By now I was coming to the conclusion that maybe Quinn needs more riding than what I had time for. After all, I work and have two other horses (Cessa and Rain... who would be "replaced" by Raincloud). I kept my eye open and noticed that there was a young lady advertising for giving riding lessons (on your horse) and to exercise ride. She was looking for some extra cash because she was a "poor University student".
I gave her a call, she said all the right stuff. Invited her out to see her ride. Things went well. We talked and came to an arrangement. She would give my husband lessons once a week and ride 2-3 times a week. We had a calendar in the barn to keep track of which horses were worked when and a schedule of how much riding each horse needed. Looking back I am sooo glad that she didn't ride Cessa very darn often!
I sat in on hubbie's first few lessons and it seemed to be going well. He is a total beginner and a bit self concious but he and Amanduh (as I shall rename her) seemed to be a good fit. I watched the first bit of riding she did for me and it was also appearing to go well.
Our arrangement regarding the riding was thus: When she was riding she was responsible. If a horse was hurt as a direct result of something done while she was riding she was responsible. If anything got damaged while she was handling horses it was her responsibility. She and I both agreed this was fair. After all I'm a boarder at a private home. If I wreck something or my horses do, I'm to take care of it.
*side note... during this time Rain was sold and we acquired Raincloud(aka Applejack) for my husband Pete*
Amanduh had been riding for 1o months or so when I noticed a major change in Quinn. He started to get really tense when I'd saddle him. I called a friend of mine who has studied equine massage and got her to take a look at him. He was very muscle sore. She told me to lay off any collected work and just ride out to keep him legged up. No barrel racing, no "real" work. Just plain ride. I passed this on to Amanduh. What do you know, next time I see her ride she's got him waaaay over-collected. I reminded her she was supposed to just keep him legged up.
This went on for a little while... he'd get tense when I'd saddle him, I'd just ride him without asking anything really and he'd chill. Then I get this call from Amanduh, Quinn had bucked her off. She was okay but she'd been off the property and he'd run home. They weren't far from home, just across the road and she got back and caught him, settled him and rode some. "Everything was fine." She just wanted me to know what happened.
A few days later I went to ride him. Noticed the rawhide on my horn was all scraped up, asked Amanduh if she had dropped it or if it happened sometime when she was riding. "Nope." Saddled him and he got tense and actually started to break into a nervous sweat. Instead of riding I longed him that day. I noticed that he was a bit off and made a mental note to watch him for a day or two.
THEN I get a very strange call from Kimfer. Her dad had talked to her and she hadn't had time to ask me but... a few days ago her dad noticed that a couple of his trees looked odd. They looked like they had been pulled out of the ground and put back. Also the ropes that ran from the trees to the corral fence had been busted and tied back together. Did I hit them with my truck or something?? Nope, I definitely would have mentioned that! I told Kimfer I'd see her in about a half hour and take a look. I called Amanduh and asked her if she knew anything about it, nope.
I get to the acreage, Kimfer and I look at the damage. Two trees by the corral (about 9 foot tall pines) HAD been uprooted and put back in place. The ropes (that yellow poly rope) had been busted and retied. AND there were hoofprints between the trees and the fence!!! In fact right where the fence turns the hoofprints had landed under the wire on the other side of the fence!
Kimfer and I looked at each other and went to the tack room and grabbed my saddle. Looked at the horn and said "AMANDUH!!!" I took another look at my saddle and then checked it very carefully. I'm not an expert but I was pretty sure the tree was broken.
Well well well... guess who pulled up at that moment... You guessed it! Kimfer went to talk to Amanduh while I brought my ponies in. Of course she denied all of it. Then I got back to the barn and Kimfer and I walk Amanduh through the "crime scene". She tried to blame Kimfer's dad (HF). Way wrong thing to do, Kimfer was pi**ed then (she had never liked her anyway). I pointed out to Amanduh that HF was the one who had noticed and asked Kimfer about it. Then I show her my saddle and she finally admits that Quinn had ran through the yard and done all that, but she thought she'd fixed it all good enough. When I mentioned that my saddle was wrecked she was very indignant... a saddle should stand up to more than that.
I kept my cool and pointed out that it was a barrel saddle, their horn's are NOT meant to take that kind of impact. They are not meant to take that kind of impact. That a 1200lb horse RUNNING through 4 poly ropes was a lot for even a roping saddle to take. I also mentioned that Quinn was off (he still was, more if anything) and that just maybe that was why.
Turns out Amanduh had ignored my instructions and kept riding him super-collected. She always rode that way when I wasn't around! She would ride for an hour or more, waaay too collected, never giving the poor guy a break. THAT was why he had gotten so sore.
A friend was driving to Alberta with some horses for the superstar vet and took Quinn and Cessa along. (Cessa more for a checkup than anything... vet said she was in better shape than any horse he'd seen her age, better shape than most horses half her age! yay!!).
Cutting to the chase, Quinn was majorly f-ed up. Talking to Charlie (superstar vet) on the phone and explaining what had happened he was pretty sure the wreck was the reason. Quinn got injections and was prescribed time off and massage/chiro. My saddle, well sure thing the tree was busted. It was 1 year old, had cost $1500 and to replace it would now cost $2000. Cost of vet bill/massage/chiro was over $3000. What did Amanduh offer? $120. Niiiiiice.
One good thing... gotta try to find a silver lining... on recommendation from the tack store my saddle was sent to Billy Cook along with 2 others in the area to see if warranty would cover it. 7 months later they hadn't even looked at these saddles and sent us all brand new ones at no cost because they wouldn't be able to look at them for a few more months.
Oh, and Amanduh was promptly pulled off all my horses and no longer giving Pete his lessons!