I considered not writing this post.

It’s more personal than a lot of things I post.

But, I have a blog for writing and reflecting on horse related things. If not times like this, then when?

As some of you may know, I have been teaching riding lessons on and off for a number of years. I started in college for my old barn and trainer at the time. She was…crazy, but most horse people are crazy. Or at least a lot of them are? Either way, the teaching paid my horse bills. It allowed me to afford board and lessons when I bought Subi. It made horses possible. I taught after I graduated. I taught through grad school. I taught until I started my first job in academia. And then I game notice and quit. I was mentally scarred due to some passive aggressive shit. I said I’d never teach again. This was 2010.

3 years later, I found that I needed money and a friend of mine offered me the opportunity to start teaching. We had both worked for the previous trainer. Things were to be different. She had her own barn, she learned what not to do. And for the past… 5 years, I have been teaching some lessons and leading trail rides. Not a lot, just once a week. When things got tight, I spent a summer working both weekend days and it almost killed me, but I did was I needed to do. There were a handful of days that I cancelled (business trips, 1 horse show, a couple vacation, when I was sick — though I usually dragged myself out, etc. BUT RARELY in 5 years).. Or students cancelled. But we weren’t a lesson factory. The old barn I was chastised if I cancelled even if there was a foot of snow on the road, the roads weren’t plowed, and all my students had already cancelled…

But, this past Saturday, I mentioned that there were 3 Saturday’s this summer where I either couldn’t teach (1) or I couldn’t do trail rides (2). One was due to the a business trip (an annual conference where I’m always away for a weekend in May) and the others I was willing to teach, but not do the trail rides that day (if there were trail rides) — 1 for a wedding, the other for a family reunion. My boss was cold but told me to email her the dates.

Yesterday I saw a posting for a trail guide for Saturdays and Sundays. The Saturday shift was my shift. I was suspicious and was debating how to confront her about this. I hadn’t yet done this.

This morning I was fired via text message:


I have not responded. If I didn’t need my final pay check, I probably wouldn’t reply at all. I instead contacted all my students and told them I would not be teaching any more and answered questions they had as best I could. While the text indicates my students are down, I have the same number of students I had last fall and last summer. I am in no different place then I was last year. So, the excuse is just that, an excuse. Why? I don’t know. My students are upset.

I did let my allies at the barn know because I’m sure some sort of rumor about my departure will come about. What? No idea. I just want people I considered friends to know the truth (and my students). But I’m sure some story exists. I was immediately removed from the barn’s internal facebook group. As was my good friend who also rides with me. I guess she was fired from the barn too…

But I’m once again disillusioned by the horse world. I’ve once again been let down by the horse world. I just want to go hug Subi and Batty and Jiminy and Ranger. I won’t see Ranger this week (stupid conference and I can’t seem to get my lesson rescheduled either). But, there’s a reason why I don’t ever want to work for my current trainer… I don’t want to mess with that relationship.

People are crazy. Horse people are crazy. Maybe I need a new hobby. Any suggestions?

In the meantime, I need a new part time job.

I could go on and on about all the things I disagree with. All the things I would change. But I won’t. I will say, after 5 years of employment, who fires someone via text message? Without a real reason?

I’m done teaching. For good.

23 thoughts on “Disillusioned.

  1. Oh,that’s such poor behavior. I’m sorry that happened. They couldn’t discuss issues or staffing requirements face to face? Find an alternate for those weekends if they were so desperate? So unprofessional and underhanded to treat you like that! It frustrates me how the horse community in general seems to be so poorly regulated and managed. Enjoy your weekends off and save your energy for the people that appreciate you 🙂

    • Sneaky and underhanded and unprofessional. The horse community for you! Thank you, it’s time to put my heart into a job where I’m appreciated (I can’t currently say that about my full time job either!).

  2. It is never acceptable to fire someone via text, it’s especially not acceptable after such a long working relationship. I would personally ask her to meet in person to discuss. I found barn work very exhausting and although I was in great shape when I did it, I don’t miss it. On the hunt for your next part-time job try I hope you find a place that appreciates you more and is more flexible. That really sucks! Sending hugs

  3. Okay, firstly this is not about you. This is a pretry bad control issues that some people have. Here’s what i think. Some people have their horses and work as their life, you go and do otherb things which ia healthy in life, perhaps they don’t understand that. It’s pretty bad mannered to advertise your job if you have asked for a few days off. If i was you I’d send an email and ask for a reason. As for your clients, has anyone asked them? Perhaps they like lessons with you and don’t want you to go. I would call her out on her BS also you are right, it’s passive agressive and it’s mean. I’m sorry mate! I’m sure a wonderful barn is right around the corner and you will get the respect you deserve. Mel x

    • I’d call her out but I’m just done. I posted something on Facebook for me sort of forgetting she could see it and not even mentioning her. She responded with some snarky “that’s what I’m feeling too” comment and that was it. And chance of anything, severed, ended, deleted, blocked, unfriended. We shall see if I get my final pay check. I was tempted to snark back with and I’m lost?! But I didn’t. Moving forward. The dad of one of the teens I teach liked the post (the kid is 17 and I’ve taught her for years at this point—I just told the kid I wasn’t teaching anymore and told her to keep in touch.) I appreciated his support as he doesn’t always comment/react to stuff. But, I’ll be ok. I’ll be better off. I just will be extra angry if I don’t get paid.

      • She sounds like hard work. Send an email or a text saying what days you worked and with what clients and ask when you will receive your final pay. Be bold, be strong, you earnt that money so make sure you get it. Clearly the kids and parents like you and know you are doing well. Hold your head high mate, better things are to come! People like that will drag you down, surround yourself with nice people, you deserve it.
        Let me know how the money thing goes ok
        Mel x

  4. Ack I am SO sorry. I feel ya so hard on this one. I taught for years as well, and it’s crazy how much you can put in, versus how little you get out. It’s not like reliable instructors come along every day either!! I bet they end up regretting their decision to let you go.

  5. That is difficult. I feel you. I didn’t really teach as you did, but the way the horse community treated me – I have been disillusioned as well. I’m sorry they fired you via text. That is just…wrong. I wonder if your students want to keep you then maybe you don’t have to work for her but just for yourself? But you probably don’t want to teach anymore, which I completely understand. Again I’m so sorry. I agree that I bet they’ll regret their decision to let you go. So sorry Sarah </3

    • People show their true colors and I lack integrity and professionalism… timing is terrible and I need the money but in the long run I’m better off far away from crazyland. Thanks for the support, I appreciate it.

  6. I have kind of already emailed you my thoughts but again eff them (the boss not the students). They are all losing out.
    And there is no reason to ever be fired by text esp after they post the job you work before that. That is just wussy all the way around. Just from other things you have said I think you will end up better without them but I am sorry. It is such a slap in the face….:(

    I will come up with some ideas for you for parttime work….We will find something else you want to do that gives you some pocket money and that you enjoy!

    I taught lessons in Houston and enjoyed it but yes it is very stressful and most lesson barns are crazy (Nothing against any of you lesson barns just saying, something about the mentality of that kind of place makes my eyes cross)……and horse people are CRAZY (Some are good crazy, some are bad crazy!)…

    Keep your chin up. You have more time to trail ride with me in May now (SELFISH YES I AM) HA HA HA

  7. That is plain rude and immature. Nobody fires over text message. And who expects people to work without any time off? Three days all summer is not much. Just wait until she hires the new person and they are crazy or never show up or whatever. She will regret it.

    • People are crazy. I just wish this all these crappy things in my life wouldn’t happen at once. I’m just glad I’m not insane to think the text message was a little or a lot wrong. Horse people are crazy.

  8. Years ago, I started a stable and everything was “fine”. Of course I only ate 2 meals a day but I survived. I did all the work until the kids got out of school and I had some working students to help out. Little did I know one of the boarders was lobbying in the background, lying about me and touting her own accomplishments. Same kind of thing but before cellphones. I was told my presence was no longer required, nowhere to put the horse, scrambled for a week. And that’s when I started writing. Someone very smart once said to me “Everything in your life is meant for you”. I’m sure you’ll overcome this. You must. There are other disappointments in the future waiting for you!

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