Saturday, January 17, 2009

Don't Touch My Horse!!!!!

Pet peeve. Piss off. Major irk. Can of whup-ass ready to open. Teeth and claws extending.

Anyone with me here?

One of the no-nos around a racing barn- if you have no affiliation with a horse, don't frigging touch it. Unless the horse is running loose and needs catching, stay away. Not a hand, finger, nothing.

That said, let me tell a little story that happened today.

I took the Doodle up to the arena to turn him out this afternoon after my hay run.
We'd already trained and everyone was done. I asked the last exercise rider I saw and he told me, everyone is finished. No one is using the arena.

So I sweet talk Doodle into behaving himself, all the way up the hill to the arena.

Turn him out, let him go. I watch him do caprioles, unofficial mini-works, he runs some poles like a champ (there are beams in the center of the arena). He bucks, he kicks, he runs, he has fun.
After witnessing the biggest steam being let off, I tell him:

"Have fun, don't hurt yourself, I'll be back!"

I turn all the horses out at least once a week. I do it for obvious reasons- they're not meant to live in stalls 24/7. Unfortunately, we have no turn out paddocks or pastures. So the arena gets to double as my horses' turnout field.

Nice thing- it is well maintained and has great footing. Racehorses don't all behave as well as they should when turned out. Some of them will invariable hurt themselves.
This is a really nice, safe alternative and my guys all love it.

I go run my errands and go back up the hill to get Doodle.

When I walk in, the gate is wide open - my first thought is, oh shit! He escaped!

Once my eyes adjusted- I see Doodle in one of two temporary stalls off to the side. In the arena are two guys doing their idea of longeing a two year old.

They see me and one says:
"Hey, we took good care of your horse!"

I'm livid. Good care my ass!

"Oh did you now?"

"Yea, we were really careful when we moved him!"

"Not careful enough!"

Horse stops circling and the guy turns to me:

"What do you mean?"

I clear my throat, walk in and face him about a foot away:

"What I mean is that if you EVER fucking touch my horse again without asking my permission, I'm kicking your fucking ass, is what I mean!"

My arms are crossed, my foot is tapping and I'm waiting.

The other guys is off to the side, snickering.

So I turn to him and tell him:

"And you think that's funny, I'll kick your ass, too, come on!"

I turn around and walk over to Doodle.

I hear a "man, I'm sorry, I was just trying to do the right thing here, you know.."

"Well, let me tell you, the right thing would have been for you to come ask me to move the horse and that you need the arena. That would have been the right thing.

In the future, you'll know what to do, right?"

I snapped my shank back on Doodle and as we were leaving, Doodle turns towards the little group, snorts, snakes his head up and down and with an elegant turn of foot, leads me out of the arena.

So, I know rules as related to race horses are different than rules in boarding barns.

You guys ever have to deal with this type of thing? And does it bother you?
Ever come into the barn to find your horse has been moved to another stall without any notice to you or permission from you? How do you guys handle it?

I'm obviously not very tactful when getting my point across when it comes to my children (human or animal). But I think I made my point and it left a lasting impression.

How do you all feel about people outside of your circle handling your horse(s) without your permission?


Mrs Mom said...

They Don't. Period. ;)

When I had to board, I made sure it was a short term thing- not only am I a wee bit of a hermit by nature, but I have the same "thing" about people touching my horses. If it is an emergency- say one was cast or stuck in his water bucket (had that happen) thats one thing- but I expect a phone call pronto to let me know my horse is in trouble.

Now I have them at home. Only ones who mess with the horses are me and Dear Husband.

Works for me! ;)

jackie said...

I don't have that problem now. My horse is technically boarded right now, but he's on my friends private property and they have my complete trust when it comes to handling him. Luckily I don't have to worry about it.

Growing up we had horses at a boarding barn, but never really had these problems. Boarders were always notified of pasture or stall changes, and were able to request them with good reason. The only people who handled boarded horses were staff, unless they were shorthanded and a boarder offered to help with turnout or something (in which case they were supervised by staff).

This makes me realize how fortunate I've been to have such great boarding situations!

Tara said...

Oh boy.

I freak out over pedestrians touching our horses so I know what you mean. The thought of somebody possibly harming your horse is too much to stand. It is good to take a stand when needed. Especially when they bring themselves upon your horse that way. I'd be livid, too.

Oh, thanks for following my blog. It is a good escape from college life. You write some wonderful entries I'll do the same!

Elisabeth said...

well... you know my issues with psychotic barn managers *cough ellen cough* omg do you remember when they were afraid to lead doodle cause he was a "uncontrollable stallion?" and i walked out there with a rope halter and was petting and loving on him all over? that was awesome <3
and i never really had that problem with peaches because she was too much of a spoilt brat to let anyone touch/pet her anwyays :p at camp all the little girls eventually gave up trying

jkzookeeper said...

Well I've never responded to a blog before I just enjoy everyones stories and pictures but I couldn't stop myself this time. I was at this boarding facility and
I had my horse turned out in the arena. Same situation as yours no paddocks. Well I was cleaning his stall and could see the arena from where I was so I knew I could just grab him if anyone needed it. (Also he is a draft horse so everyone knows he is mine anyways and could easily look over and wave to me.)

Well..... another boarder decides to RIDE her horse into the arena and start to run barrels while my horse is turned out! I'm screaming and yelling and running over to where they are and she continues to ride around. Well of course my horse is following her around right behind her horse enjoying the heck out of this new development and all I can think is he's going to get his teeth kicked in. She wouldn't even stop long enough for me to catch my horse and all she says as she canters by is I"m on my lunch I can't wait around for you.

I'm livid and am yelling various things at her and finally get my goofy guy caught up. All I can say is thank god I was close by and could get him. I've never ever ever seen that happen at any facility I've ever been at before. That is strange isn't it?

inkeq said...

I just found your blog and thought I'd say hello and comment :).

I've never been one to think that people should assume the right to handle someone elses horse, unless that person is a friend or has been given permission. It should be like an unwritten rule for every horse person to stick by. Even if you think the owner wouldn't mind; best to ask!

Holy Racehorse! said...

Sounds like everyone has had their share of stories when it comes to other people handling our horses.

Inkeq, thanks for reading, hope you enjoy the few posts I have had time for lately.
There'll be funner ones in the future again.