I don’t have much faith in horse trainers, really. I try not to judge one trainer by another, but it’s hard not to. On the phone, more often times than not, a conversation with one, makes me feel like I’m talking to a used car salesman. We all know what that’s like. Most of them don’t listen to what you’re looking for and they only see dollars signs. Then, they want to tell you, what you need to do, before they’ve evaluated you and your horse. That makes me just plain mad. You finally find one who might fit your criteria and meet them for a consultation and discuss possibilities. You arrive and the facility is in pristine condition. The trainer is in a heavily starched shirt and jeans. His hat and boots probably cost as much as my car did. His jewelry and watch belong on someone from “Fortune Magazine”. My first impression, is. I don’t belong here. I can’t afford to keep this guy in fine linens and feed him caviar. I hesitantly choose to stay and see where this might lead.
We strike up a conversation over training possibilities. He listens very little and spends more time telling me about his accomplishments. I have to interrupt a half a dozen times so we can stay the course. I have my own agenda. That’s why I’m here. The guy offers to ride one of his horses. He wants me to see what my horse is capable of. Mind you, he hasn’t even seen my horse, yet. I felt the need to humor him. I agreed to his decision. He orders a stable hand to saddle his horse and bring it into the arena. Which in fact, is manicured far better than the carpet in my house. The hand brings out the horse. A magnificent animal. This luxurious beast. No hair out-of-place. He shines like the sun on a clear day. The tack looks to have never been used. Clearly this is a rich mans sport. The trainer picks at the stable hand because the saddle was leaning to the right. The bridle wasn’t the one the trainer wanted to use. I, most definitely didn’t hear him clarify that to the young man prior to the task.
The young man took off running back to the tack room and returned with the right bridle. The trainer quickly snatched the bridle out of his hand. I didn’t hear a thank you! After he placed and adjusted the bridle, he stepped on the horse. All the while, never shutting his mouth about what an awesome trainer he is. The man took off around the arena at a lope. He forgot to warm the horse up a bit. I’m sure he needed to be. Maybe, by now, I was being to critical. The horse stumbled on the back wall. The trainer quickly jerked up on him and jabbed him with the spurs. Get on your feet “he bellowed”. The horse jumped sideways for a few jumps and fell back into line. He kept riding. I felt the discipline a little harsh under the circumstances. I was not impressed.
The horse was soon riding like a well oiled machine. Almost robotic like. He did every maneuver perfectly. He placed every foot in the right position while spinning a hole in the ground. Picked up all the correct leads and did flying lead changes with ease. This was surely what I wanted for my horse. In the back of my mind, I knew this wasn’t for me. I don’t ride like that. I have no reason to put my horse through the education it takes to get even to the halfway mark. Nor, do I have desire. It is an unrealistic goal for either of us. This guy must have not heard half of what I was looking for or he tuned me out. He kept riding the horse. Twenty minutes rolled by. I got side tracked and started to stroll down the aisle of the barn. The guy never noticed my exit. Or, maybe he didn’t care.
All the horses in the barn were photo shop perfect. They were stunning to look at. These horses, like the one the man was riding, were exceptionally well-kept and groomed to perfection. Having owned some really nice horses in my life, none compared to any of these. I noticed one horse sticking out his tongue and wrapping it around his nose and back again. Another was weaving back and forth. He was even clacking his teeth together making a funny noise. I kept walking. All of the sudden, one horse really caught my eye. I stopped at its stall. It had a remarkable resemblance to Jewels. ‘God’ knows, I love to look at her. This horse got unusually upset at my presence. He ran towards me and snapped at me like a rabid dog. Then he whirled around and kicked at me. It startled me so bad I jumped backwards. Luckily the latched stall gate acted as a barrier between myself and the horse. My goodness!
My mind was already made up before taking the scenic tour. I was not going to leave my horse here, nor was I going to let this guy ride my horse. All the horses seemed unhappy. Some people might think the funny little quirks these animals exhibit are cute. Others may even think it’s acceptable behavior for horses kept in stalls. I do not! Some of the horses were bored out of their minds. They clearly didn’t get enough turn-out time. Most have probably never spent time being a horse in the company and companionship of other horses. I love a horse with a large, soft, dark and kind eye. What I noticed most about all the horses. Their eyes were crude and black. Almost maddening. Am I being more dramatic than I need be? Maybe by some people’s standards, I am. It was heart breaking for me. I can’t for the life of me, believe this is a good environment for any horse. No horse deserves to spend the majority of its life confined to a 12×12.
This ‘Horse Trainer’ burned any integrity and credibility with me from the start. It happened the moment he treated his young employee like a door mat.