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Crossing the line: Caring owner to Obsessive owner

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  • Crossing the line: Caring owner to Obsessive owner

    I think I am driving my trainer insane.

    As some of you may have read, my horse was lamed up pretty bad this week. I had gotten all sorts of explanations, from in the beginning being " he's just a little owchy from shoeing" to two days ago " I just want to get x-rays to make sure he doesnt have navicular" and my horse blowing out an abcsess due to a hot nail in between. Another factor to all of this is that I'm in the middle of the end of show season.

    Tempers have flared, tears have been shed (never at the barn mind you, but when I get home I seem to fall apart).
    I have been out to my horse every morning before work (not that this is totally unusual, I ride in the mornings usually too) and have doctored my horses foot. My trainer has slowly but surely, been showing her patience with me is wearing thin. I'm freaked out. I have never owned a horse that is such a perfect match for me or as valuable (or as AWESOME ) as this horse, so to be told that he MIGHT have navicular after just thinking it was a little abcsess made me go a little mental.

    I usually call my trainer once a day/every other day, to check in and see what plans are for lessons/training. (NOTE: We have a small barn with about 4 real boarders/owners(me) the rest are all lesson students/riders). This week I have called probably 2-3X a day. I NEVER argue, or get crazy emotional, but I ask a ton of questions.. verbal diarrhea of questions because I want to feel like everything is okay.

    I think this is because I think of my trainer more as a friend, and I forget there has to still be a professional relationship there too.

    What do you think? When do you cross the line? How often do you talk to your trainer/instructor?

    Side note: My horse is doing better. Still lame, but moving about!

  • #2
    I really hope your horse gets well soon. Have the vet out and do a full workup for your peace of mind.

    But you call your trainer once a day on a normal day? And are now calling her more? I think you may need to calm it down. Discuss the next day's training the day before when you are at the barn at the end of your lesson, and reduce the phone use.

    Honestly, if I were Trainer that many phone calls would probably make me fire you. I used to be one and it was *never* necessary to talk to the owners that much unless I was at a show with a client's horse, when I called with a daily update on how the horses did.

    When riding for a trainer, I probably called once a month. Any business was transacted at the barn. When teaching, most students scheduled their lessons once a month or after their previous lesson, so they only called if they needed a change or before a show or something like that. Some would call to schedule lessons or see if anyone was going on a trail ride occasionally, which is more than fine. If not at a show, I called owners of horses in training once a week unless they requested something different. But every day? Never had anyone do or want that.

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    • #3
      If you're calling 2-3 times a day AND going out, you are crossing the line. Your behavior suggests you don't trust her and need to check up on her constantly.

      Going out once a day is fine. I wish I could (I board a half-hour from my house.) Calling once a day while there's something going on with his foot, also fine. What you might want to do is have a list of questions--writing it out, look at them and see if any are...unreasonable. Ie. "But what if...." "Are you sure...." "I know I already asked but...." Things that go too far into the hypothetical (unless your trainer is Jeanne Dixon returned from the beyond, she's not a psychic) or second-guessing.

      Of course you're worried. But unless you think your trainer isn't being straight with you, or for some reason wouldn't call you if something WAS wrong, 2-3 calls a day with "verbal diarrhea" of questions is in fact going overboard and is telling her you don't trust her. Maybe set up a time that's convenient for her, too, for a daily check-in call, with points you go over, and think about listening as much as asking questions.
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      • #4
        When my horse had fistulous withers, I was there every single day to clean/medicate/groom and give an injection.

        I also emailed the BO at night to check up on him.

        Maybe you should back off a little bit and just email or text once a day ontop of your daily visit. I get you're worried, but driving the trainer batshit isnt going to make him any better any faster.

        Comment


        • #5
          Yeah you went into the nuts category. It's okay.. happens to all of us once in awhile. (If you think you're bad.. I made the mistake of agreeing to watch my niece once, for my sister.. first time sister had ever left her with someone else.. oh wow. thank god for unlimited minutes. And that brings up the question of why people want to spend 10 minutes with the phone held up to an infants ear.. but that's another post.. Wait.. you aren't having her hold the phone up to the horse's ear are you? bc that is beyond nuts).

          Anyway, now that you have realized you are nuts.. you can de-nut yourself. Easier said than done, but the first step to solving a problem, is to admit there is one
          "Sadly, some people's greatest skill, is being an idiot". (facebook profile pic I saw).

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          • #6
            I think you are going overboard with the calls, but I would tell the trainer what you have told us. This injury has really freaked you out, that you realize that you are overreacting and thank her for putting up with you. Ask for advice or opinion. I am not sure from your post whether you have had x-rays done, or if the abcess blew and there was no need for x-rays.
            Jingles that your horse continues to recover quickly and that this was all just a false alarm.

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            • #7
              One more thing -- this is far from a hopeless case. The fact that you seem to realize you might be going a little overboard, OP, makes it appear to me that you are halfway to fixing the problem already.

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              • #8
                Calling and checking repeatedly will not make your horse sound any faster. It's not even making you feel better. Take a deep breath. Put down the phone.
                ::Sometimes you have to burn a few bridges to keep the crazies from following you::

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Sport View Post
                  I think you are going overboard with the calls, but I would tell the trainer what you have told us. This injury has really freaked you out, that you realize that you are overreacting and thank her for putting up with you. Ask for advice or opinion. I am not sure from your post whether you have had x-rays done, or if the abcess blew and there was no need for x-rays.
                  Jingles that your horse continues to recover quickly and that this was all just a false alarm.
                  Great advice..

                  oh, and a bottle of wine .. can't hurt... (for either of you)
                  "Sadly, some people's greatest skill, is being an idiot". (facebook profile pic I saw).

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by smokygirl View Post
                    Great advice..

                    oh, and a bottle of wine .. can't hurt... (for either of you)
                    Or if you're more into that kind of thing, Scotch makes everything better. At least where I'm sitting. (Probably would make the horse feel better, too, unless he wants a Guiness..)
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                    • #11
                      You have crossed over to the crazy side but at least you realise it! Try to tone it down.

                      Maybe grab your trainer a bottle of wine and a 'thank you for putting up with my craziness' card when all is said and done.
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                      • #12
                        Yes, you've crossed the line. Just calm down, have a drink and relax.

                        If you feel you need to call the vet, call the vet.

                        Tell your trainer you're just worried and apologize for bothering her as it wasn't your intention.

                        Back off and maybe call/email or text her at the end of the day to see how the horses day went. If you've already been there and see that horse is breathing and has four legs and a head, horse is probably going to be fine.

                        Causing more stress for yourself and your trainer will help no one.

                        I know that we are passionate about our equine partners but just take care of the horse and fretting isn't going to make the horse better faster. IF it's an abscess, it needs to run its course. If you really think it's more severe, call the vet. Simple as that.

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                        • #13
                          Yup, you've crossed the line. But you have what I term 'one-horse-itis', and it's a common disease. You've been training hard, showing hard, and your horse goes lame and you have no place to put all your energy (can't ride/show), so you obsess.

                          If you were lucky enough/rich enough to own several horses you would put lame horsey in pasture, and just go ride one of your other ones. But with one horse, you become a 'hoover' and can't believe that horsey is still lame/possibly dieing/needs complete leg transplant. You need to stop this, drive to liquor store and purchase a big box of cheap wine - drive back to barn/trainer's house and commence refreshments. Your trainer will understand - and your horse will thank you too. ( Horsey also thinks you've gone nuts.)

                          Save your freak-outs for the really big stuff, and thank your lucky stars that this is just a tiny blip in your/your horse's life.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by smokygirl View Post
                            Anyway, now that you have realized you are nuts.. you can de-nut yourself. Easier said than done, but the first step to solving a problem, is to admit there is one


                            Best line I have read here in a long time.

                            No advice to offer, except to just know all of us are nutty. Some moreso than others, but at least you are one that KNOWS you're nutty and not denying it.

                            ((hugs))
                            Alis volat propriis.

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                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              thank you for all the replies about my cross into crazy land..

                              <Puts phone into cement block, sinks it in the river.. a lone horn plays...>

                              I think some of you did nail it on the head- I don't trust her. If I did, I know I wouldn't be calling. I have had many trainers over my lifetime- some fabulous, some that I thought were fabulous, and turned out to be terrible. I am very cautious - overly so. She has done some great things, but she has done some things I disagree with, therefore I am cautious with her as well.

                              Ahhh. I feel like an @$$. I am going to buy her a nice bottle of wine today.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I think by now you should have realized that you have crossed the line, and are driving your trainer crazy,... But, don't feel too bad. Anybody who ever loves a good horse will understand.

                                When my baby was injured at 3 months old, and for a solid month we didn't know whether he would make it, I wanted to call my poor vet every thirty minutes, knowing in my head that there was no way he would have any thing new from thirty minutes ago to tell me. My husband had to get on my case so I wouldn't drive everybody, including myself, crazy.

                                Take a deep breath. An abcess will heal in time, and even if it were navicular (which you really don't know yet), I've seen plenty of Navicular horses that are perfectly sound and happy.

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                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by TBMaggie View Post
                                  Yup, you've crossed the line. But you have what I term 'one-horse-itis', and it's a common disease. You've been training hard, showing hard, and your horse goes lame and you have no place to put all your energy (can't ride/show), so you obsess.

                                  If you were lucky enough/rich enough to own several horses you would put lame horsey in pasture, and just go ride one of your other ones. But with one horse, you become a 'hoover' and can't believe that horsey is still lame/possibly dieing/needs complete leg transplant. You need to stop this, drive to liquor store and purchase a big box of cheap wine - drive back to barn/trainer's house and commence refreshments. Your trainer will understand - and your horse will thank you too. ( Horsey also thinks you've gone nuts.)

                                  Save your freak-outs for the really big stuff, and thank your lucky stars that this is just a tiny blip in your/your horse's life.
                                  OMG. It's a COTH Intervention. I have one-horse-itis!


                                  TB Maggie- you totally NAILED it!!

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                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by hoofs2118 View Post
                                    thank you for all the replies about my cross into crazy land..

                                    <Puts phone into cement block, sinks it in the river.. a lone horn plays...>

                                    I think some of you did nail it on the head- I don't trust her. If I did, I know I wouldn't be calling. I have had many trainers over my lifetime- some fabulous, some that I thought were fabulous, and turned out to be terrible. I am very cautious - overly so. She has done some great things, but she has done some things I disagree with, therefore I am cautious with her as well.

                                    Ahhh. I feel like an @$$. I am going to buy her a nice bottle of wine today.

                                    I don't think you will ever find a horse person with whom you agree 100% with all the time.
                                    Heck, I disagree with my dad, who taught me most of what I know.

                                    It's not bad to be cautious (especially after having been burned). Vigilance does save us a pretty penny down the road.

                                    however, yeah, do get a really nice, big bottle of wine for your trainer. she probably has already asigned a special ringtone to your number so she is forewarned when you call her (and FWIW, I roll my eyes when my husband calls me from work, have the eyes pop out from rolling at the 2nd call...heck, he has kissed me good bye, that ought to hold him over, no?)

                                    As already mentioned above, there is hope for you yet.
                                    Originally posted by BigMama1
                                    Facts don't have versions. If they do, they are opinions
                                    GNU Terry Prachett

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                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by hoofs2118 View Post
                                      I think some of you did nail it on the head- I don't trust her. If I did, I know I wouldn't be calling. I have had many trainers over my lifetime- some fabulous, some that I thought were fabulous, and turned out to be terrible. I am very cautious - overly so. She has done some great things, but she has done some things I disagree with, therefore I am cautious with her as well.
                                      The fact that you fundamentally don't trust your trainer and board at her barn is something very real. I would be concerned about it. It is something you need to resolve or move your horse.

                                      It sounds like the suggestion that the lameness might be an indication of navicular disease really freaked the OP out. It's actually not unusual to speculate on all sorts of possible causes when trying to figure out a lameness issue that seems centered in the hoof. My first thought would be abscess, but if it didn't resolve itself with standard treatment over a reasonable period of time, I would want a vet and x-rays as my next step.

                                      One thing the OP should do, if she hasn't already, is to get mortality and major medical insurance on this horse. That way she can just get a vet involved from the get-go and have options if the issue isn't going to resolve itself easily or quickly.
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                                      • #20
                                        Yeah, you've definitely crossed the line. About you distrusting your trainer...you say she has done things you disagree with, but think about it...are those things actually things that make you concerned in this situation? As in, does she just have a few training practices you disagree with (within reason obviously, nothing abusive or whatever), or some care issues that are still reasonable (keeping in mind there are a lot of different husbandry practices that are all acceptable) or do you really have reason to be concerned about your horse in her care?

                                        I am not trying to say either way, that's totally up to you. However, if you really think she isn't providing appropriate care in this (stressful, but pretty basic) situation, you probably need to look for a new trainer, or at least move your horse and only lesson with this trainer. It is normal to disagree with your trainer in some areas. I've had very few clients in my life who I haven't made uncomfortable in some ways, at least once they moved past the beginner level. A lot of it just comes from the job description--your trainer should push your boundaries and teach you new things that might make you uncomfortable. Add to that the fact that there are plenty of ways to train a horse that aren't cruel but not everyone will like them, and it's common.

                                        I think you need to examine why you don't trust her in this situation, and if it is valid then move your horse. If you're just freaking out, then work on yourself. It would help to be able to confide in someone who knows the details and see what they think as well, because obviously you're quite biased.

                                        Generally, though, calling your trainer 2-3 times a day is absolutely ridiculous, especially if you're going out daily. The absolute most I would tolerate from a client in your situation is the visit in the morning and a call in the evening to see if anything has changed, but even that would probably bother me (though that depends somewhat on whether you see the trainer in the morning, I almost always see my clients when they're here so I would expect to catch up with them then and there, but if I didn't see them I would think a daily check-in call was fine with a lame horse). I don't generally tolerate more than 1 communication with my clients daily unless there is a good reason, and even that is usually overkill. I hope they trust me to call them if there is a new development (positive or negative) and if they don't, then I don't want to work with them.

                                        Of course, I am also pretty sympathetic to the emotional aspects so am pretty forgiving in that regard, but seriously, you would be driving me nuts OP. If you are just being crazy, don't beat yourself up (I get crazy about lamenesses in my own horses too, and I am a pro...just ask COTHer FatPalomino about my crazy calls to her when there's an issue with one of my horses ) but do buy your trainer a bottle of wine or other appropriate gift and explain the situation, apologize, and try to do better.
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