Saturday, November 8, 2008

Let Me Clarify... 40 years old, too old to get back in the game?

I realize now that this line may have caused a bit of a stir, however what I was thinking while I was writing was more along the lines of the points that our dear Miss Horse Crazed hit on in her comment. I might add that you, dear lady, hit on the very points I was wondering about...

...With that being said I have two friends that have been apprentices in big reining barns and both of them have friends who have as well. One is a man, the other a woman. There is no shortage of reining trainers out there today. From what I have heard, no matter what you are told, if you apprentice or ride for a big barn you will be a dogsbody. It is not in the trainers best interest to have you advance but at the same time in the interest of keeping you they will let you go just so far in making it appear that you are advancing and then they will hold you back. It is a dog eat dog world and training is a tough way to make a living. They can’t afford to help others out that then may take clients away from them. The girl I know had an awesome relationship with the trainer she worked for. She gave her heart and soul to her and learned a ton but she would only let her get to a certain level and would make sure that she knew that she was "not ready" to move forward. Both of these assistants got tired for being held back and moved on to hang out their own shingle but without their bosses blessing. Their old bosses talked bad about them to the local horse community and tried to stop them from succeeding because it would hurt their business if they did. It was not "personal", it was "business". The guy has been an assistant at a few barns now and always thinks the world of the trainer he is working with for a time and then always ends up getting taken advantage of. They are both in their 20s. I am sure you have heard this and from the sounds of it experienced it yourself but as you know, you can learn a lot from being an assistant...

Oh Yea...I hit this brick wall...repeatedly. This wall is exactly why young trainers have a tendency to bounce around training barns. Another huge obstacle is being a woman. The majority of beginning trainers are women. No surprise there, if you are around big barns and whatnot, but few ever make it out of the trenches and there is good reason(so the boss trainers say)...women usually marry, have a family and forget about training seriously. The boss trainer is more likely to take a less qualified young man under his wing and teach him the finer points than he is a female because they often feel that it will be wasted on a woman. Men usually continue training even if they get married and start a family.

While I despise the theory-it's usually true...hey I was seriously contemplating going to work at another barn when I got my "whoopsie" girl. I have no regrets about that whatsoever either, because I was luckier than lots of the girls I started out training with...I had always had horses, my family always had horses and I always had a place to take my horses. I have had a safety net, my entire life, that most people would kill for. Believe me, I do know how lucky I am. I have never ever had to worry about getting rid of a horse-no matter if everything in my life fell apart and I didn't have a dime. One phone call and the family would make sure me and my ponies got back home.

But, back to that being 40 thing. I don't have the energy or even the strength that I had when I was in my 20's. I can't see going back to riding 10+ head of horses a after day. I guess what I was wondering out loud is if a training barn would even want someone my age or it they would realize that I am past the "life might get in the way" stage and I could finally learn some of those finishing techniques I have always wanted to learn.

And the reason behind this sudden interest in getting back into the big leagues?
This guy...
I do believe that little Shooter is looking like the best colt I have ever raised. I want this guy to make it into the big leagues where he belongs. There is just something about him that makes me dream of AQHA World Championships and Superhorse titles.


Mrs. Mom said...

You know what BECG, someone who means more to me than Life Itself taught me something that I work to live up to every single day.

He says,
"If you are going to dream, Dream BIG."

I believe in you, and that spectacular colt of yours. Go for it girl- take him where he needs to be.

Oh- and Madame Horse Crazed had EXCELLENT points there. Her reply to your post was fantastic. And I still say, to BOTH of you, Go For It.

Andrea said...

I agree with Horse Crazed mind. A lot of my friends who have become big themselves, did it because they broke away from the "Big Name Trainer".

As far as scooter goes, do it yourself. Start him out and then send him to a "big name" trainer for a month. See what they say, then maybe either A. someone will want to buy him or B. you will be able to show him.

Showing AQHA is not cheap and requires a lot of times. But you are probably closer to a lot of shows than I am. So that is a plus. That is what I do with mine. I know what an awesome horse is supposed to look like and I know how they are supposed to move and so do you, so if you think he can make it, the you do it. Save the money on colt breaking and you do it yourself. Start showing him in yearling lunge line in open shows and then go to an AQHA show. I bet you can do it.

I have two babies coming next year, and I am going to show them at open shows. AQHA now accepts points at open shows if it's judged by an AQHA approved judge. It's a great place to start.

You can do it yourself. Start with yearling lunge line!!! Get him out there and get him some show experience.

Now that I have written a novel.....sorry to go on and on....

Danielle Michelle said...

It's never too old to get back in the game! I am inspired as a former barrel racer to get back in the saddle with a few apiring youngsters I'm training right now. Lots of women take a break and get back into it!

Amen to your comment on my blog! I actually was pretty much canned from my previous position because I held that bar up and expected my students to work. I agree if all teh teacher s raised hell...however I have not made tenure yet due to switching schools, and right now I can't put my job on the line again.

I work in a better school system than the whole area combined, so I have little to complain about compaired to other schools, however, I don't think any of that should be tolerated. It does start in the home and until the administration hold the parent's responsible nothing will ever change.

I'm tired of this whole 'let's make everyone feel good' attitude. I don't conform and I'm waiting to get in trouble

Melanie said...

Oh definitely need to follow your heart and GO FOR IT with this one!!!

Age is relative. I know that the last thing I thought I would be doing at 34, was finishing up my bachelor's degree, because I remember when I thought that 34 was "so old!!"

If you don't pursue this, you will look back 20 years from now and regret it.

You have the passion, the knowledge, the strength...and most of all, you have a great understanding of the equine mind. You really care about a is not just a number, or dollar sign, to you.

I think that you are an amazing woman with a lot of resilience, and that even though you are not perfect (none of us are, right?), you have what it takes to see this through!!! Don't beat yourself up.

You go girl!!!!

Anonymous said...

Better to go for it now than when you're 50....or 60.

I like the idea of starting Scooter yourself then sending him to a big trainer for a month "to see."

He's so cute. You both deserve to follow your dream.

Gracie's Mom said...

What a cutie! Are you not in a position to work with a trainer on this horse? I have never had the desire to be a "horse trainer." Sometimes, its just a lot less stress to be a client! And it can be a lot more fun!

Chelsi said...

I commented this morning but lost it when I went to post so decided to take my thoughts and use it as my own topic for my blog today. So stop by when you get a minute and check it out!

kdwhorses said...

Go for it girl! You can do it!

Shooter is such a looker, I know you both can go places together!!

Anonymous said...

jiminey cricket girl :).. i was older than that when i first started riding my horses... go for it.. sit down and ride... enjoy the journey too

gp in montana

20 meter circle of life said...

OK so glad you have come around my friend, I was out shopping for a walker and an O2 tank for you. So if you dont go to work for a BNT then you load up that colt and you go to clinics and you take that little guy all the way. You can choose to hang out a shingle whenever you want, and you dont have to take on 10 horses a day. Its qaulity not qauntity. You are already where you need to be, and really can do this. I will always belive that anything is possible in the horse world. Its people like you that give others hope and the desire to achieve something great even though its not the convential way. Saddle up and ride out my friend, and I make this promise to you. The day you go to AQHA World I will be there to cheer you on, pinky swear!!

Anonymous said...

whoot whoot!
Go Shooter. I know you'll be able to do right by him.

Vaquerogirl said...

Well, again with the age thing- is it in the air or something? I say where will you be in ten more years? If you are going to wish you had'done it', then you'd better just 'do it'. So you aren't as flexible, you have the ADVANTAGE of age, you have the ADANTAGE of a sensible mind, you have the ADVANTAGE of a solid work ethic. Half the battle is just showing up every day.
Check out Sandy Collier from California- She's no spring chicken, but she has a work ethic and she only hires women. One of her 'girls' came in tenth in the Non-pro' Snaffle Bit Futurity this year.Also Check out Cynthia Cantleberry from Paso Robles, California- She is over 60- closer to 70- and she rides Cutting horses - not for her clients, but beause it is her joy-She's a world class lady in every sense of the word. Not every trainer will keep you just have to find the ones that won't.
Go for it Girl!

Callie said...

I say go for it, you're never too old to learn and trust when I say, you're not old! You have a lot of experience to offer and room to grow, so why not!

Holly said...

boy. I hate to put a damper on the Go-For-It party here but as you said yourself...

"I have had a safety net, my entire life, that most people would kill for. Believe me, I do know how lucky I am. I have never ever had to worry about getting rid of a horse-no matter if everything in my life fell apart and I didn't have a dime. One phone call and the family would make sure me and my ponies got back home."

You have additional responsibilities now. Your mother, your daughter and your honey. And I imagine in the time that has gone by, the members who make up your safety net have changed somewhat too. They may still .be. there, but have their lives changed in regards to jobs, families and other outside commitments? In addition to that, and I hate to bring this up, but I'm gonna....

horses are a high risk occupation. If you were to get injured, slightly or more, temporarily or permanently....whose life will change and how...along with yours? How would a big medical bill affect your daughters ability to go to college? If you had to go back to your mother for care, can she do it? Think lifting and turning here.

One more thing to consider. The horse market is collapsing around our ears. Is this a good time to try and make a living doing something because you have dreamt about for a long time?

In 1995 I came off a horse and got seriously injured. I was off work for three months, had limited duty for another three months. I had insurance to pay that bill (the appliance on my leg cost over $25,000) and paid sick leave to cover my absence from work. I have never forgotten what .might. have happened to me without the insurance and sick leave. It would have been a bill I would be paying on till I died. It would have destroyed any hope for a home of my own and it would have directly and negatively impacted my three kids.

do a cost/benefit...then decide on things other than age.

Rising Rainbow said...

I hope you got for this. You can't get there if you don't try. What a shame that would be.