Thursday, January 05, 2012


welcome fateful sweetheart

it's very difficult to run a riding club in an economic downturn. some months ago, i agreed to go onto the board of the riding club where sabin rides. i was assured that it was very pleasant and there were no politics and no bad blood between any of the board members. herein lies my first mistake - i believed that.

the first meeting i attended was presided over by the then-chairman, a man i had never previously met. he didn't greet me or ask me to introduce myself or even explain why i was in the room. he then proceeded to say that everything to do with the budget and various agreements regarding the leasing of the facilities and the contracts with the riding teachers would be taken outside the meeting by him and the people involved and that we on the board didn't really have to concern ourselves with that. whew, what a relief that was. not.  then, he verbally attacked the wonderful and down-to-earth woman who owns the stable itself - yelling at her, condescending to her and generally being a complete ass.  i wrote a little bit about it here, in a rather obscure way. i left the meeting wondering what i had gotten myself into.

not long after that, that chairman "resigned" with some encouragement from some of the other board members. and a lot has since come to light about how much he was hiding about what bad shape the club was in economically. these clubs are independent quasi-public associations and while the club gets funding from the municipality, it also has to fund itself - through lessons, membership fees, distribution of trash bags to households (a "job" it does for the municipality twice yearly), selling scratch lotto tickets, holding horse shows and running a kiosk (that sells a lot of french fries) at the horse shows. but these clubs are often riding the ragged edge and only barely making it.

i agreed to be "horse responsible" - since i grew up with horses and most of the others involved on the board are just supportive parents and not really all that horsey. so, it falls me to make agreements for borrowing horses, selling the ones we have, buying new ones, making agreements for the students who have the right to ride the lesson horses on the weekends (they can pay extra and do that), and the general day-to-day health of the horses. sounds reasonable enough, right? well, that too i was wrong about.

of course everyone and their dog has an opinion. and there is a great deal of pressure to make new horses magically appear with absolutely no financial backing (do you have any idea how hard it is to find a free horse?). and don't even get me started about the sniping, the backstabbing, the rumors and the standing and loudly talking about horse problems in front of parents and students.  and there were supposedly no politics involved in this job.

what i've learned is that people will invent politics where none need exist.

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