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Your groundperson and you - a question

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    Your groundperson and you - a question

    Ok, I have created a male sounding alter, trying to be clever I guess, but I am female, over 40 years of age and married for about 15 years. I am an ammy but I have been riding a while.

    My question is one of those - "was I wrong to do this" questions and I am interested in learning more about how you and your groundsperson work together.

    Recently my DH volunteered to be my ground man (required) at a local cross county schooling area. There were about 6 other riders on the place. I was in an area with several jumps to do and he sits down on the ground under one of the jumps and starts reading a book. I politely (I thought I was) asked him to sit on the jump for safety reasons. He argued that he wasnt in any danger and I asked again and he complied. Later he got angry about something else I asked him to do with a pole that was loose -its a long story. He got really mad a started arguing with me and throwing the pole around - I got upset about having another issue and I couldn't really focus on jumping anymore so I called it a day.

    Anyway, he is furious with me, he said I was wrong to say anything to him and I ruined everything.

    Would you have asked your person not to sit under jump? Am I too sensitive? My concern was for his safety and for the other riders who might come up and jump in the area. No one did so it was not an issue.

    If I went to jump a fence and someone was sitting on the other side, I would be pretty unhappy about that.

    I realize that my DH isn't going to be my groundperson anymore. It wouldnt be fun to go with someone who gets mad at you. How do you and your ground person handle things?

    Sounds to me, that he is telling you in his own way he doesn't want to be your ground person. To react like that was odd. If he was really enjoying himself, and having a good time with you I don't think it would have turned out that way.

    Sorry. Hope you find someone that can help you.
    "Your best can be worn at any length"- Jason Mraz


      I probably would have thought of something ELSE for him to do with the pole, and in my imagination would have said it out loud and with a significant amount of force.

      However I would never actually say anything like that, which is one of many reasons I have survived twelve years married to someone who sounds like they have the exact same type of disposition as your DH!

      Some people can just only be in relationships with people who have a REALLY REALLY strong "edit" function. And who are willing to spend significant amounts of time spent on separate interests. And are self-sufficient and don't need a lot of help (because any assisstance has a stiff price).

      Get a ground person who is a horseperson or a trainer. Or you BFF. Taking a spouse is like trying to give them riding lessons, it NEVER works. Even with the good-tempered ones!

      Third Charm Event Team


        Umm, I think this is less about where he's sitting than it is about his disproportionate reaction to a reasonable safety-related request. (Words and phrases like "furious" and "ruined his day" and "throwing the pole around" make it sound like it was more than just a garden-variety grump-fest, no?)

        It goes without saying that he shouldn't be your groundsperson again anytime soon, but you guys have other stuff to worry about. Ask me how I know this, lol...
        *friend of bar.ka

        "Evidently, I am an unrepentant b*tch, possible trouble maker, and all around super villian"


          It doesn't sound like it matters how you phrased it to him. Some people (the kind with testosterone poisoning mostly) don't take correction well, and even if 15 people had come and tried - unsuccessfully - to jump the fence he was under, he still would have been right in his mind. Good luck with him!


            Originally posted by Rocco GibrALTER View Post
            Later he got angry about something else I asked him to do with a pole that was loose -its a long story. He got really mad a started arguing with me and throwing the pole around
            This is really disturbing behavior. Don't try to 'normalize' it. It's your choice if you want to live with it and work around it.

            A ground person is there to assist you and not to throw things and/or demand that you focus your attention on them.

            I recommend not reliving/rehashing this incident (with him or with yourself) and don't ask for his 'help' again. Lesson learned.


              so, what would have happened if he was sitting there with his book and something (god forbid) had happened to you? or (again, god forbid) someone tried to jump the fence he was sitting under and he got hurt? or spooked someone else's horse and *they* got hurt? if he agreed to go as your groundperson, then he needs to realize that a) there are a few things that go along with that (like paying attention to what's going on around him) and b) it's not all about him. 'ruin his day'? whose day would be ruined when someone gets hurt because he's being an ass? unacceptable behavior from a 5 yr old, much less a grown-up.
              Different Times Equestrian Ventures at Hidden Spring Ranch


                I'm with Timex. Really unacceptable behaviour.

                However, if I thought my horse could do it I may have jumped the silly ass and his book just to show him what an idiot he was being. There is also no way in Hell I would have cut my schooling session short. I can focus like a laser when I'm pissed and would have gotten great enjoyment out of making the big baby stay out longer than intended while I perfected every last thing I wanted to work on. Three kids teache you how to shut out whining voices and just carry on with the task at hand.


                  Classic example why my non-horsey husband is not my ground person! LOL. He is really into hunting, so he does his stuff and I do mine. I always offer the chance for him to come but I know he isn't going to. Plus I always offer to go and help at the farm that he deer hunts on, but I rarely get taken up on the offer. Find someone else that is horsey and willing to go along. I haven't been able to show much this year but have been getting my showing/clinic fix by being the ground person for my friend. In exchange, she feeds me and if we stay over night, pays for the hotel room.

                  Best thing to do is let him do his thing, you do yours and find something not horsey to do together from time to time. My husband and I both like to cook, so we cook together several nights a week and on our few free weekends, we work on projects around the house.

                  ~ Jus Passed My Zipper aka Spanky, 11yo QH gelding.
                  ~ Muskogee, 2yo Oldenburg Colt.


                    .... would you accept this type of behavior from a grounds person that wasn't your DH? if the answer is no, - then I guess you have your answer

                    Safety first - I would have asked anyone who was sitting there to move, with active horses in the area. - better then a hoof in the back of the head any day. If they wish to be petulant about being asked to move or do something, then they can just go home and stay there. IMO
                    Originally posted by ExJumper
                    Sometimes I'm thrown off, sometimes I'm bucked off, sometimes I simply fall off, and sometimes I go down with the ship. All of these are valid ways to part company with your horse.


                      You lost at reading a book no need to go further


                        Originally posted by ThirdCharm View Post
                        Get a ground person who is a horseperson or a trainer. Or you BFF. Taking a spouse is like trying to give them riding lessons, it NEVER works. Even with the good-tempered ones!
                        This. We have my horses at home and I just try neverto ask my DH to do anything with them that would require me to give him safety warnings, because then he feels harassed and gets cranky, I get cranky that he is doing something unsafely, and it goes downhill. At the rare intervals when I do really need his help, I ask nicely and explain beforehand (if I can) the reasons why I'm asking him to do something a certain way.

                        We are sometimes guilty, as horsepeople, of being (rightfully) hyperalert to potential consequences and dangers and assuming non-horsepeople understand the gravity as we do. They don't, and some of them get cranky when we start freaking out about unlikely (to them) issues.

                        Which is a long way of saying, what ThirdCharm said!
                        Custom and semi-custom washable wool felt saddle pads!


                          Hey next time you need a ground person, post here. I think I too agree with flea. You lost at the book. I go with friends.
                          Proud & Permanent Student Of The Long Road
                          Read me: EN ( and HJU (



                            And I thought that *my* (big, cranky. stubborn, eye-rollingly stereotypically EXCEEDINGLY passive-aggressive Italian) husband was bad. He has been groom, helper, videographer, ground person, etc. on more occassions that I can count. He is my ROCK, is always there for me, handles my horses (even though I had to teach him from scratch, against his will) and is totally supportive--in spite of himself. He does let me know in NO uncertain terms how much he resents all of this stuff he does for me, yet he has still done it, every time. I call on him when I have no other option, and because I know he will never, ever, let me down. And even though he has ZERO interest in the sport (besides loving me), he would NEVER do anything this passive-aggressive, or dangerous, or dumb. No way, no how. (BUt I try to find other people to help me whenever possible!)

                            Your SO is so clearly trying to send a message with this extremely passive aggressive act. Pay attention to what he is trying to tell you. (And hugs to you, what a bummer. Find a horsey girlfriend to help you instead.) Good luck!
                            "Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."

                            "It's supposed to be hard...the hard is what makes it great!" (Jimmy Dugan, "A League of Their Own")


                              Thank you

                              Thank you everyone for the perspective and support. It was a pretty horrible day. I was pretty sure that I was being reasonable about the topic, but I posted for a reality check.

                              Anyway, yes, there are some much deeper problems in this relationship. I will learn to have more courage to go to events alone and jump with friends or just do it during lessons. It is really interesting how many people are very independent of their spouses when it comes to riding. Looks like I am headed that way!

                              Eventers are such wonderful people. Our sport is not perfect but the people and the horses are the best.

                              Thanks again.


                                is he having his "man period"?

                                Sounds like a bad case of the "man period".
                                My husband has a "man period" too. Defer to your description of your DH antics.....sounds like a "man period" to me.

                                I'm pretty sure the "man period" happens when said DH/SO really doesn't want to do something, but don't have the "man parts" to say that he really doesn't want to do something, because then he'd have to do something mature and go into negotiations with you since you'll say "if you do this, I'll help you with that"..etc....

                                Instead, they throw a "man period" temper tantrum at so called event so you won't ask them to do that particular job/chore/request/whatever again.

                                How I learned to preempt man period:

                                Offer negotiation instead of posing as a question "i will go watch your favorite sport of paint drying if you help me with ground crew".

                                get DH intoxicated before asking a favor (or does that just work on my DH?)

                                In reality, ask a friend, horsey or not. You'll be surprised how easy it is to find someone. Or find a local trainer that has schooling days and sign up for instruction with them. many times their students go and need a schooling buddy too.

                                Just beware of the "man period"....and I'm sorry that happened, It is not fun being on the receiving end.

                                PS..don't say "man period" to their face...I thought my DH was going to have an aneurism when I ask him if he was on his "man period".. he just about blew the roof off the house, and I couldn't quit giggle because the look on his face when he said "am I on my man period?" was hilarious.....
                                I love my OTTB! I get my dressage test done faster!


                                  My husband WILL help with horse things and attend shows and events if I ask, but I know better than to ask him to spend an entire day out of his weekend to devote to my fun with horses. A quick trip to the barn while I ride - fine. He will even ride a little bit when he feels like it. He will also come and video or take photos at a local event or dressage show where I can guarantee he won't be there for more than a couple of hours. He will occasionally come to a horse trial, but I need to make sure I arrange to spend some quality time with him (i.e. nice dinner just the two of us), and not just have him trailing around behind me while I do stuff. I think we get a little bit caught up in how much fun WE are having at the horse event and all the work that goes along with it - grooming, feeding, walking - that we forget how UNfun that can be to our SO.

                                  This compromise goes both ways, though. My husband loves taking hikes that last several hours, as well as gardening for hours. My attention span for these things is short. If he needs help with something specific - like picking up heavy bags of soil - I will help. Same thing with hiking. I have a one to two hour tolerance for hiking. Beyond that I will be crabby, complaining and disinterested. :0 We compromise by him finding someone else to take long hikes with.

                                  I agree with the person who said he didn't really want to be there, but didn't want to be the bad guy and say "no" outright. I'm sorry this ruined your day. I also would have been really stressed out had this happened, but I think you know not to ask him to help you at something like this again! (Mind you, I am not condoning his explosive reaction to your reasonable request to move, just pointing out that there were probably a lot of other things festering in him at that point too.)


                                    Sounds like he wanted to pick a fight, and the circumstances were secondary.

                                    AND it sounds like he no longer wants the job. Sorry. But wouldn't you rather go with someone that had some enthusiasm anyway?
                                    Click here before you buy.


                                      Did he show any interest in wanting to be involved in your riding life before? If not, it could be that he just wants to spend more time with you and figured that all a "groundsperson" has to do is to be there to call 911 in case you fall off.

                                      I'm lucky enough to have a future-SO that not only loves helping with the horse chores; going to shows; being groom, walker, fetcher, groundsperson, and even my eyes on the ground when I can't have my trainer there..etc.etc. There have been times where I've told him something (I can come off quite curt sometimes) and he starts getting all in a huff. But we have really good communication so all I have to do is apologize for being curt and calmly have a discussion with him about why I need him to do/not do something. But he truly loves to watch me ride and loves supporting me.

                                      Maybe try to find his true intentions of volunteering to be groundsperson.
                                      The only thing the government needs to solve all of its problems is a Council of Common Sense.


                                        Deltawave, I think you are right.

                                        He originally did want to be helpful, he actually suggested that we go do this because he knows how much I like it. I think that he brought the book was dumb, and that arguing with me was even dumber. He has gone with me to XC before and this has never happened. Something went wrong with this day, and we wont be doing that again.

                                        Thanks everyone for the kind words.