Friday, July 24, 2009

The Region 4 Championships......Moving Along

With all of the people I talked to about this situation, over half of them asked me what the rider of the horse had to say. I had to admit, I really didn't know. I suspected that she was oblivious. I knew the horse went through her leg regularly but didn't know if she knew why, or it was a common occurrence for her.

As I began to really think about how bad this all could get, I began to think about what kind of long term effect it would have on my dream. There just didn't seem to be much hope it would be intact if my stallion was attacked in the ring. With the struggles I've had over the last year because of a dropped cell phone, I could only imagine the damage done to a horse's psyche shattered in this way. And my horse would not be the only one traumatized if this happened in a class. My guess was any horses in the near proximity would be equally scarred and maybe even more than that, depending on how bad things got.

I felt totally helpless at the mercy of others to keep me safe. I'm not really one to sit by and wait for things to happen. It's more my style to be proactive but in this case I was having trouble figuring out what more I could do so I found myself thinking about what I would do IF it happened. Not just in the ring, but in the aftermath. How would I respond if this red stallion obliterated my dreams? Would there be recourse available to me?

I couldn't help but think about the equine disclaimer that is posted at just about every equine facility I know. "Due to the inherent risk of equine activities, an equine activity sponsor or an equine professional shall not be liable for an injury to or the death of a participant engaged in an equine activity......." I can tell you I've never considered my current jeopardy as a possibility while participating in activities with my horse. I couldn't help but wonder if this instance might just not fall outside the scope of these laws. Surely, owners, riders, and officials must have some responsibility to keep others around them safe against such danger.

The more I thought about this, the more I thought I really should talk to the owner of the red horse. If she truly was oblivious to the fact there was a problem, could she be held responsible for the actions of her horse? And maybe, just maybe, if she didn't get it, if I talked with her, she might just be able to contribute something in the defense tactics for our class.

The USEF steward had told me not to talk to the owner but the more I thought about it, that just didn't seem right. While I'm not big on confrontation, it sure seemed to me that the rider of the horse needed to be included in some of this discussion . I decided to talk to the show manager to see what he thought.

When I approached Russ Harris with my thoughts, he actually agreed with me. He thought it could be helpful to talk with the rider of the red stallion. He said the way I presented the situation might just be something the other rider could hear. If not, and she reacted negatively I was to walk away immediately. Then I should let him know and he would speak with her himself.

I felt a little bit better having something to do in this process. BUT the thought of actually talking to the woman about this whole mess actually made my stomach do flips. I've never been fond of confrontations and I didn't want this to turn into another mess. I wanted this woman to be on the same page with me..........interested in keeping all of us safe. I spent some time thinking about just "How" I was going to present this to her.

In the meantime the show was still going on around us. All of the kids at the barn who needed points got qualified. Our class schedule was beginning to look like it's own little version of a zoo gone wild. Keeping up with who was where when was a good diversion.

Also, there was Rhet to deal with. He needed to be schooled by Cheryl Fletcher for his halter class. That schooling needed to be worked in between her show schedule and ours which was not going to be easy.
Cheryl had come back to see him that second day of the show. He was testing the stall guard still trying to escape and really not wanting to be caught in the stall. I had to chase him around to catch him. Then wrestle with him to get the halter on his face. Cheryl was getting a good look at all of his little idiosyncrasies. The good thing was even after all of that she liked him.

Cheryl set up a tentative time for schooling the next day. When the time came and went I called her on her cell phone just to check in. Then I found myself hanging around just waiting, afraid if I left she'd want to school Rhet and no one was going to be able to catch him but me. Also, I was the one with the schooling halter and whip.

This scenario played over several time throughout the week but then I had expected that it would. Guessing what time classes are going to run is almost as bad as trying to pick winning lottery numbers. I think we got much closer with our times though, than I have ever gotten picking even one number on the lottery.

By the second time Cheryl came back to the stalls to school Rhet, she found him standing quietly (for him) in his stall with the stall guard down. The colt had finally settled in and was no longer threatening to jump over the door. Although he still was trying to sneak OUT the door whenever it opened.

The schooling sessions didn't last long with the very first one being the longest. When Cheryl stood in front of Rhet he just looked at her like "Who the heck do you think YOU are?" It didn't take Cheryl long to convince him, Cheryl was SURE who she was AND she was sure who Rhet should be. He's a smart colt. He didn't test her anymore. At least that part was going good.

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

The Talk

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  1. This just gets better and better. There may be a reality show in your future.

  2. Oh man, I go away for a few days and WOW!!! I have been faced with a few issues at horse shows but NEVER like this!!!
    Like you, I don't like and avoid confrontations. However...and that is a big however, I would and have stood up for kids and horses alike. Like you said, the way you present the issue and her reaction...
    oooohhhh, the suspense, I want to hear how it ended & I can't wait to hear how Rhet did!