Today was a fantastic reminder from God why I shouldn't be too nice. Sometimes, friends/family.... more like fringe associates that don't know me well, tend to label me as a "Donald Trump". I speak my mind, and say it as plainly as possible. If you hit me first, I will finish the fight and keep kicking after its done.
Now that doesn't sound like a person that would be "too nice", does it? But I can also tell you, as vocal as I am about right/wrong, black/white, I also like to avoid conflict at all costs. It's part of my character. If we can solve the problem without a firefight, I'm all for it.
Well, today was a great reminder that sometimes Ms. "Annie Git Your Guns" really should just come to work everyday. Because, well, people WILL take advantage of the slightest cordiality offered. And still others out there are just looking for a reason to cause drama. Today was that day.
As soon as the truck pulled into the parking space for our 11am trail ride, I got that funny little "ants in your belly" feeling. Like something is eating at you, and you just don't know why. The occupants get out, and as they walk towards me, despite me wondering why two of them looked familiar, I still had the undeniable urge to tell these folks they needed to go home. See, there's the Donald Trump coming out I guess. I know that sounds judgmental and harsh, but when you have incredible empathic sensory abilities, when something is OFF..... you honestly need to start figuring out a way out of the situation. Don't second guess yourself.
We greet each other and immediately I have a flashback with.....we'll call her... "Brandy". Right then and there, I wanted to walk back in the house. See, Brandy had ridden last year with her husband..... Noel. Noel is a nice enough guy, quiet, you can tell he puts up with a lot. He's also a typical millennial (before you get your panties in a wad, I'm a millennial too). Nothing is ever his, or his wife's fault. They can do no wrong. Despite telling these people a dozen times what to do, and giving visual + verbal instructions worth more than the trail ride itself, they aren't going to listen. It's just not in them I guess. It's also just not in me to put up with that. So, here we are.
I remember Brandy choosing the tallest horse I owned last year, pulling on the sides of his mouth so hard while simultaneously doing EVERYTHING I said NOT to do, she made the sides of his mouth bleed (I only noticed this after the ride), and was a main reason we went to hackamores on many of the horses (the noseband instead of a bit). Yup, this was Brandy, and she was back again for more! If I'd known it was the same group, their ride would've been cancelled and refunded. I also recall her being the main reason I had to make a long ugly drawn out "Booking Policies" write up. So, when you read that on our site, you can think of her, and thank Brandy for it.
Brandy had also given me the WORST back-talking attitude I'd had to date at that time when I had tried to help her navigate the trail on her horse better. It seemed the more I tried helping, the more she purposely yanked on that poor horse. She had that horse spinning in circles, and honestly, thank God I'm not a trail horse! I would have bucked her off and stomped on her before running back to the house. I'm sure the horse she had ridden that day agreed with me. But, that was last year. It could be different this year..... right? (eye rolling sarcasm).
Despite the ever-crawling ants in my belly, I still decide to be kind and give these people a second chance. I let them choose their horses, just like most trail rides, and Brandy chooses the tallest horse, Journey. She begins brushing Journey and recanting proudly how she spun her last trail horse, Scout, around in endless circles and how she "thought she was going to die". Immediately, I'm silently bristled. You might as well have just insulted my kid. Silently, I thank God for taking care of this obviously growing issue today, and for making our trail ride safe. I have two things to say about this silent prayer in hindsight- 1) be careful what you ask for 2) karma does indeed come back.
As Brandy continues walking back and forth around her horse, commenting how funny it is when she brushes other horses that her horse gets upset and feels left out, I notice she walks quietly over to her husband and whispers something about keys. She walks off to their truck. As I get two hackamores and a headstall out (Brandy's horse is DEFINITELY getting a hackamore today), and walk over to hang them on the saddles, I notice a little step-stool has appeared by the side of Journey. "Oh, I see you brought a step-stool.... I don't think this is a good idea." I tell Ms. know-it-all Brandy. She ignores me with silent attitude. A wry smile pursed across her lips.
I give our signature tutorial how to get on your horse (WITHOUT a mounting block/step stool), and without hurting the horse. Just think about that for a moment- the horse is kind enough to stand there daily while you try and heft your butt up there. The kindest thing you can do is LEARN how to get on any horse the most safely/without pulling on their spine. And if you know you have trouble getting on your couch daily, or lifting your foot more than six inches off the ground, horseback riding just isn't for you. That's just reality. We don't ride mini horses out here.
Sister gets mounted up on her horse without much trouble and WITHOUT a step stool. Next we get to Brandy. I intentionally walk Journey waaaaaaaaay over away from where Brandy's step stool is, to try and avoid having that conflict. Hopefully she'll just forget all about that damn thing and leave it over there. I can already see she's going to give me attitude about it if I say anything further. She also had to sign a waiver before she got here saying she understands we DO NOT have a mounting block, and do not allow them for safety reasons.
Brandy schlepps her itty bitty Costco step stool that she's already exceeding the weight limit on over to Journey. Journey stands there like a little soldier, bracing for impact. Brandy mounts the step stool, does a grape-shaped one-legged flamingo stand on it, and her step stool collapses! It flies under Journey, hitting her in the leg, making Journey crow-hop in a circle trying to get away from this attack stool. Meanwhile, Brandy is laying flat on her......uh backside.....covered in little pieces of dried horse crap and grass.
In half a second, I see her lying there, eyes closed but breathing (obviously she's FINE).....and obviously waiting for her husband who has rushed over to coddle her special a$$. Simultaneously I'm trying to shoo totally traumatized Journey, who's still crow-hopping in little circles around Brandy to an open area away from everyone. While this rodeo is going on, sister has dismounted Hoss like a professional goat-tyer. What's even more profound is that sister had never ridden a horse before.
Brandy lies there groaning, eyes still closed, her husband holding her hand, asking if she's ok. "I can't believe that horse did that!" she says..... at this point, I'm DONE. D-O-N-E. I looked her husband straight in the eyes with a glass-cutting glare and told him- "sir, your ride is OVER, load your rodeo up."
This is not how Brandy thought this would go. Suddenly like the healed Lazarus, she sits straight up and says "what do you mean our ride is over?!!"
At this point, the safest thing for guests is me to walk off and find my two loose horses before they step in their reins and break a leg. Apparently while I round up Hoss and Journey out of the woods, assuring them there are no "attack stools" anywhere, Brandy, Noel, and sister are herded to their vehicle and load up their shenanigans. As I walk Hoss and Journey back to the hitching rail, I see my husband doing his best "Deputy diffusion" at their truck.
There's no point in hashing over the ridiculous "poor me", "it wasn't my fault", and "you're the professionals" millennial excuses sob-story I heard at that truck window. What shocked me to the point of shaking-mad was that they still blamed the horse, and still MORE SHOCKING....didn't understand why I cancelled the trail ride!
The point of this story is multi-sided. The first lesson- LISTEN TO YOUR GUT. That's God telling you something important. The second lesson- Stand your ground, even if you think you're "being mean". When people break your rules no matter what activity you're hosting, tell them to leave. You don't have to be mean, but don't give in. When someone already KNOWS the rules, and still chooses to break them, they're just going to keep disrespecting you and your things. You don't need that kind of energy in your life. Get it away from you as quickly as possible.
Third lesson- if you don't think karma is real..... remember what I said would have been justice for ugly Brandy from the first horse she rode last year? The event today was pretty close to that description, and her horse this time didn't have to put up with her on a trail ride. KARMA IS REAL.
Lastly, if you wonder why we don't have a mounting block or a step stool, this is just ONE perfect example. Another example, imagine if Brandy had gone on the trail and dropped her cell phone/hat/water bottle/etc, and had to get off to pick it up. Was she planning on packing that damn step stool with her? How would she get back on her horse? It's a several MILE walk back to the house if you can't get back on your horse. My "no mounting block" rule for trail rides is not to be mean. It's for safety of the guests and horses. Obviously.
Safe rides are happy rides.
Today was the perfect reminder of that. Don't let people push you around, you're not a door mat, and can never make everyone happy.
Send their ugly energy packing, and move along. You'll make up the loss in profit 10 fold.... and not end up flat on your.........