Monday, August 30, 2010

Working Out Issues

I had a brilliant ride this morning. Picture me saying that with a British accent and we'll be on the same page.

Since Izzy's back at the old barn with no turnout, I lunged her for a long time. She needs it. She's a horse that really and truly needs turnout. With it, she's as calm and mellow as she could possibly be. Without, she's a nutjob. I try to compromise; I turn her out in the arena when possible (but that's only about 20-30 minutes at a time) and I lunge before every ride. My lunging is not structured; it's just for her to blow off steam.

So anyways. After lunging, I hopped on and off we went. Izzy was really quite good. We worked on maintaining a steady contact and me riding her up to it from her hind end. (Yay! She's doing really well.) She seems to be figuring out that I'm serious about it, so she's been a lot better about it.

Next we worked on a jumping exercise. It looked like this:


Yep. A single trot pole. We trotted over it both directions until we could both do it calmly and in balance without rushing off afterward. Then we cantered over it both directions. My goal was to begin to train myself to see a distance. (And since it's a pole, no one cares if I screw up.) It was a whole new experience for me, but I got Izzy to canter to it and put her front legs on one side with her hind on the other. It took a bit for me to start saying "Ok, push for this one" or "I need to hold for that" and I have a LONG way to go, but I definitely felt like it was a start.

We finished by trotting a small course of trot poles. It was a pretty illogical course, but I was more worried about rhythm, softness, and direction and less worried about the flow of the course. Izzy did quite nicely through it all.

In other news... School has started here, which means that Cathy lost two of her morning cleaners. It affects me in that she wants me to pick up the extra hours. I don't want to, but I understand she is in a genuinely tight spot. HOWEVER, the life skill I am working on right now is making good decisions to reduce stress levels in my life. It is NOT a good decision to take on more hours when I'm already irritated about working too much to board at a place with no turnout, no shelters, and no indoor. So. I thought about it. And I said this, "Well, if you're willing to ride Izzy (full training) for a month, I'll take the hours for a month. We can figure something out after that." **

I know you're all proud of me for standing up and saying what I thought, but it gets better. Cathy sort of hemmed and hawed about time and then said something like, "Well, I guess if I'm cleaning, then I'm also not riding." Notice how I did not just back down and say, "Oh. I'm so sorry that would be an inconvenience. Nevermind."

That is what insecure teenage me would have said. Starting to grow up me is thinking that it makes more financial and equine sense to move Izzy somewhere she'd be happier and just have me pick up a few more hours at a non-horsey job to pay for it. And honestly, as much as I like and respect Cathy as a trainer and a person, I'm not willing to continue this arrangement forever. Izzy needs turnout. I need a trainer who can give me lessons reliably and will say no to other people instead of just saying yes to everyone and me getting pushed aside. Insecure me would say, "Well, they're paying and I'm just a working student." Growing up me says, "I'm providing you with a valuable service and I am worth your time."

We'll see where this goes. I'm intrigued by the idea of actually just paying board every month and letting someone else muck stalls. Of course I'll still be hands-on with Izzy's care, but I'm kind of over this whole thing I'm doing now.

**If I take on the extra hours, I will be responsible for the morning cleaning (and usually feeding) of 22 horses 5x a week. That's at least 20 hours a week and it more than pays for full training every month, I'm pretty sure. Oh, and I make more at my other jobs than I do there...


  1. I think ultimately you need to do what is right for you and your horse. I've been there with the turnout situation with Tucker and he's a nutjob without it too. I think most horses are that way -- they don't deal well with no turnout. It's a very unnatural way of life for them not to be able to go out and graze in a herd. So, I agree with you that the situation you have her in now shouldn't be permanent. I think maybe it's time to start looking for alternatives.... It's tough to leave a trainer but sometimes you have to make that call.

  2. Good for you for standing up for yourself! Sometimes that can be hard in the beginning but it gets easier! And you have the added bonus of respect for yourself and people can see/feel that. It does not sound like you will need to make some decisions soon about your boarding situation... no turnout would be a big issue for me.

    On another note... I am hoping to be back in the saddle as soon as I can stand with all my weight on that right leg. Otherwise how am I gonna mount :( maybe another 2 weeks.

  3. How come you couldn't keep Izy at your friend's place? It sounds like that was a much better situation for her.
    When you really think about it, the barn that you're at now doesn't have much to offer -- no turnout, no indoor, no shelters, and inconsistent lessons, at best. Honestly, I think you would be better off finding another stable with all (or at least most!) of the ammenities that you want. And, hey, maybe you could even do some cleaning/feeding there in exchange for board. Or you could just be a boarder and have the pleasure of ONLY going to the barn to play with your pony (which is SO much better -- ask me how I know!!).
    And good for you for putting on your big-girl panties! ;-P Haha

  4. I have done the horse working thing, and I've done the board and make your living elsewhere method... and you spend a lot more time with your horse the second way! I still did my stall (even at full care, because I like to actually care for my horse) but you have so much more patience for your own animal, especially if it's a greenie, than if you are working with other people's beasties all day. And working where you board usually ends up a big headache, one way or another.

  5. That's a tough spot to be in. Turnout is the one thing my barn lacks, but it does have an indoor and the horses all have nice big stalls.

    Sometimes I get sucked into "deals" that are not good for me at all. Just keep your objectives in mind, and if you have to, work it out dollar-wise. There's no sense doing more work and making less money, especially when the situation is not one you even really want to be in!

  6. Izzy needs turnout and you need a break. A new barn might be the best answer for all.

    And yes, I am proud of you for standing up for yourself. Saying "No," gets easier with practice. This was a great start.

  7. I applaud your negotiating skills!!! Even Donald Trump would have been very proud.

  8. Good for you!! I know how hard it is to say how you feel. Our barn is a compromise. It makes Denali happy, not necessarily me happy. Love my trainer, love the barn, but would like an enclosed arena, etc. etc. Stuff that would make me happy, but not her. You get what you pay for... I learned my lesson the hard way. Read the beginning of my blog.... It is an extra crunch, but if you think about the hours you put into the barn, you could get another job doing something and make $$ to pay for board. I love not cleaning stalls anymore. It is great! Could you find a self care place?? You're taking care of 20 some horses, so taking care of just Izzy would be easier! :) Good luck! Do what you think is right, it's easy for all of use to read what you write and give advice, but we don't stand in your boots, or in Izzy's hooves. (Does she have shoes?? ;0)


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