Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Getting Discouraged

It's a windy day today, because we've got yet more thunderstorms rolling in. While the kids and I were leading the horses from the pasture to the paddock, Gabbrielle started running and dragging me behind her. She should not be doing that as a 4-year-old. She should have better manners.

When I commanded her to W-A-L-K and gave her a few yanks on her lead rope, she reared up and just ran circles around me, yanking my arm this way and that. I said WHOA repeatedly, and she just kept going. I ran behind her into the paddock still clinging to the end of the lead rope, shut the gate behind us, and tried doing some lead line training in an enclosed area, but she was totally out of control. I had to cut her loose before she hurt me. I was fed up.

I spent most of this past winter and spring taking her for walks up and down the road and training her to stay at my shoulder, stop when I stop, go when I go, and go at the same pace that I do. I used voice commands and body language and a whip to tap her forelegs. It was all very repetitious and time-consuming, but she finally got it.

However, now that my job has taken over my life, my horse has regressed back to her bad behaviors since I haven't been able to put any time in with her on this skill. I've spent most of the summer training her under saddle and nursing her wounds, and there has been no time to practice leading beyond when I lead her to the trailer to tack her up and when I lead her to and from the pasture.

My time is so scarce that I can't afford to have a horse regress in its training. As much as I hate to do it, I'm contemplating sending Gabbrielle off to a professional trainer who can work with her everyday and drill good manners into her so that they become second nature. I have confidence that I can train this horse and train her well, but it takes time to do that and time is something that I no longer have.

I feel as if I'm giving up on my dream of training a horse from scratch by myself, but I don't want Gabbrielle to end up being one of those horses that gets to be an unsafe 10-year-old lawn ornament that no one has worked with and eventually goes up for sale, because the owner doesn't have time for her.

I'm still scheming on how to get out of my current job so that I can have more time for the horses. A part of me would rather be flipping burgers in a fast food place as long as I never have to put in more than 40 hours a week. However, the cut in pay would kill us. I'd probably end up having to give away the horses because I wouldn't be able to afford to keep them anymore. I've already determined that as long as I stay in my current line of work, I will always have to put in 60 to 80 hours a week. It's the nature of the software business.

I know I can't ask to work part-time, because my employer will end up just paying me part-time wages and forcing me to work 60-80 hours a week anyway. I actually started out as a 20-hour a week employee, but they made me work 30-hours a week and paid me for 20. I increased my hours to 30, and they make me work 40 and paid me for 30. So, I said, "Give me the full-time salary and benefits since I'm working 40-hours a week anyway..." and now I am working 60 to 80 hours a week and getting paid a 40-hour a week salary for it. I looked in to my rights, and I have none. They don't have to pay me overtime since I'm a salaried professional.

Obviously, I need to change careers and to something that won't include a drastic pay cut. On top of that, we've got hundreds of thousands of college graduates who can't get jobs in this economy, so it's not the best time for me to be thinking about a career change. I'm kind of stuck right now. I'll try to hang in there before shipping Gabbrielle off to school elsewhere to a teacher who has time for her, but today was definitely a disappointment. I knew this day would come.


KD said...

Don't give up yet! Everybody has a bad day. I freak out every now and then myself. Gabbrielle just forgot herself for a time. I'm really sorry you have to work so many hours. There's many a day that I'd like to quit and try to live off of just hubby's salary, but I don't think we could do it and keep our three horses at the house. Hang in there!

Grey Horse Matters said...

That's a shame that you have to work so many hours and have no time for yourself. The least they could do is show their appreciation by giving you a raise.

Anyway, don't get discouraged, she may have just been a little up because of the wind and she will probably be different tomorrow. I'm sure you can work it out and keep her home with you. They have their good days and bad just like anybody else.

Hang in there, I'm sure things will get better with some more time.

Leah Fry said...

I'm really sorry to hear that. I am with you on the not having enough time, though. I only work 40 hours, but add 2 hrs a day commute and all the other crap we have to do like grocery shop, etc., and I feel as though I do not spend enough time with them.

I really hope you are able to find something that will give you your life back.

fernvalley01 said...

Gosh ! you sound so defeated.Hope something changes for you soon . You have done great mwork with Gabrielle so far, maybe today was just a brain fart?

Breathe said...

The software business is notorious - but some of the related fields aren't so bad. Sort of a sideways shift. I know a few programmers who moved that direction because they were burned out.

Weather can trump training, at least that's what I've seen. I think you should give it another month or so before you bail on Gabrielle. Remember, even if you send her off, if it's not worked on when she gets back, she'll get rusty and you'll be back in the same place anyway....

Vaquerogirl said...

Well now listen- Just because you send your horse out for a little finesse doesn't mean you have failed! Training a horse is a LIFELONG achievement. Every time you handle your horse you are training it! I've ridden literally over a hundred horses, and I've trained my own several times over. BUT I sent my current horse out to a Trainer twice! Once after I had put all the ground work and saddling on him- I wanted a younger spryer rider for his first ride so it would be a GOOD experience. And then three years later to put more of a handle on him I sent him to a reining horse trainer. No shame in it- and I was very happy that my horse ( who it is all about) learned something correctly and with conviction. Now I can concentrate on his higher levels of training.
Find the right trainer- one that has the same goals as you for your horse, enjoy that journey and enjoy the added level of comfort you will get having your horse ridden as he needs to be. Plus it will sure take the pressure off of you!

Katharine Swan said...

I second Grey Horse Matters. I'll bet the wind had her worked up and she'll be completely back to normal another time. Wait and see how you feel about it in a few days!

HorseOfCourse said...

All horses get extra wound up when it is windy, don’t get depressed! I have heard that it is due to the fact that they don’t hear all other sounds so well, and therefore have to be on alert. Sounds logical to me!

When that is said, I agree with vaquerogirl.
If you are in a tight spot, you have to assess what kind of options you have, and make the best out of it. Sometimes we have to compromise.
As you state that your work situation probably won’t get any better, what options do you have? I believe it is necessary to be realistic.

I don’t think it is a bad idea to send Gabbrielle away to a trainer, provided that you know of a good one that you can trust. You have made all the basic training on her, so why don’t you just get some help to get it a bit more stabilized? And ease off one of the things that are burdening your shoulders?
The trainer will get her to settle a bit more into routines, and handle the oppositions that might come, and you will have all the best work left when you get her back!

I sent Fame away for a month to start her under rider, and thought that was a very good investment.
In addition to knowing that they as professionals would do a better job than I would be able to do, I could assume that whatever protests like bucking, running etc that might happen when starting to ride her would likely be less when I finally got her home. I am getting too old to ride “rodeo horses”, lol!
Horses have a very good memory, and I wanted the start to be as good as possible. If things start to go wrong, it is so much extra job to correct it afterwards.
They did a very good job with her, and I could continue the work afterwards on a solid foundation.
And you know, to me it is the work afterwards that really is the fun part!

Cheryl Ann said...

I hear 'ya about the training. Gigondas developed the bad habit of bolting as soon as she got into the arena. We worked with her, but yesterday, she did it to me and ended up dragging me halfway across the arena as I was trying to get her to stop. I thought she was over that. Nope...sigh...back to the training. She'll get a refresher course this morning. Oh, boy! Yes, it is hard to work a full time job AND train your horses. Believe me, I know!!! I'm thinking about sending either Sunni or Gigo to my cousin for the winter.

Black Jack's Carol said...

It's a common dilemma - the choice between having a life or making enough money to have a life. I really feel for you. As a few here have said, it does make sense to give it a few days. Amazing how a good sleep can change everything.

AnnL said...

I KNOW exactly how you feel. I've been putting in 70+ hour work weeks myself and haven't had much time to ride. I am in the same boat you're in, and I find myself resenting work more and more. But, like you, I'm stuck. I would love to just put in a 40 hour, 9-5, work week. When I come home, I want to be done. If you come up with any ideas, let me know.

As for Gabbrielle, there are plenty of horses that will "forget" their schooling when things get exciting, and wind can definately be one of those times. Just always be prepared and be aware so that you don't get hurt.

Amy said...

i love reading your blog and your adventures. I especially relate to the nosy neighbors. OMG, its too much. Dont think poorly of sending G for training. I say, do it! find a good trainer and send her and spend your time with her when you get back riding and having a good time and growing old together. You have nothing to prove to yourself. make good decisions. with the job stress and hours, send her out. count yourself lucky you have that option. i wish you happiness and light.

manker said...

deep breath... whilst a newbie... i know our equines are different animals in the wind...
slow down 2 go faster...