I've been thinking about how to write this post, as some thoughts have been rattling around in my head for a few days, but I've yet to solidify if I intend to simply vent, or attempt a more thoughtful discourse...
Essentially, it stems from a 'talking to' that I received from my BO on Monday following my two great rides on Pia.
She stated that she had heard reports that Supermom had essentially instructed me on Sunday and that it wasn't covered by her insurance, and it couldn't happen again.
I nodded, apologized for crossing any lines and continued cooling out my horse.
My immediate reaction was to instantly tear up and cry. I don't know why I had such a strong emotional reaction. Rationally, I know that it's fair for my BO to not allow outside 'training' on her property, sort of like movie theaters and outside snacks... But still. For some reason it felt very personal. Maybe it's because I felt like we were both beating our brains out over how to communicate with Pia and how to move forward. It felt like we were both looking for any help and any answer under every stone even if we had already turned it over 5 times..
I think I was expecting her first reaction to both an email I sent her and her having watched some of our Monday ride to be something closer to pride, excitement or enthusiasm over our fairly obvious breakthrough.
Maybe she felt those things, I don't know. But when her first sentence had to do with me breaking rules and not with the fact that she had just seen P canter around the ring in a relaxed frame for the first time... ever... I was caught off-guard and sad. Also, I guess in my mind Supermom has been over-the-top generous in her assistance and willingness to come up and give us feedback.
As a 'full training' customer at my barn, my loyalties and intentions regarding ongoing training seem obvious so I would be surprised if my BO felt any sort of threat by our progress. Additionally the chance to receive insight from Supermom on what makes P tick seems totally separate from my goals with the BO... I guess that's why I didn't connect those particular dots, though in retrospect I suppose they were pretty close together..
The whole thing left me uncomfortable. The BO reiterated that she wasn't mad, and she wants to see me succeed even if that means I leave the barn.
I appreciated the lack of anger or upset, but frankly that comment confused me further, as the thought of leaving had never even occurred to me....
I've calmed down over the week (and time away from the barn), but I still feel a bit unsettled. I'm not sure how my BO feels, or where things totally stand. I'm also not sure how I feel or how I want to proceed.
Given my success (however small) on Sunday and Monday, I'm currently thinking that I should take some time and work with Pia on my own for a while as we reestablish a functional working relationship. Our full training clearly wasn't helping us and seems to have been contributing to our struggles. Our stagnation has been clear to me, but my confidence is boosted by feedback and simply having someone in the ring with me, which had been the primary value of our current training setup. However, I feel as though I'm chipping away at those confidence issues and making strides for whenI'm on my own with the beast.
I don't want to leave my barn and I'm fully aware of how hard it would be to find someplace I enjoy as much that provides comparable care for the price. But it is the first time I have felt some coldness radiate out of the BO toward me and my plans with Pia.
It does raise an interesting question of boundaries and realistic expectations. Of course I wouldn't expect a movie theater to 'allow' me to bring in my own candy. But they don't stop me from enjoying my own mints... Or gum.. Or sweaters to keep me warm and comfortable during the movie.
It makes me wonder how far 'exclusive training' goes at a barn. I'm paying a premium price for my facility and I patronize the full service and training options. At the point at which onsite help or insight isn't available (an obvious example is vet or farrier services) when is it appropriate to seek external consulting? Where do you draw the line? If Supermom only assisted me on the ground, would the BO still care? Or is it the fact that I was 'instructed' while mounted?
Also, what constitutes a lesson? No money was exchanged, no formal agreement.. In fact Supermom didn't do much more for me than I've done for fellow barnmates when they've had sticking points or concerns with their horses. Are we not allowed to comment on each other's rides?
I know I'm extrapolating quite a bit, but I don't think it's totally ridiculous. Clearly I unknowingly crossed a line with the BO. What I can't tell is if it's actually rooted in insurance concerns, business protocol, ego or some combination of the three...
Regardless, I need another STP, to get through the next few days and gain some clarity on comfort levels as well as the mare's happiness. So, here's what I've got-
Today: fly home.
Friday: ride on my own
Saturday: ride on my own
Sunday: Supermom Sunday! This time on her turf.
That's right. We're taking our show on the road. Remember way back when one of my goals was to travel off property?
It was in the dim distant past, but I'm reviving it. Right now Supermom seems to be our best tool, so we're sticking with it. If she can't come to us, we'll go to her and see what happens when we throw P into a trailer and then a new ring.
I'm cautiously optimistic about what we'll get done on Sunday, but even if we stay stuck on the ground, I'll enjoy the chance to explore our relationship on new turf.
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