Sunday, March 15, 2009

Waiting, waiting....

Meanwhile, back at the farm, Maddie and I have been waiting to see which Big Name Trainer would be working with her at Ride the West.
When we finally heard, it was exciting! Wasn't Josh Lyons (who ended up not making it anyway, due to an injury), but it was a fellow who has a fairly good regional reputation--with a monthly column on horsemanship in several local horse publications and his own show on RFD-TV. From what I'd seen, good common sense approach to training, with none of the gimmicks that seem to carry many clinicians these days. And he would be working with Maddie for an hour and a half, on both Saturday and Sunday, in the main arena, just before lunch: prime time! Good opportunity for exposure to potential buyers.
I zapped off an email to his ranch, asking what the format would be...Would he be doing all the work with her, or would he be working with me, working with her? Did they want me to refresh her groundwork? Or leave her untouched 'til the event?And we waited...and waited some more.....
Maddie's biggest responsibility all spring had been babysitting Kate's yearling sister, Amy.
We finally heard back, less than two weeks before RtW. And NOT from BNT or his people (they never even acknowledged my email!), but from the RtW organizer--the gal I had been dealing with since February.
"Sooo sorry!" BNT was bringing his own demo horse! But she had an alternative: there was a young local trainer that could work with Maddie on Saturday evening (after most folks will have gone home for dinner), in the secondary arena.
Well...It would still give the first ride to someone other than me...
I went to the gal's website. Her main page photo looked like maybe it was her high school graduation picture, with her horse. Her website talked about "all the beautiful horses" and about "bonding" and "relationship." But nothing about her skills, training approach or experience (other than she got within two months of completing an apprenticeship with Clinton Anderson--no reason given why she didn't finish).
At this point, gas was at $4.00 a gallon, and it was 200 miles each way to Spokane. Pulling my old clunk of a horse trailer, generously allowing for 10 mpg, that's $160, not including local travel over the weekend. And, where earlier the organizer said I could haul in for the demos (and keep Maddie at a friend's barn for the weekend) now she wanted me to stay at the fairgrounds (oh, by the way, that's $30 a night for a stall).
After counting to ten (several times) I graciously (well, sort of) bowed out of the event.
Well, Maddie, I guess it's you and me kid!

I decided I would focus on Kate's work 'til school got out, as I had a potential buyer. And I also had some interest in Zoey, Kate's momma. (I'll tell about those developments in the next blog entry.) Then in June I would have some undivided time to be really consistent with Maddie, and work through both of our little reservations about that first ride.
So the most work Maddie did was to dress up for a new Dream Horse photo.
Even on her "wild-eye" side, you can see what a sweetie she is. (By the way, although she is growing at this time, she IS actually standing uphill here! And it's obvious that she's not hurting for groceries!)
And her "normal" side.
(She was the first horse to get to wear my new PSG Crosby that I bought myself for Christmas! I have yet to actually ride in it! Maybe that will be her privilege this spring.)

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