Monday, July 25, 2011

Horse People Are Batshit CRAZY.

...We all know its true, right? Shall I name the ways? WELL, I will get to that in a minute.

This might be a long post, but I PROMISE it will be a juicy read.

As you all know, (hopefully) the show was a 3-day, and I was gone for 4
 days in Illinois for Hunter Oaks.

We (Nancy and I) left Thursday with the 3 horses in tow and all their crap. I was a BIT worried, since my trailer alone weighs 3, 3 horses, 5 bales of hay and 100lbs of grain and ALL our tack and suitcases....yeah thats a LOT of stuff. The truck was a trooper though, and got better gas mileage than it ever has before on the 260 mile trip (14MPG-wow!). The drive really sucked, since it was blazing hot and the truck has no AC....but we made it in one peice.

As we unloaded without mishap, I was looking around thinking how happy I was to be here and leave ALL my worries behind for the weekend. The grounds were beautiful, the truck drove great and all the horses arrived in great shape despite the heat. happened. It seemed my life ended. I got a text from (name removed), the owner of W_______ and the barn I boarded and worked at. Her text read something like this, "Hi, you need to do EVERY waterer every time! One at 63 did not get cleaned. At this point I need you to take your horse and leave and not come back. I will get people to cover your remaining shifts. Thanks"....


I was completly STUNNED and shaken. What in the world did I do? Right, I missed ONE waterer, which someone does on a regular basis every week. ONE! I had no warning...she never said a word to me about displeasure of any kind...I tried my hardest to keep y corner clean, do my shifts well and even go above and beyond my duties almost everytime. Even when I didn't have a shift, I did work at the barn. I was flattened. I sat down and cried for about 10 minutes. I LOVED that barn...the horses, the boarders, the trainer, the arenas and the area. I had NOWHERE to go. I was at a show for crying out loud and not allowed to return. I had exactly 3 days to find a place, in a city where hardly any eventers reside.

After my 10 minutes of sobbing, I stood up, wiped my eyes and mass texted everyone I knew an SOS. Most people just wondered WTF and asked what happened, of which I honestly had NO IDEA. I texted her back, asking for an explanation, but she did not. This had to be something else besides a waterer, but I could not figure out what...

This could not be happening. Not only did I almost get fired from my main job, but I just got fired AND kicked out and now my horse was  homeless. I had a major problem...I am poor. She let me work off board...what now? I cannot explain to you how distraught I was...

WELL, my sweet angel of a friend texted back letting me know we were welcome to stay at her place, even though she has no indoor, for a reasonable price. I was SO relieved....I cried again, ha. What a way to start this weekend off.

Anyways, after that crazy-ness, I hopped on Yankee around 8pm to do some schooling around the dressage rings. He was HORRID and I was having a difficult time holding my shit together. I gave up at dark and just prayed he'd come through for me.

Friday, Dressage Day, dawned early, and after the worst night of my life (not going into that here) and 3 hours of sleep, I crawled to the barn. I rode at 9:47, so I prepped early.

Our warm-up was freaking horrible, again. He was SUPER calm for the first 30 minutes and I was really happy. No bucking, crookedness or head tossing. So I let him rest and watched a few tests. with 2 in front of me, I woke him back up and attempted a, HELLO! NEW horse here under me now. The MOST crooked, teeth chomping, bucking, retarded, psycho, squealing horse I've ever sat on. I was crying again as I dreaded our test. Well won;t be doing THAT again will we?

As I headed to the ring, Yankee refused to relax and stop walking crooked and I was seriously about to withdraw. Instead, the INSTANT (again!-rem. MCPC) I walked by the judge, he dropped his head, relaxed his back and chewed softly at the bit. Um, ok?

And he gave me this...
The best dressage test to record for us :) I know he was a titch stiff on the first turns, and he tripped badly twice in a row but the ring was holey (wtf is up with holey rings in the midwest area). Otherwise, he was absolutly PERFECT. Perfect people...for him. I have NEVER had him be as relaxed and willing as he was in this show AND (drumroll please!) we got a NINE on our free walk! A 9!!!

Mostly, we got 7's and 8's but for good reason, a 5 on our halt (how many times did he move? lol) and our first movement a 5, since it sucked bad.

I was high as a kite on the way back, and he starting playing the second we left the ring but I didnt care...that was SO good for my psycho OTTB. I didn't care what score or placing we were in, I was just excited we had ONE good test, for once!

We ended up with a 34, to put us in 10th out of a field of 21. The leader had a 30, so competition was tight. If I had been in the other division, I would have been first, which sucked a little, but I was STILL happy nonetheless. I was excited, going into XC, since Novice is cake for Yanks.

XC Day was hot as hell.

I rode at 11am and by then it was already like 97 (H.I. of over 100) and I was concerned about my horse. The course was tough for Novice but I wasn't worried since he has gone training so many times. I had mom at the start box sponging and scraping him and it was working. He was feeling fresh.

TOO fresh....I was SO tired after our warm-up and was feeling faint. I had been drinking gallons (literally) of water all weekend but you can't fight heat, sun and humidity with a stuffy vest and a crazy horse that won't listen to half halts.

He basically bolted with me for the 1st half of the course, and I was struggling to remain in the tack. Beginnings if heat stroke. He was SO fast, by the time we got to the halfway point, it had only been 1:23 seconds....WOW. SLowing down needed immediately!

I slowed to a walk between fence 11 and 12a/b and since it was so long of a walk (2 minutes) Yankee got his wind back while I was still struggling to not pass out and die...

When I told him to canter again, he basically grabbed the bit and took EVERY OUNCE of my energy to bring him back to a nice Novice canter, but it took a major toll. By then I was barely hanging on....I couldn't breathe...

....He took the half coffin no big, but I don't remember him jumping it. We came up to fence 13, a BABY coop, but half hidden in trees. OH and so were the jump judges. he spooked at them bad, and refused the fence, but by the time he did that, I hadn't even noticed. He was cantering off to the left and I was like "ohh....he...refused, shit"....he went over it the second time just fine but I don't remember that either...

....the last 4 fences I 100% do not recall and we galloped across the finish with me hanging onto his neck. The only way I did not fall out of the saddle was by grabbing his breastplate, but I still fell on my butt while * gracefully * dismounting. The Medics were on me like dogs to a cheeseburger and mom took Yankee and began the intense cooling process. (She dumped buckets, scraped, walked, let him sip ...repeat. He worked himself into a tizzy trying to run off with me, but cooled down 100% in about 15 minutes.) It took me about 3 hours to just stand without was rough...

I knew I was sensitive to heat, but NEVER did I think I would come so close to passing out on a Novice XC. Guess the heat will do that to you.

With the refusal, we dropped from 10th to 18th, the bottom of the division. I was a sadpanda again.

Stadium day....what a day.

I was still very upset with  how the heat affected me, and how I let Yanks down. I simply did not ride the last 6 fences, and we in turn put in a poor performance.

I got to the barn early, again. Plus I wanted to watch the Intermediate and Prelim go.

The sky looked scary, but they started SJ on schedule at 8 a.m.

FOUR horses went before this warlock blew in and scared everyone back to the barns...
Is that not the scariest thing ever???????? That is literally how dark it was outside. I was scared shitless.

At approx. 8:10a.m., people scurried to get horses inside, tack, hay, chairs..everything.

Then, the wind blew like a hurricane and the sky opened up. I have videos, but have yet to upload them. It was insanity. It rained for an hour straight, and we were getting bored, cold and wet huddled in the barns. Beginning to wonder when they were going to call the show. 

By 10a.m., two hours after the rain started, they called a meeting for all competitors. they explained that from the footing expert and vet reccomendations, continuing would be a bad idea. Um, DUH!?

WHO STILL wanted to ride in that footing? I for sure was ready to go and not even risk riding outside on that ring. But Prelim people and others were relentless. WTF!? You seriously want to put your horse and yourself in danger, JUST to qualify for the AEC's? I mean, sorry, but there will always be more AEC's, sucks, but it'd suck worse if your horse fell out there on you and broke itself or you, for good. IDIOTS.

The TD still decided to give it 2 more hours and then decide.

Many people left.

We stayed, since Abby was in 1st place and wanted to see what was going to happen...

3 hours later, the rain stopped its pounding, and the organizers had set up a makeshift, but legal SJ course inside in the tiniest indoor ring I have ever laid my eyes on.

OK, since we were here, why the hell not?

Insert rushing to get dressed, tacking up and convincing bewildered horse that we were indeed riding today.

It was kind of funny in retrospect, and I'm sure he was the most confused. 

Divisions went fast, and it took only 30 minutes for my division to go. We had no warm-up and got to glance at the course before going. Since I was only Novice, I was not concerned about no-warm-up (injury wise) since I had trotted and walked him for 30 minutes on the driveway. I was however, concerened about remembering the course, and getting him to turn that tight!!

He ended up going clean!! He was a STAR! Turned on a dime, came back and extended when I asked and I was super duper happy!!!!!!!

What a ridiculous weekend.

Oh wait, doesn't stop there.

SInce we got about 7 inches of rain in 5 hours, you can only imagine what the grounds looked like. I will help you imagine...

Beautiful isn't it? Actually, no. Since I had to get my rig out of that. It refused. So I had to get pulled out by a massive was a ridiculous sight. After ALLLLLL that this weekend, the mud...was just....funny. All I could do was take it in stride and laugh my ass off.
watch a video of the mud!

Overall, we ended up 5th out of 21 starters. Tons of people that stayed had issues with the SJ since it was indoors, but Yanks pulled it off! 

My pretty ribbon is the pink one next to our Queen park 8th. I've won all this this year :)

So....I've come to the conclusion...that who else would drive over 200 miles, spend over $600, sleep in no AC for a night (Thursday), put up with the heat, the braiding, the horse, the rain, the mud, the heat strokes...

...Only horse people. Because we are batshit crazy.


  1. WOW, what a weekend.

    So sorry you were kicked out of your barn. That's just nuts. I mean... one waterer? Really? That's the crazy part.

    Congrats on winning 5th and surviving that crazy storm. If I ever come to Ohio, I want to see one of those.

  2. A good employer would give you a heads up. There's no rule that they have to do that, though, just common courtesy. At least a forewarning of anything you did wrong, yah?

    That sounds like one show you will NEVER forget and I would be so incredibly proud of my horse. No joke. You go, champs.

  3. LOL Eventers are as crazy as endurance riders. Really enjoyed the show story - although I'm totally bummed out about your job and boarding situation.

  4. crazy! sorry about the barn drauma :( If you lived here you would be more then welcome

  5. Haha, true that! Horse people are definitely crazy :)

    That completely SUCKS about the barn! I can't believe she'd kick you out basically with no explanation...

  6. How incredibly (excuse my french) bitchy of Cheryl. She's always been super uptight, but wow. One waterer. Have you talked to her since?

    1. She's super uptight because running a stable business is a tremendous weight on your shoulders. She is prone to all the bills, ordering, and all takes all the risk of liability which could lead into legal matters. Who the hell wouldn't be on edge and/or uptight?

      Or, you may be taking it wrong...what you see her as "uptight" is probably actually her being "strong minded", meaning that she is a savy business owner and won't put up with bull.

      In this business, you have to be savy to make it. That is just being smart.

    2. Here is a list of items ALL stable owners have to do...

      • pay bills:
      gas (diesel, propane, natural gas, etc)
      repairs on anything broken (fences, stalls, etc.)
      barn mortgage
      barn taxes
      barn insurance
      liability insurance
      routine maintenance on premise and/or equipment

      • order hay, grain, bedding, etc.
      • do maintenance on grounds, building, tractors, etc.
      • collect board and deal with late ones
      • deal with customer service via phone, email, meetings, showings, etc.
      • schedule events, if applicable
      • do morning chores - clean stalls, turnout horses, feed, water, grain, etc.
      • do noon feeding, if applicable
      • do night chores - bring in horses, feed, water, grain, put out hay for next day
      • clean arenas, wash stall, bathrooms, lounge, etc.
      • emsure all horses are safe and healthy at all times
      • schedule vet and/or farrier, if applicable
      • work 365 days a year WITH NO DAY OFF!
      • OR, pay someone to do the work for you, WHICH COSTS $$, and then you make NONE.

      I am sure I missed something. Is it sinking in? Do you understand now? Don't judge until you have been there yourself. Whoever this Cheryl is, she is a saint for even attempting to run a barn. Anyone is. So the title to this whole article should be renamed to "Stable Owners are Batshit Crazy".

    3. Here's a perfect example of a psycho horse person.
      She states "Whoever this Cheryl is, she is a saint" She doesn't know her but states she's a saint!
      What kind of nut job would write a list that long!
      Pretty sure, the title hit a nerve with her.
      Prime example of what the title of this states
      "Horse People Are Batshit CRAZY"

  7. Wow - That is an insane horse show!! Sorry about the barn drama, that sounds like a total nightmare =( - good luck getting it worked out!

  8. Not really, I'm rather offended since I had no idea she was upset with me for any reason. I thought I was doing a great job and she had never said anything to me to lead me to believe otherwise. Whenever I made little mistakes I would always apologize and it'd never happen again. I understand people have their ways of doing things, and esp. with expensive horses, I get that. But I was never aware of any issues that would make her ask me to leave :/ Mostly I am just sad, I loved the barn and everything and it came at a really bad time in my life, ha.

    Other wise, the show was awesome and it will definetly be a memorable one!

  9. I can't believe she just kicked you out like that! I can't believe how heartless people can be. Even if you're going to get rid of a boarder, give them enough notice to find a new place! That's just cruel to the horse, and the horse didn't do anything :(

    1. When boarding at a facility, the owners have every right to remove anybody at any time for any reason because it is their property. Even WITH a contract!

      If a barn owner decides to terminate a contract, for reasons other than listed in the contract, then the owner must refund the boarder for the unused portion.

      So, it may be a good idea to stay on the good side of your barn owner at all times.

  10. Word to the wise my friend: neeeever put names (especially big names) in your blogpost. That will come back to bite you in the ass!!!

    That being said, we all know Trakehner people are completely nutty! I know cause I am one ;)

  11. Holy Geeze...what a weekend! And yeah, "you eventer people" are seriously, seriously deranged, lol!!! What's so funny to me is if that was a dressage show it would have been called off for sure and EVERYONE would have left!

    I'm really sorry about your barn. I don't understand how one mistake gets you the boot like that, and with zero notice. Ugh. Glad you have somewhere to go though.

  12. Andrea,I was seriously contemplating not saying anything at all....but for now I will remove her name till I get paid for the work I did, lol.

    And sarah, its so true. us eventers are the essence of crazy!

  13. Congrats on dressage & sj! Woot woot!

  14. That is total BS what she did to you on the boarding situation. I doubt very much it was over one waterer. She just has something against you and used it as an excuse. Same thing happened to me at the vet clinic where I worked. The vet's husband hated me and used reading my book as an excuse even though no one had ever said it was a problem. I'd been doing it a year and they never said a word. I totally and completely understand how you feel right now and I hope things get better really soon. I'm glad you have someplace to take Yankee for the meantime. Wow that really sucks. And try not to second guess yourself or beat yourself up about it. I did that for a long time because it was the first time I was ever fired and it doesn't do any good. You know you did a great job and you know you're a good person. Tell **** with the rest of them (BO).

    Congrats on the show! You two really pulled it together and did fantastic. I bet the heat stroke was scary though. Please be careful. Once you have heat stroke or heat exhaustion once it's easier to get it again. I'm glad you weren't hurt and you've recovered well.

    Please keep us updated as you can.

    1. Really? Reading a book for a whole year on the job and you wonder why you got let go?

      Maybe they didn't say anything because you should have known better. So after a years time, they finally had enough.

      Your poor work ethic caused you to get canned, nothing else.

  15. Yeah I get heatstroke pretty easily...maybe it is time to cut off all showing in July for my own safety!!

    AS for the barn thing...I REALLY despise her and what she did to me. Enough said!

    I truly appreciate your kind words :)

  16. Checkmark115...something sounds fishy here.

    Getting kicked out for ONE mishap? Sorry, but I don't buy it. You're posting like you did nothing wrong, but then you state "...I made little mistakes I would always apologize and it'd never happen again."

    So, you admit that you have made mistakes right in your post. They may seem "little" to you, but must have been big to the barn owner. Barn owners lose business if the staff makes mistakes over and over.

    I think you knew it was coming. I bet if we read a post from the barn owner, it would read different than what you say. If you were such an important and good worker (and good boarder) then it doesn't not make a bit of sense for the owner to kick you out.

    I had a boarder who was constantly late with board to the point where it was unsure I was going to see it. I was nice enough to waive late fees many times for this gal who was a younger student. Then when I decided not to allow it anymore, and gave her a notice leave (but had warned her first to pay on time), she tells everyone at the barn how bad our barn is and not to board with us.

    In other words, as soon as I was not allowing someone to take advantage of me, they turn it around and make it someone else's fault instead of their own.

    Note to everyone on this post: There are TWO sides to every story....make sure you get the barn owner's side BEFORE you judge!

  17. I agree with the last post. This girl needs to be honest with herself and take a good look at the things she may have done to deserve this.

    What are the specific tasks you were doing wrong that deserved you to reply "it'll never happen again" to the barn owner?

    Also, what did you do to "almost" get fired at your main job? Sorry, but sounds like a pattern here.

    The barn owner did comunicate with you many times about previous mistakes, but you say she did not(?)

    It seems like your in denial about something.

    Quit blaming the owner and fess up to your mistakes.

  18. I watched your video of your ride at the show.

    To be frank, your posture is terrible! Your shoulders are slumped over and your back is curved outward. You also have no balance and your horse has difficulty holding you because of it.

    And you wonder why your horse doesn't do what you want? Get a good trainer to show you, please, instead of blaming the horse.


    If you don't want suprises at the barn you board at, then BE A GOOD BOARDER!

    WHAT does that mean? Well, being a good boarder means:

    • pay your board on time
    • be honest
    • don't gossip and/or lie
    • don't exaggerate
    • clean up after yourself
    • be courteous
    • ask questions, don't assume
    • don't complain
    • don't steal anything (taking extra hay, bedding or grain is stealing!)
    • if you borrow something, return it
    • be pleasant
    • share (arenas, lockers, lounge, cross ties, etc.)
    • wait your turn
    • follow barn rules
    • abide by your contract
    • respect the barn owner

    If you are departing, be respectful, even if your unsatisfied. If you don't, you'll never be welcome back and you will not be remembered as a good client.

    Barns are dwindling down to a few because of the extreme amount of funds, time and work it takes to run a stable business. If there were none, think about where you would take your horse?

    Never take for granted a horse boarding facility, nor it's owner(s). If you don't like that, build your own...but you'll need at least $400,000 to $500,000 to start with - good luck! 8•}

  20. Your right, horse owners are bat shit crazy. But BARN OWNERS will straighten them out!

  21. The absolute lack of professionalism that comes with the horse industry is the main reason why I don't work in it anymore and have decided to just take the odd lesson when I can afford it.

    Generally, crazy people make crazy horses end of story. We wonder why we have so many "problem" horses, but we don't even look at the way the industry is run.

    Before anyone replies to me, I'm not going to play the BO barn martyr game. They chose this profession, they have to live with it- and not take it out on other people! Sorry but times are changing, and if you can't keep up with that then I don't know what to tell you.

    Was the BO an over demanding kind of employer? She sounds like it (biggest reason why even good barn workers burn out typically after year no matter what barn). You said in other comments she didn't seem to like you anyway- so yeah, it's better that you are in a new situation because honestly, nobody should have to put up with that in the horse world anymore.

    People wonder why it's going downhill? Look no further than how horse people treat their fellow human beings