I buses out to Big J's everyday for 6 months. I had never worked at a full time lesson barn before coming out to big J's. I did everything she had ever asked of me. From mucking stall to riding to teaching lessons to taking out trail rides. As much as I knew about right and wrong in the horse world big J may have taught me some of the best lessons I could have ever learned.
The barn that big J rented was an old standerdbred training barn. It sat on 200 acres of land with 3 fields. There was an old bank barn, 2 large open shed/barns, a small indoor arena and 2 heritage homes closer to the road. The property had a small 5 acre bush lot towards the back. Parts were rented out by cash crop farmers. Everything was in a state of disrepair. Both barns really should not have houses animals, nor should have the outbuildings. I slowly learned that when it snowed outside it snowed inside as well. Or when it rained, 9 out of 10 stalls flooded, from above and below. I learned not to remove pee spots from certain stalls. I learned that when you hose freezes because there is a foot of snow at one end of the barn it was ALOT of work slugging water to each horse, and much easier to take each horse to a water tank in the hall and water them ever 3-4 hours. I learned the true meaning behind crazy horse people.
Big J taught lessons 7 nights a week and took out trails on weekends. Actually I don't think she ever left her office. She had lackys like me to do the work for her. Apon occation I would teach a lesson for her during the day or take out a trail ride. She liked to make as much money as she could. Her horses were old and worked hard. They rarely got outside. Once a week if they were lucky. Let me tell you it was pure crazyness when they did get out. She would buy horses from the local meat market sale. Home they would come in her beat up pickup truck and matching trailer. They would be bannished to the old bank barn for a week to see if they had any health issues. If nothing was noticed they would get move up to the big barn. Then I would get to work with them. And not get paid to do it. But I never minded back then. I would brush them and love them up. Saddle them to see what their reaction would be. Then we would move out to the indoor.
I remember this one little mare impaticular. We believed she was a Morgan from what we were told at the sale. Cute little thing she was. Not a drop of white on her brown little body. She was built like a tank and I was looking forward to getting on her. All her ground basics were incrediable! She loved the attition I was giving her. Not a muscle moved when I tacked her up. She walked around the arena like a pro on the lunge line. Her movement was to die for. So I got on her. She stood like an old trail horse for me to adjust girth and get on. Once I was on her back I shifted me weight around, flapped my arms. She was quite and calm. I put my leg on to ask her to move forward, she took one step and reared. Oh baby oh baby not a chance is hell was I going to let that happen! I bopped her on the poll and asked for forward again. Well let me tell you that mare could move. He moved so fast I thought I was flying. Oh wait u was, backward and up. My head hit the ground with a thud. Big J had been standing in the door way to the arena. She yelled at me to see if I was ok. Other than a bit of a headache and a sore knee I was fine. I was also determined to not let this little mare get the best of me. I walked over to where she was standing in the arena grabbed my reins and walked her back to my mounting block.
Big J asked me "Are you crazy? Or just stupid?"
"Nope" I said "My mom always told me to get right back up."
And I did just that. I sat in the saddle for a good 2 mins, reins loose, quite and calm. Then I got off. I handed big J the mare and told her I was going home. I walked out of that barn, walked to the bus stop, and sat down on the gravel curb. I cryed like a baby.
I'm no wimp. I've been kicked, bitten, stepped on, crushes, run over etc. Only once dis I ever ask for a hospital and pain meds. I wasn't crying for myself. I was crying for that poor little mare. I knew she would be back in the POS trailer and back to the stock yards first thing Monday morning. She couldn't make big J a dime and she wouldn't keep a extra mouth unless they paid their own way. I cryed for her and all the others that could have a second life but got the wrong bidder, and eneded up back were they started from.