Breaking up… In and email

So remember how in my last post I was making big decisions…..

Turns out its not that much of a decision.

I don’t even  get the chance to figure out how not burn bridges…

As of January 26….my trainer broke up with me, IN AN E-MAIL

Simply because I’d asked, due to our  conflicting schedules (I didn’t even mention her lack of showing up) that I be given leeway on lessons for a few months until work got back to normal. (Someone quit so I’m currently covering two departments…Joy!) Not, not take them. But rather pay as I go instead of for the month.

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So many things about the break up  e-mail were bull-shit….

-First of all it started out “‘m sorry to hear about your crazy schedule and resulting stress”. (Bull-shit and you are about to add to it. And yes she forgot the I in I’m)

-Then it said that she’s confirming my 30 day notice…..(what? I never said anything about wanting to leave…. )

-The owner(who is not the trainer in question) doesn’t want to run a boarding barn (pretty sure as long as board is paid he could care less who’s there)

-Boarding is contingent on being in her lesson program at least one lesson a week (tell that to the ten + “boarders” I know that don’t take lessons)

-The fact that she’s not the owner and felt she had the right to throw me out (there’s quite a few “boarders” at the barn that aren’t part of her program)

But I guess the worst part of the whole thing was that I realized the only language she spoke was money.

I get that its a business …

But I’ve done so many “extras” (like medicating her horse on Christmas, building a tack room…)

Without thanks…. and obviously they were worth nothing… Even the fact that I’ve known her 8 years in all her barns (talk about barn hopping) AND  she invited me to her wedding apparently were not important facts in the decision.

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More than that it meant she never believed in me. That everything was a lie.

She’d just been looking for a way to get rid of me because I wasn’t in full training.  Didn’t spill $$$ as I got out of the car.

And she couldn’t even say it to my face… (In fact she’s been avoiding me since)

BUT the silver lining is that the e-mail made my decision crystal clear.

I mean I could fight the “eviction” because really, she can’t kick me out. It’s not her barn.

The owner would let me stay.

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But there’s no point in staying in that type of situation. Somewhere you aren’t wanted or valued.

She served her purpose.

Fixed Dancer’s “problem”….now its time to move on.

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Dancer will be happily in his new home at the end of the month.

And even better. It seems I will have a barn family again. Everyone at this new barn is really nice.  Someone once told me barn families are important. I agree.

Everything happens for a reason….right?

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Decisions

So I feel like I’m sort of at a cross roads….

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Almost a year ago I moved to my new barn because I felt that I had no other options. I wasn’t getting the help I needed at my old barn and I knew this new trainer. I’d known her for a long time and I knew she could fix the crazy horse problem I was having.

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So we went into full training for a few months and she did exactly that. She fixed looney toon Dancer and made him sane again. And I owe her a debt of gratitude for that. But I think that was in the ginormous  checks I wrote every month.

She has also helped me build my confidence and my riding has definitely improved over the last year. Both Dancer and I have improved.

I dropped full training and kept lessons and that’s when it seemed to cycle down. No longer did we work with my schedule at all but instead I was expected to leave work early and miss things for lessons. I started to feel like I had before when I ridden with her (the reason I’d stopped before). And I started to get really stressed about being able to make lessons I’d already payed for. (and if I can’t do lessons…)

Other things bothered me too. My husband built a tack room for the “client boarders” and we were never repayed. In lessons or money. Barely thanked.

When we went somewhere, such as the Fresno clinic. She was always late but once she got there we had to HURRY UP! Not how I do things.

Traveling with her anywhere is also SUPER EXPENSIVE!grass thief

And sort of the final thing. I had a mini “Dancer Meltdown” after the Fresno Clinic. He was so naughty I just “wanted to sell him”.  And I had expected her to calm me down and help me think of ways to help him and me become a better team. Instead she jumped on the sale wagon and started giving me prices on what he’s worth now but I should send him to a show and he’d be worth more…etc.

(Don’t worry I got over it….love my pony)

I mostly love the barn. It would be nice if there was more than one arena. John had talked about making cross country jumps for the hills. And he’s basically turned out all the time.

And you can’t beat the board….

And I mostly knew some of these things going in. I knew there weren’t many people and I’d be by myself a lot at night. I wasn’t aware of the lesson problem. I knew she was expensive (not how much though because I was a working student before) But like I said, I didn’t want to lose Dancer and I felt I had no where else to go.jumping

But….

A stall is opening up in March at a barn down the road. I met with the trainer and the barn manager and they seem awesome (super sarcastic so they speak my language) They call the barn their second family which is what I miss about my old barn.

Three arenas, a round pen, a eurosizer, galloping track and turn outs. (and maybe a field to set up cross country a bit) Stalls with big paddocks and 4 meals a day. Blanketing that is done by how hot the horse is rather than just on off…..Dressage trainer and a traveling eventing trainer I could show with. And a bunch of eventing girls to hang out with that have jobs so ride when I do!

But….

It’s more expensive AND I don’t want to be a barnhopper!

Thoughts?

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Update…. decision was “made” but I’d still love to hear your thoughts!

SNUG as a BUG

One of the MANY things I love about my barn is the fact that my horse basically has two stalls…. When the weather is nice out he lives out hereimg_1864

Nice big turnout! Shady tree…hello

It makes him (and me) pretty happy to be out 24/7 to wander…

But when the weather gets nasty like it did this weekend

(yes I know, crazy Californian…it was just rain…I consider it nasty)

He gets to go in here!

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I was pretty pleased to not have a soaking wet horse yesterday when I got to the barn to ride…

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And he seemed pretty pleased with the situation too!

Spoiled pony!

On Our Own Again…

So today is our first official day back on our own again!

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Since I moved Dancer to the new barn he’s been in full training.

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Yah that was my pony….

There were many reasons for this.

  1. He’d become a monster during rehab and I needed help
  2. I also needed a break from said monster and time to regroup and remember why I love this
  3. I had the extra money in overtime to afford it
  4. It was the best decision for both of us

Full training consisted of 2-3 lessons a week and training rides the other weekdays…

We have both learned a TON and gotten WAAAAY AWESOME in the last few months…. I have a different horse than the one I showed up with in April…

But last month I decided that it was time for full training to end.

There were many reasons for this.

  1. My horse was done with rehab and we had returned to our “normal” brain programing
  2. I wanted more riding time on my own
  3. Slow season hit and overtime disappeared. When wineries go into their big crush they forget about labels… No worries they will panic in a few months and it will all be normal again. But I also went back to 8 hour shifts((which somehow feel like cheating when you work 10’s everyday most of the year)) so I have more time for barn time.

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    Soon enough this will be my boss when I try to sneak out “early” for barn time…
  4. I was tired of trying to schedule everyday of the week with someone else
  5. I’m not in a hurry to run up the levels so I’d rather have some cash in the bank for A. emergencies or B. fun times and field trips than spend it all making my horse more trained than I’m ready for anyway
  6. (I’d only planned on training until the end of rehab anyways)

Full training was great… And if I had millions of dollars to spend I’d probably stay in it because it does make life easier….But I don’t… So as of today we are on our own (sort of). I’m still taking a lesson every week obviously. We need all the help we can get. But I’m excited for more “alone time” with my pony to continue to rebuild that relationship.

Lessons from a Pony

 

Insane and Awesome

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So I was driving to the barn the other day with my husband. And he says….

“So I was watching Olympic show jumping today” (I know, he was watching show jumping.…without me! Did hell freeze over?) And I was thinking about it. What you do is insane. And awesome. He’s never really said anything about riding like this but of course my first response was….

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Those jumps are huge…  I’m really just jumping cross rails right now. Its not big deal….

His response…

“Dude (apparently we have become a surfer since school started) you get on gigantic beasts that could kill you and you leap into the air. I don’t care how high it is. You are either crazy or super brave.”

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Now I realize he’s my husband but this came out of no where. And it really made me think.

Cross rail or Olympic jump (or even dressage work or trail riding) we are all bad asses just for getting out there and doing it. (Even if sometimes it scares the crap out of us sometimes)

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In the words of Eventing Nation….

Go Riding!

Just gonna shoot you this time…

Last weekend my barn went on a three day camping trip to Eventful Acres (Hiskens). It was Dancer’s first trip out into the real world since he got hurt. It was going to be awesome. It was going to be amazing…..Until it wasn’t….

So here’s what went down….

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So he can jump… yah?

Friday I knew he was going to be a nut job. And he proved me right of course having a minor meltdown just walking out to the course. (screaming, bucking, kicking…all in hand) I had our working student hop on him first because she’s a little more sticky than me. He took off bucking as soon as she was barely on.

Sigh….we’ve both missed cross country I guess.

But he settled down and I was getting ready to get on him and then…..

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Guess we aren’t ditchy?

There’s a creek at Eventful Acres that you go down and come up and then pop over a jump. That was going to be the last jump before I got on….

When he landed the girl pulled him up and asked me to check his right front foot. He felt funny and maybe picked up a rock…. I picked it up and it was clean. But when I let the foot go he wouldn’t put weight on it….. Like literally acting like it was broken.

Damn pony…

She hopped off and we messed with his leg….he didn’t like his knee messed with.

Sigh….long walk back to the barn with three legged lame horse.

He got a little better on the way back.  My spinning brain didn’t….

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Not the way I planned on spending Friday night… (you can’t see the beer I’m drinking though)

All I could think was “I can’t do rehab again, that was F******* miserable!”

So we had a chat (me and the pony) when we got back to his stall and I told him

“No Rehab…. this time I’m just gonna shoot you… ”

I iced him and wrapped him figuring my weekend was over.

We took him out later and he was walking fine…..and totally sound jogging

Guess my pep talk worked!

He was still sound when we trotted him in hand the next morning so I saddled him up to at least walk and trot around….

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Amazing and huge ice cream we had Saturday before the lake….$2 for all that!

He felt a little funny when I hopped on him so I had the same girl hop on him again to trot him around and put my nerves to rest..

Guess who became a nut again?

So I had her work him until he was calmer and would realize (or not!) he was hurting….he wasn’t hurting…

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Nope not jumping those (I swear they look bigger in person)

He seemed OK but I decided not to push it and called it a day after he’d calmed down

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The unicorn took us on a hayride Saturday night!

Sunday we trotted him and he was still totally sound….and a bit calmer.

I let the girl hop on him in the first group because I wanted him to have some experience over some bigger stuff..

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Into the coffin… Superstar

Then it was my turn finally….

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He looks thrilled to have to go again

We just did some easy stuff….

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And this is the only photo I have of us…trotting a baby log….oh well….

Aside from trying to die on Friday I think it was a good outing. I wish I could have ridden more but I’m happy he got to go somewhere fun and do lots of stuff. I’m happy the girl took him over the bigger stuff that we never would have done… And then I got to do stuff at my comfort level and he was still good….The more experience the better!

Oh and my horse is a baby….

FINAL ULTRASOUND!!!

On Monday we went in for our final ultrasound.  Dancer had been cleared for work (cantering then jumping) at his last one but I just wanted to make sure that he was doing GREAT before I took him out on uneven terrain cross country….

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so drugged

Vet says he healed “better than she could have ever expected!”

HORRAY!!!!

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Can’t say I wasn’t doing a happy dance inside….

All those cold late nights of walking around and around….trying to keep kite pony on the ground….

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sucked… but worth it

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Finally worth it….

Cross country schooling camp this weekend to celebrate!!!!

Wooooohooo!!!!

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SOOOO excited to do this again!!!

Sports Psychology Clinic-Day 1

I got the chance to attend a clinic on sports psychology with Shannon Thompson this last Friday and Saturday.  She’s trained in performance psychology and her approach is largely derived from the field of positive psychology. She works with people all the way from little old “me” all the way up to the Olympic runner she texted on a break. She was encouraging him before his 5K final to qualify for the Olympic team! You will never meet a nicer more genuine person than Shannon. She’s truly there for you. She is also an equestrian so she understands what is going on with us! Friday was a lecture and Saturday we rode and discussed ways to help us overcome things. (more on that day later)

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Shannon was so awesome! I hope she comes back!

I’m not sure what I expected to get out of this clinic. At my last lesson I had melted down over cantering a cavaletti so I was really hoping she could help but on the other hand it all seem a little out there and “fluffy” (her word, not mine)

When we got there Friday night the meeting room was locked so we met out on the lawn outside. It was probably actually nicer because there was a nice breeze blowing and it was the perfect temp.

She had a workbook for us and tons of real life stories. The first page in the workbook had a question I really struggled with (and was kind of eye opening)

“How do you describe yourself at your best?”

The point of the question was to get a description of yourself at your very best, including personal character strengths so that you could work towards being that way “more” or the time.

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Jedi say, a little drool never hurt anyone!

I found that I could describe myself at my worst….but struggled to describe myself at my best. Interesting.

The next page was some character strength exercises to get you thinking which helped with the last question a lot.  You had to come up with stories about different “best moments”. We were supposed to fill it out and then give it to someone after and have them circle the character strengths on the next page. It was kind of neat to see what people took as our strengths from the stories we told.

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Such a pretty pony!

The next few pages were Mindfulness Exercises. Most of those seemed fluffy to me frankly….But as the riding post will tell you, I was proved very wrong!

The last page contained a Mental Practice Plan template. We were told to bring it the next day and looking over it I think it might be something I’ll use in Dancer’s riding “journal”. Probably a little abbreviated. It has things like mental warm, mental riding  and outcome goals (long term) as well as daily practice goals). There’s also a post ride section for what went well and actions for improvement which I realized I was sort of doing in my book…but mostly focusing on the negative….hmmmmmmmm

I learned so many things….More on the riding lesson later!