I find myself more and more, wondering how other people do it. I mean, how do they balance their friends and their boyfriends?
I have often seen horse girls like myself, have problems with their boyfriend because of their horse. You know, the classic, he is jealous of the horse, he keep asking her if she needs to spend so much time with it, stuff like that… and in the end, he lets the horse get in the way of their relationship, because she either chooses him, or the horse…
Now, I figured I was lucky when I found my boyfriend, because he wasn’t jealous of my horses at all. In fact, I had only known him for a few months when he agreed to get a horse of his own, and not just any horse, no my precious Lady Amalia, so she could stay with us. It was kind of perfect.
Since then, he has learned to ride, he was the one who wanted Saleem because he studied horses with great interest and wanted an Arabian. I agreed on Saleem because he was a stallion and I wanted a foal by Amalia… I mean, we worked things out, and I did have a feeling that he was rather happy with his new life as a horse owner.
I guess, back then, we were much more of a team than we are now… for several reasons.
Amalia was still here. I have no doubt that she was the love of his life, horse wise, because he have not ridden a horse- Apollon twice, no other- since she died, despite the fact that Saleem is very broken in by now.
I mean, I get why he didn’t feel up for the task of breaking in Saleem, he was a very difficult horse to handle, with his violent headshaking, but now? What is holding him back now? The fact that I may want to comment on how he rides it for the first few times, because I have broken in the horse, I know how it works, and let’s face it, I have 19 years of experience with all kinds of horses, he has 7 years, mostly with good old reliable Amalia…
I stayed out of most of what he did with Amalia, because he always got angry with me if I tried to help him… by suggesting that he made the horse carry itself correctly, so it wouldn’t break down… so I just trained the horse when he wasn’t at the stable, and did my best to keep her together, because clearly he wouldn’t let me teach him. Not sure why.
Is it in male genes that they can’t take advise from a girl?
I just know that he does have a huge talent for riding, he could be fantastic if he would let me help him just a tiny little bit…
But, that was not the point of this post. Stay on track….
No, my dear friend, LHK, have been invaluable to me for many years by now. Sure, we have had times where we didn’t see each other much, because our horses lived far apart, mostly, but the last two years, she have come back into my life with a vengeance, not giving up on me.
I really, really needed that. She showed up two years ago and forced me to train trailer with Apollon, just as I was giving him up for good, thinking he would never learn. She not only provide me with a car and the possibility to train, which I would have never had other wise, but with a well deserved kick in the ass as well, which I very much needed.
Last year we moved our horses closer to where she has her horses, and we started hanging out more and more, helping each other train our horses. You know, a sparring partner, which is invaluable in my world, and something I have really missed in a long time. Someone who would listen when I wondered if Saleem’s headshaking was caused by pain or anything else, for the 666th time, someone who would help me look up solutions at all hours of the day…
Someone who actually value my opinion as well, and who listens when I comment on their riding, someone who knows of my experience and who wants to hear what I have to say. Someone equal, she is good at some things, I am good at other things, we don’t always agree on how to do everything, sometimes we even blow up and scream at each other, but we always work it out, because in the end, all we want is what is best for our horses and we do respect the others opinion, even if we don’t agree.
I miss that in my boyfriend. I miss that he would care, to talk about things with me, to listen to my worries when something is not working with one of my horses, I miss that he would respect my skills as a trainer, which he never really did, but especially not when LHK is around and it is driving me crazy.
It’s not as if he is causing a fuss. No, he just goes quiet, he stops talking to me, he stops looking at me, he stops answering me when I ask him something… all in all, he acts like a little bitch when LHK is around, and it is killing me.
For instance, before the show we went to with Saleem, I asked him to be there when we trained trailer with Saleem one of the last times, because it is HIS horse too, and I wanted him to agree that it was ready to be loaded and driven, before I just went and did it.
LHK was there as well, since we were using her time, her car and her friend’s trailer…
Once we were done loading Saleem, he decided to let Marble look at the trailer, which was fine with me. Marble can’t be loaded, she refuses to set hoof on the ramp, and it is going to take a lot of consequent training to teach her. I will get to that, in due time. Still, he wanted to show her the trailer and that wasn’t going to hurt anything, now would it?
So he did. She backed off. I watched and kept quiet. She ignored him, she bullied him, she trained him and in the end, he couldn’t even make her walk forward towards the trailer no matter how far at the other end of the courtyard she had dragged him.
Now trailer loading is, or should be, rather simple. You teach the horse to respect your “forward” signal, meaning that you stand aside, hold out your right arm and position your body in the direction you want the horse to go, and then you pressure it on the shoulder until it responds forward. The second it gives you a response, you drop the pressure, thus rewarding the horse. That way, you can relatively easily teach most horses to enter the trailer on their own, simply by asking them forward. As soon as they respect the forward signal, you are good to go.
Marble doesn’t always, she is only two years old and having been lame all last year, I have hardly trained with her. Still, watching my huge thoroughbred mare bully my boyfriend, knowing that for each second I let this go on, she was getting more and more frustrated, and I would have a bigger and bigger fight on my hands once he wasn’t there and I had to teach her, I stopped it.
I guess that is a no go, when it comes to men, that a women overrules him, especially in front of another woman, but right at this moment, I needed him to respect my experience in training horses and if he wasn’t listening to what I was telling him to do- which he wasn’t- then he would have to hand me the horse.
So, I spent about half an hour, to get the forward signal working again, with Marble rearing up against me, kicking at me with her front legs and backing off across the courtyard at high speed. Sure, it must look like a very frustrated horse, and it sure was, but I know how to handle that.
Again, if you want the forward signal to be respected you must keep asking the question until you get an answer you can accept. That means, if I ask her to walk forward, by pointing to her shoulder, or touching her shoulder with my extended arm, the whip, and she backs off, I keep touching her until she actually walks forward. I don’t just drop the signal because she responds by being cross.
I teach her that if she wants the whip to stop bothering her shoulder, she walks forward. Very simple, very easy to understand, but you must be consequent. You don’t just give her the signal and if she doesn’t respond, you do something else. Clear, straight signals, it gives you a horse that always knows what you want that that rearing and kicking won’t work. Never stop asking the question, never stop giving the signal, until you get an answer you can accept, be it just the tiniest step forward. The second the horse gives you anything you can live with, be fair. Let the horse know instantly, that this was good.
Anyway, once LHK had gone with the trailer, my boyfriend refused to talk to me and I kind of got angry asking him what his problem was.
Turns out, he doesn’t trust my skills as a trainer at all, because he felt that I had forced that poor little horse to walk forward, and she wasn’t ready to it at all and he didn’t understand why I needed the whip at all…
That pisses me off on so many levels, I don’t know how to respond to that. First off, LHK videotaped some of it, I was so not being unfair to that horse- that is another thing we always do, take pictures or video and analyze everything afterwards, because it is a brilliant way to learn- second, I wouldn’t have had to pick that “fight” with her if he had listened to my advice and not let her bully him, and third, he seems to blame LHK for me, picking up the whip.
I know, a lot of horsemanship people never use a whip. Oh no, it’s a tool of the devil. Horsemanship people use rope halters and a specially designed rope with a leather end. I have held one of those ropes in my hands, I have hit myself across the leg with that leather end and trust me, it hurts like hell, and it is completely impossible to make contact with that rope, without causing pain. A whip on the other hand, you can handle much easier, you can use it to touch, to pad, and to hit, yes. With a horsemanship rope you can only hit. And I am not going to comment on the rope halters and the damage I have seen them do…
I use a whip, to make my arm longer, to enhance my signals, if my horse is not responding, and I don’t mind giving them a sharp tap on the shoulder either, if it is ignoring me. It is a matter of being fair and knowing what you are doing. Look at your horses on the pasture. If they want someone to move, they –for instance- pin their ears at him. They ask without contact. That is what I do when I point to the shoulder to give the forward signal.
If the horse does not respond, the other horse with enhance the signal, it will make contact, whatever contact is needed, to make that other horse move. Now, I would never beat up my horse to load it into a trailer. I know exactly how to handle that whip in my hand and I use it as little as possible at all times, but when my two year old is kicking at my face with her front hooves, you are not going to find me releasing pressure. That would not be doing her a favor.
She would grow dangerous, quickly, if she learned that attacking people, would get her things her way.
So, no this post wasn’t about training either. Stay focused.
It was about my boyfriend.
I get that he feels left out sometimes, because LHK and I always knows better, (because most of the time, we kind of do, sorry) I get that it must be frustrating to not be able to train your own horse and to have to hand it over, I get it, I do…
But of the two of us, I am the one going to seminars, I am the one spending every waking hour trying to learn more about horses. We often ask him to come with us, when we go to events to learn and educate ourselves and he always refuses. I guess that is why it is bothering me that he doesn’t trust me way of training our horses, because he doesn’t know how else to do it and he is not interested in finding out or learning at all.
Even when Saleem and I went to the Championship last week- our very first show- he didn’t want to come with us. Why? Because LHK was driving us? Well, she DOES have the bloody car… and it was very nice of her to spend an entire day on that, her mother and her cousin to, who all three of them went there to support Saleem and me, but my boyfriend had to work…
I can accept that. He had to work. He was swamped. He just couldn’t take the time off. But he can always take the time off to go play with his “hordes and war machines” figures and his boyfriends… now, I am not a jealous girlfriend, I actually like it when he is away for an evening and plays with his friends, leaving me and the cat to watch girl things on the TV and such… so don’t get me wrong… I just don’t get his priorities. How could he not want to come with Saleem and me to our first show? How could he not realize how important, how huge, how life changing that was for both Saleem and me? How could he not care at all?
It’s just a little, recently, like no matter what I do, it’s wrong. The day I “rode” Tardis for the first time, he didn’t think I should either- he told me afterwards. She is too young and she have just given birth and… I know all that. Not to worry, I wasn’t going to make her do a grand prix next week, and it has nothing to do with LHK being there that I did ride her. It was just very nice that she was, to hold the camera so we got it on video, while I asked him to help me out with the horse, not her. I never ask her to help me with anything when he is around.
Yesterday LHK and I were showing her foal at a huge event. Again, he could have come with us, he sure was invited, and he chose not to. I get that to, he is busy, and it wasn’t one of our horses, so why would he want to spent an entire day, looking at foals?
I don’t know, most horse people would want to… anyway…
When I came home, I tried telling him about the show, how Rosenheim had been evaluated, how a local stud had moved the entire schedule because one of their mares couldn’t be loaded, how we had gone on half an hour early because of it, barely giving us time to unload the mare and foal from the trailer and how, when we left again, we were parked right next to the mare they couldn’t load.
We loaded Louvre and Rosenheim in ten seconds and were off, having the show officials sending us thumbs up on the way out as the stud farm were still struggling with theirs.
I mean come on, that was a little bit funny. If LHK and I can’t do much else, we sure can handle and prepare our horses, and yes, we have trained trailer with her mare and foal as well, of course we have.
He didn’t care to listen at all, so I told him that we had looked up Amalia on “horse data” which is a place where all horses are registered, but you have to pay to get access. LHK has access, so we looked up how refined Amalia had been, and it turned out that she was 80% which was quite a bit more than I had expected, leaving Apocalipse on 90%, since Saleem (his dad) is 100%.
LHK and I had a good time with that. We even discovered that Tardis have some links missing in the pedigree, leaving her at only 93% which shouldn’t be possible for a pure bred Arabian, and that if we mixed her with Kirk Arabians Zonyx OX the foal would be less inbred than Ablaze is, being a mix of Tardis and Aparan…
Excuse me, I think it’s interesting. My boyfriend blew me off and acted like he knew all of it before hand, and like I was kind of a little stupid that I hadn’t figured it out on my own…
Sometimes I just don’t know why I bother anymore. I feel like I am jumping through hoops to include him and he keeps blowing me off and hurting me, one way or another and yes… I spend a LOT of time with LHK… to be fair, she is the one who is ALWAYS there for me…
That should be my boyfriend, shouldn’t it, or am I way off here?
And I probably shouldn’t post this, but I doubt he will have the time to read it… much like he doesn’t have time to read anything else I write, like my books…
I guess he doesn’t realize how hurtful that is either… but again, his life, his time, and if he is not interested in anything I do, and really, what I live and breathe for, then does he have the right to act jealous when I find someone who are interested in sharing the most important thing in my life, my horses and how to train them in as positive a way as possible?
Maybe he is not jealous… it’s hard to tell, since he never says.
And they say that girls are good at giving someone the silent treatment… who ever believe that, are so wrong… men are much better at just shutting up and shutting down.