Monday, August 9, 2010

When things stop being fun...

Yes, I've been missing. No, I haven't been any busier than usual. I just haven't really wanted to face the issues I am having with Granite. I haven't even wanted to think about him really, let alone blog about him. I have pretty much had to give myself a pep talk before I can drag myself to the barn.

I know its ridiculous. Some of you have re-habbed the un-re-habbiable. Some of you have been dealing with insane soundness issues and many of you have had to make some of the hardest decisions ever (letting a horse go: whether it be to a new home/lifestyle or to let them die peacefully). I shouldn't be this exasperated over some simple training issues.

But although my feelings may not be justified or necessary, they are my feelings none the less and they are real. And they hurt. And they scare me. And they make me desperately sad. Its been a long time since I've been to the point of not wanting to go to the barn.

Our trainer did a great job with him, but it doesn't translate to me riding him. She told me the other day that "bad riding leads to bad results and good riding leads to good results" when I asked why she wasn't having problems getting his transitions and I was. That doesn't help me to figure out what I'm doing wrong!!! I've ridden (rather successfully) all of my life. Now, why can't I seem to get my horse to improve. I don't want him to be wonderful and amazing at 3. I just want him to improve and not go backward when I work with him. It seems like the more times I ride him when Becky doesn't, the worse he gets. Then she does a few rides and hes back to OK. We had two nice rides this weekend, but Becky rode him all last weekend (trying to undo the damage I have apparently caused).

I thought for too long Saturday about selling him. I mean, he is the reason I work all the time (and only see him 3-4 days a week). And I live in constant worry about him getting sick or injured (bc I can't afford to fix it). And now, I worry about me even being able to ride/use my horse let alone pursue my competitive goals. But, I couldn't even make my money back by selling an extremely green broke 3 year old at this point. So I have to stick it out-- which is for the best bc I am madly in love with that horse and I just KNOW that one day, we will get through this.

So for now, I am trying to take things day by day. I have a couple potential job opportunities out near Eva's house, so cross your fingers for me. If I get any of these positions, I can try to find a trainer who can teach me to work with my boy and relocate him with me. I would be making much more money as well and it would alleviate a lot of the anxiety I feel about Granite getting injured or ill and me being unable to manage it.  Please cross your fingers for me!!!

On a much more positive note. TK gets more and more wonderful. My family adores him (the beach trip was wonderful) and I am truly happier with him that I imagined was ever possible. I am so blessed to have finally found my somebody!

Eva, Tyler and I on my Daddy's boat at home!

Daphne at the beach, escaping the sun under our makeshift 'tent' for her.


  1. I am sorry that things are not working out the way that you had dreamed they would. I can sort of feel your pain because my pony is not being so good about coming out of least at 18 and with a previous serious injury I can justify just letting him be a pasture pet. Now, I know that you are used to quarter horses, but I have a question...why the rush to ride him? The baby horse I was leasing was broke at 4 years old, ridden for 6 weeks and then given another 6 months off before he went to work. I know a lot of dressage riders who do things that way as well. I am just saying that because I feel your frustration with the barn owner, who sounds like a great person and rider, but not such a great trainer. A few months off to get your life in order might not be a bad thing. You have a new second job, and a new relationship so it just sounds like it might be hard to focus on your boy when you do get to ride him, especially since you are expecting issues at this point. I think you are doing the best you can and if you are not having fun that says a lot. This is such a rambling and not helpful comment! I am sorry. All I am trying to say is that you are not alone and that I hope something changes for the better...and soon!

  2. Izzy and I have been there. It sucks. It's frustrating. There's nothing fun about it.

    I think I had a slight edge on you in that situation though, both because I've worked greenies before (it's not the same!!) and because we board with a pretty great trainer who helps us through stuff.

    If you can afford to move Granite closer to Eva, GO FOR IT. Becky has been great. She did a nice job starting Granite and she's provided you with affordable board, but if she's not a teacher, she's taken you as far as she can go.

    I agree with the above poster about not pushing a three year old too hard, but I don't think you're asking for too much. W/T/C nicely is a fine goal.

    I'll cross my fingers for a better paying job for you. It's (hopefully) time to move on.

  3. I have felt the way you do at different times throughout my horsey life. I'm feeling a bit like that now, actually, but I'm not dealing with training issues, I'm dealing with soundness issues that keep popping up with my horse. I spend SO MUCH time and money on my horses, that it gets discouraging when things don't go as planned and I can't ride or take my horse to shows.

    It's even more discouraging to see my retired horse standing in his pasture sound as can be, while my show horse has issue after issue after issue... frustrating for sure.

    I think you're on the right track, though. I would be looking for a new trainer that can give you lessons and work with both of you so you're able to learn with Granite.

    I can tell Granite means a lot to you, so hang in there. Things will get better!

  4. Yup, been there! It's tough sometimes with the young ones. If Becky's teaching style doesnt help you get results then sure, maybe time for a new trainer who can help you bridge that gap. I think starting Pongo and then giving him 7 months off was a very good decision. It gave him time to mull over what he learned, allowed his body to keep growing, kept the pressure and expectations low, kept me from pushing me or him too fast, etc. What a difference it made once we started him again this summer! I think your plan of moving sound super cool. I would take the pressure off, makes plans for his fall/winter vacation and ease up on yourself :) You guys are going to do great!!!!

  5. I feel your pain. I wish at this point I was confident enough to take Miss P into my hands entirely, but I'm not. I've made amazing progress on my own before and never needed a trainer so it's taken a dose of humility and about 18 doses of patience to hand P over full time to someone to get her basics going.
    For me, I just try to remind myself that I don't have a schedule and I won't be crushed if I'm not the one getting perfect transitions and leg yields from her quite yet. The days that I'm frustrated and feel like she's too much horse for me, I just remind myself that I enjoy all the other aspects of having her (aside from the ridiculous vet visits) even without being in the saddle. If we didn't, we wouldn't take on these green projects. :) hang in there, hug your boy, and know that every other rider out there goes through the same frustrations. Even the pros farm out their rides when they hit a wall in their training...

  6. Sometimes young horses just need some time to grow and mature, and you and he are still getting to know one another. If it were me (and you aren't so what I say may or may not be of any use), I'd start from the basics - the walk, halt, backing and transitions between, and perhaps some basic lateral work. Get all that working well, and then move on to the trot, and transitions there. That way, as you add new things, the foundation will be there, and be strong, and if things don't always work out as you add new things, you and he will have good things, where you can both be successful, to fall back on. Don't expect everything to be there at once - it takes time to build this all in. It may also be that if your trainer is riding him a lot, that he's used to her style and may be confused when you ride him - young horses often get very fixated on one exact way of doing things. Hang in there - but work on it every day (or as often as you can) and don't expect too much of you or him - remember that this is supposed to be fun.

  7. This reminds me so much with me and Page. And I did stop going to the barn at one point. You know where I really got frustrated? It was after I got Dee and I started regaining my confidence as a rider, and then I tried out Page again. And I still couldn't get her to do anything! Our Trainer makes her look like a star. Like you, I've been riding with some success most of my life, but for some reason this horse eluded me. But the difference here is that really, at that point, I fell out of love with Page. The fact that you are still crazy about Granite really helps! I'm sure you will get through it. Good luck with the job search!

  8. Oh I am so sorry you feel frustrated and yes you have every right to have the feelings you do.

    About a month ago I was so frustrated with Corrie going by the window. She was such a butt about it and I was very frustrated that I could not do that simple thing. This was going on for a couple of weeks. Well I had my trainer come and watch me. She was fine while he was watching (naughty child behaves when teacher is around) So went back and did ground work and ground driving and she was fine by the window. When I got back on her again, same issue. Now I was really frustrated because heck, I knew for damn certian this was not even just a "me" issues, but a "me in the saddle" issue. I asked my trainer to help me again. This time she was a little more naughty and he saw it. He gave me some pointers, including his ever famous "Correct one thing at a time" speech. I like to try to correct several things but he is forever making me correct one thing, I might have other issues there that need addressing, but right now I have to correct this one thing.

    I guess my point is this will pass. Our skills will level off for awhile and then we get a little extra push, or a tidbit of informaiton and all of a sudden it makes sense, and we grow.

  9. I think the comments you've gotten are so right on. Although I know if I were in your boots, words would only do so much. I hope that in time, you and Granite will figure each other out.

    Congrats on your wonderful relationship with T. He sounds like a great guy!!!

  10. I totally relate to everything you are saying. I used to wake up in the middle of the night in a panic worried about what might happen if Tucker seriously hurt himself while I was a starving law student. I would not have been able to pay for it, period. And even when I first started work, I had Tucker at a barn that was in the budget but I wasn't crazy about the care and I was riding with a trainer who was very nice but wasn't helping us out much, and boy we needed a lot of help. He's 8 now and I finally have him in a good program with a trainer I trust, but believe me I still have days when it doesn't go well and I think I'm ruining him and I ride like crap. It comes with the sport, I think. Or at least it does for caring and compassionate horse owners like us who only want the best for our babies. The good news is, at this stage of our lives nothing is set in stone. We have the flexibility to do what you're doing now, look for a new job, look for a new place to live, look for a new barn/trainer. Eventually we'll find a situation that works and stay put, but until then we can be happy we are young enough not to be tied down. I know how incredibly frustrating it is when things aren't going well between you and your horse. I'll be posting about my recent issues soon too. Can you afford to have the trainer ride him once a week, or once every other week? That might help. And I agree with what Kate said, it might help to dial back what you do with him, you don't need to be in any rush. If walking is going well, stick to that for a while. If walk/trot is all you two can do right now, just work on that. Babies don't have deadlines or due dates. It'll all work out in the long run if you don't push him. And I'm so happy for you and TK. Must be such a good feeling!

  11. everyone has given you great advise so I will just add my support! Hang in there things will get better I am sure!

  12. I agree that 3 is very, very young and you really don't need to worry about pushing Granite right now. Have Becky work with him, and then maybe get on and do some fun/relaxing walk/trot rides and just enjoy him for a while. Then either give him some time to grow up and be a pasture puff, or move and find a new trainer. Just remember that every time you ride, you are training, whether good or bad; so, if things aren't going well right now with you and Granite, something needs to change. I hope this doesn't sound harsh, as I totally feel your pain! You just have to keep in mind that greenies are a completely different animal!

    Also remember that your own riding skills might be a little rusty. If you could take some lessons on a finished horse, I'm sure that would really help, as well. You could work on your position as well as your confidence.

    As far as worrying about Granite, why not look into horse insurance? There are some really affordable premiums out there, and they give you such peace of mind. I wish I had bought insurance when I had my horse Mac; it would have saved me a lot of money! I just got a really good health insurance plan for my dog for under $400/year.

    Good luck! Don't sell your boy -- you two have been through a lot together, and this is just another bump in the road. You two will get through it! Your trainer is clearly just not translating her riding style to you, so I think it's time for you to move on.

  13. I am so sorry to hear of your heartache and frustration and worry. But you can see from your supporters that you are not alone! I am not an expert, but I think that perhaps Granite has gone far enough with Becky. It may be a good thing to remove him from his dependence on Becky. If you are not getting the guidance you need from her to be able to ride Granite, then it's time to move on. You and Granite were made for each other. I have my fingers and toes crossed about your potential job opportunities.

  14. You have some great comments here. Don't give up on Granite. Sounds like you will be making some changes and they may help you over this hurdle. I like the suggestions to go slow and not rush young Granite and don't be too hard on yourself either. There is a lot that can be accomplished at a walk and trot. Good luck. And glad you had a nice trip home and that your somebody is wonderful for you.

  15. Thank you so much for all of the comments. They mean a lot to me. Its wonderful to know that most of you have been here. That its ok to take a step back. That it should get better. And that there are some suggestions for moving forward. I love the blogging community! Such smart horsewomen: I am so fortunate that you share your knowledge, experience, and advice with me!!!
    Keep it coming please. i take all of your words to heart and they keep me positive, moving and motivated :)

  16. No disrespect to your current trainer, but I think you should consider making a change. The "bad riding" quote was not helpful. It's time to move on to someone who believes in you, and can help you achieve your goals, not just ride your horse well.

  17. As is evidence by the number of posts, we've all been there. Right now my mare is lame. I don't know why or how and its so frustrating because I just got back from a broken ankle.

    If you love Granite then just find ways to do things that are fun. Reflect on how far he's come and about all the roles you played for him. You are a good horseperson with good intentions and those will get you far.

    I agree that you might want to consider riding in a few lessons on a seasoned horse just to make sure you can focus on you again. Riding greenies is a whole different ballgame and it involves you being as close to perfect as you can so you don't confuse them. I don't think it is wise to continue riding with someone who obviously thinks you can't ride your own horse. That's not the right way to think about the situation.

    Good luck, give Granite a kiss and keep moving forward!