Quite some time ago, I wrote about Cher, a so called 'trainer" at Bourbon Stables.
The post was on my word press blog, titled The Jerk
(I've tried to insert a link to the blog, throughthebridlelightly.wordpress.com. You'll have to type the title "The Jerk" in the search box.) The link appears to work but you'll have to 'search' for the title. I am still learning my way around Blogger.)
Cher, it appears, is still a jerk.
Sue and I thought that once we'd left Bourbon Stables, we'd be done with seeing Cher around anymore.
Alas, not so. Parasites have a knack for finding where their hosts go, no matter how far they go.
Three people had used Cher as a riding instructor and horse trainer at Bourbon. I'd watched how Cher had turned Miko, a lovely filly, from an uncomplicated and happy horse into a nervous wreck. Her owner finally wised up and fired Cher. Miko is back to being a happy horse, now that Cher is no longer "training" her.
The two other people were taking lessons from Cher. After watching Cher 'teach' them I had vowed long ago to never, ever take any advice from Cher. If you read "The Jerk", you will see how she treated me.
Sue had taken a lesson or three from Cher and was advised by Cher to 'sell Raven because you're never going to get anywhere with him".
Thankfully, Sue listened to her own heart and horse and realized Cher was utterly full of it, and fired her. She and Raven have never looked back. Raven, by the way, dislikes Cher. He's the happiest, mellowest of horses but when Cher comes by, he flattens his ears and pinches his nostrils. He says very clearly, Stay Away From Me.
We've been at New Barn since July. We're all very happy to be there. It's not as fancy as Bourbon, but we can trust that Raven is being better cared for.
Cher's two clients at Bourbon were A and B. A and B left Bourbon and brought their horses to New Barn! Raven knew their horses and it seemed to be like the Bourbon stables of old. All the horses were familiar with each other, their owners, and they seemed to fit in very quickly.
The first thing I knew about Cher finding her parasitized hosts A and B was when I read an announcement in a locally published horse magazine.
It said: Cher The Great (I'm adding The Great, but that is most definitely how Cher acts.) has transferred her training/instructing to New Barn. Please contact Cher at number etc/email address etc to arrange for riding instruction and horse training.
The problem was: Cher didn't bother to ask Linea, New Barn's owner if this was okay with her.
Linea's been breeding and showing horses forever. She is a certified Horsemaster, having gone through that British school and achieved her certification with the BHS. She's also certified half a dozen ways here in the United States. She's a certified riding instructor/horse trainer. New Barn is HERS. It says so on the sign in front: Linea's Training Stable. She is sole owner of New Barn. She's been in the training/teaching business for at least thirty years.
The first thing Linea heard of Cher's usurping HER farm/arena was when a friend of hers called and said, "have you retired?" "No, I'm still training and giving lessons, why?" "Well, it says here that Cher is now training and teaching at your barn."
Yes, really. Linea then goes out to HER ARENA to find A being given a lesson-by Cher.
I'll give Linea credit...she didn't toss Cher out on her ear, because A is boarding her horse at the barn. Linea wants to keep her customers. It's not cheap to keep a barn these days, and every client means money coming in to keep it running. I wish, though, that Linea had been more forceful, more "how DARE you"...but, that's Linea. Gentle and a bit wishywashy.
She doesn't like Cher. But two of her boarders do. So apparently, she's allowing Cher to use her arena for training A and B
But it chapped her ass, you bet. I don't know if words were passed, I wish they had.
For a while, Cher was on her best behavior. She was, I'd reluctantly admitted at the time, 'friendly'. Polite. She would listen to other people talk without interruppting. She became almost likeable. I don't think she's fooled Linea.
Cher went back to ''teaching" A and B. I use the word 'teaching' with a big box of salt. Cher doesn't 'teach'. She..well, she talks. And talks, and what she says, basically is, you are no good at anything and I am here to fix you. She has two pat phrases: you know how to do this, and why aren't you doing what I told you.
I don't know if A and B notice that they've been taking lessons from Cher for at least two years and aren't progressing at all.
This is how a parasite works...keep bleeding the host, sucking sustenance (in this case, money) from the host but delicately, subtlely, not so badly that the host dies or realizes what is going on. Cher plays her victims like an expert angler plays a fish, always keeping them guessing, always keeping success jussssssssssst a little beyond their reach.
Cher has turned A and B into helpless babies. She's convinced them that they are no good and that only she can help them.
Cher has another trick up her sleeve. When her victim begins to think that she's FINALLY learned to ride, Cher convinces her that no, it's not HER...it's the HORSE that's to blame for inability. How do you fix that? Well, ma'am you buy Another Horse. This horse is no good. I will find you one that is better.
The horse that she finds, though, is much much worse.
B used to own only one horse, Cisco, an aged Appaloosa who is the sweetest, kindest horse. B is a novice. Cisco was the best horse in the world for a green rider-kind, gentle, and (unusual for an Appy), level headed and willing to listen and teach. (and yes, I've had experience with Appaloosas).
In between Bourbon and New Barns, Cher had purchased a green broke five year old Hackney mare.
Until this past summer, I'd never laid eyes on a Hackney. Now I've seen four of them. They seem ...well, strange. I don't consider them riding horses. Hackneys were bred to be high stepping harness horses. They weren't bred for their personality or willingness to interact with humans. They strike me as hard headed and stubborn, ones more willing to argue than to learn.
Cher has been looking for a free pasture to keep her Hackney mare because she has no property of her own, and doesn't want to pay $450 a month for board (the going rate, at the moment). I have no idea where her mare is. She is running ads, looking for a new place for her mare that (in not so many words) is free. Her ads claim she is an experienced horseman who will come out to ride at least four times a week. Not once is it said that she is willing to pay for pasture for the horse.
I have yet to see her train her own horse.That may be because she doesn't own a horse trailer.B does, though.
Somehow (probably using the same propaganda she used on a wiser Sue), Cher convinced B to 'retire' Cisco. He's old. He's not going to take you anywhere. He's useless.
B, you need a new horse. Buy this one: a greenbroke, five year old Hackney mare. This one is a half sister to Cher's mare. If Cher's mare is stubborn and hard headed, her sister is a firecracker. Hot, hot, hot and a real ball of fire. She shares a pasture with Cisco. Unlike that wonderful old horse, the mare demonstrates a fierce resistance to working with anybody or learn anything. B takes her into the round pen and the mare races, ears pinned, mad at the world. She's not afraid, she's...aggressive. She hates the saddle. She hates the bridle. The mare is No, No, NO.
B is a lovely person, but I worry. She's expressed frustration at not being able to get anywhere with her new mare. She's blaming herself. In reality, she has too much horse in the mare. She's not a horse trainer. She's wasted months of her life taking lessons from Cher, who has taught her nothing but that she is unable to ride a horse without Cher. Now she has this lovely horse that is even more unusable. Who can help her? Ta da, riding to the rescue, Cher the Wonder Trainer!
Do you see what Cher's accomplished? By convincing B to buy a green horse totally unsuited for her, Cher has assured herself of a steady income, "training" the new mare and "teaching" B to ride it. But that takes time...oh, months and months and MONTHS of
She tried this shit on Sue. It didn't work.
In the meantime, once she was at New Barn, taking lessons from Linea, A was beginning to get places with her OTTB mare that she'd never accomplished with Cher.
While at Bourbon, I would watch Cher and A in a lesson. Cher would mount A's mare and "show A how it's supposed to look."
The mare's demeanour would change like THAT. With A aboard, the mare was happy, trusting, listening, obeying. When Cher mounted, the mare would obey, but it was obvious she was merely going through the motions.
A's mare's tail was wringing and snapping, her ears were pinned the entire time Cher was aboard. The moment Cher got off and A got aboard, the mare went back to being a calm, easy going horse. We all saw this. A more outspoken woman than I broached the obvious, saying to A, "haven't you noticed how your mare is so fretful and unhappy with Cher?" A, being a wet dishrag of a person, kindasorta agreed, but kept on with Cher.
When I saw Cher in the arena, 'teaching A on her mare, I felt so sad. Right back to square 1, A, right back to square 1. Whatever you learned from Linea has been purged by your return to enabling Cher. For that is what Cher is, an enabler.
I am convinced that A's mare was dismayed when Cher came back into her life. She's showing it, too. Formerly a docile, gentle mare, she's becoming rowdy.
The girls who clean Linea's barn all have years of experience handling horses, and all have their own. Four of them board their own horses there. (working in lieu of a portion of the board.)
A's mare has begun charging through the gate when they turn her out. This is BAD MANNERS as well as dangerous for a handler.
Last week, I had just turned Raven loose and had exited his paddock. One of the girls had brought A's mare out.
A's mare dragged the handler through the gate. The second she felt the halter unclipped, she tore it off her head and immediately broke away, bucking and kicking. This wasn't exuberance at being let out. This was something else. This was a mare who had determined that she was going to be Alpha damnit.
She'd made one go round in her paddock when she noticed me, standing with my back to Raven's paddock gate. One must go through the mare's paddock in order to get to Raven's.
She charged me, bucking, kicking, ears pinned and head tossing.
I had no where to go...my back was against the gate into Raven's paddock and I was cornered.
So I charged A's mare, arms out, yelling and projecting all my energy at the mare. I literally roared. She spun on a dime and raced away, still bucking but running away from me rather than at me. She had her eye on me, though. I gave her the stink eye as I hurried to the gate.
This is a mare I've known for a few years. She's always been docile and submissive. This raving chestnut lunatic is a new thing to me.
I would be lying if I said I wasn't shaken. She continued acting the fool but was on the other side of her paddock. I made it through the mare's gate and said to the girl, what the hell? "She's just started doing that, like, in the last few weeks."
About the same time as when Cher began coming around...and ''training" A.
Now it's bad enough that Cher, like a bad penny, keeps turning up. I've noticed that somehow she manages to show up when Linea isn't there. I wonder if anyone has told her that, seeing as to how she claims to be a horse trainer, she needs to retrain A's mare on how to politely go through a gate.
It won't be me. Because I've learned that Cher has returned to being her old jerk.
The entrance to Linea's barn is protected by a gate. One drives up, gets out of your vehicle, opens the gate, gets into the truck, drives through, gets out, shuts the gate, gets back into the truck, and drives to where you can park.
For the most part, the women with horses there are generous and polite. If I am afoot when I see someone drive up to the gate, I go and open it for the person. I shut it behind her. Or, if I'm in my truck and someone else sees this, they do the same for me. If I'm in my truck about to leave, I've opened the gate, another person getting ready to leave as well, motions or yells that she'll shut the gate behind her. That's just courtesy. That's being good boarders. It's polite.
Today I drove up to the gate. There was Cher, walking to the arena. She was about twenty feet from the gate. She stopped-looked me dead in the eye-and kept walking.
How many times have I opened/shut the gate for her? From now on, never. Ever.