Not long after Kelly Panowicz pretty much stole Scandalous Mr Goodbar, I got a call from a young woman I knew from the fiasco with Angie Miller and Richard Galarza of Opus Arabians. She called saying she was having withdrawal from horses and really needed to ride. She was hoping I would take her trail riding.
Because of our history together I did not question this call as anything but genuine. In hindsight I have to wonder. Following is some background that I was operating off of. Like other times i've not seen "it" coming, there were plenty of red flags.
During our time together at Richard's, i'd always felt sorry for her. She was his dead weight for starting the three geldings and his behavior was abusive and inappropriate sometimes. When he would viciously attack her with a berating tirade for asking a simple question, I knew better than try to intercede at the time.
I would wait until he'd calmed down and she was gone to tell him he was out of line. Then I would get her alone to tell her she didn't deserve that kind of treatment from him or anyone else and to let her know I had confronted him about his abusive behavior. I wanted her to know she had value and that I cared with no strings attached.
I could tell from her behavior and her history that her self esteem was not good. I figured that is why she put up with such treatment from Richard. Then he knew how to make her feel special in a way that really concerned me but I'm sure that attention made her tolerate the bad stuff. There was clearly a grooming process going on that made me worry for her.....and the other kids in the barn.
There were things about her behavior that were inappropriate as well. From clothing too revealing for riding, to lying, to unreliability, she had big problems with boundaries. I always thought with some appropriate guidance she might have a chance to make something of her life instead of always being a victim and being stuck with more Richards in her life.
She had volunteered to testify in my lawsuit with Angie Miller and Richard Galarza but I knew there would be issues with credibility. I had enough on them in their own documents, I figured the little pieces she had to contribute would make more sense than their version so that is the only reason I even considered my case would benefit from her perspective. Still the fact she volunteered to help made me think I could trust her which turned out to be a mistake I didn't see until it was too late.
I was always upfront with her about her inappropriate behavior. She seemed to appreciate my honesty and acted like she really wanted to change and grow into someone in control of her life instead of at its mercy.
The year before my illness Crystal Baker was having trouble finding barn help. She needed s stall cleaner and an apprentice. This young woman was needing a job but did not have the skills to be an apprentice as far as I was concerned.
I told Crystal all of the pluses and minuses about her, letting Crystal know she would need lots of structure and supervision and definitely strict accountability. This was not a recommendation for a great worker but more if you are stuck and inclined to help a kid in need of some genuine guidance, it might work.
I told the young woman that Crystal was needing help but that she should only consider applying if she was going to be reliable and hard working. I let her know if she pulled any of the stunts she had with Richard, not showing up or dodging chores, she would not keep the job and she would be accountable to me.
With both of them agreeing they understood, I put the two of them in touch figuring this young woman was desperate enough for a job she might just work out to clean stalls for some cash and horse time.
I didn't know what to make of things when I found out instead she was taken on as an apprentice. This was one of those things that never made sense to me. It is, however, one of those things that filled in a bigger picture much later on at least as far as Crystal Baker was concerned.
When this relationship did not work out, Crystal blamed it on me saying she had only hired her because of my recommendation and yet I had only suggested she might work out as a stall cleaner. I had gone to great lengths to explain this young woman, not only didn't have the horse skills to even be considered as an apprentice, but she was nowhere near ready for that kind of responsibilty. Even stall cleaning and bucket washing would require some guidance.
To me that is miles from a recommendation. The fact that Crystal Baker twisted the truth to the point it was no longer recognizable had me wondering what else she had said that was that convoluted but that wondering was just another of those red flags.
To my way of thinking the young woman did not work out because she was given too much responsibilty before she had proven herself. Baker went off to Scottsdale for two weeks and left her there to work horses. Nothing I had told Crystal about this young woman even remotely suggested she was or would be anytime soon capable of such responsibility. Yet it is only in hindsight that I see both of these two women as the players they are.
For me at the time I gave each the benefit of the doubt.....something that seems to bite me every time.
In the months between her getting fired and me getting sick I had taken her trail riding a couple of times. On the last trip she claimed Dandy tried to dump her. If he did, she must have done something to warrant it and I told her as much. Whatever it was Dandy had a wiser opinion of her than I did. If only horses could talk.....maybe we all would have been spared her game.
To be continued...
A Little Grooming of Her Own.....
NOTE: Keep in mind when reading these old stories that my perception of these people may have changed. Obviously, when I wrote about the geldings being started, this was in the grooming phase with Richard Galarza. He was definitely setting me up to take advantage of me. Some day I should probably post how I understand things today. The blindness is gone........and the con exposed. It sure makes a big difference.