Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A Different Kind of Journey......... Getting In Deeper

This Story Begins Here

The first months after the contract sale of the bay gelding things seemed to go OK. YW made her payments for the horse on time or at least within a few days of ontime. She hadn't really done much to start him but that was OK. I'd told her upfront he was an insecure horse and needed things to go slow. Giving the young Arabian horse time to settle into his new home made sense to me.

I think she moved the horse a couple of times before she found a place she stayed for amy length of time but that was good. The first place had been with someone with a questionable reputation in the industry. I'd advised her if she wanted to have a good reputation as a trainer it probably wouldn't be good to have her training business working out of a facility of someone others didn't trust.

It was at the regional show that I let her school Legs in the main arena. The horse did bring her the desired attention. The husband of a BNT in our area spotted her riding my horse and asked about him. He wanted to know who the horse was and where he'd come from. We figured the more she was seen the more helpful it might be for her to get some horses into training so more plans were made for her to school Legs at this show.

There was a woman(newer friend of mine) I knew coming around at the horse show spending time with both YW and me. At one point YW stood Legs and I up for her appointment to ride him at the lunch break because she was off with this woman doing something on the grounds. The break was over and the opportunity for schooling gone before the two women even returned to our stalls.

I told YW I didn't appreciate going to all the work of getting the horse ready to be schooled only to have her not show. Instead of taking responsibility, YW blamed the situation on the other woman saying she just couldn't get away from her. Still I told her she was responsible for her own behavior. This woman couldn't really make her do anything she didn't want to do. I reminded her I was trying to do her a favor. I didn't need her to be schooling my horse, I could do that myself, after all he'd gotten to this point with me riding him. If she didn't want to be seen riding Legs, that was OK, we could stop but have the common courtesy to let me know and not leave me hanging. She said she wanted to ride Legs and she wouldn't stand me up again.

During that year I was managing both Daffodil All Arabian Horse Shows. All the responsibilities of those shows and the lack of volunteers was really making it difficult to get my horse shown. There was so much work to be done and so much stress it just didn't make much sense for me to try and show my horse while I was manager so I offered to let YW show Legs at the Daffodil Summer Show.

Because I was so busy getting last minute stuff done for the show, I didn't really even have the time to get my horse schooled those last couple of weeks. I figured it would make sense if I sent him up to YW for that time so Legs could be worked and she could get a chance to know him. I have to say in hindsight this thought makes me sick but I didn't think Legs was any worse for wear at the time.

Now that I think about it,I did have a problem with Legs that I've never really thought might have anything to do with her. I rode Legs at that facility the day I took him to the horse show after she'd been riding him for two weeks. He wasn't listening to my legs and he got pretty frustrated with me. He even got naughty and I had to ride him for some time before he was going the way he should. The horse was a lathered sweaty mess when I was done and I was bewildered by my horse's behavior.

Funny as I'm recalling how naughty Legs had been on that day, I'm just now wondering what YW might have to do with the horse's behavior . At the time it never dawned on me, that something could be bothering the horse. I was so surprised by his behavior I really didn't know what to think. I put my energy into fixing it but really never gave another thought to what might have caused this situation. As I said before, and I'm sure I'll say again, the pieces don't always fall into place until later. Now I can't help but wonder what my horse was trying to say. All I can say for sure is thing, I never had a session with Legs like that before that day AND I have never had one after. SHE has not ridden Legs since that horse show.

At the horse show, YW showed Legs in the open class but I did part of his schooling too. During the whole class she was picking at him even though the horse looked like he would roll over and stay there solid for her. Legs and YW did not place well in that first class and I knew it was because she picked at him the entire class She just never really left him alone, checking, checking, always checking.
(I actually spoke to the judge after the show and she told me thought Legs was a lovely horse but she didn't use them any higher because YW "was always in his way picking at him instead of allowing him to do the job the horse obviously knew how to do).

Immediately after that class and, of course, right before she rode again we did some talking about the fact she needed to trust Legs, leave him alone and for heavens sake stay out of his face. We went over the whole thing again before she rode him in the open championship. That class she rode much better leaving Legs alone and letting him hang in the bridle where he belonged. Legs did his job and turned in a nice clean performance. When it came time for the placings Legs now had his first championship in a western pleasure class and YW had her first open championship as a professional trainer.

That year for championship prizes we were giving denim shirts embroidered with the Daffodil logo with the word Champion right underneath. Such prizes usually go to the owners and I was given my shirt right after the class. I thought about it and decided it would be good for YW to get that shirt. Being able to wear that shirt would be good for her confidence and it would be good for others to see her sporting it. Just another way of spreading the word she had something to offer the industry.

You should have seen the look in her eyes when I told her I wanted her to have that shirt. You would think I'd given her something very valuable instead of a light blue denim shirt with a few words scrawled on it. Seeing that expression I knew I'd done the right thing. Hopefully this kid (to me because that's how long I'd known her) would get a chance to have her dream.

Somewhere during this time it became clear that Storm was really the horse that YW wanted although the horse was clearly out of her price range. The gelding she said would be a great horse for her kids but Storm was the open western pleasure horse she'd always dreamed of owning. With me having so many horses needing to be started under saddle, I began thinking maybe we could help each other out. It didn't take me long to suggest a trade for starting those horses in exchange for Storm.

Before you know it a contract was signed and plans were underway to get some of my babies going. By now it was close to my annual open house and that had to be my first priority. Also I wanted Storm to still be presented at the event but the crowd would be told the horse had been sold. The horse would stay with me until that time.

YW helped me present horses that year and her sole client at the time came shopping. The woman already had a half-Arabian pinto mare who'd been ruined by a hard handed trainer. The mare had some pretty scary behaviors. While the mare was improving, she was never going to be the kind of show horse this woman wanted, a national caliber western pleasure horse.

YW already had her eye on the mahogany bay gelding as the perfect horse for the client. She was hoping having the client actually see the horse in person, she might come to the same conclusion. The big flashy gelding was a heart stopper. as always, at the event and YW's client was hooked.

With YW, the prospective buyer, as well as my daughter and granddaughter standing in front of the horse's stall we discussed the matter of price. I stated my price clearly including the fact my price did NOT include a trainer's fee (which is what I always tell ALL prospective buyers AND any trainers involved. My prices are what I need for the horse no ifs ands or buts). I said if YW thought she should get a precentage it would have to be added onto the price I had quoted because that price was my bottom line.

YW said she didn't think her client could afford to spend much more but she (YW) would gladly waive any fee to be able to have this gelding in her barn for training. Having such a horse in training and being able to show him would be good enough for her.

Now, we have three of Legs' babies in training by this new young trainer. I think at the time we all thought it was going to be the beginning of things turning around for all of us. The horses were such quality and had such talent, if they were doing their jobs when they hit the ring, they should make quite a statement for both my breeding program AND her training.

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

and Deeper

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  1. Great story writing. I can't wait to read the rest of it.

  2. Oh my! on the face of it it sounds like it did have promise even knowing that it went to h** in a hand cart! You need to change that gals initials to TW (for Traiwreck)

  3. Carol, thanks, I hope you're prepared for it to take a while.

    FernValley, LOL where were you when I was trying to come up with something to call her? That would have been perfect......you just cannot imagine where this is going.

  4. My stomach is turning over at the thought of 3 of your wonderful horses going into a situation that I know isn't going to be a good one for them...if only it weren't hindsight that is 20/20

  5. silsonc, I'm with you on the 20/20, believe me....... I sure could have used some of it here.

  6. In the beginning when we're making our decisions it's funny how everything always looks rosy. I know this is going to turn bad but there was no way to see it coming on your part.

  7. It sounds like you were doing a good job taking YW under your wing. I know of a local horse breeder who inherited millions from her husband, and she took a new horse trainer under her wing. She first started training the horses in the millionaire's breeding program, and then started taking on other horses, and those horse owners would pay the millionaire for board while paying the trainer for training. Eventually, the millionaire donated several acres of land to the new trainer so that she could open her own business. I love that story, because it feels like a fairy tale.

  8. That's funny--TW, for sure. But this part of the story sounds pretty promising.

  9. I'm getting a pit in my stomach reading this. It sounds like the young trainer had some high aspirations, maybe too high....

  10. I am VERY curious as to where this is going. I am also feeling a tightening in my stomach as I am afraid it's not going to go well. I hope I am wrong!

  11. Ack! I too am clutching my stomach. Wouldn't foresight be wonderful in situations like this?

  12. I'm so impressed at how you opened your doors to her, trusting her with your very valuable and precious horses. I know it benefited you (at least in theory in the beginning stages), but this was such an amazing opportunity for this young lady for you to give her a step up in the industry. What burns my beans is knowing that she took advantage of you and your generosity. And in the end closed the doors for anyone else (notably those who are trustworthy, honest and reputable) to have the same opportunity.

    That is such a shame.


  13. Sometimes, it feels that when you start teaching something to someone, who doesn't know it all... that they start learning, and start to "know it all". This story is starting to sound that way. Also, it's starting to sound like she will get the awards without working hard. The horse is saying it all...he wasn't worked the way he needed to be worked!