Wednesday, March 20, 2013

How to Piss Off the Arena Owner (and a buttload of self doubt)

You drive on his grass. Yep, that is all it takes.

Kim and I decided to meet at the indoor arena since the wind had been blowing all day and it had snowed the night before.

We got there and it was crooooowwwwded, but it was some people we knew, so we figured we would just deal with it. Then the owner came and told us we couldn't ride there because the Pony Club had rented the arena that night. Oops. Sorry , we did not know, and they didn't say anything to us.

I had pulled off to one side of the drive and Kim was along side of me. I suppose I should have tried to back out, but it would have had me going around a corner where his fence was and lets face it, I'm not that good at backing up. Really it is sort of hit and miss. Some days I nail it and other days it is a disaster.  I saw some mild tire tracks on the "lawn" (dried pasture grass really) so I thought if I went real slow it would be ok. Obviously someone else had been on it. As I was turning around he came running out of his house with a angry look on his face.  So now I is not ok. Next time park by the road if it is crowded.  Actually I doubt there will be a next time.  I did call him later and left a message on his machine apologizing and assuring him that I would never do it again. But the last few times we have been there, he sort of acts like he would just assume that we weren't.  Kim and I are not part of the "horsey click" in town, so it seems like we get looked down at by many. So I think I will stop going there, she is feeling the same way.

We loaded up and went to my friends outdoor arena, where we can ride for free. Although it was chilly, it wasn't too muddy, so we had a much better, more relaxed ride.  I tried to work on what Mark showed me, and I am making progress on the right side, but not getting anywhere on the left.  We worked on moving the front end without moving the hind, and again, right is better than left. It is like he has a mental block.  Kim rode Trax for a minute and got a bit of flex on the left, but I couldn't when I tried. Leads me to believe that the problem is more me than the horse.  Or perhaps a combination of the two.  We did get a little further on his spins, and then I worked on some of what I learned at the clinic, with transitions  and asking for a step, then settle. Ask for a step, the settle.  He actually stopped next to a gate so I could reach down and mess with the latch. I didn't open it because it was led up by blocks and I didn't want to mess with a falling down gate and undo any progress which we had made. So we parked, and settled, parked and settled. I was happy with that.

There were some huge (huge around, not huge long) telephone pole pieces to one side of the arena, set up sort of like jumps. When Kim was working her mare she had her jumping the poles. It was pretty cool. One was a pile of three and was about 3 feet high and at least 3 wide, and she cleared it with no problem. Not bad for a 3 year old 14 hh mare.

Finally the sun was going down so we had to go.

On a side note I saw RC at the first arena, I guess her and the gal who did the trail clinic were talking about me.  RC said,"I heard you did great at the class."  I said, "Well  not that great, but I learned alot."  She said, "That is what I heard, that of everyone there you paid the most attention, asked the most questions, and took home more info than anyone. Very proud of you."   So that made me feel good. Poor RC, was finally healing up from her bad fall, and then was in a car wreck 2 nights ago, so she is still in bad shape.

I'm feeling frustrated with Trax. Not with him personally but with our progress. I guess I was hoping for some real progress after a couple of rides. I don't feel like I am getting it, and I really feel like it is my fault.  I sent MK a text today and asked what it would cost to have him take Trax for a couple of weeks and work with him on a daily basis. I don't know how many horses he is riding right now, or if he even has time, but if I can afford it and he has time, I think it might be a good idea.  I think he needs someone with really good hands to help him through this initial retrain, and I do not feel like I am that person.  Maybe I am giving up too soon, I don't know.   I asked him to call when he has a minute, so we will see what he says.

It is looking like it might be pretty nice this afternoon so I think I will go back to my  trail ride training tactic. Perhaps if we hit the trail where he is more relaxed and then work on the vertical/lateral flex combo to the left, we will get further than if we are in the arena.  Maybe I'm shooting in the dark, but I won't know until I try.  I guess my big inner question is; How can I best help my horse understand that we want/need him to relax?  Am I asking something of him he cannot learn?  I don't think so, but maybe I'm wrong. Of course MK thought he could learn it, at least that is what he said.

If he does take him, it means I won't be able to ride him in the next two clinics, but that is ok. I can always ride Big Killian in those clinics, just to go and learn what I need to do differently.

FYI- in case anyone was wondering, Danny's knee has gone down. The vet emailed and said it seemed like just a bruise from a bump to him and to just keep and eye on it. He never once limped and although it is still a little swollen, it has gone down quite a bit, so all is well with the old guy. I haven't done anything with him in a while either. Feeling pretty guilty about that.

Sassy is starting to show some slight signs of pain on her RF again. Mostly when she turns and steps. Because of that I have quit with the exercise for now. She still gets out to move on her own, but I'm not pushing it.  She goes back on April 9th. We did expect this happen so I'm not overly concerned. I knew this was going to be a long process and am prepared for the long haul.

I haven't even touched Killian in over a week except to say hi and throw food at him.  He says he is fine with that though, but would prefer slightly larger servings.  Oh I forgot to tell you guys! About a week or so ago. he managed to get his big fat butt down into the feed storage area, much like Sassy did a while back. Only K is 2 feet longer than she is and 2x wider too.  Once he got in I had no idea how I was going to get him turned around and back out.  I moved some stuff and asked him to turn around, he got it done but not with out knocking all kinds of stuff over.  I would have backed him out if it wasn't up steps out the door. The look on his face was priceless!  It was like "Jack pot!!!!"

When I read back over this post I realize that I am in way over my head and someone is going to end up getting neglected. Probably Danny, not that he or anyone else minds. When I say neglected I mean in the riding/training sense. Truthfully none of them will mind, but it is important to me to keep them all (or as many as I can) as horses that people would want. Why? Because what if (god forbid) something happens to me and I'm not around to care for them?   I worry about that. I worry about whether or not people would want them, and I feel like it is my responsibility to make sure they can function safely around other people.  Right now, I feel like am not doing that very well.  I guess I need to remember that it takes time for each one, and as the weather permits and the days get longer I will have more time.


  1. I can totally see how you'd be frustrated. I think it would help for you to write out a list of goals, and an easy way to maintain those goals (a schedule). I think that with the move and everything going on, that your a bit scatterbrained and when it comes to each horse your looking at whats going on 'this second' instead of the big picture. Does that seem to be how your feeling? Try to write yourself a schedule, such as monday and thursday you spend 15 minutes with Danny, Monday and Wednesday you ride Trax, Tuesday and Friday, etc etc etc....Make it totally attainable! If I were you I would aim to only expect a little time with each horse (not necessarily trax if your riding, but if your doing ground work etc) that way, it doesn't seem like a big chunk of time and you might be more capable of sticking with it! Remember, only ask for 1 percent a day and in 100 days you'll have 100 percent! Horses can seem like they take a while to really make progress, but don't you think your rides now on Trax are better than they were a few weeks ago? I think sometimes its hard not to expect more from our horses, but I bet you guys are moving in the right direction, it's just hard not to feel frustrated at times!

  2. Thank you Marissa, that is exactly how I feel and you give some great advice. Yes the rides are better usually,so I guess I need to be happy with Baby steps.
    Thank you

  3. Yes Cindy, I agree with the first commentor. Too much going on, and you're trying to accomplish a lot with a lot of different horses. If that's how you're feeling when you ride, your horses know exactly how you feel. Remember, baby steps with a solid foundation and the rest just falls into place. To quote my mentor..."the slower you go, the faster you'll get there". Truth and wisdom from a master. Ray Hunt.
    That barn guy seems cranky.