Wednesday, January 21, 2009


I got suckered into helping my daughter and granddaughter with a horse on Sunday. Richard put the squeeze on me to "help" them bring a horse they are leasing over to his barn for an evaluation. The pretext was they needed to make a decision about this horse because there have been issues with her and Rachel won't ride the horse because of them.

I knew from the start if I did this it would probably take up my entire day. I only get two days a week where I don't work horses all day and those are the days I use to catch up with my blogging friends and do part of my posts for the week. Giving up one of those days was a sacrifice for me but I did it because Richard asked me too, neither Colleen nor Rachel ever did.

The day went pretty much as I'd expected. I left here a little later than I'd hoped because Dave needed the truck to get hay. Then I travelled over to the old barn to pick up Xena and Rachel and took them back to Richard's. Rachel didn't even speak to me the whole trip except for a two word answer when I asked her a question. It was really awkward.

We went through the usual lameness checks with this horse and she definitely has lameness issues.........lots of them. But to be fair to the horse it is possible those issues were caused by Rachel and her lack of knowledge on saddle fitting and/or the horrible footing at that barn. Either way it could possibly be something that can be fixed under the right circumstances.

Richard adjusted the mare's back and seemed to at least temporarily "fix" some of the issues there. The he decided to put Rachel on the horse to see what was the problem there. That's where things got pretty uncomfortable....much like things used to go when I worked with Rachel.

Rachel refused to ride the horse. Richard insisted and so did her mother (talk about a shock....but then she supports Richard in what he does when she didn't support me). Rachel finally did get on the horse but not without a lot of tears, something that makes Richard very uncomfortable BTW.

Richard had the horse on a lunge line to give Rachel confidence and did manage to get her to walk and trot the horse. The mare was actually being quite good. She didn't do anything at all like what Rachel had described so he asked her to canter the horse as well.

Rachel locked up with fear, crying. She refused to move and she refused to do what asked. Richard allowed her to get off the horse until Angie intervened telling him that it was important that Rachel work through this situation. She actually told Richard not to come in unless he got it done.

By this time Colleen was trying to sit on both sides of the fence. Because she was trying to support Richard, she agreed with him, but she's so used to enabling Rachel that she was doing that as well. Instead of seeing Rachel needed to work through her fear, she was making excuses for it and trying to convince Rachel this time was different from other times. This kind of behavior is why Rachel locks up with fear. She's never be taught to do anything differently. But then I am probably just a mean person who doesn't understand Rachel. (excuse my sarcasm) Angie saw this and took Colleen up to the house understanding that Colleen was contributing to the problem.

To make this long story short, Rachel did work through her issues, at least for this day, with the horse. Then I took them home. Neither Rachel nor Colleen called to thank Richard for taking his day off to help them, nor to tell him their decision about the mare. Instead he had to ask them yesterday about how the mare was doing after the session and their decision.

That's where things got tough for me. I'd been told that my opinion was important so I had given it. I have big concerns about the lameness issues and even bigger ones that the horse is not adequately trained for Rachel or her mother to ride so, along with Richard, I was talking to Colleen about those issues trying to explain.

There's probably no point in going into the details of what happened from there. Suffice it to say that Colleen cut me off and started talking like she was the expert and didn't need my help. I shut my mouth and walked off. I'm not going to waste my time arguing with her when she isn't really interested in my opinion in the first place.

I had so much going on, I came home and tried to get "stuff" done so I could hit the sack early to make it to the gym this morning. It wasn't until I laid down in bed that I realized how angry I was. I spent the entire night tossing and turning.

I felt set up again. Not only was my input not important, Colleen's mind was made up before we ever looked at that horse. There was no point in putting all that time into an evaluation. It was a waste of my time and Richard's. We both gave up our day off to help them, when they really didn't want help anyway.

Mostly it just adds more salt to the wounds I already have from this pair. I try not to be at the barn when they are there so I don't have to deal with their lack of respect for me. They have Richard up on a pedestal like he is the guru of horsemanship and they treat me like I know nothing when in reality we are probably on an even par. To top it off Colleen acts like she is as knowledgeable a horse person as I am when she is one of those people who knows just enough to be dangerous. It's insulting and it's disrespectful.

And frankly I'm really angry at myself I got suckered into dealing with them again in the first place. I'll get over it OK but it just really bugs me that something that could have been a good thing to bring us closer together, Colleen has managed to turn into something ugly to drive yet another wedge between us.

For that I am pretty d*mn angry........which I suspect is just a cover for pretty d*mn hurt. I need thicker armour. That's all there is to it. I just can't seem to figure out how to protect myself from getting hurt by them without just walking away permanently. I'm not sure that's something I want to do but at this rate, it sure may end up there.


ora said...

Sounds pretty much like a power-struggle to me, and between mother and daughter/granddaughter to that.

I found that a common misunderstanding between parents and children is that children (irrespective of their age) feel that their parents are implicitely "superior" and that they have to show them that they are as worthy as them.

So when your daughter refuses to aknoledge that you are a good horseman, she actually aknoledges your "parent superiority"...

If your granddaughter does not want to ride or work with horses, don't force her.

Give her the time she needs. And if she does not want, so be it...

The more you insist, the more she will dislike it...

Rising Rainbow said...

ora, my daughter definitely has no sense of her personal power, that's for sure. But she'd much rather play her games than claim it. For me, I think I'll just keep my distance.

As for Rachel riding, overall riding is not the problem. The problem happens when she gets scared, she freezes. Letting fear immobilize you can be dangerous, not just with horses but in life as well. That is why Rachel was pushed to get through it. It was about teaching her she can confront her fear. Of all of the goofy things that happened that day, that's the only one I think was productive at all.

Kahless said...

I hope you are not being too hard on yourself.

Yes, you were suckered, but you chose to do what you did out of love.

So respect to you for trying to set aside the past crap and try and help.

More fool them. Cos they are indeed driving you away.

It is sad. Alas I am not sure what you can do.


Lady Of Chaos said...

You got took. I do think they set it up from the get go. They had already made up their mind and it was a waste of time. To top it all off they were rude. No Thank you even? Not cool.

Take a time out. Don't talk to them, don't 'see' them, just take a time out.

Either they get it or they don't. You have so much to teach people about everything. I'd be there everyday just taking it all in if I could...

Yes kids tend to listen better when it's not 'mom' saying it, but that's kids, not adults. At least if she looks up to Richard, maybe she'll actually learn enough to no longer be dangerous.