We all have them. But they don't always better a situation...right? (0:
Over the years I have ridden a lot, then ridden not as much, then ridden...well regularly. During the ups and downs of my riding, I know for a fact that my skill level has decreased. I'm good with that. It's life. My aids leave something to be desired now. I honestly will start concentrating on my legs and my hands seem to find themselves up around my ears or waaay behind my saddle horn. Fix the hands, and there goes my eyes. All of a sudden I'm looking down. Eyes up, my legs are flopping around like noodles. The only thing that I feel is constant is my seat. I thank God every time I sit in the saddle that my balance is there and well... I still have some what of a Velcro butt.
But hey...it's life. It's loss of time and practice. With these little slips I knew that I needed someone else to start Fiona. So I talked to Mindy, who had a couple of horses needing work and she too lacked time for them. So we located a trainer who came highly recommended in Southern Idaho.
This trainer was the same guy who started Tari. We both had ridden Tari, and knew that she knew all of the basics and was willing to try and do everything asked of her. She had a great start and her knowledge was and is easy to build upon.
We drove to Southern Idaho and dropped off our girls. We noticed how many horses were there and knew it was a one man show... It made us a little worried, but when asked he said he a few of them were on their way home and not to worry. He would only charge us for the actual work done and board.
We had been warned that he tended to over whelm himself at times but was as honest as the day was long. So off we went. Our agreement was for 30 days, just to get the two young horses going and Mindy's older mare some confidence and polishing.
When we came back to get the girls, he rode each one for us and told us what he had done, how he had done it and what he thought each horse needed after they left. Our girls hadn't been the best guests. Fiona had tried to jump the corral she was in during a storm. She didn't quite make it and in her crashing jump she let herself and Chix out to run the neighborhood. Gave the trainer and his wife a heart attack, luckily they were easy to catch.
Fiona ended up with a cut on her elbow and had some swelling and heat, but he treated her and she was fine. Over all we were quite pleased at what we got back.
The biggest change was in Mindy's Chix mare. He really gave her the confidence she was lacking. On her he hit a home run.
The two younger horses really should have been there longer... But the work he did was excellent. There just wasn't enough of it. I take full responsibility for what my horse lacked due to time I couldn't give her with him.
When I got Fiona home, I rode her in the round pen and small pasture. But only when Chad was home, I didn't want to get piled up without anyone home. Not that she offered to pile me, but she was young. Better safe than sorry. I had intended to ride her 4 days a week. Unfortunately I just wasn't able to keep up on her with being alone so often and not having confidence in her or myself. Again, it's okay. That's life.
Then we bought a house and moved, that took an entire summer away from Fi. I knew she needed more time for me to be able to ride her alone and the new place offers very little riding options as far as going out my front door and taking off....I also don't have any small areas created yet for riding/training. When I complained to Mindy about this she said she wanted more time on Sally as she had her hands full. I off handedly suggested that we try and find this local guy I had used in the past. We talked more and bout it and decided to go with the local guy.
He had ridden a horse for me in the past and had helped her and I out quite a bit. He at one time had done a lot of work for several people I knew and was quite busy, but then got in to a little bit of trouble and kind of started to decline.
I had heard he was on the rebound and we decided to go ahead and give him a shot.
He lacked the facilities he'd had when he had my first horse and tried to make the best of his situation.
He didn't do bad...but he didn't do great either.
The first trainer and I had worked on several of the same things and Fi got them. She was soft and supple. I wouldn't say I worked on her frame as it's not one of my strong points, but she gave easily, broke at the pole, and when asked to Whoa, she dropped her butt and STOP ready to back up a step or two. Those things weren't there when she came back from the local guy. There were things that I hadn't done when she was at home that she could do efficiently after getting home, but she was so hard mouthed it sucked. I have noticed that one of the things that my lack of consistent hours in the saddle caused to deteriorate was my timing in my release. I half convinced myself that maybe it was half me.... Except Sally had the same problem.
Mindy talked to her BRC and found "the" go to guy in Western Washington for colt starting and problem horses. He was hard to get into and not cheap... He took Sally on at the end of the season last year and went to work. I opted to try and work on some of my stuff at home.
Again I intended to pick away at her while Chad was home. Again that didn't really work out too well. Our business just took a ton of his time in the evenings....again. So I started riding her at home alone. Small rides with no real facilities for me and my greenie. We muddled through. But I wasn't even trying to kid myself, Fiona needed more time and skill that I had. Worst part to me was this filly/mare had already been with two trainers. My initial intentions were to get her a good start and build on it.
I'm not saying I failed Fiona. But nothing so far had gone...well as I'd intended! She was no worse for wear from my decisions. She was healthy and sound...body and mind sound.
But what now?
Well I thought about it and thought about it. Then I started squirreling money away. Why, because I was hoping that Mindy could get me into the Western Washington trainer. Promising myself that come hell or high water this is THE GUY! So as soon as I could get over the pass Fiona made the trip over to this trainer.
So far so good. He said he thought someone should be heading off of her... I smiled. I'm a lefty and can't rope with my "strong" arm to save my life...let alone even trying to learn to rope with my "weak" hand...probably never going to happen.
He said Fi is VERY hard mouthed and he was working on it. He said she is willing, tries hard, isn't sulling up or refusing, and quite bold. He is impressed with how he has taken her places that she's never been before and just walks out like she belongs there.
THANK YOU GOD!
We had originally agreed on 30 days this spring because he has his regular customers coming in April and May. But at her 15 day evaluation meeting/phone call he said he wanted to keep her for another 30. He would make room for her. I said, OK! I haven't told Chad yet...but will here soon as I have to get more money out. (0: I thought about the money thing for about 10 seconds... I'm sure I could be mad about time and money spent thus far, but why? It's all a learning game and just reinforces that you get what you pay for lesson... I think. And again, my horse is mentally sound as well as physically so I feel blessed that my mistakes only hurt my spending money. I have read several horror stories of trainers ruining horses....
I asked him if he loved her yet... He replied with... Awhhhh...almost! LOL! (0:
I'll take that!