING for the horse. Riding only accounts for a small portion of that relationship. The grooming, feeding, cooling out, putting liniment on legs, cleaning up after, and even spending time just hand grazing a horse all account for part of that relationship too.
    It's these chores that seperate the true horse lovers from the people who are just another rider at a show.

    You said you made a list of everything you expect of her. I think that is an excellent thing to do. She knows what is expected of her and she knows what she is getting in return. She can choose to do it or not....its as simple as that. If she doesn't want to do it, then maybe she should consider giving up horses and finding a hobby that is less work.....or if she is lucky enough, she can win the lottery and pay a bunch of grooms to take care of her horses so she can just be another "rider on a horse." at a horse show.

    Rachael should keep in mind also that you don't earn respect by just riding horses at shows. Sometimes it's what the judges and people see "behind the scenes" that makes the want to respect you or not.

    As a horse owner myself, I have a ton of respect for people I see at shows caring for their horses on their own (rather than the ones that pay grooms to do it). If I truly wanted to learn from somebody or have somebody as a mentor, I would select one of these folks. I'll be the first to admit, I didn't like all the horse people I worked with and for as a child -- but the things I learned from all my hard work are invaluable to me today in caring for my own horse. I would never have the skills I do today if I hadn't put in that hard work when I was younger.

    Rachael SHOULD write a letter to Dandy apologizing for the care she has given him. It sounds like he has been a great partner for her and she has let him down. She needs to tell herself that she is doing these things for the horses -- and not necissarily for the people that own them.

    Personally, I think she should spend some time working for some other barns and other horse owners -- then she would realize just how good she has it with you.

    (aka Campin Horseluvr)

  6. annie, I think horses are definitely good for kids.

    abraham, this is one of my favorites.

    scary, according to Rachel and her mom, my tone does not bother her. She is used to it since that's just how my voice is. It was others who commented saying I was mean that she and her mom thought happened because they didn't understand. Who knows.

    20 meter circle, I have not seen those carrots before! LOL

  7. Hey!

    Great posts! Sorry to go off topic but you commented on my blog saying I won an award... I had a look at yours and really I have no idea what award I have won lol!

    What is it?


  8. It's like Rachel wants all the privileges, without any of the responsibility, unless she is paid to do it. And why should anyone have privileges, if they aren't responsible? if I were you, I'd take the horses back, until she shows she can be responsible, and takes better care of the horses. I bet you, she'd be begging for the horses back, and she would be more responsible and take better care of those horses. Because to me, right now it seems like she is taking everything for granted, and that she isn't caring about you, or what you need her to do, since she has the privilege of riding your horses, and she definitely needs to take better care of Dandy, because not only do you need her to, but for Dandy to be healthy, Dandy needs her to take better care of him, and not take him for granted, or any other horse she has to take care of, and definitely not take her mother or you for granted. If she has ever thought bad about you, and taken you for granted, she just needs to remember, if you weren't alive, than she would never come into existence, so she should not take you and your horses for granted, because that would then be saying she takes herself and her dreams of being a show horsewoman. You should ask her what she thinks about that, and if any of my thoughts about this is true. She'll probably just deny it, but I don't know until we find out.

  9. Kentucky was great this year , as a horse fan I am a bit sad after the death of Barbaro not only was he my favorite horse but he also came through for me when I bet on him.

    The horse racing and betting scene wont be the same without him
    Horse Racing Betting

  10. This whole situation must have really been tough and hurtful for you.
    It can really feel horrible when you feel others are ganging up against you to judge you.
    It seems like things are back on track? though I guess it takes time to heal all the wounds on all sides. I am glad that you all care enough about eachother that you are facing eachother and working on it.
    Take care.

  11. Mikael, I have just caught up with the whole story (didn't want to comment before reading all) and in my opinion you are well too soft a trainer! I have always been taught that the key to the best care of the horses is in details...Sure, when you learn you make mistakes but not the same ones over and over.
    If it was me I would not allow Rachel to ride until she puts her mind to the job and pays attention.

    As to the voice...I think the tone of the voice is quite important. I am personally fairly sensitive to it. However, if you can't do anything about it I don't really see how it could be held against you.

    I hope all turns out well for both of you and your relationship with Rachel.

  12. I'm glad that it sounds as if things are working out for you with your daughter and granddaughter,there is nothing worse than having tension in a family. I feel it's none of my business to comment on anyone's behavior, and it's a good thing I feel that way for Rachael's sake.

  13. I hate it when my mother judges the "tone" of my voice and says I sound snotty. Oooh that grinds my gears! when she does that! so I really sympathize for you.

    and I can tell you a scenario too.

    Awhile back, my mom was cooking rice, and the rice cooker went off. My dad asked, what is that beeping, and I said, I don't know, why would anything beep? answering and asking a question. And my mom said, something like why are you being snotty? and that just made me so mad and angry, especially since I wasn't and being snotty is never my intention. And my grandma ( my mothers mother) did not back me down when I was yelling at my mother for saying that, and I told my mother that I was not being snotty. It makes me so mad when someone tells me what I am, when it's just not true, or when it's not my intention. It's never my intention to be rude or snotty, and the only thing that makes me that way, is if anyone tells me that I am being that way. And when my mom says stuff like that, it makes me feel like why even talk? why say anything, if your just going to get judged? it's just a lose lose, and nothing good comes from judging people, and you know, there's a saying, don't judge people, because only God can judge, because only he knows your true heart, and true intention 24/7.

    So I can sympathize with you, on being judged like that. Especially on being judged on your tone of your voice, when it's not your intent, or not your fault.

    I feel like, whenever someone is wrongly judged, that that person has the right to tell the other person what for.

  14. If your intense concentration and your tone of voice are not a problem for Rachel, why is she not stepping up to speak out on your behalf? Besides, those issues are a diversion, not the problem at all. The issue is about the horse and the care he did not recieve while she was riding him.

    Sorry Mikael......not going to give on this. The issue at hand is Dandy, not your tone of voice or your eyesight, it's about a spot on his back. It didn't get there from your tone of voice and it didn't get there from intense visual concentration, it got there because she was being careless.

  15. carol, you are right on, I couldn't agree with you more. Rachel has been taking for granted what she has.

    anonymous, I agree with you about having respect for people who do the work for themselves. And as I have told Rachel, those riders who work with their own horses all the time have a much better connections to their horses and are more confident in their riding.

    jonathon, thanks for visiting my blog. I too miss Barbaro.

    kahless, there were parts of this that were tough because of family but it was more tough to have the horse be hurt. This isn't his fault but he's the one that has paid for it.

    Wiola, you are probably right that I should have been tougher on Rachel much sooner than I did. But I believe I am on the right track now. The horse isn't going to pay for another of Rachel's mistakes. I'm not going to allow it.

    grey horse matters, I do think that we are on the right track. I sure hope that turns out to be the case.

    kim, being a teenager is tough. there's no doubt about that. But respect is still important. Two wrongs will never make a right.

    holly, don't get me wrong, none of these other diversions take away from the main issue of what is good for the horse. They are just pieces of the puzzle for me in figuring out the issues that need to be fixed before Rachel can be trusted with my horses.

    I felt that my tone of voice for those commentors was another attempt for Rachel not to be fully responsible for what she has said.

    Rachel will find that not stepping up and taking responsibility for things is high on my list of things for her to do. Discounting anything to lessen her responsibility won't fly with me.