When Erin asked if she could come to visit out farm, she claimed she hadn't been able to be around horses in at least a year so she really needed some one on one horse time. She also claimed she really wanted to be mentored by me.
After she arrived it soon became clear that Erin was not a person who used horse time to heal her heart. She spent very little time with the horses. According to Erin she couldn't be around the horses because they reminded her of the breeders of Arabian horses she had worked with in Minnesota. It was their fault the horses caused her pain because of the way those people treated her. She repeatedly expressed how angry she was at theme for "ruining horses for" her.
I explained to her no one could take horses away from her. Only she could make such a decision. You would think a reminder she had a choice would be appreciated but for Erin it was another thing she didn't want to hear so it was followed by another bout of depression and those suicidal thoughts she was so familiar with. Any time she was reminded of those people she spiraled back into the dark hole.
I remember thinking at the time how inappropriate her anger at these people was. She was angry at them for a choice she was making. Now I am reminded of her comment in the Closure email, "rankles me that I hurt you" and how it struck me it sounded like she is blaming us and angry for something she did. Hindsight now makes me wonder what the real story is in the barn in Minnesota. I can already imagine why her boyfriend really broke up with her just from what she told me, now that I know what it's really like to live with Erin.
Another thing that became increasingly more clear, Erin had little if any respect for my horse experience. That talk about respecting my knowledge and wanting to be mentored by me nothing but words to get her foot in the door.
During her stay I rarely was able to devote my time to the horses. When I did have some available moments they were mostly used for what should have been mentoring Erin but she wanted my time, not my input even though my horses were those she wanted to ride.
When working with the horses, everytime I explained my process, she interrupted and told me her way. She was constantly selling herself as an expert on everything horse related. She showed little respect or interest in what I had to say about the horses, breeding or training. What she really wanted was my complete and undivided attention so she could sell me on how truly wonderful she is. Not what I would call mentoring, so how could her claims to want it be anything but a ruse?
As far as Erin was concerned she knew everything she'd needed to know about horses. Her arrogance proof I needed to monitor her time with them since it has been my experience those who act like they know it all tend to blame the horses when something doesn't work. That never works out well for the horses so I sure wasn't giving her carte blanche with mine.
Her riding clearly showed she knew nothing of true collection. She was just another person riding for a frame with no understanding on how to achieve it. She claimed she wanted to learn the way to get achieve proper frame but she rode little once she realized she wasn't the barn star she was convinced she was and when she did, she just couldn't give up riding off her hands. She claimed her brain was not processing the information but how complicated is it to understand push the horse forward with your seat and squeezing with your legs without pulling on the reins? I get it takes practice but Erin felt the need to justify her behavior everytime she grabbed the horses face. It is no wonder she could make no progress when she kept blaming the concept instead of just letting go of the horse.
Storm was the horse she really wanted to ride. She had read his story and I think she saw herself as the person who could fix him. Poor Storm had reacted quite angrily to her method. I had spent months Rehabilitating Storm, teaching the horse proper movement after he'd been forced into a frame at Opus Arabians. Now to have Erin forcing him back into that artificial frame caused the horse, not only to be angry and resentful, but to return to the false gaits he had when he returned. I had to stop her from riding Storm altogether. The horse was righteously confused and frustrated and Erin just could quit grabbing him by the face to get his head down. It was not a good combination. She wasn't just ruining his progress but she was destroying his trust which had been even harder to gain than his gaits.
I hoped the 2 or 3 rides she'd had, with me monitoring them, would have no long term ramifications but Storm is a sensitive horse and it was not to be. Even though his reaction to Erin hadn't been obvious at first, the aggregate effect of the rides has ruined the horse's ability to trust even me under saddle. I will post how he has handled this betrayal at a later time. For now it is a reminder that rehabilitated horses can suffer flashbacks when they are confronted with behavior that harmed them. Erin may not have grabbed the horse in a way that looked harmful but it certainly was harmful or Storm wouldn't have gotten so upset.
Even though there were horses suitable for her to ride, Erin's interest pretty much died when I wouldn't let her ride Storm. We talked about it and she said she understood it was the only fair thing for this horse but it was clear Erin was unhappy and if Erin wasn't happy she was taking that downhill slide.
Erin was told she could ride Vee or Aana. I thought either could deal with Erin. Aana actually is well trained just has not been ridden since she came here. It would have been a remarkable gift for Lindsay to get some miles on Aana. Then I caught her using spurs and a twisted bit on these two mares because she was still trying to force a frame instead of riding them with the smooth snaffle and no spurs appropriate for them.
The time I spent coaching her, it became clear she wasn't getting it and she had a level of fear because she didn't like a horse's head out of the bridle. I locked my bits and spurs up so she couldn't get to them and that pretty much ended Erin's riding here. She did a little bit but I think the frustration caused by not being able to accomplish that fake frame also triggered her withdrawal and suicidal thoughts.
This reminds me of a post, Food for Thought, I did a while back about horses reflecting the personality traits of their riders. In this case I sure didn't want any of my horses reflecting Erin back at me.
To be continued.......
Drama, Attention.........and Cruelty......