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Trainwreck waiting to happen....

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  • Trainwreck waiting to happen....

    This is why I hate being at boarding barns sometimes.

    So we have this one boarder that really seems to be oblivious to their *actual* skills, to the point where it's downright scary at times. We'll call the boarder "M".

    M bought a nice new horse last year, horse is very honest and will jump nearly anything you point it at. The horse now looks & acts completely different than it did before, topline has taken a plunge and horse went from gorgeous with a great mind to looking like garbage. Horse is cranky and sour, it's such a shame. And it's very obvious that it's all a result of how M rides.

    M rides with zero leg, I'm not even sure M realizes that their legs are actually supposed to do anything but dangle as they ride. (Feet are usually shoved all the way through the stirrup with toes pointing DOWN). And M is on this poor horse's face ALL the time. Most of that is whatever, not necessarily dangerous on the flat....however it gets down right scary when it comes to jumping.

    And M LIKES to jump! The bigger the better.... and the scarier it is to watch. It's a miracle if M doesn't get left behind and slam this horse in the mouth over a fence, be it an X-rail or otherwise.Horse has started refusing when there's no possible way it can get over the jump due to lack of help from the rider. M is convinced that they are going to be doing Training level eventing this summer. M said the other day they'd better get schooling at least 3'6" soon so they'll be ready for x-country..... Yikes.

    Our barn recently got a new instructor in to teach jumping and M is taking lessons. Thank goodness right? Well I watched one of the lessons and the instructor did very little for correcting M's position and just kept cranking the jumps up. Even watching this person jump a 3' grid and oxer was brutal.

    Anyways, onto the most recent development. I arrive at the barn the other day and there are some MASSIVE jumps set up. Like we're talking a 4'6" oxer. I walk over to the BO and go "Please tell me M wasn't jumping THAT!" and point over, she says "Oh my.... I hope not either". Later when I'm in the barn M says they didn't jump it because "the ground was too hard outside to be jumping that big". Thank god!

    So BO *knows* how bad this rider is, KNOWS how dangerous it is for them to be jumping massive jumps. Wouldn't you say something as the BO? I hate to say it but M is the perfect candidate for ending up like Christopher Reeve or having a nasty rotational fall on x-country.

    Anyways, I'm just venting. I know it's not any of my business and not my place to say anything but wow is it crazy to watch. And really sad for the horse. I guess that's the downfall of being at a boarding barn, you see all kinds of nuts.
    Last edited by CrocusPony; Apr. 25, 2010, 11:14 PM. Reason: Added more.

  • #2
    As painful as it is to watch, since the BO is involved and there is a "professional" instructor involved, it is all on their heads....hope they have good insurance! This would be an example of negligence, allowing this to proceed. The "trainer" is probably more interested in money in her pocket for lessons. It is sad for the horse. Good news is that "M" has a BRIGHT future ahead of her as a trainer someplace (I am not kidding, we have a bunch of "M's" out here). It is really SAD how horsemanship has pretty much deteriorated.
    "The sea was angry that day, my friends - like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli"


    • #3
      There was a situation like this at a barn I boarded at once too. A couple of people who fancied themselves "trainers" bought a sweet, honest ottb to train to jump and then resell. They underfed, over rode, (so inverted he was upside down), and jumped the snot out of the poor little guy 8 days a week. It was torture to watch, thank heavens that in the end they were asked to leave. I can only hope that poor sweet horse stayed sound long enough to find a good home - and that he didn't break down once he got there. I feel for you OP - it was so hard to mind my own business, and some days I really wondered if I was doing the right thing.


      • Original Poster

        It's downright scary to watch and I really have to wonder what would happen if M were to come off, break their neck and sue the instructor or the barn. M thinks that because his horse won't do x-rails nice, means the horse needs more height to "back it off" and challenge it more....riiiiight. Maybe sticking to the basics until you have solid position and your horse isn't running at the jumps (likely due to anticipation of getting cranked in the mouth) might be a good idea!
        M actually was consiering trying to get their coaching certification after I did mine. Let me tell you, it was tough (I'm glad it was), there is no way in He!! this person would pass in a million years.
        Maybe that's part of what makes it frustrating, I am a certified coach and I can see what maybe should get fixed but I also know my boundaries. I DO NOT (or very very rarely) give advice unless it's asked for. (nor do I like unsolicited advice myself) So I just sit back with some popcorn, have *9*1* dialed on my phone just in case and bite my tongue.

        Another interesting point is that the BO thinks I should take lessons with this new instructor just because they are. I've watched a few lessons and I wasn't too inclined after watching several riders go around on the wrong diagonal without correction and seeing refusals and riders being left behind yet still bumping the jumps up.



        • #5
          We have one around here who is teaching lessons to kids on really green horses. Just seeing the pics is scary, and then hearing from the BO that the kids are always falling off...

          All you can do is try as hard as you can to bite your tongue, and pray that no one gets killed. Luckily for me, I rarely ever see these people anymore. So I don't have to beat my head against the wall too much in an effort not to tell them that they are going to get someone seriously hurt.


          • #6
            Vote with your feet and your wallet. These places cannot stay in business unless their boarders support them.

            That is all you can do when you disagree with the way a BO and/or trainer run their business.
            When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

            The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


            • Original Poster

              I guess it doesn't really affect me so to speak, so it doesn't entirely warrant just moving. If M was dangerous, you betcha I'd be outta there. It mostly just makes me shake my head. I can now TOTALLY understand why some barns have the "no jumping unless you're in a lesson or properly supervised" rule....
              Last edited by CrocusPony; Apr. 26, 2010, 01:21 AM.


              • #8
                Originally posted by CrocusPony View Post
                ...I use the barn's school horses. There aren't any other barns that I know of that have school horses for instructors to come in and use... TOTALLY understand why some barns have the "no jumping unless you're in a lesson or properly supervised" rule....
                Bingo on the no jumping part.

                Since you are new on here, I hope you will accept a friendly warning. Since you are a professional instructor using a barns schoolies? By careful what you say about that barn, the owner and the boarders. Small world and the net is not as anonymous as many would like. Some of those "nuts" at the boarding barn may be reading this.

                If you want to vent, change some details.
                When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


                • #9
                  Offer (to M) to videotape M. Also give her a tape of some good riders (eq finals, or something) and maybe she'll see the difference.


                  • #10
                    I would suggest you keep mum on all of it because the walls have ears.
                    It will come back on YOU.
                    I have seen the same scenario many times over.
                    There is a saying " recognising what you can do to change things or having the wisdom to accept what you can't change. Or something along that line.
                    You can't change it.
                    That is what goes with a boarding barn.
                    Accept it or move on.


                    • Original Poster

                      Findeight - Friendly advice accepted. Thanks! I'm going to remove some of the details in my second post.

                      Jetsmom - M has been videotaped and it doesn't seem to click. I think M thinks that making it over the jump is what counts, not necessarily how it looks.

                      Saddlemkr - I agree, there isn't anything I can do about it. The BO is aware of it and thinks M's riding skills are scary but doesn't do anything about it. I totally realize it's all part and parcel of boarding and there's nut's at any barn. Maybe one day we'll have our own place and I can escape it! I guess I'm just going to keep my mouth shut and eat some popcorn and observe. I'm just venting, that's all.
                      Last edited by CrocusPony; Apr. 26, 2010, 01:21 AM. Reason: Response to SM


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by sadlmakr View Post
                        I would suggest you keep mum on all of it because the walls have ears.
                        It will come back on YOU.
                        I have seen the same scenario many times over.
                        There is a saying " recognising what you can do to change things or having the wisdom to accept what you can't change. Or something along that line.
                        Are you thinking of the serenity prayer? Definitely appropriate in this type of circumstance, actually in all circumstances.

                        "Grant me the serenity
                        to accept the things I cannot change;
                        courage to change the things I can;
                        and wisdom to know the difference."
                        “It's about the horse and that's it.” - GM

                        !! is the new .


                        • #13
                          Well, if I were the barn owner, I would put an end to that and have a discussion with the "trainer". Going by what Crocus says, this is very poor intervention on the BO's part. We have rules here at my farm, if you can't ride the flat well, then no jumping, no showing. If you don't like it, leave! Since we have a lot of kids and a lot of ottb's, I make it my business as it is my farm and my insurance and I CARE about how the horses are treated and ridden. If my boarders have a problem with another boarder, then they come to me and I decide how to handle it so there is no animosity between boarders. If boarders can't resolve issues, then one leaves. Express your concerns to the BO and I mean express them so the BO talks to the trainer and the boarder about the concerns overall.

                          Facebook: Hilltop Farm VA


                          • #14
                            I been in boarding barns for...well...since about 1969. Western. Hunter Jumper. Arab. AQHA. Even a world class Saddlebred barn (with a Paint Western horse-best care in town. By a huge margin).

                            Save your breath and your sanity.

                            The BO already KNOWS what's going on. Does not really care or they would have stepped in. Sounds like that "trainer" is a JAW and doesn't know any better either.

                            The only suggestion, other then memorizing the serenity prayer and repeating it often, is a more carefully managed barn. The trade off is boarders lose some control-like hours of operation, rules like helmets when mounted, no jumping outside lessons and maybe even some dress suggestions.

                            I have found those supervised barns run alot better, safer and attract a more responsible boarder. As a young, free lance Pro or a boarder, they may be harder to get into but they will work far better.
                            When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                            The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


                            • #15
                              I would think that the BO could institute the "no jumping without a trainer present" rule and then have a talk with the so-called trainer to discuss keeping M's lessons at a more reasonable height.

                              I HATE to see a bad rider ruin a really good horse.

                              I don't recall if you mentioned M's age. If a jr perhaps a talk with the parental unit about the safety issues would be in order (though I know most parents don't want to admit that the kid isn't headed towards the World Cup).

                              Eventually M will have that "train wreck" and hopefully it will scare them enough to be more sensible.


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by ProzacPuppy View Post
                                I would think that the BO could institute the "no jumping without a trainer present" rule and then have a talk with the so-called trainer to discuss keeping M's lessons at a more reasonable height.
                                For all we know BO thinks JAW trainer is just great. Yeah, OP could talk to BO, again because she already has (think she deleted that to protect the innocent). It will snow in Cancun before anything changes
                                When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                                The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


                                • #17
                                  I have had boarders I didn't agree with what they did, and tried to advise accordingly. I only had one trainwreck and she would not take any advice. She didn't want to spend $ on training, lessons, and she was petrified of her horse-very spoiled and developed bad habits. I will admit I made her uncomfortable, refusing to allow her to ride alone (she liked to go on trails, and the ring was out of sight of the barn) and would repetitively share stories about similar situations, the ugly details as well as how it was resolved. I gave her names and numbers of trainers who could help her, but it all came down to $$. I was adamant that I did not want her to get hurt on my time-both for legal and moral reasons-I'm not a pro and I was misled by her needs-the horse was to be a rehab/turnout boarder, and like a week after moving in, she suddenly decided to ride and "fix" this green, spoiled horse herself. Eventually she moved on to another facility where she'd have more freedom to ride on her own time, and when she got hurt, she got rid of the horse.

                                  My point is...I think as a boarder, there isn't much you can do. Share your concerns with trainer/BO if M is doing unsafe riding when they aren't around, but it's their place to oversee her and her horse and if they don't feel they can step in, chances are they won't back you up either.
                                  Last edited by Equino; Apr. 26, 2010, 11:52 AM.


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by findeight View Post
                                    Vote with your feet and your wallet. These places cannot stay in business unless their boarders support them.

                                    That is all you can do when you disagree with the way a BO and/or trainer run their business.
                                    Yup. Trainer and BO need to get a clue and realize this looks BAD


                                    • #19
                                      M thinks that making it over the jump is what counts, not necessarily how it looks.
                                      There will ALWAYS be people who think this way. If you make it over a big jump, how can it be wrong? I think they think it is OK and simply don't realize how wrong it is. Who knows, maybe we are the ones too type A about jumping?

                                      You could always try flattery. Find a really good clinic. George Morris, Anne Kursinski. Someone tough. Someone honest. Mention clinic. Mention to rider they should go to clinic since they are so talented. Let rider go to clinic and get feedback....


                                      • #20
                                        What can you do?

                                        By the barn phone and on any bulletin boards, post the address of the barn and detailed instructions on how to get there. Also a reminder to tell 9-1-1 that ambulances should turn off the siren before entering the farm.

                                        So that when the trainwreck occurs and a panicked call to 9-1-1 is made, the caller will have the information she needs.
                                        ...somewhere between the talent and the potato....