Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Unasked-For Opinions

Yesterday I went to the barn, planning to just have a nice relaxing ride with my girl. I pulled her out, gave her a shot of Ace (all by myself! I'm super proud of myself), and then started brushing. In the midst of grooming her, I decided that we should do a bareback hack, which made the grooming process a lot quicker.
Casey is always happy to see me

The weather was nice at the barn when I arrived, but as Oregon weather is prone to do, within the twenty minutes that it took me to get my horse ready, it had become stormy and gross. Someone else was free-lunging their horse in the indoor arena, so we started off in the outdoor arena and quickly got poured out. After we were totally soaked, we made our way into the now-empty indoor arena. We worked on some bending, stopping, leg yielding, and all of the basics. It was nice that we were riding bareback because Casey's body heat kept me from freezing.

During our ride other people trickled into the arena. At one point I stopped and started talking to one of the other people, and they started giving me tons of unasked for feedback, telling me what I should be working on with Casey, specifically that we need to work on respect.

I tried to stay calm and give the person the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they weren't actually trying to tell me how to train my horse, but instead were introspectively evaluating what they need to work on, and it just came across wrong? Maybe they thought I wanted advice? I'm not really sure. But it came across to me as that person telling me how I should be training my horse.

Now, I think other riders do have a lot to offer. Even if people ride differently from me, I still think that they can provide insights that I might not think of on my own. I have a couple of people at my barn that I regularly seek riding advice from. That being said, I pay my trainer to train me and don't always want un-asked for riding advice.
Trying to take photos from this angle on a moving horse is not easy

A big part of why I felt so offended in this situation is that it felt like a lot of criticism. I think it's natural to respond poorly to criticism, especially when it comes out of the blue. Saying that another rider needs to make their horse respect them is quite frankly rude, regardless of the situation. And again, trying to give the benefit of the doubt here. The person never specifically said Casey's name, but talking so much about horses needing to respect their riders feels like a loaded hint to me.
Bareback hack

The other thing that made this situation so frustrating for me, is that I didn't feel like the advice was valid. Casey is not a perfect horse, and I am not a perfect rider, but we do have a really good relationship. She does respect me and I respect her. She doesn't get away with bad behaviors and she gets positively reinforced for good behaviors. We wouldn't be able to be doing our level of work if we didn't have a foundation of respect. In addition, the things that the person was saying we should work on to build respect were all of the things that are a part of our regular routine (bending, getting her in front of my leg, not letting her drag me to grass, etc). This person doesn't see us ride very often, so maybe they don't know that we do work on all those things. Or maybe they thought that since we weren't working on those things on that ride (the part that they saw), that we don't work on them, but again, this is part of why I don't consider this advice to be valid. Right now Casey is in rehab. She's slowly getting back into work. We do work on things like bending, etc, but I am not pushing her right now, because I just want her injury to heal. I am not doing a lot of bending, because it requires lots of circles. I am trying to not overdo any activity which might overly strain Casey's already injured ligament, and that includes circles.
We do a lot of free walk, because it puts less stress on her leg

I don't even know why I feel the need to defend myself here. Part of it might be that I am already sensitive about training Casey, because I do feel at fault for the fact that she's injured right now. Also, what's the point of having a blog if you can't use it to vent now and again? I'll get over it. I like the person as a person and won't hold this against them, I just needed to get it off my chest so that I would stop replaying it in my mind.
Casey being cute in her body-armor

My question to you: Who do you take riding advice from? Do you take any and all advice, or are you pickier with it?

No comments:

Post a Comment