Monday 11 June 2012

Baby we can have some fun tonight...Enter Coach Ritenau

I guess what my whole blathering post last time was really about was this:

Sometimes a coach may not be, for the long haul, Mr. or Ms. Right.  You may find yourself riding with a stepping stone of sorts.  Like I did.  We will call her Coach Ritenau.

Curmudgeon, how stupid was that.  You have told us yourself to go out and find the best, watch the best, learn from the best... 

Yah, yah, I know.  And I totally agree with the wise, yet somewhat catty words (not that there is anything wrong with that) of Anonymous 4 June 2012 21:51 (gotta love these creative usernames).  If you want to see how things should be done, go to Tom, Belinda or Ashley.  Or whoever your local Mr. Right is. Tada!  Problem solved.

Err...maybe not.

If you are a beginner with a 3yr old $6000 saddlebred cross, doing so will most likely earn you a giant board cheque and a standing date with a working student.  Mr. Right will stride or ride by, notice your existence periodically and politely inquire as to what's up when he does.  Kind of like the dentist during a checkup... you know he earns 3x what the hygenist does, but she is the one scraping the shit off of your teeth and dealing with 45 minutes of halitosis - he just pops his head in at the end, stares in your mouth authoritatively then prances off to the next cubicle.

Not that I am blaming him - not at all.  Because Mr. Right got to be Mr. Right by making logical choices and being a good business person.   Riding a young crazy horse - one that could hurt you and put you OUT of business - really and seriously not a good business decision.

Spending lots of time with a beginner client who is obviously never going to have the bucks to become a sponsor - or buy a six-figure horse full of commission - not a good business decision either.  No, I am not going to the Young Rider World Cup or anything else prestigious or even mildly interesting.  Sure, I am money coming in, but not much, and I am in no way a beacon of positive advertising.  And so, the time and effort that should be put into retaining me as a client should realistically adjusted accordingly.

This is no different than the thought process that any good business or business person goes through - "how do I allocate my resources to maximize returns".

Now, if I were starting again today - I would probably do this anyways.  Yep, even though I know full well that the likes of me would probably be put on the back burner.  Why?  Well - because I can.  Back in the day - money was tighter, and I really didn't have the option.  That was one reason I didn't even try this approach.

(Ok, I am ready to hear 15 stories from people who did take their economical horses, thin wallets and poor riding skills to top stables, and were treated like first class royalty by Olympic riders...proving that I am a bitchy curmudgeon. GO!)

But really, the main reason that I didn't even try was that after my experience at Frau Trainerin's I was petrified of being told my horse was not good enough.  That I needed to sell and buy something big ticket.  That the perfect horse for me was right here, right now.. for sale.

I really felt a the time that I had done the very best I could with what I had, and I wasn't about to put myself in a situation where I would be told this wasn't good enough.  Even though my situation was not perfect, I really believed (and I think, correctly so) that we were totally well suited and prepared to ..uhh.. errr... well, maybe not take the dressage world by storm... but at least to start having some fun.  Tonight.  And from what I saw, this could totally happen with Coach Ritenau

Checkpoint 3:  The Coach (let's try this again)

I liked Coach Ritenau immediately.  Let me see if I can put my finger on why.  Oh yah, I remember now.

She was quiet and polite and did not seem to be entirely full of shit.

Yep, I decided she would do just fine.


  1. Umm... can we PAY you to increase post frequency?

    What if I tell you I am dying of some horrible terminal disease* and my one wish is to see you guys to at least 4th level before I expire??

    *It's not true, but I do enjoy the story, and I ain't getting any younger! I am SO impatient.

  2. I agree that some bribe is in order! I don't know ... Can I send you some Lambrusco from Italy? ^_^

  3. Some days I would give my right lung for quiet and polite and not entirely full of shit. I had a coach like this for years ... only trouble is she tended not to show up. I have been trying to find that magic combo, with a penchant for showing up, ever since.

  4. Add me to the list of someone who would KILL for quiet, polite, not totally full of BS and would show up maybe every 6 weeks. Once you are out of the GTA it gets harder and harder and the full of S... quotient gets higher.


  5. I love my coach right now! She's not sugar coating anything :0)

    I too have been at a barn where they said my horse was great and I could make a bunch of money selling him. When I asked what I would do then, he replied, well buy one of my show horses of course. ya right.

  6. Quiet, polite, and not full of shit: All qualities that you'd desire in a trainer for a 3 year old. Basics are basics, whether you pay $300 an hour for the Olympian to teach them or $40 for the local (numbers totally made up). You can always move onto the BNT later when the horse is advanced- which I assume you did.

  7. I am sorry that I don't post more often! Summer gets so busy, I am doing research for my next two blogs "Golf Curmudgeon" and one I am sure is going to be a big hit, "Fucking Endless Yard Work Curmudgeon"

    I promise I will sit in a lawnchair with a glass of wine (hmm, lambrusco) this weekend and write 2 posts for next week.

  8. Ohhh.. those DO sound promising!!

  9. Thanks for making us all feel like we're not alone in this journey, Crumudgeon. I'm standing at the starting point (again) with my beeeautiful 2-year-old stud colt that I bred who has sooo much promise... and looking waaaaaaaaay the hell down that road to the fun stuff of 3rd, 4th, and FEI levels. Sigh, and then climbing on my current pony who's working on training and first and crying a little inside. I miss the days of canter pirouettes and 2 tempis! I am sad that there's no more top hat with the tails! Oh shit, I think I just wrote the first half of my own very depressing blog entry! Have a glass of wine for me too!