I literally had the craziest, most insane day at the barn today.
I was checking on a friend's horse while she was out of town for the weekend. Sweet older mare, I just had to take her out and give her a hand walk around to let her stretch her legs. This is at my friend's barn. It is a nice barn, boarders have their own trainers come out, owners are decent horse people.
I was walking said mare outside, on a semi-popular trail which leads to a medium-sized outdoor arena. It's kind of fairy-tale like, to be honest, you walk through the woods to an old wood-fenced outdoor arena with basic footing. You can either continue on the trail or go into the arena.
We were walking along, and as we were reaching the outdoor, we heard a rider in the indoor. Nothing unusual, boarders ride out here frequently. As we rounded the bend, I literally stopped and my mouth gaped open. (Sweet mare took the opportunity to eat some brunch, I couldn't care less at that moment.)
There was a single rider in the arena. Flashy warmblood cross, with maybe a sixteen year old rider. The horse had on extremely tight side reins (think behind the vertical), WITH DRAW REINS, and the rider had on spurs and had a dressage whip. The poor horse was being bullied around a small circle, and whenever he tried to lift his head (not like he could, he was so tied down), the rider would viciously see-saw the reins, jab him in the sides, and give him a huge smack with the whip. The horse was sweating and dancing everywhere, the poor guy. He had zero mobility, and the rider was trying to do who knows what to his "Frame".
At this point I literally could do nothing except stare. Now, it gets crazier, MUCH crazier. I know this horse.
My friend who's mare I am walking has a friend who is pregnant (Baby girl! ) and is leasing out her horse. This horse is the one my friend's friend owns. She supposedly leased her to an older WOMAN (not this teenager) for six months while she dealt with the baby.
Flash back to the present. The rider was now trying to canter the horse, but apparently he wasn't "round" enough to her liking. She shortened her reins up until his head practically touched his shoulder, and then she HAMMERED him with the whip. Said horse bucks, and although rider doesn't come off (I was wishing) her tirade on his "frame" is paused. Probably about one minute has passed since I arrived at the scene.
Making an executive decision, I tie my mare to one of the tie-rings outside the arena, and literally charge-walk (You know, the fastest walk you can do without scaring every animal in sight) across the arena towards her. I arrive and ask her "WHAT do you THINK you are doing?!?!" To which she replies, "Teaching this stupid horse how to be ridden." I ask her who's horse this is, and she gestures vaguely and says, "My friend". At this point I am steaming. I am amazed I haven't blown up.
I step back and dial my friend, who I promptly explain the situation too. She calls her friend, who then flips out, and says she's coming out to the barn NOW. In the meantime, I am in charge of the horse and I am to get the tack off and rider off immediately.
I tell the teen that the horse's owner is coming out now and she needs to get off, to which she replies, "I'm done anyway, this F$&$*$^ horse is useless anyway." She jumps off and goes over to the side to get her water. At this point I cannot even talk to her without punching her in the face, so I quickly strip off all the headgear, loosen the girth, and run the stirrups up on the saint of the horse. Elapsed time has probably been about 15 minutes or so.
Said horse is then haltered and grazed until the owner arrives. The rider is off sulking and texting on her phone. My friend's friend comes bursting out to the arena, her face literally beet red.
At this point, the woman thanks me for what I did, and promises me she'll take care of the rest. I take the old mare back to her stall, and as I am finishing up two more cars drive up: the teenager's parents and the woman my friend's friend leased the horse to.
I wished I could have stayed, but I knew the situation was under control and I needed a drink badly.
*Supposedly, the woman the horse was leased to was out of town for two days, and then gave the horse's responsibility over to a supposed "good Dressage" rider. I happened upon the second ride.
**The horse has already been looked over by a vet and a chiropractor, and is declared fine. He is currently out in a pasture recovering from his ordeal.
*** I am sure I have left out some details/skipped around, due to my scatter-brained self right now. Feel free to ask if something is unclear or if you have any questions.
**** I am now going to have a drink or two. Or three.
In a way, it's better that you knew the horse, and knew the owner, so instead of just being shocked and appalled and fuming over it and wondering should you be a buttinsky, you knew who to call and just did it. Good job.
Draw reins in uneducated hands is bad enough, but getting on a horse with side reins on is very dangerous.
If the horse takes a bad step, it can't righten itself and you both can be in a serious wreck before you can do anything.
In that situation, where she was getting rough on the horse, even more chance of things going wrong if the horse acted up, the whole scenario was crazy.
Good that you could stop that before it became a real wreck.
I think that is a 16 year old I would not want to have around.
They need to kick her out of that barn.