I’m a horse junkie through and through, so badly addicted to my mare, my barn time and dressage that at the first the smell of hay and horse, I can toss any reasonable behavior out the window. In an eight hour workday I can guarantee you I think, shop, research, read and talk about my horse at least 5 hours a day, some days more.
I am such a sad pathetic horse junkie that because of where we lived for the past many years, I’ve boarded at barns that had no understanding or regard for dressage, at least one had little to no respect for me or my horses. I went from an abusive trainer to no trainer. To make things work, I researched, downloaded, highlighted books and created lessons for any person I could find to help me, and several times I had a complete non-horse person coach me. I was spending a ton of money and needless to say the mare and I were going nowhere. We were both highly frustrated… Yep!! Good times.
I always paid my board in full, yet the junkie in me couldn’t help doing countless chores at the barn, like clean stalls, feed horses, turn out, bring in, repairing broken fences, hauling water and more. I even spent several weeks in below zero weather, with sideways winds and blinding snow, doing all the barn chores while the barn owner and the people getting free board in exchange for chores, had babies or vacations.
I can’t tell you how many times I bit my tongue when I was told my horse was “pretty but not worth much”. My horse would be weeks behind in hoof trims because “the real show horses had to come first.” I bought supplements in daily dose packages to find several packages unused at the end of a month. When I questioned this, I was told she was not brought in for “a few nights” so she did not get fed. Not brought into a stall I paid for! To solve this, I found my own farrier and I went to the barn every night to feed and care for my horse.
A spontaneous decision to accept a new job forcing a complete relocation, I landed at a new barn and found a new trainer.
The new barn is huge when compared to where I had been and the staff has pride in the care of all horses, even mine.
At the old barn, horses went out all the time or were left out when the staff did not feel like cleaning stalls, no matter the weather. At the new barn if the weather is a slight bit dangerous to human or horse, the horses stay in and are you ready for this … they let us know via text, email and/or Facebook.
As for the new trainer, I sort of feel like that ugly dog at the pound that finally got a family. I get a full 60+ minutes of total “me and mare time” for every lesson and we’ve advanced leaps and bounds.
It feels odd having a trainer help me with every aspect of my horse. She is there to greet me upon arrival, help me tack and untack. At first I was afraid she was scrutinizing but I’ve learn she is not, just getting to know both my mare and me better. We talk about everything and she does not miss one finger out of place. To top it off, the new trainer checks on my mare the days I don’t get to come out to the barn. Over this long polar vortex awfully insane cold snap I just found out my trainer was feeding my mare hot mash snacks every evening, just because.
The new barn has made me aware of how badly I had closed my eyes and powered through because I am such a horse junkie. Neither one of us were ever in danger but now we are getting the help we need to be ever bigger junkies than ever!