Calm, Forward, Straight

Calm, Forward, Straight

Saturday, January 15, 2011

At the barn #31 - Standing your ground

One of the best (most therapeutic) things about blogging is getting to unload ideas, thoughts, feelings that you've no other outlet for. So here comes some unloading of the complaint variety.

There's been work going on next door to the farmette for a couple of weeks. The trail out to the beach is being re-routed due to conflicts between property owners. This would require major heavy-duty (probably illegal) clearing. Large equipment type of clearing, which necessitated access through my property. Initially, I was nice enough to grant access to the "contractor". I was going to be even nicer, and give him a key to the gate, so he could come and go as he pleased. That is, until he showed up the first day with a (very drunk) employee, whom he introduced as having recently been released from "an institution". His exact words were, " He's been locked up for a long time and he really needs a woman!" Meanwhile the employee was busy leering at my fourteen year old boarder. No keys for you buddy. Strike one. (edited to add: the leering employee was kicked off the job almost immediately)

Earlier this week, I took a look around to see if there was any progress, as I couldn't get a straight answer about how long this project was going to take. Our horses are pretty mellow, but loud machinery and the nearby cracking of trees being murdered has made some of our rides challenging. What did I find was the new trail encroaching onto my side along with several knocked down trees. When asked, the "contractor" admitted he had no idea where the property line was. Time to call the surveyor. Strike two.

Night before last as it was getting dark, I noticed some of the electric fence lines in Cowboy's paddock were sagging. Upon further investigation, we determined that someone had backed into the gate, pulling the posts out of true along as well as breaking the gate latch. This left the gate dangling, closed but unlocked. One push from a curious horse and it would be open. Strike three - you're out, fake contractor man.

I mentioned the broken gate he had neglected to fess up to, and then gave fake contractor man three days to get everything out - after that, access denied. This afternoon, when I went down to the barn, lo and behold, tons of progress plus equipment removed. Home run :)

Lesson... always go with your gut. I was made to feel as if I was being uncooperative by both the fake contractor and his boss - my neighbor, when I wouldn't share the key. Thank goodness I didn't. Threatening (politely) to lock the fake contractor away from his equipment in was my only leverage to get him out in a timely fashion (before something really bad happened)!


Val and I enjoyed a lovely bareback ride this afternoon. We focused on straightness and leg yields. I was reminded that when I give a lateral aid, I must leave space for Val to move into. There was some nice reaching for contact. Despite someone down the road periodically yelling at the top of their lungs and the usual dusk duck hunting (nice neighborhood), Val remained attentive. What a good boy!


Cookies please :)


  1. I love those cute, listening ears :)
    Sounds like a fun and productive ride. You guys are doing so well.
    Re your question to me about distance between ground poles, I'd suggest starting with about 3 ft. to 3.5 ft. and longing him through, first at a walk, so you can see from the ground if they need to be adjusted and so he gets a feel for it. Then 3.5 ft. + for trot. It depends on the size of your horse and his length of stride so a little playing around is needed. The main thing is not to shorten his stride :)
    It's great if you have a ground person to watch while you ride through, and also to widen the gap as your horse loosens up and is ready to lengthen a little.
    So glad you got out of that contractor situation. What pigs.

  2. So glad you got the construction folks out - I was getting the heebie-jeebies as I read the post!

    And really enjoying your ongoing progress with Val. It's going to be a great year, I can tell! :)

  3. Congrats on your ride with Val, his listening ears and cookies please are really adorable pictures.

    As for the fake contractor and his employee who really needs a woman?!!! good riddance to bad rubbish.

  4. omg your gray (or is he a roan or sorts) is SO beautiful!! and an OTTB to boot?! Gorg!

  5. are a rockin' gal..great identifying and kicking some fake- drunk butts!

    Your Val's look precious, nice work!


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