Monday, February 15, 2010

Life........and Its Lessons........What to Do........

Part 1

There were a couple of other things along the way that suggested this trainer (WT) might not be the right fit for me and my horse. One of them was this guy didn't even know that Legs was a quality horse until he got him to a schooling show and the other trainers began asking him about the horse. He actually told me at the show how much attention he'd received because of Legs and that he was realizing that Legs must indeed be a nice horse.

I chalked it up to his background being in another breed. The same was true when he made a comment about the horse's conformation. The WT thought the horse should have straighter hocks and shorter pasterns. While there are things I would fix on this horse given the chance, his hocks and his pastern length are not on that list. His hocks and pasterns fit the breed standard to a tee. Straighter hocks and shorter pasterns would take away part of the great movement of this horse.

It was obvious this trainer didn't know about conformation in the breed he was training. That might have been why he made unfounded snap judgements about other horses in the barn.One of those horses was a half Arabian pinto mare.

Although the WT told the owners how lovely the mare was every time they visited, when they weren't around he did nothing but slam the horse. He called her names and wouldn't work her because he said she had a lousy withers so she would never amount to anything.

That mare's withers was like that of many Arabian horses. It's not stopped them from reaching their potential. Yet this WT did everything he could to be sure those folks kept that horse in training even though he knew he wasn't going to be working their horse except enough to get by. He blamed her lack of progress on the horse. Yet continued to tell them she had potential, he just needed more time.

That was not the only thing this WT did that made my question his integrity. During the time I was there, I saw the man work horses that were hurt. The vet would say "hand walking" and the trainer would ask if the horse could be lightly lunged. The vet would repeat "hand walking" and the trainer would come back with "it's OK if we lightly lunge." Finally the vet shake his head saying, "Whatever you say........"

I don't know if it's a good thing or a bad thing that I didn't get these things figured out until almost the end of my time working with the trainer. It was difficult to see these different types of behavior and not say or do something about it. If I had trusted myself enough to train my own horse, I think I would have left at the first sign of such things but that's not what I did.

The hardest times were when clients would ask me questions about their horses. Fortunately it didn't happen often, but it did happen. The WT had told the client one thing while the vet had said another. I told the clients what the vet said and prayed I didn't lose my job. I don't know what the clients did with the information because it didn't come back on me.

Not long before show season the WT decided I should have to pay show fees even though that had not been part of our agreement. I figured he was probably right since I was getting both board and training so I agreed even though that was not our original agreement.

At one point I even brought Dandy in for training but it only took a couple of times seeing the WT riding him to know that was a mistake. Dandy is not an easy horse. Getting him to use that neck of his properly is difficult. At this time I was just beginning to get the neck lifted up at the base of his shoulder. The WT wasn't. I took Dandy home.

It wasn't until the first Arabian horse show when I saw my stallion in the ring that I began to worry if I was doing the right thing having my horse in training with this man. The horse was vertical in the bridle but he didn't know where his head was supposed to be. One time it was high. Then it was low. Sometimes it was actually in about the right place. But a good western horse should look the same whenever you look at him in the ring, no matter what gait. A horse changing the height he carries his head numerous times during a class would not be doing his job. Legs was clearly not doing his job properly.

The horse did place third in one class and second in another but it was not the picture of my horse I wanted people to see. The horse just was not right and nowhere near doing what he is capable of. He was not ready to be in the ring. I informed the WT that I wouldn't let him show my horse again in western as long as he was looking like that.

The trainer's response was he would show him in hunter. That's what we did at the next show. The horse was second in two different classes. Each had about ten horses which was much bigger than the western had been and the horse looked good as a hunter. Well at least in the beginning he did.

It was at this show the WT and I had a conflict because I asked a question. He again assumed the question was a challenge when that had never been my intent. He told me if I didn't like "it" I could take my horse home. That's exactly what I did BUT we had a talk later and decided to work things out.

Part of working things out meant I kept my horse at home and brought him over for the trainer to school each day. Then I worked only on Mondays when the trainer was not there. I was OK by me even though it meant I was stuck cleaning stalls. It was still better than working with this man.

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

The Final Straw

Visit Blog Village and vote daily for this blog Here They are now measuring the rankings by the number of votes out, so if you find my blog on the site, please click that link too to improve my rankings. TY


  1. Sounds like a lot of trainers out there "my way or the highway"without a thought to the fact that horses, like people are individuals.

  2. Oh, when you said "asking questions that were interpreted as a challenge".....I just had to cringe.

    My beloved horse spent 6 weeks in quarantine at an Arabian farm near Morton, WA, and every time I asked...

    The answer was, "I have 50 years experience with Arabian horses."

    ...but that wasn't my question!!

    It was obvious to me that my questions were offensive to her. Challenging.

    But I was the helpless quarantined horse owner, with nothing to say about this process. I just *needed* to know things.

    Simple things like, "Which wormer did you use?" and "What is he eating now?"

    Those are reasonable questions, I thought.


    ~lytha in Germany

  3. fernvalley, you're so right about that.

    lytha, Sorry to hear you had a bad experience. It doesn't surprise me you had these issues. I know the farm you're speaking of, some old school thinking in place, my way or the highway as fernvalley put it.

    I don't get why she doesn't see it is good customer service to answer the owner's queations. But then in that particular situation she has had the corner on the market until now. She probably didn't have to worry what her customer service was like.

    There is another Arabian facility now authorized as a quarantine facility in this area. I wonder if a little competition will change things.

    I knew you were from the states but didn't realize (or maybe didn't remember) you were from anywhere around here.

  4. I must add that my agent - Shorno Agri Business - was wonderful. They answered every single email I sent - and I sent one about every day.

    It's not easy to learn about the process of shipping a horse overseas - at least, I was having difficulty finding information. So I was very happy when my agent took customer service very seriously.

    As soon as we flew, and my horse was in my hands, I contacted my agent and told him about the lack of customer service with the quarantine facility.

    He explained that they normally ship their homebred Arabians overseas, and it is rare for them to ship someone else's horse. They do not normally have to answer curious owners' questions.

    Strangely, she kept offering me a Marwan yearling. She took one look at my old horse and said, "You'll need another to replace your old gelding. Pay for shipping and castration, and take this yearling for free. You can even name him."

    I don't want another horse. But she took me to the presenation area and made him run around for me anyway. I will never know why.

    ~lytha from Seattle

    PS: Here is my blog entry from that quarantine experience: