I feel like this is the story of my life. I'm one of those people that gets along with just about everyone and though it sounds great at first, it does come with its little burdens. For example, I'm ALWAYS the one that people come to to vent, get an opinion, some advice, whatever. Sure it's flattering that people trust me enough with their feelings and information to come to me, but when you are in the very small horse world, everyone seems to know everyone else and I become the trapped middleman.
So I'm riding for a lady (lady A we'll call her) who has a business partner (lady B) that takes care of more the bookkeeping end of things. Lady B also has a daughter that rides. I have been trusted with a lot of Lady A's horses and am considered her main rider. If a horse is having a problem and their rider can't seem to work it out, I'm often the one to get on it. I'm going to be the first to tell you that I'm definitely not a professional, but I do learn very quickly, I have a sticky seat for the most part and I take to instruction very well. I'll also get on anything you give me.
So Lady B's daughter is basically the complete opposite of me. Yes, she's ten years younger than me and therefore has much less experience, but that's why she has to learn to listen and react and realize that most horses aren't push-button! So Lady B's daughter gets on a pony who I would call extremely well behaved - he can have the odd steering issue in the corners, but he is more than willing to listen to the rider's direction and fix himself. He does his lead changes almost flawlessly, he jumps over anything you throw in front of him, he has a big stride so he feels like he's going quickly when often he's not, etc etc... Lady B's daughter complains to Lady A that the pony "isn't listening" and is cranking its head to the outside to look at stuff. Lady A says to use her inside leg and a bit of inside rein to straighten out the pony and then work to keep its attention. Lady B's daughter just keeps poking around, doesn't look like she's doing anything, pony keeps going around the ring with its head very much to the outside.
Lady A is teaching a lesson and doesn't have the time at the moment to deal with a kid who doesn't seem to want to put any effort into correcting the minor problem so calls me out to hop on the pony.
I get on, pony is observing the goings on outside, but with a bit of playing with the inside rein and some inside leg, the pony says 'oh, okay' and goes on being a little angel.
Now, I know that this kid doesn't take any kind of criticism well and she's one of those cry babies that goes to mommy for everything, so I try to tell her that yes, I know where she's coming from and I can see what the pony was doing, but all she has to do is this and that and he seems to be fine! Totally not trying to put her down, trying to be neutral and teach rather than preach, as clearly I have many more years on a horse's back than she does. I don't want her to think that we think she can't ride, she just needs to be able to get past the little problems with the guidance that is given to her, and know that perhaps these sales horses aren't the best teachers for her as she is still quite a green rider. Green + green = accident waiting to happen.
Anyways, so Lady A asks me to take this pony over a couple of fences, work on his straightness and whatnot while she takes her lesson rider inside to do some gymnastics. I take the pony over a little 'x' a couple of times, then over a vertical with a gate, then over a vertical with a box - I'm amazed at how unphased this pony is with the things I'm throwing at him. Also, the first day I rode him he had a bit of a noodling issue before and after the jumps which we had fixed before the end of the ride - he remembered all that!! He was straight as an arrow and actually self adjusted his stride a bit to find a distance that he liked. What a pony!
Kid sees this, gets mad, starts to cry and goes to mommy (Lady B) who then gets her furious face on, stomps off and tells me she's leaving right away. Okay, so the spoiled little kid is upset that she has been de-ponied. Whatever. She needs to grow up, learn to listen, watch and learn, and stop being so damn afraid of everything!! I mean this kid would probably cry if she got swatted with a tail the wrong way.
After my ride I go talk to Lady A and let her know what happened, and turns out she doesn't much care either, because sooner or later the kid has to figure out that sales horses aren't for kids to school on, especially if they aren't willing to work out the problems and not move on with the training. This pony was on the verge of moving backwards in his training with this kid.
So I'm with Lady A in this situation - pony is great, kid is not, they aren't the best match for each other no matter how much the kid whines. But Lady A and Lady B are good friends, Lady A is asking me what she should do with the situation, uses my name (which I'm fine with, it just puts me in a weird spot...) when talking to Lady B and now next time I see Lady B I don't even want to know what's going to happen.
Is it really so wrong to want to keep a client's horse in safe hands, progress with the horse's training, not go backwards with it and do what's best for the horse?? I mean these people are paying good money to have their horses here to be sold... We can't afford to mess things up!
Heck, every time I try to write a short little thing it ends up being so long... I guess it shows that there's some stress in the situation, eh? :P
Oh well. I think that pony is great. He's going to go far and make his owner happy, I think. All I can do is my job and try to stand up for what is right... right?