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My Childish Jealousy Over Sharing a Horse

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  • #41
    When you rely on the kindness of others to give you the opportunity to ride, these are the sorts of things that happen. Until the time I was 16 and finally had my very own horse, I "fixed" other people's horses. I rode the sh!ts until they weren't shi!ts anymore, and then they were taken away from me and leased/sold/used by to other people who could afford them, and then I got some new sh!ts to ride. Happened at least a half dozen times when I was 14-15-16 years old. The first one hurt a lot, the subsequent ones hurt less so. It never fully stops stinging...

    You need to start considering it an honor, not an insult, that you can tune something up so that it can be ridden by someone less experienced and/or talented.

    Otherwise you'll drive yourself crazy wanting things that you just can't have.


    • #42
      This thread is very encouraging for me to read. I think all of us who have been lucky enough to work with a horse we don't own, but enjoy, for any length of time have been there, too.

      When I rode in high school, the barn assigned each student to a horse for a minimum of a year, usually up to three years. There were one to five students per horse, depending on the horse and rider level. For most of the intermediate riders, the horse was only shared between two people and there was an amount of training for the horse as well. It was a great setup for teaching riders about a training program and for seeing the progress firsthand. Riders were also mostly responsible for the care for their horses (any minor first aid or keeping an eye on their condition, as well as pulling manes and show prep, etc). The downside of this, and it happened with nearly every horse, was that the riders began to feel possessive over their particular horses. There would be some cattiness and hurt feelings of course. Someone may tell everyone how much better their horse was, or how spazzy someone else's horse could be, or even how they ride so much better than the other person assigned to the same horse.... But then the horse assignments would change and almost everyone would be in the same boat of 'losing their' horse and seeing someone new on him instead. It was always kind of funny when the person ragging about some horse-or how they would ride the horse much better than their current rider does- was, guess what, assigned to that one for the next year! I never doubted for a minute that those 'coincidences' weren't deliberate by the barn owner. Sometimes the hardest part came with whom you were sharing a horse... usually also done as a life lesson. So much that happened at that barn reached far beyond just horsemanship.

      I think it was a really excellent program for teaching about training, developing a partnership with a horse and teaching about working with other people (and learning to ignore certain behavior!) as well as humility and grace. I think those are all things that most of us need refresher lessons with throughout life, even as adults. You're not alone in your feelings or situation, op


      • #43
        The folks here who feel it necessary to castigate the OP for not being grateful for the opportunity to be around horses need to go back and reread the original post -- she's quite obviously glad to have the chance to do what she does, and I think she shows remarkable maturity in admitting that this clueless child is getting under her skin and that the situation with "her" horse hurts and asking for help in dealing with it. Show a little kindness, people.


        • #44
          You've done an excellent job training this pony, now any idiot can ride it, so move on to the next project. You are not really leasing horses in your position , your schooling horses for your barn owner. Find out if she has another project for you and stop riding this one , unless the barn owner wants you to continue to school this pony , that's a different story.. but as I said stop thonking of yourself as a leasee you are a working student


          • #45
            FineAlready, that was a wonderful post.
            I heard a neigh. Oh, such a brisk and melodious neigh as that was! My very heart leaped with delight at the sound. --Nathaniel Hawthorne


            • #46
              FineAlready - your post brought tears to my eyes. What a beautiful attitude you have - thinking outside of your own box into what you did for someone (2- and 4-legged 'someones') else.

              Thank you. A valuable lesson.

              Equine Photography in the Northeast


              • #47
                Aw, thanks guys. That whole series of events is something I think about a lot, partially because I still know the entire cast of characters. It helped me define how I think about horses and life in general - what is right, what is wrong, what we owe to horses, what they give us, how sometimes something that seems bad is really good...

                I am friends with the horse's owner on Facebook and I get to see cute pictures of the happy horse enjoying his life. He's an event horse now. I actually might get to see him soon because I have a friend that boards at the same barn where he is boarded and the drive isn't TOO far (maybe 2.5 hours).


                • #48
                  Originally posted by Sunnyhorse View Post
                  The folks here who feel it necessary to castigate the OP for not being grateful for the opportunity to be around horses need to go back and reread the original post -- she's quite obviously glad to have the chance to do what she does, and I think she shows remarkable maturity in admitting that this clueless child is getting under her skin and that the situation with "her" horse hurts and asking for help in dealing with it. Show a little kindness, people.


                  I got the sense that she fully understands the situation and is just frustrated that, in spite of knowing that she technically shouldn't be jealous, she is anyway. Happens to all of us. Honestly, one of the only things that can help is time, and not losing sight of the facts of the situation or losing touch with reality. Sounds like she's done a pretty good job of that, especially for a 15 year old.


                  • #49
                    As someone who has spent almost her entire horsey life dependent on riding someone else's horses, I see the OP's issue. Several times I've been willing to take on "project" horses, "sour" horses, "green" horses etc so I could have something to ride. I tried my best with each, treating them as if they were my own.
                    When I was a teen, my trainer used to get in OTTB's for reschooling and sale. Some of us better kids were used to ride them and get them going over fences in lessons. To this day I can still remember how dejected I sometimes felt when a horse I'd schooled for 3 mos. was sold to a "boarder" and was starting his show career and suddenly I wasn't "good enough" to hack him when his owner wouldn't be coming out to ride.

                    About 2 years ago I started 1/2 leasing a goofy horse that almost no one at my barn wanted to ride, including the trainers. My instructor was "forced" to put me on him because of a lack of horses. Guess what, horse and I clicked and after a few months everyone wanted to ride him. Suddenly he's doing several lessons a week and paying his own bills. It would have been nice if the BO/Head trainer who owned the horse had actually thanked me for making HER horse useful. Sadly, horse was put down last spring due to a severe colic. Now I am 1/2 leasing another horse, a former Eq/Jumper horse who is a tricky ride. Trainer who had tried to ride horse 1 had also had some scary moments with horse 2. Last month I took him to 2 shows (his first in a year) and we did very well in low jumpers/eq. (By well, I mean horse was under control! and we got plenty of ribbons.) BO had 3 people ask if he was for sale, including the judge at one of the shows! Again, a simple "Thank you for taking the time to figure him out" would be nice.
                    My instructor (employee of BO) has really helped me ride both horses and deserves the credit. She has been vocal in telling BO that I have worked had to ride these challenging horses and I so appreciate that.

                    When I was riding Titus for his owner, I made a point to thank his owner often for the chance to ride so nice a horse. SHE in turn thanked me for riding him well, advocating for him and treating him as my own. It was a perfect arrangement for both of us.

                    Riders who take on project horses because they cannot afford their own possibly nicer or more ready made rides would sure like a bit of appreciation for their efforts at improving someone else's horse.
                    F O.B
                    Resident racing historian ~~~ Re-riders Clique
                    Founder of the Mighty Thoroughbred Clique


                    • #50
                      Originally posted by Linny View Post
                      Riders who take on project horses because they cannot afford their own possibly nicer or more ready made rides would sure like a bit of appreciation for their efforts at improving someone else's horse.
                      I don't know. To me, just getting the rides was generally appreciation enough. The fact that they were letting me ride their difficult horse was usually taken by me as a compliment and an indication that they had faith in my skills. I always felt like *I* was the one that should be saying thanks to the owner, no matter how tough the horse was to ride. They are still paying the majority (if not all) of the money to maintain the horse, and without the horse I may have had nothing to ride at all. Plus, working with and improving a tough horse has always been enough reward for me in and of itself.

                      The owners of the horse I was referencing above did give me a horse quote book for Christmas one year and they wrote in the inside cover "Thank you for showing [horse] love and kindness." It was an extremely nice gesture, and I obviously still remember it, but I also would not have felt like I deserved anything from them.

                      I once heard someone going on and on about how a former trainer of theirs used to have her ride green sales ponies for the trainer and take them to shows. The person in question actually took a few of the ponies to pony finals and showed some of them at WEF. The gist of the commentary was that she should have gotten thanked profusely for helping to sell the ponies and/or should have gotten a cut of the money from their sales. I found it offputting. Seriously? You showed some quality ponies all over the country without having to pay for their upkeep, and you are complaining that no one THANKED you? Yes, they were green. Yes, there were some rough moments, as often happens with green horses. However, I still think it was a great opportunity!


                      • #51
                        Originally posted by FineAlready View Post
                        I don't know. To me, just getting the rides was generally appreciation enough.
                        Thank you.
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                        • #52
                          Originally posted by meupatdoes View Post
                          This is not you being used.

                          This is you earning your rides on that horse, which someone else is paying the expenses for, by providing something of value to the owner.

                          When your job is done it is done.

                          They don't owe you use of a horse for the rest of your life.

                          I did the same thing as a kid. I rode some nasty/green horses and ponies for my trainers just to have them sold out from under me as soon as we got a few good ribbons under our belts... But you know what, I got a ton of experience that made me into the rider I am today and I wouldn't trade it for anything. Sure there were a few times when I was extremely upset because a horse I had a big part in uping the price was sold and I got nothing, but looking back I'm glad I got to ride more than once a week in lessons without any extra cost going to my parents.

                          ETA: I for some reason thought the thread only had one page and totally missed all of these other posts. Great thread FineAlready! I definitely agree that turning a horse into one that can be loved by many is something to be proud of.
                          Southern Cross Guest Ranch
                          An All Inclusive Guest Ranch Vacation - Georgia


                          • #53
                            I've been in much the same position myself, many, many times.

                            I think the part I struggle with the most is when all the time I put in with the horse goes to "waste" (meaning I get it going well, but the owner still does not want to ride/sell/do anything with it). But I am always thankful for the ride!

                            Now that I'm in my mid-20s and know that horses will always be a hobby and not a career, I've gotten a lot pickier about *who* I ride horses for. Mutual appreciation and respect goes a long way in my book...farther than fancy horses, a new facility, etc.

                            As far the 12 year old...kids will be kids...smile, express that you are currently work under the direction of the trainer to address your/pony's current training issues and leave it at that. Perhaps (with trainer's permission) you may be able to show her some the handy "tricks" you use for dealing with pony's particular personality or quirks.