Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Sore Abs

I know it may seem that I complain about my boarding situation on here frequently. In fact, I dont have a problem with my actual boarding situation per se, but rather, the inability to use its facilities as needed when needed. Ie, the covered arena. Alright, you all have heard my complaints about a certain trainer and the fact that I rarely have a chance to actually work my horse in the manner that I would like to because either a) the arena is overly crowded with lessons b) with the said lessons, yeilding the arena to them is required making me work sporatically around the arena based on where the lesson kid is c) not being able to work horse (as depicted in b) especially at the lope because Im sorry, my horse doesnt lope two miles an hour, and hello, he can be a little fresh. She while one boarder may lope with two lessons and another boarder in the arena, I take the courtesy to know that my horse will be a pistol and might not be in the best interest of the small lesson student to have a bullet in the arena, and I dont want to compromise my horse to dart around and navigate through millions of lesson horses, which leads to d) navigating around all the cones, caveletties, poles, and trail obsticals (bridges and gates) that are always left out for whatever lesson is going on. Im sorry, but the arena simply isnt big enough to support that many people riding, with crap scattered all throughout it.

So, Monday night I had a little "run in" with the head trainer. What happened was that she had two green lesson kids on typical lesson horses. Both girls loped by me far too close cutting Milo off on both the rear and front. Not to mention I had yeilded more than enough room on the rail for the girls (I was to the inside track of the inside track - basically working a long skinny oval in the center of the arena). After the second offense, I quietly informed trainer of what was happening. She stared at me blankly as if to say "So..what?" No response from trainer. So I continued that I wouldnt have mentioned anything but when both of them do it, it raises concern. She interupted me saying that the one horse is hard to steer and the girls are just learning to steer. Im sorry, but if they dont know how to steer, why are they loping to begin with? That just doesnt seem right to me. Trainer was clearly miffed that I had confronted her (politely I might add, I put up with a lot of shit in that arena), and I was equally frustrated by the lack of respect she had for me. Finally, about five minutes goes by and she says to the girls to please watch their spacing. Finally those two girls leave and I thought I had a golden opportunity to work on Milo's lope. No sooner do I get him a few strides in, then another boarder comes in, then another two lessons. OMG.

Last night was the same routine. Two girls taking a lesson, another boarder, crap set up everywhere. Honestly, it might be a lot easier to navigate if there wasnt crap everywhere, but with cones set up all the down the center, a trail box set up with poles, and a bridge, it reduces the usable amount of arena space by quite a lot. Not to mention that the lesson girls will go from on the rail (keeping me working in the center or on the inside track) then randomly work the poles in the center (pushing me off onto the rail, but oh look, the other lesson is on the rail while the second one is in the center). Then I heard that the girls were getting ready to leave as was the boarder. I had Milo finished with our trotting work and was waiting for them to get out so I had an opportunity to lope. Boarder leaves, and I wait. And wait. Then another lesson comes, in then another boarder. So theres five of us. I finally gave up twenty minutes later of walking my horse and trying to keep him ready to lope. After this time he was totally out of the frame of mind to even go into a lope that I jsut gave up waiting on the lessons to leave. No sooner do I put him in the cross ties then they walk in the aisleway behind me. Go figure, Murphy.

Am I just a huge complainer? I dont think so. Not when every single day that I want to work my horse, I am resitricted by what I can work on. It is extremely frustrating to say the least. Especially when I have our last reining show of the series on Saturday and I havent even been able to work on my horse's lope. I cannot WAIT until the weather clears and the daylight comes back because I will be all over that outdoor arena. Get me away from the millions of tiny lesson kids, the shit in the arena, and the rudeness and carelessness of the trainer. Rant over now.

If you've stuck with me this far, then real kudos to you. Now onto the fun part, actually talking about my ride! Milo was still a bit distracted on Monday's ride, but is starting to get more symmetrical without my aid every minute. Im gaining more control over that left shoulder bulging out too. Tuesday's ride was almost phenomenal. Besides another lesson horse cutting us off, Milo was focused and working well. He was holding himself up nicely every direction and I only had a few minor corrections on our transitions. Speaking of transitions, this is the only time so far that I lose my own correct position, but its getting better all the time! Last night's ride was a real workout and I even texted Sarah afterwards saying, "You know you are riding correctly when your abs are screaming!" which was definitely the case. My new position is almost becoming second nature, except where the transitions occur, then I still seem to fall forward. But last night was another epiphancy moment, I finally was getting real control over the hinge that allows my lower back to soften and relax for a downwarn transition. And Milo obliged to my soft back with giving me some of the nicest trot to halt and walk to halt transitions, putting his hip down and his back up. He was moving so nicely at the trot as well, I was even on the fence about wanting to ask for a lope. Either the great work from the trot would carry over to the lope work and we would get some nice rounds in, or it would "ruin" what was a great and productive ride, Ill never know. What I do know, however, is that things are getting better, with both Milo and I utilizing our bodys to the best that we can.


Kate said...

Sounds like a frustrating situation. I spent a lot of time at a large lesson barn with multiple trainers doing lots of jumping lessons. Even though the arena was large, riding when lessons were going on was a real challenge, and even dangerous at times.

Could you propose to the barn owner some reserved times for boarders to ride when no lessons could be in the arena? Just a couple of hours several days a week might make a big improvement. I was fortunate to be able to mostly ride during the days, when only the trainers were riding. Those who had to ride in the evenings and late afternoons had it the worst.

paint_horse_milo said...

That is exactly the problem. There is quite a lot less people there during the daytime. Evening are terrible because that is especially when kids are out of school, and people off of work. I discussed my frustrations last winter with the BO, and was told that lessons are given the right of way, lessons bring in more money than boarders. I get the impression from the trainer that it is a "priviledge" that we boarders get to use the arena when lessons are in progress. I just feel upset because as a paying boarder I have rights to the arena, which I do still receive, only I dont get to use it to its full advantage. Of course, Im not the only boarder who has to deal with this, we all do, but it doesnt make it any less frustrating. Like mentioned, I am just very eager for accessability to the outdoor arena again, which is much larger and the trainer RARELY uses it.

Rising Rainbow said...

The facility I worked at as a groom many years ago has chanced from being strictly a training barn to a boarding barn with trainers. With that change there is the same issue with arena use by the trainer for lessons and the rest of the boarders. I know that there are more boarders there not connected to the trainer but the BO doesn't seem to realize the issues not giving these people to ride has created with the boarders. You'd think they'd figure out they need to keep both contingents happy to pay their bills. Wouldn't you?

Glad the hear that your new position is bringing such quick results. That is very cool. Is your show this weekend at the unit??

paint_horse_milo said...

MiKael - Yes its this Saturday. Reining begins at 10, with my class being the first :) And unfortunetly, basically the entire barn takes lessons from this trainer, so I guess they dont mind her dominating the arena? Im not sure, but I do agree, you need boarders happy as well as lessons and leasees. I cant wait until Milo is home and I have my OWN arena. LOL

Mare said...

Yikes. That's a mess. Not only does this post revolve around one of my biggest pet peeves ever (in case you hadn't noticed, I have quite a few), kids cantering/ jumping etc. before they should be (e.g. before they can steer), but geez oh man, does it sounds like your BO puts lessons before boarders. Which I think is wrong, because you are both technically customers. I think he/she needs to fix that, because it's obviously not helping you, and it can't be helping the greenie riders either. (I can't even imagine having had to learn to ride in a mess like that).

I agree with Kate that reserving some arena time for boarders could be a solution (but then again, our thoughts on the subject aren't going to change anything). I think it's very admirable of you to give the greenies the "right of way", even though I can only imagine how frustrating it has to be...

Story said...

I always wish places that have stuff going on would at least have a white board showing when stuff is going on so that I can avoid it. Last winter I often arrived at the barn to find out the arena was booked. They were roping or working cattle or on several occasions, training dogs to work cattle. That's fine, in fact watching such things can be quite interesting, but sometimes these activities would go on for hours with no indication anywhere of start and finish times (even the participants didn't seem to know). Really, a white board would go a long way! But then boarding is definitely the secondary business at this barn so not really surprising.

You know, aside from riding around lessons, I think one of the worst is trying to ride around equipment. I was at a barn where jumps were up in the ring 24x7 because the ONE person who jumped said it was too hard for her to move them. Shall I add that she had the striding totally non-standard so they would have been unsafe for anyone else anyway? And strict orders to not adjust any of them. Not sure what made her so special but they'd sure bend over backward for her.

Now I have just one problem lady. Who is at the barn all day every day. And will ride for hours. And can't watch where she's going and rides randomly loping all over. She's nearly caused more wrecks than anyone I've ever seen! She is also too free with bad advice (and pushy about it). Anyway, if I want to avoid her I have to ride late in the evening because she practically lives there. It's getting tiresome!

Things could always be worse, though. I could have no idea when things were going on, have obstacles to avoid, and an arena full of people like the lady who only watches her horse's neck! And it sounds like that's what you have. I'd probably rant regularly if that was the case. So rant on!

(sorry that was so long, clearly I had a rant in me too lol)

paint_horse_milo said...

We do in fact have a whiteboard, its in the office (which is locked at certain times, only accessable to the trainers) and its kind of cryptic. No matter though, I generally know the lessons on the days that I am there (and times). Mondays usually have at least one lesson same start time as Im there, Tuesday the two girls who always cut me off, Wednesday the BO (who is very gracious about riding with others - shes not an arena hog), Thursdays the trainer is gone so everyone and their brother rides and typically there is still a lesson or two from the secondary trainer, Fridays there is minimum one or two lessons. But usually I can stick it out until people leavel. Saturdays have lessons all day and Sundays no lessons, but on the weekends I dont come out unless we are hauling to a show or I need to tend to Milo medically. I live 45 minutes away from the barn, but its about 10 from work so I typically only ride after work when Im close by.

Dont get me wrong, the BO is a great lady and she really wants everyone to be happy, and she has been incredible accomodating for my boarding situaation (letting me work off board) but the issues really revolve around arena usage still. But like mentioned, a few more months and I can ditch them all and work in the outdoor arena, it just makes winter riding frustrating. But Milo will be home soon, right? :)

in2paints said...

One of my previous barns wouldn't allow me to move the jumps in the arena because "it takes so long to set them up and get everything measured." Forget that I don't jump and would like to LONGE my horse, or ride her in circles. I don't think it's fair that certain boarders have more priviledges than others.

In your case, you're also a paying customer and I would be fuming if I couldn't ride my horse in the arena. I don't really see a solution or they might have implemented one already... perhaps she could schedule the lessons a bit farther apart so you have like 45 minutes to use the arena before the next group of lessons comes in?

I'm glad that despite the challenges, you and Milo had a great ride. :)