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handling frustration (looking for tips)

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  • handling frustration (looking for tips)

    Hey there! I am having trouble staying calm. I’m getting very frustrated and angry.

    First of all he won’t do a figure 8 anymore. Not like he doesn’t do a lead change. Like When I try to cross in the middle he completely goes off course. Let’s say I’m turning right to go through the middle, he will take a hard left no matter how much leg I put on. I have had trouble with this for a few weeks and I can’t figure out what I’m doing wrong or how to fix it. So I have had some trouble keeping calm when he does that.

    Then yesterday at a show he saw minis pulling a cart and he was terrified. I wasn’t upset about that. I was upset because I tried to take him for a walk to settle him down and he was running circles and pushing me around. I put a chain on him and I still couldn’t get control. Then I tied him to the trailer where he couldn’t see the minis. I used the door to block them from his sight. Then he was pawing the trailer and swinging his butt at me. I think he just wanted a friend. So then my friend brought her horse over because he was freaking at the minis too. So they were a little bit more calm.

    Alright so ‘how was I Acting?’ well I was yelling at him and I pulled on his face more than I should’ve. I knew I wasn’t acting right but I just didn’t know what else to do and I felt like I had no way to get a break and calm myself. So that was making me panic a bit too. I felt so out of control and I felt so stupid. Everyone was probably watching me act like a fool. I have some anxiety too so that didn’t help.

    So we were waiting for the ‘ok’ to warm up and he had to go past the minis to get to the ring. And he was sidepassing and backing up and trying to rear. I was scared he was going to hurt someone or damage a vehicle. So I tried to get him past the minis and he trotted which wasn’t a big deal. So then we went into the warm up ring and the minis were in a ring right beside us. So we go into the ring and he was so worked up he wouldn’t slow down so we trotted around the ring but when he got to the side beside the minis he was side passing and backing up which was ok. I handled that ok. I just tried to keep him calm and walking past them. We passed the minis a few times and then he got out of control. He was backing into the fence which wasn’t a very sturdy fence not to mention the fact that there was people standing by the fence. So I was just trying to get him to calm down and my dad is yelling at me to ‘get him outta there’. So I tried to walk him out the gate but he was just backing up and trying to rear. One of my friends had to walk beside me to get him out. At that point i just cried of frustration and embarrassment. My dad was telling me to ‘stay calm’ and I felt so out of control and I felt trapped. I couldn’t get a break. I had to handle him. So I got off and walked him back to the trailer where he couldn’t see the minis.

    I think I handled that ok. But I just got too overwhelmed. I felt like my dad didn’t understand. He was just telling me to do all this stuff but he didn’t know I was trying my best. I felt so out of control and angry at my horse. He is never like that. He is calm as can be. I get that he was scared but I need to have control even when he’s scared. I just felt stupid.

    Then when we did our barrel run he wouldn’t go around the barrel closest to the minis. I was a little upset but I kept calm. I just kept asking him forward until he listened. He was ok with his runs for the rest of the day but when I tied him at the trailer alone he was pawing it. Which pissed me off.

    I yelled at him to stop and he wouldn’t listen. I tapped him on his shoulder when he kicked but he didn’t stop. I took his saddle off and started loading him right away.

    When I tried to load him he wouldn’t get In the trailer. My dad pushed his butt and he got on. But I was really upset with him. After his behaviour all day that was the last straw for me. I stayed fairly calm on the outside but on the inside I was so angry. I did everything I normally do but I just didn’t use a kind tone or kind words which probably didn’t help but I couldn’t stop it.

    Anyways. I think my problem was that I felt out of control. I am looking for tips on how to stay calm. I am not good at it. I think my problem is, i feel like I can’t have a break to calm down. Like I’m trapped. Like There’s no choice but to keep handling the situation.

    Thank you in advance and sorry for the long read! I just thought I needed to explain things well.

  • #2
    Ok first take a deep breath.

    Then give yourself credit for realizing your behaviour is making things worse for you. I'm assuming you are young, probably a teenager?

    It sounds like this is a problem in other areas of your life too? Generally frustration and anxiety are signs we don't feel safe or in control of a situation.

    If you have general anxiety in different parts of your life you might want to see a counselor who can give suggestions for calming that down.

    With the horse I suggest taking a break from high pressure situations like competing.

    You would learn a lot from doing some ground work lessons or clinics so you have more tools in your kit to solve problems, bomb proof your horse, and plan ahead for incidents.

    How long have you had this horse? How experienced are you as a rider? Do you work with a trainer?

    If this is your first season with this horse it is absolutely possible that you have managed to untrain or confuse or upset him.

    If you've had your horse a year or two it is perfectly possible his hocks or back are starting to hurt from fast work and that's why he's acting up.

    You need to first get your mood swings under control, probably with the help of a counselor.

    Then you need to start problem solving why your relationship with the horse is falling apart under saddle. You need a trainer, a vet, and a saddle fitter on your team for this.

    Finally you need to get educated in good ground work and bomb proofing skills. But you can't start learning those until you have your mood swings under control, because you can't do anything with a horse when you are scared and angry.

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Originally posted by Scribbler View Post
      Ok first take a deep breath.

      Then give yourself credit for realizing your behaviour is making things worse for you. I'm assuming you are young, probably a teenager?

      It sounds like this is a problem in other areas of your life too? Generally frustration and anxiety are signs we don't feel safe or in control of a situation.

      If you have general anxiety in different parts of your life you might want to see a counselor who can give suggestions for calming that down.

      With the horse I suggest taking a break from high pressure situations like competing.

      You would learn a lot from doing some ground work lessons or clinics so you have more tools in your kit to solve problems, bomb proof your horse, and plan ahead for incidents.

      How long have you had this horse? How experienced are you as a rider? Do you work with a trainer?

      If this is your first season with this horse it is absolutely possible that you have managed to untrain or confuse or upset him.

      If you've had your horse a year or two it is perfectly possible his hocks or back are starting to hurt from fast work and that's why he's acting up.

      You need to first get your mood swings under control, probably with the help of a counselor.

      Then you need to start problem solving why your relationship with the horse is falling apart under saddle. You need a trainer, a vet, and a saddle fitter on your team for this.

      Finally you need to get educated in good ground work and bomb proofing skills. But you can't start learning those until you have your mood swings under control, because you can't do anything with a horse when you are scared and angry.
      Yes, I’m a teenager. I have been riding for 6 years, competing for 4 and I have had this horse for 3 years. This year is the first we’ve shown a lot off property. I don’t think its pain as he is only 6 but I will for sure check that out.

      This is sometimes a problem in other areas of my life but not like this. Not this bad.

      I work with a trainer 2 times a week.

      I do need to do a lot of groundwork. It is becoming clear there are some holes in our training and our relationship. Believe me, that breaks my heart. I love him more than anything and for that reason I will get myself under control and help him. I think we are getting our wires crossed. Some things are unclear so I need to clarify things for him and for myself. Thank you

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Miscellaneous View Post

        Yes, I’m a teenager. I have been riding for 6 years, competing for 4 and I have had this horse for 3 years. This year is the first we’ve shown a lot off property. I don’t think its pain as he is only 6 but I will for sure check that out.

        This is sometimes a problem in other areas of my life but not like this. Not this bad.

        I work with a trainer 2 times a week.

        I do need to do a lot of groundwork. It is becoming clear there are some holes in our training and our relationship. Believe me, that breaks my heart. I love him more than anything and for that reason I will get myself under control and help him. I think we are getting our wires crossed. Some things are unclear so I need to clarify things for him and for myself. Thank you
        A really good groundwork trainer can completely change how we understand our horses.

        You have a 6 year old horse. That means you bought him at 3, when you had only been riding for 3 years, and you were probably only what, 12 at most?

        I realize western world puts horses to work earlier than English riding, and people are more likely to give kids baby horses. But honestly you were a novice rider being given a green baby horse and absolutely there are going to be big holes in his training because you've been learning as you go along.

        The good news is that there are things you can learn that will fix these problems.

        As far as pain, a horse of any age can sustain an injury. Think of all the 3 year old race horses that break down. He could have pulled a muscle or ligament, especially if you've increased his activity level this year.

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Originally posted by Scribbler View Post

          A really good groundwork trainer can completely change how we understand our horses.

          You have a 6 year old horse. That means you bought him at 3, when you had only been riding for 3 years, and you were probably only what, 12 at most?

          I realize western world puts horses to work earlier than English riding, and people are more likely to give kids baby horses. But honestly you were a novice rider being given a green baby horse and absolutely there are going to be big holes in his training because you've been learning as you go along.

          The good news is that there are things you can learn that will fix these problems.

          As far as pain, a horse of any age can sustain an injury. Think of all the 3 year old race horses that break down. He could have pulled a muscle or ligament, especially if you've increased his activity level this year.
          About 12 yes. I am not the only one who has trained him. My coach helped a lot and one of my friends who is older than me. Yes, that’s one up side of this. I can fix him with time, patience and practice.

          Yes, he could have pain but I really don’t think so. I was just thinking that joint pain and stuff is more common in older horses or ones that compete often at high levels. We are talking a local club show. No pressure. Basically practice away from home. I do not run him hard because he is still learning. He might have pulled a muscle or something like that but I doubt it. I will check into it though

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Miscellaneous View Post

            About 12 yes. I am not the only one who has trained him. My coach helped a lot and one of my friends who is older than me. Yes, that’s one up side of this. I can fix him with time, patience and practice.

            Yes, he could have pain but I really don’t think so. I was just thinking that joint pain and stuff is more common in older horses or ones that compete often at high levels. We are talking a local club show. No pressure. Basically practice away from home. I do not run him hard because he is still learning. He might have pulled a muscle or something like that but I doubt it. I will check into it though
            Don't ever think that!! Joint problems and pain are **NOT** limited to older horses. I've seen x-rays of 2 y/o's with blown hocks, and have had my own young horse who had serious hock damage by age 4, for no good reason.

            And good on you for knowing that you need to clarify things for both of you. That's a huge step in the right direction.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Miscellaneous View Post

              Yes, I’m a teenager. I have been riding for 6 years, competing for 4 and I have had this horse for 3 years. This year is the first we’ve shown a lot off property. I don’t think its pain as he is only 6 but I will for sure check that out.

              This is sometimes a problem in other areas of my life but not like this. Not this bad.

              I work with a trainer 2 times a week.

              I do need to do a lot of groundwork. It is becoming clear there are some holes in our training and our relationship. Believe me, that breaks my heart. I love him more than anything and for that reason I will get myself under control and help him. I think we are getting our wires crossed. Some things are unclear so I need to clarify things for him and for myself. Thank you
              This may have been said already but .....he is young and you said you are doing a lot of showing. He could have ulcers from his own anxiety. Might want to check that out.

              I didn't read everything so it's probably been mentioned already but if he's objecting to a certain movement he might be 'out' in a shoulder, hip, etc. Chiro is worth looking into.

              Comment


              • #8
                Your horse does not believe that you are capable of keeping him safe when he sees something that frightens him. He does not believe that if you say it's OK means that it is OK and he should not be frightened. Shouting at him, "disciplining" him, isn't going to make him feel any better. You need to develop a more trusting relationship with your horse, over time. A relationship where he trusts you, and puts your decisions and input OVER his own. This is clear, consistent cues and releases, and pursuit of attainable goals, with associated rewards for him. It's a long term sort of thing, and a very different way of working with horses. "Anger" and "Frustration" on the human's part do not come into it. Until you can control your emotions, you need to limit what you do with a horse to the bare minimum because these are negative emotions that will only frighten your horse and make him even less likely to want to be your partner. The good news is that when attainable goals are organized for you, and the means to attain those goals are spelled out for you, "success" is the result, and "anger" and "frustration" are not as prominent as "happiness" and "understanding", and "softness" are.

                Scribbler's advice is dead on. If you are not getting this sort of help from the people you are working with now, then you need different coaches and trainers, because you need different goals from what you are currently pursuing, and different tools in your toolbox to deal with the unexpected. You need to not be pushed into competition until you have mastered some of the basics of communication and relationship building with equines. You need to develop two way communication with your horse, and a relationship of mutual respect and understanding. When you have that, it all comes easy. You and your horse are "one" being, your thoughts and movements are coordinated. Your touch is soft and light, and your horse responds, because he understands, and feels safe no matter what is going on around him. And you understand that he is a horse, and is going to be fearful sometimes, as he is a prey animal, and is always looking for danger in order to avoid being killed by a monster. But your presence and input gives him confidence and makes him brave.

                Good luck! Branch out in your quest for input into horse training and riding and competition, and in your own personal development.
                www.cordovafarm.weebly.com

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Originally posted by Obsidian Fire View Post

                  Don't ever think that!! Joint problems and pain are **NOT** limited to older horses. I've seen x-rays of 2 y/o's with blown hocks, and have had my own young horse who had serious hock damage by age 4, for no good reason.

                  And good on you for knowing that you need to clarify things for both of you. That's a huge step in the right direction.
                  Wow really? I will definitely get him checked just to be safe.

                  Thank you

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Originally posted by MzCarol View Post

                    This may have been said already but .....he is young and you said you are doing a lot of showing. He could have ulcers from his own anxiety. Might want to check that out.

                    I didn't read everything so it's probably been mentioned already but if he's objecting to a certain movement he might be 'out' in a shoulder, hip, etc. Chiro is worth looking into.
                    I will definitely look into that. Thank you very much for the suggestion

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Originally posted by NancyM View Post
                      Your horse does not believe that you are capable of keeping him safe when he sees something that frightens him. He does not believe that if you say it's OK means that it is OK and he should not be frightened. Shouting at him, "disciplining" him, isn't going to make him feel any better. You need to develop a more trusting relationship with your horse, over time. A relationship where he trusts you, and puts your decisions and input OVER his own. This is clear, consistent cues and releases, and pursuit of attainable goals, with associated rewards for him. It's a long term sort of thing, and a very different way of working with horses. "Anger" and "Frustration" on the human's part do not come into it. Until you can control your emotions, you need to limit what you do with a horse to the bare minimum because these are negative emotions that will only frighten your horse and make him even less likely to want to be your partner. The good news is that when attainable goals are organized for you, and the means to attain those goals are spelled out for you, "success" is the result, and "anger" and "frustration" are not as prominent as "happiness" and "understanding", and "softness" are.

                      Scribbler's advice is dead on. If you are not getting this sort of help from the people you are working with now, then you need different coaches and trainers, because you need different goals from what you are currently pursuing, and different tools in your toolbox to deal with the unexpected. You need to not be pushed into competition until you have mastered some of the basics of communication and relationship building with equines. You need to develop two way communication with your horse, and a relationship of mutual respect and understanding. When you have that, it all comes easy. You and your horse are "one" being, your thoughts and movements are coordinated. Your touch is soft and light, and your horse responds, because he understands, and feels safe no matter what is going on around him. And you understand that he is a horse, and is going to be fearful sometimes, as he is a prey animal, and is always looking for danger in order to avoid being killed by a monster. But your presence and input gives him confidence and makes him brave.

                      Good luck! Branch out in your quest for input into horse training and riding and competition, and in your own personal development.
                      Ok. I will definitely get help for myself and for him. The last thing I want is for him to not be comfortable around me and I want him to have as few bad experiences as possible. Like I said, it absolutely breaks my heart that I’m in this situation so I’m going to fix it. Thank you

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Miscellaneous View Post
                        Hey there! I am having trouble staying calm. I’m getting very frustrated and angry.

                        Anyways. I think my problem was that I felt out of control. I am looking for tips on how to stay calm. I am not good at it. I think my problem is, i feel like I can’t have a break to calm down. Like I’m trapped. Like There’s no choice but to keep handling the situation.

                        Thank you in advance and sorry for the long read! I just thought I needed to explain things well.
                        You need to take the next 6 months and go through a comprehensive program so that you understand how horses react to their surroundings and process information. This is not something that can be answered in a post. You truly are clueless about horse psychology and if you can't control your emotions, you should not be riding, much less competing. You are going to get yourself hurt.

                        I've subscribed to Warwick Schiller's video library for years now, and spend a lot of time in the winter watching them over and over. Horses do things the way horses do things, and if you don't understand the "why," then you will never learn how to control their behavior and get them to do what you want them to do. It's $25 or $30 a month unlimited viewing.

                        www.warwickschiller.com
                        "When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in a confederacy against him."

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Originally posted by Palm Beach View Post

                          You need to take the next 6 months and go through a comprehensive program so that you understand how horses react to their surroundings and process information. This is not something that can be answered in a post. You truly are clueless about horse psychology and if you can't control your emotions, you should not be riding, much less competing. You are going to get yourself hurt.

                          I've subscribed to Warwick Schiller's video library for years now, and spend a lot of time in the winter watching them over and over. Horses do things the way horses do things, and if you don't understand the "why," then you will never learn how to control their behavior and get them to do what you want them to do. It's $25 or $30 a month unlimited viewing.

                          www.warwickschiller.com
                          Ok......thank you? Can’t tell if your insults were helpful or not..... but yes, I do need to research horse psychology. And FYI I am not here looking for a life-changing solution, I want tips. I am not going to stop riding, I’m going to learn how to handle my problems with him. Leaving him isn’t going to fix much. It will set him back. I know my horse. It won’t work. And I should stop riding due to a set back? Are you outta your mind? Riding is and always has been the only thing in life I could always count on to make me happy and it kept me sane when my best friends of 10 years up and left. I’ve been through hell and back with him, I’m not giving up now. But thanks anyways.....

                          and im a barrel racer, the fear of getting hurt doesn’t hold me back. The only thing I’m concerned about is my horse and bystanders. I don’t care if I fall off. Bones heal and blood clots. We have shit to work out and wires to uncross so if you’d be kind enough to let me get back to that, it would be greatly appreciated. I know I shouldn’t be upset with you. I asked for an opinion and you gave it. But it seemed a little harsh since you don’t know me or anything about me besides what you read In one post on the internet.
                          Last edited by Miscellaneous; Oct. 4, 2019, 11:39 PM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Miscellaneous - just so ya know, Palm Beach is a cranky one. Take what you can from whatever is posted and roll your eyeballs at the rest.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Miscellaneous View Post

                              and im a barrel racer, the fear of getting hurt doesn’t hold me back. The only thing I’m concerned about is my horse and bystanders. I don’t care if I fall off. Bones heal and blood clots. We have shit to work out and wires to uncross so if you’d be kind enough to let me get back to that, it would be greatly appreciated. I know I shouldn’t be upset with you. I asked for an opinion and you gave it. But it seemed a little harsh since you don’t know me or anything about me besides what you read In one post on the internet.
                              Well, think of how your post reads to us.

                              At 12 you bought a 3 year old horse and you have been training it along with 2x week coaching. It is now only 6 (still young) and you're having problems. The chances that you have missed some steps along the way are pretty big.

                              And then you post that when the horse was reactive to an unknown stimuli while at a show - your response was yelling and in your own words "you couldn't stay calm, you're getting frustrated and angry." You were "pissed off" that the anxious horse was pawing in the trailer. And you feel trapped by the situation.

                              Where was your trainer at this show? What were they suggesting you do? What does the trainer recommend going forward to introduce your horse to new situations?

                              I agree that I would back off competition until you bring the horse along better - it sounds like you're having problems under saddle and on the ground. And I agree that I'd rule out pain based on the comments about your horse not doing figure 8s or lead changes like it used to.

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                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                Originally posted by Obsidian Fire View Post
                                Miscellaneous - just so ya know, Palm Beach is a cranky one. Take what you can from whatever is posted and roll your eyeballs at the rest.
                                Ok. Thank you. I thought I was being a little dramatic

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                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by S1969 View Post

                                  Well, think of how your post reads to us.

                                  At 12 you bought a 3 year old horse and you have been training it along with 2x week coaching. It is now only 6 (still young) and you're having problems. The chances that you have missed some steps along the way are pretty big.

                                  And then you post that when the horse was reactive to an unknown stimuli while at a show - your response was yelling and in your own words "you couldn't stay calm, you're getting frustrated and angry." You were "pissed off" that the anxious horse was pawing in the trailer. And you feel trapped by the situation.

                                  Where was your trainer at this show? What were they suggesting you do? What does the trainer recommend going forward to introduce your horse to new situations?

                                  I agree that I would back off competition until you bring the horse along better - it sounds like you're having problems under saddle and on the ground. And I agree that I'd rule out pain based on the comments about your horse not doing figure 8s or lead changes like it used to.
                                  Yes, I will back off competitions until I can work on and fix the things that are going wrong. I was a little pissed off because I didn’t understand what his problem was but I have been informed he isn’t comfortable with me and like you said he was anxious. I think it was also that I’m not use to handling that behaviour. I need to get myself use to handling new situations. My trainer was not at the show and I haven’t had a chance to talk to her yet. I talked to a few of my horse friends and they just said ‘stay calm’ which wasn’t much help because that was the problem.

                                  Also, is there anything I can do to get him to stop pawing at the trailer? We borrow it from a friend and I don’t want him to damage it

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                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Miscellaneous View Post

                                    Also, is there anything I can do to get him to stop pawing at the trailer? We borrow it from a friend and I don’t want him to damage it
                                    If the horse is pawing because it is anxious, the solution is to reduce the anxiety. If the anxiety is being produced because it is encountering new, scary things in an unfamiliar place - the solution is time and exposure. There isn't really going to be a "quick fix" about the pawing - it's the symptom, not the problem.

                                    How much has the horse been off the property? You said that this is the first year you've really done it. How often does the horse go to new places? How many shows has the horse been to total?

                                    You can't make a young horse not react to new things by anything other than just continual and gradual exposure to new things. Can you trailer out to new places just to school your horse? Sounds like that might be a useful thing to work on, because the issues under saddle may also be related to being in new places and having distractions, or even that the horse relied on other cues rather than cues from you (if you typically school in a certain way he may anticipate a lead change, for example, rather than respond to your aids.)

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                                    • #19
                                      I will give you some of my opinions and I hope you take it to heart and don't get all huffy and insulted because I mean it to help you and your horse.
                                      Too many young people that do games have zero skills in good horsemanship. You've learned to jump on a horse and
                                      try to go fast and furious to win at something.
                                      You urge the horse to go as fast and furious as he can by slapping or whipping or spurring and then jerk on their face to turn fast and yank on their mouth. No good horsemanship here.
                                      Many, many barrel horses get so anxious and soured and get their brains fried so that even outside of the competition area they don't trust their rider not to whomp on them with mistreatment and anger and temper.

                                      What a great way to screw up a horses brain.
                                      What you need to do is stop riding barrels, stop all competition and learn the basics in training your horse using kindness,
                                      understanding and patience.
                                      Try some obstacle training, do some Western Pleasure, go on calm trail rides. Do some trick training.

                                      Your horse isn't the problem here, YOU ARE. The horse is just mimicing his training and his rider. Yes you should be
                                      embarassed how he acted at the show. Because you hadn't properly prepared your horse and he was overfaced.

                                      Take a break from what you're doing and have some empathy for your horse. Otherwise your horse will end up like
                                      many barrel horses with a fried brain. Ruined.
                                      Get a new trainer in a new discipline. Stop the barrels and games. Become a better rider/trainer. Learn to control your anger.
                                      I wish you luck in your riding and with your horse, but you desperately need to change direction.
                                      "There is no fundamental difference between man and animals in their ability to feel pleasure and pain, happiness, and misery." - Charles Darwin

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                                      • #20
                                        Ah, just realized that OP is the poster who also revived an older thread about having problems loading their horse, and horse being herdbound.

                                        This thread gives a better picture of the whole situation, so any of our responses on that thread should be modified by our responses on this thread

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