Cue the Angels! Cue the Angels!
|Not her again. Is she for real?|
No, of course not.
Over the next year or so I stayed at Lana Acres, and my horse managed to somehow stay, unloved, at the bottom of the pack.
She apparently could not get along any other horses - so only got turned out with the crustiest old gelding, in the paddock with the manure heap (while other horses frolicked in rolling green hilly feilds). She cowered fearfully in the corner and was a pain in the ass to get out the gate without a whip in hand to keep Alligator Face from attacking during our escape.
(She has since been on group turnout with many different mares - even on 24 hour turnout at one point in time - without incidence).
I arrived one day to find the clip on my halter wrapped in duct tape because it was "impossible" to get the strap over her ears, so only the buckle on the crownpiece was to be used - who knows what happened to inspire this judgement, but I removed the tape when I moved to a new barn, and everyone has used the clip ever since.
And so on. So forth. Dr. Lana just had a dislike of my horse that never quit.
The upside was I noticed a really big difference in the way she went under saddle on Regumate! Wow! Oh wait, no. That's wrong. I am confused again. There was absolutely no difference in her way of going under saddle at all - she was still the same old "good some days, goofy others" horse that one might expect when riding a 5 year old.
The real only difference I noticed was in the amount of money I was forking out in vet bills - the Regumate was costing over $200 per month.
But hey! Being the eternal optimist that I am, I must say there was a few perks associated with this whole debacle. On the plus side - when the day came to rationalize the cost of my move to a full training barn, this $200 was like a justification bargaining chip - I could spend it on the "training" part of training board, instead of as some freaky offering to appease the Gods of Lana. Totally makes sense, right?
Also on the plus side - when we hit the "progress up the levels" wall with Coach Ritenau, pinpointing the cause was a little quicker than it otherwise would have been. Once we bought the new saddle and tried the Bowen Therapy - we saved a few months in the process of systematically investigating "reason your horse is not progressing that have nothing to do with the fact that I am not experienced enough to help you move to the next level" since we already had "maybe her ovaries are sore" covered.
I said it before and I will say it again - "silver lining, every cloud". Have another glass of wine if you don't see it. It is there somewhere.
|Dinner's almost ready, Ms. V|
Curmudgeon, you moron. Why - oh - why did you stay?
Well, you have to remember that although Ms. V was not a favourite - Dr. Lana wasn't exactly giving anyone else a free ride either. And all in all, this made for a pretty pleasant riding experience on the human side.
The other boarders were all very normal people, because the blowhard, know it all weirdos got kicked out in short order. And it is worth at least $100 in Regumate to me to not have to deal with weirdo boarders after a long day of dealing with weirdo pet owners.
There were a few neat and polite teenage girls who were pretty much always accompanied by their moms, who were almost my age and were a pleasure to spend time with while laughing and grooming. There was another woman in the same age bracket who was working on backing her dream horse, a Lusitano she had bought in utero - who was also fun and funny and made evenings at the barn enjoyable.
Dr. Lana herself was also great to shoot the breeze with - the same no holds barred honesty that she brought to telling you your horse was (insert negative horse characteristic here), she brought to all of her conversations, which sounds bad, but is actually very refreshing.
All and all- once I made it through the gauntlet of control freak barn owner-isms, I really liked Lana Acres
I think sometimes along this horse journey I have lost sight of the fact that the horse and I are in it together - A barn where the horse is perfectly happy but I am not enjoying my hobby is no better than one where I am enjoying myself and the horse is miserably cowering on a manure pile being and bullied by Alligator face. Sorry to depress you, but you must add the challenge of finding a barn you can both stand to the almost impossible mix ... trainer, horse, ability, money, barn free of wackos...
(But seriously, I do think Ms. V has gotten the better deal most of the time. I have put up with a lot of wackos).
And - for the most part - her training was coming along very well at Lana Acres. I felt that we had successfully made the leap from "Green Horse" to "Green Dressage Horse", as in, someone watching from the sidelines could probably tell where we were headed, even if we still had a long way to go. It would have been hard to give up on the situation at this point in time, when everything under saddle was looking so rosy.