I feel sick to my stomach at the state of affairs at the Boss’ and can honestly say I don’t know what to do.
We went to a show on Sunday and unfortunately, Corona was an anxious mess. I felt terrible for him because I don’t know where it came from and no matter what I tried, nothing seemed to ease his anxiety. Our first test was a complete mess and it was tough to even get him into the ring. He’s never been like that before. We improved in our second test and I was actually quite pleased given the circumstances, but all in all it was just a bad day.
The Boss was not happy. When the Boss isn’t happy, she lets you know in very childish ways (despite her being 75 yrs old!). I received an email from her on Tuesday which essentially said that she thought Corona was ruining my riding, that I was becoming a defensive and fearful rider, and that I’ve taken him as far as he’ll ever go. She acknowledged the work I’ve put into him and that it has paid off, but that he is just a nut and no amount of patience, training, love, coaching will ever change that. She then said that she’d like to send him back to his previous owner who apparently would take him back, and he’d be able to live peacefully out there. She also said that it’s not good for her business to be associated with a horse like him because it would discourage prospective coaching/training jobs (note: in the 6 years I’ve been there, there has been nobody lining up to work with her). She also mentioned that due to her age, she is not as quick as she used to be, and frankly would prefer that he wasn’t there. She proposed that she sent him back to the old owner, and that I continue to lease one of the other “good” horses at the barn.
I knew the email was coming, I received a similar one back in the winter. I wasn’t sure whether the email was asking me for my opinion, or essentially telling me that she was sending Corona back.
I truly don’t think I’ve become a fearful rider at all. In my response, I responded to each of her points and said that if she is asking for my opinion, then I would like to continue riding Corona and working with him because I feel we can still make progress. I also said that while I’m not opposed to Corona going back to his former owner if he will be cared for, I am not okay if the actual intention is to send him to a dealer or for meat (which sadly I know she wouldn’t have a problem with). To be frank, I just don’t trust her because she has promised to find homes for many of her other horses and then she decides to just either call the meat man directly, or sends them to a dealer which essentially means they’re going for meat. I also acknowledged that if she wasn’t comfortable handling him anymore, that I obviously didn’t want anyone getting hurt, but reiterated that I was under the impression that he was being well-behaved (since this is what she has told me as recently as last weekend!).
Her response back to me was extremely passive aggressive and essentially said that she was just concerned that I wasn’t enjoying myself and that she just wants me to be happy. She managed to slide in some insults about how “pea-brained” Corona is and all in all the tone of the email was just ridiculous. The fact that this conversation was over email was ridiculous, but the Boss will not have it any other way (she’d done the same sort of thing with SM and CG). From her response however, it appeared that I had dodged a bullet and that Corona would stay, despite the Boss thinking it was a waste of time.
As expected, when I went out to the barn last night, the Boss didn’t say anything about the email, just carried on as if nothing had happened. It was extremely awkward. I just did my thing and left as emotions were still running quite high for me. CG sent me a text she had received randomly from the Boss that afternoon which was the icing on the cake. The text was rude, unnecessary, and hurtful, it said:
“Well, she says she loves him to death, thinks he did great in the second class at the show, etc. Doesn’t have any interest in other horses, likes the challenge of a difficult(!) horse, hasn’t become defensive, etc. Ok, end of story. Need to find someone else to come ride who likes to do stuff.”
This text hurt more than the email. It completely took parts of my response and misconstrued them, and it clearly shows a lack of respect from someone who I have bent over backwards for for the last 6 years.
I can’t do it anymore, I cannot go out there and deal with this sort of bullying behaviour to myself and to others. I don’t want to go back there ever again, I want to just wash my hands of her and move on elsewhere…but I can’t do that because of Corona. I am fearful of what she’ll do with him if I just leave. I don’t think she would send him to his former owner, I think she’d call the meatman.
I don’t know if I’m in a position to take Corona myself, either financially or knowledge-wise…in particular because leaving would not be on good terms so I couldn’t rely on the Boss to give me any moral support in any way, or be there to answer any questions I would have. The way I see it, I have three options:
1) Just get out as of now, and hope that she sends Corona to his old owners, but realize that he may not.
2) Keep my emotions in check, tell the Boss I’ve had a change of heart and that I agree with her and think it best for Corona to go back to his old owner (and make sure that this is actually the truth about where he is going). Once he’s there, then tell the Boss that I’m done with her.
3) Take a risk and ask if I can take Corona and keep him somewhere else.
I can barely talk about this without crying, I’m a total mess and feel powerless. Over the years, the Boss has done many things which I’ve disagreed with, but she has never hurt me as much as she has with this incident. I seriously have no idea what to do…I just want the horse to be safe and for me to cut all ties with the Boss.