Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Question for the Readers: The Veruca Salt...

So I am sure we have all met a Veruca Salt. Perhaps even a whole group of them, depending on your discipline or barn or whatever circumstance. The kind that are spoiled in the fact that, while not always spoiled as far as having the nicest horse or what-not, but perhaps along the lines of being spoiled in that they are allowed to be precocious, cocky, a know-it-all, a bully even. A Veronica Di Angelo from The Saddle Club, right? However you want to imagine it.

My personal opinion is that they are dangerous. Not only to themselves, but to other riders, and especially to horses. They cross the line of being bold and gutsy and into the realm of being egotistical and foolish. You know the situation, the whole "Oh sure you can walk around on him" and you turn around and see her trying to prove what a rider she is by doing something incredibly foolish and parents standing off to the side saying "Oh, what a rider she is! Look how well she does with your horse!" and you scream "Get off him, NOW" and it all goes downhill from there... yeah, like that.

My solutions for precocious, know-it-all, dangerous gals like that?

A) Send her to a hunter show. The fancy kind. She'll feel great about herself, until they all eat her alive.

B) So she apparently has great equitation and a nice horse, so she survived. If so, send her to be a working student for an old-fashion kind of trainer, preferably German or Austrian. The kind that will beat you with a whip when you try to beat the horse with one. And then make you muck out all the stalls again.

C) She didn't learn anything from that guy, either?! The final solution: it's the most humbling, perhaps cheapest method, all risks and danger aside. Get the girl an off-the-track Thoroughbred! Like, fresh off the track. The crazy, wild, horrible ground vice kind. The kind only a mother or a jumper trainer with an excellent eye and seat and patience level of a saint could love or ever want. Not the good majority of them who have a bit of spook but not much else. The really bad, rotten kind. She'll think she's super-cool-horse-trainer until the lead rope is tossed into her hands. Then you have the telephone ready to dial 911 and a prepared "we told you so" monologue to deliver over the hospital bed.

And if she does well with all of that, then you can sulk off grumbling under your breath that either she's really lucky or maybe she is a good rider, and is just an arsehole about it.

But really, don't do that. With all seriousness, the best way to deal with these kinds of people is to simply say "no". I've had my fair share of these kinds of people, once getting on Greta, and once was enough for me. I wish I had said no, much less said "Get off now" while they were on my horse. You don't have to be rude about it, but simply declining whatever Veruca-Veronica is asking for that could potentially be harmful to the entire area around her will do you well in the long run and still hopefully save face and feeling. And possibly a life.

As for parents (where I notice it usually starts) : I am so thankful my parents taught me some humility. Horses are usually great teachers of humility and patience, but sometimes a well-placed parent and/or highly-regarded superior does the best job.

Have you met a Veruca-Veronica? Have you ever had a Veruca-Veronica moment? How did that go down? I know I've had my moments... let's just say I learned my lesson.


  1. I used to be surrounded by them when I was a kid taking lessons at a hunter barn. It was pretty miserable to be around them, but I just loved horses too much to leave. I have been lucky enough to meet the adult version, too. I always try to be encouraging to other riders, but usually turn into the "impossible to impress" type person around those folks and my horse is completely off limits. I hope Greta was able to cope with the ordeal unscathed.

  2. Thankfully, she was. There was just lots of sea-sawing :( She just kind of exploded under them like, "UM, THIS IS NOT THE WAY I WAS TAUGHT TO DO THINGS. OMG."

  3. Haha, I love your solutions :) I usually just ignore them and it tends to work out fine though they are annoying!

  4. I had forgotten all about Veronica Di Angelo! Oh how i hated her! I have known plenty of girls like her and after letting them get under my skin for years I can now shrug them off and rely on karma.

  5. Haha, adults do it too! I've had one too many who "rode as a kid" and wanted to "show me what they can do on a horse" try to ride one of mine. Sorry, I love my horses too much to let the likes of someone with that kind of attitude get on my boys! These days I just smile, nod, and tell them to go take some lessons. ;)

  6. That show was THE BOMB, even with all its riding technicality mess-ups. I loved it so. And OOOH! I stay away from people like that! "Oh, I rode at a dude ranch once" or "Oh, I've been taking riding lessons for a year and my trainer says I'm good". Yikes! I have no problem with these people if they want to learn, for I would be happy to teach them and give them pointers, but it's the arrogant ones who I simply smile at and shoo off haha.


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Thanks guys!