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Trainer Expectations

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    Trainer Expectations

    I've struggled with whether to write this or not and I'm just going to preface it with I know these aren't my horses. However, I raised one of them and did everything except sit on his back before he went to the breaker. My mother in law generally looks to me for guidance and I'm trying to make sure the situation isn't going to blow up. Because if it does, it's going to be messy and possibly detrimental to their future breeding program. The trainer in question is a person who I dislike for several reasons and I'm struggling more and more with whether the red flags that I see are to do with my dislike of her or actual red flags.

    My inlaws have two horses in training. A homebred one and another one they hope to further their breeding program with. Both of them have been with the trainer for over 2 years now. My inlaws aren't very experienced and this all started when I went through a period of not having contact with them due to some personal reasons. As our relationship mended, I got more involved in things going on.

    The homebred one went there after being green broken. I know the breaker and he sends them home with a good rock solid foundation after 60 days. Trainer gave the homebred horse to her daughter to ride because she didn't like him. This was my first red flag. The daughter rode on the wrong diagonal and the horse counter bent the first time they went out. Homebred horse still struggles with his leads and cantering, which was never an issue with the breaker, even after 2 years. Blames it on the horse being lazy.

    The other one is still at a very rough 1st level after 2 years, again with cantering issues. He was training that level with his previous owner before my inlaws got him. Trainer says he has stifle problems and this makes it hard for him to canter. This other horse always has a soundness problem when the trainer is pushed to take him out or do something with him that she hasn't got planned. Or she's had the chiro out and the chiro has said he's 'out' in multiple places and can't be ridden except at the walk and over poles for 6 weeks. When my MIL gets really annoyed the trainer will take them out to a small show with little competition and win a few ribbons to placate the situation.

    The trainer has asked MIL the buy new saddles for both of these horses because the ones my MIL previously got for them previously no longer fit. I said to send my independent saddle fitter out and see if she can tweak the fit. No, the trainer wants a specific brand and type of saddle. Convientnantly also found one within an hour of telling MIL she needed XYZ saddle in her budget. MIL also went out and specifically got a 3 horse trailer just so the trainer could take both these horses out at once because the trainer said her 2 horse wasn't big enough for both of them.

    The trainer is quite involved in the breed of these horses. She's made a name of herself with the other horse my inlaws have. He's imported and he's quite an amazing horse to look at. She professes herself to be the expert of these breed and always has an excuse that starts with "This breed is different because..." and will always blame it on other people not understanding how different these horses are. Which she's also used to explain away some bad tests the horses have done. When the trainer was confronted by someone else about why she's never gotten out of 1st level, the trainer said everyone always took the good horses off her before she has a chance to take them up from the levels.

    This is an area with an abundance of good trainers. For exactly the same price as this trainer charges. I've suggested multiple times to my MIL different people but she'll always come back with "Oh, the trainer said that person is arrogant and doesn't know the breed." Sadly the one who I know personally has moved to Holland and I don't know any of the other trainers I recommend on a personal level which for some reason is important to the MIL.

    The horses aren't being mistreated by any means. They look amazing but they just don't go amazing as they should.

    My MIL is one of these people who simply can't deal with confrontation. She was getting annoyed at the trainer but when she went down to visit, the trainer has talked her way around things. I could see through the steaming pile of excrement a mile away but my MIL said the trainer had good excuses and she'll see how it goes for the next few shows since it's starting back up again. This is where I get super frustrated and I also start doubting myself whether I've overreacting because of my strong dislike of the person, or the whole situation just stinks.

    Collective COTH wisdom?
    Not my circus, not my monkeys!

    #2
    Horses look good, aren't mistreated. The issue is about you and MIL: you feel she is getting suckered into buying saddles and trailers that the trainer wants, and her horses aren't getting the training you think they should have by now.

    If it isn't directly affecting you, it is hard to convince people to do something different. Might be the cost of preserving your relationship to ignore it.

    Comment


      #3
      The trainer is being paid to train. Requesting a change is saddles is legitimate, however the saddles belong to MIL. And you can only hope they really do fit the horse, not simply the trainer's posterior.

      If the horses are not showing distinct improvement, no matter how good they look, the trainer is in over their head. They would not be the first person in the equine world to talk the talk but be completely unable to walk the walk.

      I would suggest in a completely relaxed fashion, that the horses should by now have shown more and better progress, and that perhaps a change is due. You did say MIL more or less looks to you for guidance. So guide her.
      Last edited by merrygoround; Jun. 16, 2020, 04:22 PM.
      Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

      Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.

      Comment


        #4
        Unfortunately this is something that you can't fix.
        You MIL has made up her mind about this trainer and she is not going to change trainers just because you say so.

        It usually takes something catastrophic and sometimes not even then. And it's usually the horses that suffer. So far, nothing really bad has happened so be thankful for that.

        I know it's going to be difficult but I think you are just going to have to accept the situation as it is.

        And I wouldn't continue to guide your MIL, either. Don't let her put you in the middle. If she has a problem with the trainer then she needs to use her words and confront the trainer herself.

        As much as you can, emotionally distance yourself from the situation. And try not to take it personally. I don't see it that your MIL is being pathological about it. She just views this trainer differently than you and doesn't see what you see.

        I will also add that sometimes people get resentful about being warned. She may get wise to this trainer and get a new one, but she may still resent you all the same. People are illogical about things like that.

        it's like a woman goes out with a guy and then one of her friends tells her hes a two timer. She catches him at it and dumps him, but gets mad at her friend for telling her. What's up with that, anyway?




        Certified Guacophobe

        Comment


          #5
          If the horses are being well cared for then I think there’s nothing you can or should do. You’ve already given advice and it’s not been acted on – which is totally your MIL’s choice.

          Years ago I got some amazing advice via the internet when I was having a frustrating situation a little like yours. The advice was to not engage when my friend started agonizing. If she asked what I thought then say something like “well, you know what I think” lightly and then ask her about something else. Tone is really crucial – there can be no superiority/condescension/whining or other unpleasantness and then move the conversation on to a different topic that you DO want to hear about.

          My friend owned a totally unsuitable horse that she was scared of, she’d struggled with him for years, tried every trainer/supplement/bit/bodyworker/feed/etc plus sooooo many lessons. They were just not a good match and it was so frustrating see her struggle for years, talk about selling him but never actually sell. He was a nice enough horse and would have suited a different rider fine.

          It was amazing. She’d still talk about the issues she was having and I’d listen properly – but I gave absolutely no advice. It was great for me to realize that nothing I could say was going to change the situation and it was more important for me to keep a friend that keep trying to get her to do what I (and everyone else who came in contact with that horse) recommended. (Incidentally she still has that horse. He’s been a pasture ornament for many, many years now)

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by BrokenArrow View Post
            I've struggled with whether to write this or not and I'm just going to preface it with I know these aren't my horses. However, I raised one of them and did everything except sit on his back before he went to the breaker. My mother in law generally looks to me for guidance and I'm trying to make sure the situation isn't going to blow up. Because if it does, it's going to be messy and possibly detrimental to their future breeding program. The trainer in question is a person who I dislike for several reasons and I'm struggling more and more with whether the red flags that I see are to do with my dislike of her or actual red flags.

            My inlaws have two horses in training. A homebred one and another one they hope to further their breeding program with. Both of them have been with the trainer for over 2 years now. My inlaws aren't very experienced and this all started when I went through a period of not having contact with them due to some personal reasons. As our relationship mended, I got more involved in things going on.

            The homebred one went there after being green broken. I know the breaker and he sends them home with a good rock solid foundation after 60 days. Trainer gave the homebred horse to her daughter to ride because she didn't like him. This was my first red flag. The daughter rode on the wrong diagonal and the horse counter bent the first time they went out. Homebred horse still struggles with his leads and cantering, which was never an issue with the breaker, even after 2 years. Blames it on the horse being lazy.

            The other one is still at a very rough 1st level after 2 years, again with cantering issues. He was training that level with his previous owner before my inlaws got him. Trainer says he has stifle problems and this makes it hard for him to canter. This other horse always has a soundness problem when the trainer is pushed to take him out or do something with him that she hasn't got planned. Or she's had the chiro out and the chiro has said he's 'out' in multiple places and can't be ridden except at the walk and over poles for 6 weeks. When my MIL gets really annoyed the trainer will take them out to a small show with little competition and win a few ribbons to placate the situation.

            The trainer has asked MIL the buy new saddles for both of these horses because the ones my MIL previously got for them previously no longer fit. I said to send my independent saddle fitter out and see if she can tweak the fit. No, the trainer wants a specific brand and type of saddle. Convientnantly also found one within an hour of telling MIL she needed XYZ saddle in her budget. MIL also went out and specifically got a 3 horse trailer just so the trainer could take both these horses out at once because the trainer said her 2 horse wasn't big enough for both of them.

            The trainer is quite involved in the breed of these horses. She's made a name of herself with the other horse my inlaws have. He's imported and he's quite an amazing horse to look at. She professes herself to be the expert of these breed and always has an excuse that starts with "This breed is different because..." and will always blame it on other people not understanding how different these horses are. Which she's also used to explain away some bad tests the horses have done. When the trainer was confronted by someone else about why she's never gotten out of 1st level, the trainer said everyone always took the good horses off her before she has a chance to take them up from the levels.

            This is an area with an abundance of good trainers. For exactly the same price as this trainer charges. I've suggested multiple times to my MIL different people but she'll always come back with "Oh, the trainer said that person is arrogant and doesn't know the breed." Sadly the one who I know personally has moved to Holland and I don't know any of the other trainers I recommend on a personal level which for some reason is important to the MIL.

            The horses aren't being mistreated by any means. They look amazing but they just don't go amazing as they should.

            My MIL is one of these people who simply can't deal with confrontation. She was getting annoyed at the trainer but when she went down to visit, the trainer has talked her way around things. I could see through the steaming pile of excrement a mile away but my MIL said the trainer had good excuses and she'll see how it goes for the next few shows since it's starting back up again. This is where I get super frustrated and I also start doubting myself whether I've overreacting because of my strong dislike of the person, or the whole situation just stinks.

            Collective COTH wisdom?
            I do try to stay away from advising most people.

            My experience is that very few people want clear cut advice and those that do are capable of making up their own minds.

            However most of the people who continually tell you all about their problems don't really want to make a change. They want to vent and let you carry the burden of worrying about them. Or sometimes the situation actually suits them just fine.

            Sometimes people are happy the training is going slow or the horse isn't safe for them to ride because they aren't actually that eager to ride. A surprising number of adults actually don't really want to get on their horses. That is why minis were invented.

            ​​​​​​I have just stopped taking on any emotional investment in people's day to day problems. If they vent I just make listening noises and change the subject sooner rather than later. If there isn't a clear practical action needed on my part (drive you to ER, haul your horse to another barn, order groceries for delivery, loan you a show jacket etc) then I just don't engage emotionally.

            It's really easy for the major way you bond with someone to be them dithering over crises in their life and you feeling obligated to help. Then you end up worrying about them long after they have forgotten that particular crises.

            I certainly have friends that love to "ask my advice" and take up a good deal of time, but then just go and do whatever they planned to do or take someone else's advice. Right up to people who have no intention of every buying a horse flooding my message feed with sales ads periodically. Asking advice can be a way of having social interaction. It doesn't mean they are interested in following your advice.

            Comment


              #7
              I know how frustrating it is to watch her, in what you perceive to be someone ripping her off. Knowing her money could be better spent elsewhere and the horses might benefit from a different trainer. But unfortunately I just don't think you can convince someone. I would perhaps tell her that if she changes her mind, you would be more than willing to help her find a training program that fits her horses better, and just drop the subject. I know its hard to watch, but ultimately it is going to have to be her decision to make.

              Comment


                #8
                So, the horse they didn’t breed themselves but plan to use as part of their breeding program, I’m assuming is a stallion? Most people want to see stallions with a solid performance before they choose to breed with him. So, is the trainer working toward that? It’s great that the horses are healthy and cared for, but the trainer needs to actually train them as well. Is your MIL ok with the horse only going to small shows? Have you explained that actually campaigning the horse at bigger shows is beneficial to their breeding program? If she doesn’t care, then live and let live. If she does, help her find a better trainer.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Could you ask if you can sit on one or both of them sometime? Just to understand what's actually going on with their training.

                  Mind PMing me the breed?

                  Comment

                    Original Poster

                    #10
                    Originally posted by JustTheTicket View Post
                    So, the horse they didn’t breed themselves but plan to use as part of their breeding program, I’m assuming is a stallion? Most people want to see stallions with a solid performance before they choose to breed with him. So, is the trainer working toward that? It’s great that the horses are healthy and cared for, but the trainer needs to actually train them as well. Is your MIL ok with the horse only going to small shows? Have you explained that actually campaigning the horse at bigger shows is beneficial to their breeding program? If she doesn’t care, then live and let live. If she does, help her find a better trainer.
                    They're both stallions. She does understand this. But I think the pretty ribbons from in-hand and breed shows mean a lot more to my MIL than anyone else. It's lovely to have several garlands and supreme champions hanging up on display to show off with to the non-horsey people. I have gently pointed out that no one cares about performances at these small shows and in-hand classes and if they want to be taken seriously for dressage, they need to campaign properly in dressage.

                    Competitions are starting to open here and the trainer gave my MIL a choice of two shows to go to after a lot of pushing from my MIL that she wants them both out competing. Both small shows and unaffiliated. I said I was going to one of them to take my little project mare I've been fixing for my MIL to eventually ride once the mare levels out in dressage. MIL said to the trainer it'd be lovely to have them all at one show but ultimately up to the trainer. Trainer choose the other show.

                    MIL wants the horses to be competing at State Championships this year, which is similar to Regionals over there. The trainer wants to put it off until next year saying they'll be better prepared. But the same thing was said last year when my MIL enquired about it because I had qualified for them at 1st level and she came as my groom.

                    But thank you to the other advice from everyone else as well. The entire situation has stressed me to the point of tears several times over the last few weeks. When my MIL started to talk about them last night, it was exceptionally freeing to give non-commital answers and change the subject, MIL has just started a new job so it's easy to be able to change the subject at the moment.


                    Not my circus, not my monkeys!

                    Comment

                      Original Poster

                      #11
                      Originally posted by endlessclimb View Post
                      Could you ask if you can sit on one or both of them sometime? Just to understand what's actually going on with their training.

                      Mind PMing me the breed?
                      They're Friesian's.

                      I try not to go see them where they're being trained. The trainer knows I don't like her and she doesn't like me either. I've seen the boys once or twice at shows with my MIL and get the cold shoulder from the trainer. I made a suggestion to her daughter riding the homebred stallion about something and was told very firmly that it was none of my business and I wouldn't know these things because I don't train Friesians from the trainer. It's not worth antagonizing the situation to try and ride them.
                      Not my circus, not my monkeys!

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by BrokenArrow View Post
                        When my MIL started to talk about them last night, it was exceptionally freeing to give non-commital answers and change the subject, MIL has just started a new job so it's easy to be able to change the subject at the moment.
                        That's exactly how I felt when I started doing this with my friend. I still care about her deeply but I don't have to care about the unsuitable horse and the whole situation

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Are there any respected Friesian breeders who do campaign their horses appropriately that would talk to your MIL? She might listen to them.

                          Or, bringing in more people could just open up a bigger can of worms. Especially within a circle dealing with a specific breed

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Scribbler View Post

                            I do try to stay away from advising most people.

                            My experience is that very few people want clear cut advice and those that do are capable of making up their own minds.

                            However most of the people who continually tell you all about their problems don't really want to make a change. They want to vent and let you carry the burden of worrying about them. Or sometimes the situation actually suits them just fine.

                            Sometimes people are happy the training is going slow or the horse isn't safe for them to ride because they aren't actually that eager to ride. A surprising number of adults actually don't really want to get on their horses. That is why minis were invented.

                            ​​​​​​I have just stopped taking on any emotional investment in people's day to day problems. If they vent I just make listening noises and change the subject sooner rather than later. If there isn't a clear practical action needed on my part (drive you to ER, haul your horse to another barn, order groceries for delivery, loan you a show jacket etc) then I just don't engage emotionally.

                            It's really easy for the major way you bond with someone to be them dithering over crises in their life and you feeling obligated to help. Then you end up worrying about them long after they have forgotten that particular crises.

                            I certainly have friends that love to "ask my advice" and take up a good deal of time, but then just go and do whatever they planned to do or take someone else's advice. Right up to people who have no intention of every buying a horse flooding my message feed with sales ads periodically. Asking advice can be a way of having social interaction. It doesn't mean they are interested in following your advice.
                            You are so wise. I love reading your posts!
                            “My horses are my friends, not my slaves” — Reiner Klimke

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Is your dislike for the trainer affecting your opinions on this situation? Is MIL happy? It seems she is from your posts.

                              To be fair, my trainer also had myself and my mom, and well all of her students get new saddles. They were needed and the horses have all gone better since. She deals in a particular brand, but we do not purchase through her, so its not about her making the money. She just knows what saddles work for what types (and we use a professional fitter) but she is pretty adamant we choose the brand the fitter and her recommend. Sometimes the brand is different depending on the horse, so I do believe it IS about the horse. Could this trainer be the same? Does the trainer really not have knowledge in this breed?

                              I get the vibe you feel jaded by the situation, but I'm not really sure how it all affects you? What am I missing?
                              Boss Mare Eventing Blog

                              Comment

                                Original Poster

                                #16
                                Originally posted by Jealoushe View Post
                                Is your dislike for the trainer affecting your opinions on this situation? Is MIL happy? It seems she is from your posts.

                                To be fair, my trainer also had myself and my mom, and well all of her students get new saddles. They were needed and the horses have all gone better since. She deals in a particular brand, but we do not purchase through her, so its not about her making the money. She just knows what saddles work for what types (and we use a professional fitter) but she is pretty adamant we choose the brand the fitter and her recommend. Sometimes the brand is different depending on the horse, so I do believe it IS about the horse. Could this trainer be the same? Does the trainer really not have knowledge in this breed?

                                I get the vibe you feel jaded by the situation, but I'm not really sure how it all affects you? What am I missing?
                                The MIL is somewhat happy, yet still comes to me with things that are bothering her. Like at the moment with the saddle situation, my MIL asked me who to use for a saddle fitter. She read somewhere about that particular brand the trainer wants not well suited for big broad horses and wants another opinion. Then got annoyed because the trainer insisted it HAD to be a particular brand and kept trying to push the particular saddle onto to MIL. I ended up giving my MIL an independent saddle fitter who is very good and told her that it's her horses and she needs to deal with it because I've told her my opinion on the matter.

                                I do believe my dislike for the trainer makes me see red. Sometimes it's over trivial things but the above situations are just some of the things that stood out to me as things don't feel right. I wanted to know if the situation was because I dislike the trainer or not.

                                As hard as it is to admit, and I know it's a wasted and useless emotion, I am jealous of the fact the trainer is riding the boys and not me. At home, I'm dealing with the after-effects of another person that was riding my MIL's horses and having to re-train them because of a boatload of baggage from crappy riding from the local self-professed "NH guru". When my inlaws got their foundation stallion, who has since passed, it was me fixing all of his soundness issues because they wanted something to take out and show off but didn't consult anyone or vet check him before they brought him. I handle all of their young stock because my MIL is too inexperienced to do it. It would be lovely having the fancy imported stallion to ride instead of fixing problem horses because my MIL lets situations go on for too long to the point where it near ruined the mare I'm riding for her.

                                So, yes, jaded and some petty jealously on my behalf. I'm not going to deny that part. But the advice of tuning out has been invaluable for the last few days.
                                Not my circus, not my monkeys!

                                Comment


                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by BrokenArrow View Post

                                  The MIL is somewhat happy, yet still comes to me with things that are bothering her. Like at the moment with the saddle situation, my MIL asked me who to use for a saddle fitter. She read somewhere about that particular brand the trainer wants not well suited for big broad horses and wants another opinion. Then got annoyed because the trainer insisted it HAD to be a particular brand and kept trying to push the particular saddle onto to MIL. I ended up giving my MIL an independent saddle fitter who is very good and told her that it's her horses and she needs to deal with it because I've told her my opinion on the matter.

                                  I do believe my dislike for the trainer makes me see red. Sometimes it's over trivial things but the above situations are just some of the things that stood out to me as things don't feel right. I wanted to know if the situation was because I dislike the trainer or not.

                                  As hard as it is to admit, and I know it's a wasted and useless emotion, I am jealous of the fact the trainer is riding the boys and not me. At home, I'm dealing with the after-effects of another person that was riding my MIL's horses and having to re-train them because of a boatload of baggage from crappy riding from the local self-professed "NH guru". When my inlaws got their foundation stallion, who has since passed, it was me fixing all of his soundness issues because they wanted something to take out and show off but didn't consult anyone or vet check him before they brought him. I handle all of their young stock because my MIL is too inexperienced to do it. It would be lovely having the fancy imported stallion to ride instead of fixing problem horses because my MIL lets situations go on for too long to the point where it near ruined the mare I'm riding for her.

                                  So, yes, jaded and some petty jealously on my behalf. I'm not going to deny that part. But the advice of tuning out has been invaluable for the last few days.
                                  Thank you for filing us in with some more additional information. I don't blame you, I would be upset too. I used to feel this way about my moms horses who she had her trainer ride when I was younger, but looking back now I see that I was not nearly the rider the trainer was and understand why she made that choice

                                  I hope you can feel about this situation soon.
                                  Boss Mare Eventing Blog

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                                    #18
                                    OP
                                    You may want to have a little sit down with your MIL and have a candid conversation about how this situation is making you feel.

                                    I understand your dislike and distrust of this trainer, but imo, the problem isnt with the trainer.

                                    The problem is that your MIL makes you feel diminished and dismissed and not valued because she depends on you to fix her mistakes and retrain her horses but evidently feels you arent good enough to actually show her horses.

                                    Just ask her about this. Not in an accusatory aggressive way, just calmly and quietly.

                                    She may genuinely be surprised about how you really feel. She may apologize.

                                    She may become defensive and deny, deny , deny and refuse to discuss it any further.

                                    You have to be prepared that nothing will change and decide if you want to be involved with the whole business.

                                    I get trying to maintain so you can at least still ride and be around horses, but if it is causing you this much pain and anger, it may be better to distance yourself altogether.

                                    Next time there is a show coming up ask your MIL if you can show one of the horses.

                                    If she says no, then leave it at that.
                                    In this case, I would simply tell her the truth, that you can no longer continue with situation and remove yourself from any further involvement.

                                    It may be inconvenient, but I believe you can find a barn to take lessons or even ride for owners who cant exercise their horses.

                                    It is possible for you to give yourself permission to seek your own happiness over pleasing your MIL.

                                    And you can do this with kindness and respect to your MIL and still stand up for yourself.


                                    Hope this helps. Good luck.


                                    Certified Guacophobe

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                                      #19
                                      Originally posted by Scribbler View Post

                                      I do try to stay away from advising most people.

                                      My experience is that very few people want clear cut advice and those that do are capable of making up their own minds.

                                      However most of the people who continually tell you all about their problems don't really want to make a change. They want to vent and let you carry the burden of worrying about them. Or sometimes the situation actually suits them just fine.

                                      Sometimes people are happy the training is going slow or the horse isn't safe for them to ride because they aren't actually that eager to ride. A surprising number of adults actually don't really want to get on their horses. That is why minis were invented.

                                      ​​​​​​I have just stopped taking on any emotional investment in people's day to day problems. If they vent I just make listening noises and change the subject sooner rather than later. If there isn't a clear practical action needed on my part (drive you to ER, haul your horse to another barn, order groceries for delivery, loan you a show jacket etc) then I just don't engage emotionally.

                                      It's really easy for the major way you bond with someone to be them dithering over crises in their life and you feeling obligated to help. Then you end up worrying about them long after they have forgotten that particular crises.

                                      I certainly have friends that love to "ask my advice" and take up a good deal of time, but then just go and do whatever they planned to do or take someone else's advice. Right up to people who have no intention of every buying a horse flooding my message feed with sales ads periodically. Asking advice can be a way of having social interaction. It doesn't mean they are interested in following your advice.
                                      All of this
                                      Always be yourself. Unless you can be Batman. Then always be Batman.

                                      The Grove at Five Points

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                                        #20
                                        Times past, you didn't have contact because of personal issues. It could be that your in-laws actually do know they have a problem but don't want to loose face in front of you, given your previous strained relationship. Perhaps continue working on the people side, step away from the horses for a while.
                                        "Good young horses are bred, but good advanced horses are trained" Sam Griffiths

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