Gem is super important to me and I want her to remain healthy and happy for a long time. She is my riding partner and even though we don't always see eye to eye, she is stuck with me and I with her and I wouldn't have it any other way. I am not super neurotic about her. She is an outside animal and will get rained on, will sweat, will have some times when she is cold, will show up with nicks and bites from time to time. I get all of that. Honestly, I do. But when she started coming in every single day with a new bloody, swollen kick mark on her hide I got angry. I even tried talking to the BO about it and was told she got them from tree limbs. No. No this big swollen mark in the shape of a nice metal shoed hoof is not from a tree limb. But fine. BO said she was moving pastures to get her out of the trees. Ask me how surprised I was to find that the marks kept on happening even in the new treeless pasture.
But still, all in all Gem was doing ok. The large pastures and hills were keeping her in better shape than my lack of riding was, so we were going to stay. But the problems kept coming up. Each time I would go to ride, something would interfere. My limited time kept getting eaten away by crap I had no interest in. I got conned into going on a "trail" ride one evening with the BO and her sister. We set out from the barn to get some conditioning done and I was excited. Maybe there were trails I didn't know existed and I was now going to be shown how wonderful they truly were. An hour of slowly walking around the pasture later and both Gem and I showed back up at the barn in a sour mood. The most annoying part of the ride was the fact that the sister took the lead and refused to give it up even though her horse walked at about the pace of a turtle in molasses and Gem just plain walked faster. I would pull up beside her and Gem would inch past. The I would be informed that we would be turning soon in whichever direction I happened to be on (so if I was to her right we would be turning off to the right, left/left) but never saying where exactly so that I would have to pull Gemmie up and wait for her to slowly pass us. And did we turn? Yes, but just in a tiny circle. It was all just to maintain her lead. Annoying. Eventually I just plowed ahead and when she inevitably said we would be turning, I would just say "ok, go ahead and we will circle back and catch you". Ha! Put that in your pipe and smoke it!! Any guesses on how many rides I've been on with them since? 1. Because I was stupid and forgot and how much I hated the first one.
Ok, but still that's not a real reason to leave the entire barn. Just avoid going out with them. I chalked it up to one more annoying experience and moved on. Now, the hubby had been having a completely different experience at the barn than I had been. Being a guy, I guess the BO wasn't threatened or something and she treated him nicely without scolding, stopping him riding to explain why he stunk so bad etc... He thought I was exaggerating my frustration. Until the weather got a little colder (and by that I mean in the 80s instead of the 90s). The BO mentioned to me that they required blankets on the horses 24/7 once the weather turned cold and their definition of cold was 60. I informed her that we didn't blanket in the arctic north unless the temperature got below 10 degrees and yes the horses were outside in the snow and wind. She countered with the fact that it rains and the horses get wet. I shot back with the fact that snow is wet as well. I told her to speak to the hubs because honestly I was tired of always being talked at. Next time he showed up, she brought up blanketing. He said no. Our horses are likely to look like yaks again this winter not knowing it wont be below 0 most of January and are at risk of overheating as it is. She dropped it. The next time he showed up she was prepared with a catalogue and pointed out all the lovely horse blankets to him. He said no. By the third visit, third conversation the hubs had just about had it and was now at my level of the barn wasn't bad and the horses were well cared for, but man going there is just obnoxious.
But even with that we weren't going to leave. Gluttons for punishment, we talked it over and with the proximity and health of the horses being good, we were going to stick it out. But still....things just kept piling on.
I mentioned boarder, D, in my foot post. She is always present. She is talkative but not in a super friendly nice way. More in a trying to push your buttons and start trouble sort of way. I just ignored her. One incident made me seriously dislike her even though I had nothing to do with it and was just a bystander. I showed up to ride and when I got there I was asked to look at a young girl's arm. Apparently she fell off and landed hard on her arm and it hurt. The arm was bruised, but not broken. She was embarrassed and so close to tears. I told her not to worry. I've fallen off Gem so many times now I can't even remember them all and most were from silly mistakes. It happens. She smiled. Apparently, she had been riding D's horse. Nobody was blaming the horse. They were just worried about the girl. D came over with the horse and announced loudly to everyone around that the girth was loose. So loose that it was the cause of all problems. In fact it was so loose she had to tighten it 5 holes. Now, I looked over at her saddle and it only has 6 holes. So in order for her to have to tighten it 5, the girl who rode would have had to basically not put it on at all. Which wasn't the case. D just wanted to place all blame on the poor girl who after hearing this and being stared at by everyone started welling up with tears. Sigh. Some people. I tell this to highlight the overall personality of the boarders there. They are all snitchy middle aged women who try to weasel their way into your business not to be friends or helpful, but to find something to shove in your face or a way to feel superior to you. I ignore them all as best I can, but as my next story will show, sometimes I just can't.