Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Aidol's Story.........A Lease

Part 1

When I first decided I wanted to breed Arabian horses, I had no thoughts of ever finding another home for Aidol. Scandalous' first foal was as much a part of our family as the others who had been born here. We all thought it would always stay that way.

It was only after the tragic death of Scandalous that things changed. Going from a breeder with a single mare to breed to a breeder with a young stallion to prove changed everything around here. The biggest effect was in the sheer numbers of horses that I would own.

With a single mare at most the number of horses here would rise one each year. With a young stallion to prove the best way to accomplish that was by starting out with multiple mares of varied bloodlines hoping to find the right nick. The number of mares directly affected the numbers of horses around here. Before long I was running out of stalls and still not sure which mares were producing the best.

The obvious solution was to cut back on the geldings taking up space here. By then that's pretty much what Aidol was doing. I was too busy to devote time to him between breeding and foalings and taking care of our growing numbers. That meant considering finding the right home for Aidol. If any only if that could be accomplished we might just be willing to part with him.

Before we finally came to that decision, the opportunity presented itself to lease Aidol to a young woman that we had met. It looked like it was the right fit and we thought maybe it might even work out to be a permanent solution for both Aidol, this young woman and for us.

During the terms of the lease Aidol was to be kept at the place he was born. The young woman was to take lessons from one of the trainers there since she was intermediate rider. That way I knew she'd get the right kind of guidance to do right by my horse and by herself. She seemed to have a good set of basics and if she stayed on that path she and Aidol should make a great team.

I also knew the trainers there would be keeping an eye on the horse for me. This way I could assure that Aidol was getting the best care and hopefully eliminate the possibility of any kind of mistreatment that arises when situations get out of hand because a new owner doesn't know what to do in some situations. I certainly knew from personal experience there would probably be lots of those kinds of things along the way. A little guidance would be good.

I don't know if it was the newness of their relationship or what but things started off very well in the beginning. The horse was happy to be getting the one on one attention he so craved. Working on a daily basis always was Aidol's idea of a good time.

Aidol was shown in hunter pleasure at the Daffodil Summer Show by this young woman. They actually got second in a class of around ten or so. The horse loved going forward and the two seemed to be a pretty good pair.

By the following summer Aidol was shown in the preshow of the Region 5 championships. The horse again got second in his class but this time the class was smaller and the horse just didn't seem to be as happy as he'd been before. It was clear they were having some issues.

For the regional championship class the horse did not place but then that didn't surprise me with the developing issue between horse and rider. It was clear that there were some missed communications between the two. Talking with the young woman later I heard some of that talk I always hate to hear.

I think anytime a rider blames a horse for issues, the odds are those issues aren't going to be resolved. Horses and their riders need to be a team. each looking out for and trying to help the other. When that relationship isn't based on mutual respect and understanding true teamwork is out of reach.

It was clear to me watching them work that Aidol was confused. The horse was trying to do what the young woman asked but he wasn't really sure what that was. Listening to her, the horse was just being a jerk. Having spent the number of years with him that I had, I knew that Aidol wasn't going to be a jerk. If he wasn't giving her what she wanted it was because he didn't get it. If she wanted the desired response she was going to have to make it clearer to the horse.

By this time the young woman was getting some "help" with the horse from a friend of hers. I don't know about the qualifications of the friend but what I do know is before long I received a call from a trainer at the barn warning me I needed to get my horse out of a bad situation. I exercised the escape clause in our contract and immediately brought Aidol home.

I was sad for the young woman. I know that losing Aidol broke her heart. I also knew that she was no longer willing to listen to what it might take to fix her problems with the horse. She just couldn't or wouldn't see the problems with the horse had developed because she wasn't giving the horse a release when he needed it. As long as that was the case there was no point in subjecting to horse to a situation in which he could never get what he needed to do his job.

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

A Little Rehab

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  1. Glad you had the escape clause in place to protect the horse. I was here last night and meant to comment ,but I got wrapped up in the story of Scandalous, My goodness! How terrible ,I just want to give you a hug ,I know it is a long time ago but, so sorry for your loss. Then I went on to read more of your old posts , about finding your new mares and Leggs first breeding season. You had me up till nearly midnight first crying then howling with laughter! You write so well I could see it! And the wrecks !!! You are one tough customer! I barely remeber Chip's first season other than showing him which end of the mare was the business end , now this year his last son is three, I was considering having him cover a couple mares this year . After the reminder of how much"fun" that can be , I will keep thinking for a bit!

  2. Oh, man. Wow. Thank heavens for the call from the trainer!

    You've got to be careful with those "friends" who help. I once had a "friend" who was a "trainer" convinced me that my mare was being "stubborn" when she refused to enter the arena. I was so new to horses that I believed her, and forced her to go in and worked the snot of her.

    That was one of the biggest regrets of my life. I have video of that day, and my mare had legs so swollen they were like tree trunks. I was too ignorant to know how to see such an obvious injury. She was trying to tell me by hesitating, and I ignored my gut and went with my friend's advice. It was a heavy, important lesson to learn. Hopefully the young lady who leased Aidol learned something as well.

  3. fernvalley, it may have been a long time ago but it still feels like yesterday. I will never get over losing Scandalous in that way. It still breaks my heart.

    I guess I am a tough customer. I hang in there sometimes when I probably shouldn't. Thinking about what it was like to teach Legs to breed has me worried about teaching Rhet, I can tell you that! The plan was to begin this year but with the market down and no sales for me, I elected to wait.

    If the market doesn't break loose soon I may be waiting a long time. The only problem with that is I'm getting older. LOL

    I'm glad you enjoyed the posts.

    Becky, I am grateful for the call for sure. That trainer and I were not really friends so I knew with the call bad things were happening.

    I suspect the young woman's experience with her "friend" is much like you describe. She didn't know enough to know her friend wasn't really helping her but only making bigger problems with the horse. I don't know if she ever really figured this out but I hope that she did.