Saturday, February 5, 2011

The New Journey..........Going into Show Season....



Part One

By the time horse show season arrived, the weather was better but the days working horses wasn't. My worst fears were being realized although it still wasn't obvious to me at the time. BG was doing just enough work to keep me dangling and the focus of that work was always shifting.

My horses were still getting worked but it was sporadic. Days were being cancelled here, there and everywhere. Many reasons seemed to be show related, that and getting their female boxer bred. It seemed like everything and anything seemed to be a good excuse to cancel. The five (5) day work week from our contract was nearly non existent but I continued to hang in there hoping by some chance I'd get through this with what I needed.

I told myself it was the stress of the coming show season and a barn full of horses for BG. He did have horses in training that were show stock for a change and it seemed like he had a houseful of kids counting on showing. I thought once we got past regionals the pressure would be off and BG would go back to doing what he'd contracted to do.

The friends I was talking with each day about all of this were not nearly as kind. They were getting a whole different picture from this than I was. Any ideas any of them might have had to use BG for a trainer had been totally squashed by now and they were angry about all the cancelling of plans BG was doing. Even if you ask those friends to this day they can tell you the myriad of excuses BG used and what they thought of them.

Me, I only remember in generalities of his excuses. One at a time they didn't seem that threatening to me and somehow BG had me believing he was going to make up whatever he missed. I still believed what he was saying. Looking back I feel pretty foolish about this. I saw so much evidence of BG lying to others to cover his *ss, you'd think I would have realized he was lying to me. BUT he had me convinced that I was somehow different than the others. After all, he respected me as a horse woman and those others, well they didn't have a clue according to BG. I still can't believe I was that gullible but the facts speak for themselves. When it came to BG he had me snowed big time!

Once I stayed home for foaling out Dare's foal, I didn't take any horses back to BG's place that were not being ridden. The weather had turned around enough, I could get my conditioning done at home and not interfere with getting the work I needed done at BG's place. I knew by now I could only count on so many hours of BG at the barn. If he didn't get the job done then, it wouldn't get done that day so I didn't want those lunging horses anywhere near his barn.

Unfortunately, I also began to see evidence that BG really didn't care for horses the way he said he did. While he talked about being conscientious about their care and loving horses, that's not what I was beginning to see. While he might care for some horses, he obviously didn't care for ALL horses. If a horse wasn't what he thought it should be it was not worth anything. AND if it didn't make him look good, it was the horse's fault.

If you've spent anytime at all reading my blog you know I am not one of those people who believes that horses are out there plotting against us humans. I believe if a horse has problems there are good reasons for those problems and many times they stem from people. It's up to people to sort through those things to help such horses regain their trust so they can do their best.

Over time, I got tired of BG's mean remarks about horses that were just being horses. Somehow BG thought it was the horse's fault if things didn't work. The green mare with a green kid for a rider was a piece of crap because she objected to the kid riding off her face. The anglo arab mare was another piece of crap because she didn't have papers and didn't look like a purebred and was equally poorly trained. The gelding that peed a lot and could be naughty was trash but then he had a rider riding off his face too. The naughty stallion with a permissive owner was also crap.

I can't even tell you how many times I reminded BG that it was NOT the horse's fault. I wouldn't tolerate him talking that way about these horses in front of me. This kind of behavior is just not what a true horseman does nor was it a proper thing to be teaching such things to all those kids BG managed to surround himself with. BG was so used to my objections he would preface his comments with, "MiKael says......" and he could do that in such a way he was still slamming the horse.

I was not happy to discover this side of BG nor was I happy to see an accumulation of things over time that said BG wasn't who he said regarding the horses.

WF's horse has quite an extensive show career. That horse is not ridden most of the time although he is still shown. He gets lunged a few times a week. The rest of the time he stands in a stall except maybe sometimes he gets the chance to eat some grass in hand every now and then.

During show season he's taken to horse shows as needed chasing those Sweepstakes dollars with no extra preparation. The horse is clipped and bathed of course and maybe gets his feet done but nothing extra is done to build up his physical condition for the job he's expected to do. The horse gets shown in multiple classes with no real preparation for that. Lunging does not keep a horse conditioned enough for performance. Just because this horse wins doesn't mean the way he is treated is right.

BG's own horse was standing outside in the mud all that spring with a bad case of scratches because WF wouldn't allow the horse in out of the rain. BG tolerated whatever WF said regardless of how his horse fared. I had a problem with what he'd told me about how horses SHOULD be cared for and how he was actually doing it.

As for my horses, it seemed like every young horse we worked ended up with galls from the cinch. I've never seen so many in my life. They were not just little things either, they were big hurking things and most times on both sides of the horses. BG always had some special treatment to use that made it OK to continue working these horses but sometimes I had to insist a horse get time off for them to heal. Other times I had to remind him the galls needed to be treated in the first place. My concern was growing.

When I had brought all the broodmares back from Boulder Knolls I was down one stall here. I had asked BG at that time if I could count on him keeping one horse for a little bit of time so Dave could get one more stall built. He assured me that would be fine, he was already figuring he would keep one pen open for use with my horses because he liked keeping them for sleep overs so he could do extra work with them. Again he told me not to worry about a charge. I was still paying board on Reflection he could carry the other horse.

At one point Louie was that horse living in the pen. During this time BG had two pens under a little cover on the back side of the barn. There were no sides to the cover so the rain still blew in. The location was a slope so rainwater was migrating through the cover on down the hill. Both horses in that location were standing in those pens with wet mud and straw up past their fetlocks.

I don't know about the other horse, but a bad case of scratches emerged on Louie and BG was totally oblivious. Since I wasn't paying anything for this horse to be there, I didn't really feel I had the right to complain but I couldn't get Louie out of there fast enough. I was all over Dave to get that stall finished and Louie home where he would be dry and those scratches could heal. Still it bothered me that BG was always selling what a great horseman he is and he'd let horses live in such conditions.

There was something else that was beginning to bother me too. Before BG and I began this venture around Storm, I would arrive in the morning to find evidence that Reflection had been worked. The horse was either in the cross ties sweaty or tied in his stall sporting a cooler. As time went on, I saw fewer signs that the horse was actually getting worked. Although when I would ask BG he would tell me he'd gotten up early to work that horse and then some story about the horse was still being naughty.

Frankly I really couldn't make sense of this. Reflection had really only come there to get me on him. The kinks had all been worked out before BG got him but now I seemed to have a horse with something chronic going on. I just didn't get it. Reflection is just not that kind of a horse. Reflection being naughty just to be naughty just didn't add up. There was something behind this behavior and BG sure wasn't getting it figured out. Without being able to see those rides, I was at a loss how to fix this.

I was struggling to pay board for Reflection. A few times I actually bought BG's hay for the barn instead of paying them directly so I could use my credit card to meet my obligation. From what I heard the horse wasn't getting any closer to me being able to ride him than he was the day he'd first arrived AND my requests for BG to not work him until I was there were going unmet. It was time to get Reflection out of there.

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

Then There's Breeding......

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13 comments:

  1. All of that sounds really bad. It's my experience, too, that any problem a horse has came from an owner. I've inherited a few problems myself, and you can see it clear as day. My horse, Cowboy, used to be scared to death anytime you'd raise a hand around him! Hmmmm....maybe he was hit in the head?!? CRAZY. It took me a good year to get him over that by waving my hands around his face, petting him, waving, petting him, and just spend lots and lots of time petting him gently around his eyes, mouth, bridge, etc. Now he's not scared at all of hands. But you can tell so much about a horse's owner through the behavior of a horse. It's like reading their diary!!!

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  2. Sigh, worse and worse, but by degrees,I can imagine you were getting increasingly concerned as this progressed esp with them having the papers on Storm. I am wondering if that is part of why you hung on ,hoping that what your gut was telling you was wrong, and that this might have hadf a positive outcome after all. SO sorry you and your horse went through this

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  3. Linda, I'm sorry that Cowboy went through that. He's a lucky boy to have found you.

    I think more and more I am beginning to see who the person is reflected in the horse. Wish I'd had that skill when this thing started. It would never have gotten off the ground.

    fern, you're so right on that. I figured if I made a stink over what he was doing then I'd loose out all together. It was bad enough knowing I wasn't going to get everything I was due without loosing most of what I was due. I needed those horses started and I was hanging on for that. I kept hoping I was going to get some of what I needed done.

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  4. These people are rotten!! Sorry you got tangled with them...I really hope what goes around comes around and carma gets him good.

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  5. I've seen lots of horses that were labeled as naughty,stupid or just plain dangerous. None of it was the horses fault and could be attributed to their trainers or riders or circumstances. We've had some horses in the barn that were mistreated but with the proper care they've turned around. My daughter used to actually take in horses and rehab them from bad situations. So I have no respect for trainers like BG and WF who always blame the horse for their own short comings.

    I can't believe how poorly the horses were treated. At this point I'm sure you started to realize it was time to get your horses out of there. Unfortunately part of your reason for staying was the fact that they had Storm and you started to realize this was a mistake so it was hard to just pack up and leave. Sorry these people turned out to be so dishonest and untalented and uncaring as trainers.

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  6. Mikker, they sure turned out to be different than I thought. You would think that eventually behavior like this would catch up with them but they are pretty smooth at selling themselves.

    Abe, thank you. I think he's a very special horse.

    Arlene, Storm wasn't the only reason. Being able to have easy access to an arena on a daily basis in the part of the country was a huge thing. And while these things are all here in one post, it took months for me to see all of them. He was just so slick about knowing what I wanted to hear, it took a while for me to see through it.

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  7. I'm currently reading "There are no problem horses, only problem riders" which agrees with what you say. It's an older publication so there may be some newer ideas than what the author offers but I'm still finding it a valuable read.

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  8. What's really sad is that he knew the right thing to do as he could present that persona, but once he thought the cards were in his favor, his real character emerged. It seems the cockroaches come out of the woodwork when we are vulnerable.
    I remember once I was going to invest $5000 in some gold reclaiming equipment. The guy sent me to a website, and it seemed ok, but it was a little strange that there was no where I could buy the equipt. for retail. Then he had me talk to his wife. . .that was overkill as I don't know any legitimate business man that would put his wife on the phone with a client, lol. So when I told him my brother was coming with me, he got real pissed. This deal was just between him and I!!!! I told him it was a scam and he began cussing a blue streak, and what's really crazy is that I kept apologizing. Pretty pathetic when one feels the need to apologize for figuring out one is being scammed. Of course it wouldn't be so funny if he'd got my money.

    You keep saying it's going to get worse, and I can't imagine how, and yet it does. I think you could write a book and that would pay for this horse passion of yours for the rest of your years!!

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  9. Ms Martyr, in the terms of the evolution of the horse and horsemanship, that publication is a bright newcomer on the scene. There are so many people, like BG, who put human behaviors onto horses instead of looking at things from the horse's perspective. There would be lot fewer problem horses in the world if that old style of thinking would got the way of the dinosaur that it is and hopefully books like this will help get that job done.

    dinkleberries, you've got that right. He definitely knows better.

    Glad you were able to figure out the scam before you got took.

    Getting worse, I guess that's true. There's still lots more to this story. There are more twists and turns and I'm pretty sure some of them no one will see coming. As for writing a book, while they say truth is stranger than fiction, I can't see why a book with such a story would sell or maybe I would invest the time. There sure are a lot more details I'm leaving out. I worry the story is so complicated that people will get lost. Yet it's all these details that really make up the experience. Hard to know really what to do.

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  10. Thanks for commenting on Chrome's video. I can't say for sure if he's always been so short strided on his rear, but he has for a long time. I don't know if it has anything to do with him somersaulting over a fence at five months old or if it's the club foot. I've gotten used to the short stride though and was more seeing something uneven. Maybe I need to get a chiropractor out. Anyway thanks for commenting.

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  11. You were paying for BG's hay? And he wasn't doing his part to meet the obligations you both had originally set up earlier. Not good.
    Sounds like the deal had moved to being a one way street.

    ~Lisa

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  12. Lisa, I must admit I thought because Reflection was there in the barn that at least that horse and the other one there were getting worked when my others were not. It is now my understanding that was not the case. He wasn't working any of them but I just learned that here recently.

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