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View Full Version : Client woes...Trainers stories of those dread clients.



nlk
Nov. 17, 2010, 11:00 PM
I have been reading a lot lately about how many people end up with horrible trainers. trainer took extra money, drugged their horse, did this or that.

Frankly it has me a little down. Yeah there are a lot of do it yourselfers out there whom I am sure do great on there own, and there are a lot of corrupt horrible people out there. but you know what? Our industry is made by the professionals. You don't want them then there is a good chance that our industry will go the way of the local county shows, and you know what that scares me. I showed for years in WP and local county shows. With no jumps in any of the rings their shows scare me more then any of the state rated hunter shows I've gone to!

I am a LNT, slowly but surely making a name for myself in my neck of the woods. I have many happy schooling students and many happy clients that have their own horses. Some show some don't.

Let me tell you, I have received more mean spirited treatment then any of my students have EVER received from me.

I had one young lady who after I explained to her class that riding was like school, you have to work hard to do well, came in the next day ranting to my boss that how dare I insult her daughter by saying she was no good in school. After all what room do I have to talk seems how I was a young single mother...Did I say any of that? No, I simply stated that just like you have to study to get good grades in school ( as a general statement) you have to practice what you learn in lessons to become a better rider. But because the daughter thought she was gods gift to riders (cross polls) how dare I suggest she should practice what I learn. Oh and didn't we know that the pony doesn't like that bit? Her daughter read up on bits and that one was not the right one for that pony. Of course must of this was because she had an issue with me being a single mom....apparently staying in an abusive relationship would have been better...

I also had a young girl whom I brought to the top of our state pony circuit a few years back. I trained pony and everything (our pony not hers). She did great but always lost it under pressure at our year end medal finals. I went to several shows that were unscheduled with just her or one other pony kid with out charging them for the usual 4 slots just so she could stay at the top of the standings. Come Saturday at finals, kid is POed that she is not getting all 1st places. So she rips off my Ponies mouth in the ring. Of course I am NOT happy and tell her so. Next day she gets reserved in medals. Come home, and Mom refuses to have her ride with me. Why? because I am rude and had no business yelling at her daughter just because that was one of my "pet peeves". I stay civil, although I am very mild especially compared to EVERY other trainer out there. But you do NOT take your anger out on your mount!!!!! So MOM gives other trainer list of horses her daughter can and will not ride. Then takes her daughter just down the road because the horses are "better" of course she has sustained more injuries then anything and is now barely riding...and has asked to come back...BO said no because of the girls bad attitude to everyone in the barn (not me, I was always nice and polite, but that girl was down right MEAN to the other girls)

And finally the whole family that thought they were horse trainers... Another family everyone in the barn bends over backwards for, mom gets a job as E-team coach, and next thing you know she's a trainer, including talking over me during MINE and the other trainers lessons, to OUR students. OH and older daughter (college age) decided she didn't need to listen to me because she's been riding as long as I've been jumping...ummmm...ok....

My long tirade and whole point is simply that us trainers get the raw end of the deal too. Does it feel good to vent? Absolutely, and I hope others share too. Am I complaining? No, this is over the course of the last 10 years. It happens and people are like that. I've learned long ago to stay civil and keep all bridges intact...

Trainers and BO are the ones who get left with bills un-paid, clients who don't follow our advise and then wonder why the horse isn't listening/placing/getting better etc., clients who are full of themselves and then give the trainer/BO a bad name.

So next time you are with your awesome trainer or you see your BO who makes sure every horse is cared for, a thank you is nice...or even just a smile. While you my be the great client rest assured there are others who are an absolute nightmare!!!

Addison
Nov. 17, 2010, 11:25 PM
I guess its tough on both sides of the fence. There are bad trainers and clients and their are good trainers and clients.

I for one, LOVE my barn owner. She is a wonderful horsewoman and I do my best to let her know that is how I feel.

wanderlust
Nov. 17, 2010, 11:30 PM
Let me tell you, I have received more mean spirited treatment then any of my students have EVER received from me.
<snip>
My long tirade and whole point is simply that us trainers get the raw end of the deal too. Does it feel good to vent? Absolutely, and I hope others share too. Am I complaining? No, this is over the course of the last 10 years. It happens and people are like that. I've learned long ago to stay civil and keep all bridges intact...

Trainers and BO are the ones who get left with bills un-paid, clients who don't follow our advise and then wonder why the horse isn't listening/placing/getting better etc., clients who are full of themselves and then give the trainer/BO a bad name.
Welcome to the business world. If I had a dollar for every client who had ever been rude or let their bills get behind, jumped to another agency just to come crawling back, told me how to do my job that they were paying me a small fortune to do, etc, etc, etc... I'd have enough money for a really fancy derby horse.

I'd suggest that if you are having this many problems, you should be more selective about the clients you take. There are always people who will be more trouble than they are worth, and no amount of money makes them tolerable to deal with.

CHT
Nov. 18, 2010, 01:10 AM
It can be tough dealing with teenagers and their parents at times, I think in part because most of the conversations happen with the kid who then interprets it their way to the parent. I lost a junior client this year not long after finding them a very good deal on a new horse; kid was doing things she shouldn't with her horse when she took it home for a month (hauling in for lesson during that time). SHe wanted to be able to do things her way and parents lacked the fortitude to tell her otherwise, so they decided to keep the horse home and haul to a different barn that wouldn't care what she did to the horse at home and would let her use whatever bit she wanted, or let her friends rip around on it to try to teach it to barrel race... I think the breaking point for me was when she was asking on facebook for a curb and spurs so she could teach her very soft mouthed and light to the aids horse to be faster on barrels as you had to use those tools...yikes. This was a nice hunter/jumper...not a barrel horse!

In another instance the kid wanted to blame her pony for stopping as she was used to riding with someone who would let her beat the pony for stopping...so when I made her accountable as a rider and showed her how when she rode well it didn't stop, and when she got lazy it did stop(she was 17 so more than old enough!) she got pissy and went to a barn that would let her go back to abusing the pony. Didn't matter than she was reserve champ at her last show with me and had people wanting to buy her pony as it looked so good...kid just didn't want to have to put the work in or be accountable.

It gets frustrating, and sometimes tempting to just tell people what they want to here, but at the same time I feel accountable to the horse too and to the long term growth of the student. Fortunately I have enough good kids that those few don't ruin things...they are just frustrating.

sanctuary
Nov. 18, 2010, 01:22 AM
Wow, I was just thinking of posting a similar thread. Too tired to vent now, but yes, it's hard on both sides.

Thoroughbred1201
Nov. 18, 2010, 01:23 AM
I'm thoroughly convinced that we as clients lose every brain cell in our bodies when it comes to our horses. I've watched clients come and go with my long time trainer. Business people who are savey and smart when it comes to business dealings can be unbelievably unreasonable when it comes to Dobbin. There isn't enough money in the world to ever convince me to be a trainer (were it that I even had one iota of the talent needed!)

tallygirl
Nov. 18, 2010, 01:28 AM
I LOVE my trainer. shes amazing. <3

sptraining
Nov. 18, 2010, 01:33 AM
The greatest skill you learn as a horse trainer is the art of diplomacy. ;)

I'm still learning... :)

NCE
Nov. 18, 2010, 01:54 AM
Call me up tight, but I think it is really inappropriate to be griping about clients OR about trainers on a public bb unless you are posting known facts about a person who has committed crimes/wrongdoings that the rest of us should be warned about. Note there that I said known facts...not hearsay.

Every single business person on the planet has customers he or she would rather not deal with. And you know what- dealing with those people is part of business. Be respectful of the customer, provide the service they are paying for, and have the grace to suggest they find someone else if things are really not working out.

But....to complain about people, even without naming specific names, on a public bb? Especially when describing incidents that people may be able to identify themselves in? I just don't see how this is a professional way of acting.

I have people who drive me nuts too. But I don't see how starting a gripe-fest about bad clients will make these people any better, or less likely to show up at your barn.

Just my opinion...

fordtraktor
Nov. 18, 2010, 11:33 AM
Totally agree with NCE. I would suggest that it is not appropriate or a good busines practice to air dirty laundry about your clients on a public forum. Not very "professional." And I DO get it, as a former pro that got tired enough to leave the business.

Happyhooves
Nov. 18, 2010, 12:49 PM
Not so sure it's all a bad thing to write about these sorts of things, of course staying general and not identifying specific individuals. It can be a good reminder to people to check themselves and their behavior at times. Client/trainer is a complicated relationship--a loosely defined business arrangement that often crosses into a blurry line of friendship/ mentor/your child's role model. Add in the variables of pressure of individual temperament, competition, costs and serious vested interest, horse's temperament. Throw in complicated family dynamics and teenage hormones. Add to that promising combustible mix: issues of control. It's MY horse, so I'll do it MY way. It's MY kid, so I'll do it MY way. YOU, the trainer, are to train up my horse and kid to win, but I want it done my way. Add the built in conflicts--Like I want the barn to look put together and professional, but I want to be able to choose my all my stuff. After all, it's mine. The good news, is that many people are happy with their arrangements, and people tend to find what works for them, and all kinds of trainers/situations are out there for them. I am glad that people talk about these things on this BB. As a client and horse show mom, I want to be helpful and create a situation that's good for my horses, my kid and barnmates, and these kinds of threads help remind me to check myself when I feel like I'm right (stamps foot) and provoked into doing something less than graceful. I've been around horses and horsepeople all my life, but am still learning. Don't stand down. I think it's good to have this discussion. Kind of like riding without stirrups. Necessary.

Thomas_1
Nov. 18, 2010, 12:53 PM
As far as I'm concerned, the customer is always right.

IF there's ever a rare case when the customer might be slightly incorrect then it wouldn't be on a bulletin board :winkgrin:

Duckz
Nov. 18, 2010, 01:09 PM
Like I always say, horse people are crazy. Bat poop insane. Trainers, clients, me, everyone. Find people who mesh with your own personal brand of crazy and stick with them :cool:

Oh, and keep the stories coming. They're entertaining.

Big_Grey_hunter
Nov. 18, 2010, 01:12 PM
Sorry, but I agree. You are a PROFESSIONAL. How is dissing former clients professional behavor? I know if my trainer was bashing others online, I'd be PO'd, even if I wasn't included.

KateKat
Nov. 18, 2010, 01:18 PM
The greatest skill you learn as a horse trainer is the art of diplomacy. ;)

I'm still learning... :)


Yep, the SNT I have worked with who had a loyal following were the ones who knew how to deal with and cater to a wide range of personalities. Only the BNT were the ones who could tell their clients its my way or the highway and they would listen.

However, I would never dream of treating my trainer the way it sounds you have been treated, OP. Even though its a business relationship where I am paying for a service from you, I still see it as a give and take where its more beneficial to both parties to keep things as amendable as possible.

Spud&Saf
Nov. 18, 2010, 01:25 PM
One of the hardest lessons to learn is you can't please everyone all the time.

This goes for life and business.

Let it go...retaining negative energy is bad for the soul.

opel
Nov. 18, 2010, 01:43 PM
Have to agree with Wanderlust. As a (crazy) horse person and small animal veterinarian, I have seen some of the most incredible behavior from people.
There are folks out there who automatically assume the worst of everyone. These distrusting, very opinionated and often aggressive people seem to think people go into training or vet medicine to rip off innocent people and become rich--doing something that's easy and doesn't REALLY require years of training (we just say so- to rake in the cash). News flash!! 99.9% of those who go into either profession do it for love--knowing they'll be giving up any reasonable expectation of material wealth.

The best thing to do with such people is send them down the road. They will never be happy. They will make your life miserable. Not worth it. I've also learned to seriously distrust people who AUTOMATICALLY distrust and expect the worst of everyone else. What does that really say about them?

RugBug
Nov. 18, 2010, 02:47 PM
I'm thoroughly convinced that we as clients lose every brain cell in our bodies when it comes to our horses.

Hahaaa. Too true.


As far as I'm concerned, the customer is always right.

It's a nice saying, but it's not really true. The art of dealing with people is making them THINK they are always right but still bringing them around to the correct way of thinking. It's when you can't bring them around that the issues start.

As far as it being unprofessional to talk about this on the internet? M'eh. I don't really care. I'm sort of a turn about is fair play type. People want to vent about their trainers (or even Dover or some other company) and it's welcomed. But someone venting "from the other side' of the equation, when the majority just might fall into that group being complained about? Not so welcomed. It's such a double standard. If you can dish it, you should be able to take it. We expect trainers to take it under the guise of professionalism. Well, we should take it too, IMO.

rainechyldes
Nov. 18, 2010, 02:52 PM
The trainer isn't always right.
The client isn't always right.

the trick whether you are the trainer or the client is to be a big enough person to meet somewhere in the middle.

RugBug
Nov. 18, 2010, 02:57 PM
The trainer isn't always right.
The client isn't always right.

the trick whether you are the trainer or the client is to be a big enough person to meet somewhere in the middle.

Yes. (just adding this so people don't think I'm a "trainer is always right" type. NO ONE is always right.

Lucassb
Nov. 18, 2010, 03:08 PM
As far as I'm concerned, the customer is always right.

IF there's ever a rare case when the customer might be slightly incorrect then it wouldn't be on a bulletin board :winkgrin:

Exactly.




It's a nice saying, but it's not really true. The art of dealing with people is making them THINK they are always right but still bringing them around to the correct way of thinking. It's when you can't bring them around that the issues start.

As far as it being unprofessional to talk about this on the internet? M'eh. I don't really care. I'm sort of a turn about is fair play type. People want to vent about their trainers (or even Dover or some other company) and it's welcomed. But someone venting "from the other side' of the equation, when the majority just might fall into that group being complained about? Not so welcomed. It's such a double standard. If you can dish it, you should be able to take it. We expect trainers to take it under the guise of professionalism. Well, we should take it too, IMO.

The reason that people suggest that it is not a good idea for professionals to vent about their customers online is not necessarily because "the customers can dish it out but not take it."

It's because *other* people (read: potential clients) might see the vent, think it unprofessional, and avoid that trainer accordingly... causing lost business and less revenue. I have steered people away from trainers I've never personally ridden with, based on the exposure I've had to them in other venues, where they have conducted themselves inappropriately, and I'm sure I'm not the only one. And because I'm a dinosaur and have been around a long time, I get consulted quite frequently, so have the opportunity to send *good professionals* quite a bit of business.

Maintaining some decorum about one's professional life is simply good business. Part of that is resolving issues with clients privately, not posting about how much they s*ck on the internet.

Everyone in business has clients who are difficult. Handling them appropriately is just part of the job, IMO (and why those occasional cocktail hours with co-workers were invented, LOL.)

sptraining
Nov. 18, 2010, 03:10 PM
One thing I will say is pay attention to the kinds of stories you hear other people and professionals tell.

A positive person will tell mostly positive stories.
A negative person will tell mostly negative stories.

If you hear a lot of "I'm a victim" stories, you can be sure that you will eventually become one in their storybook.

RugBug
Nov. 18, 2010, 03:21 PM
The reason that people suggest that it is not a good idea for professionals to vent about their customers online is not necessarily because "the customers can dish it out but not take it."

It's because *other* people (read: potential clients) might see the vent, think it unprofessional, and avoid that trainer accordingly... causing lost business and less revenue. I have steered people away from trainers I've never personally ridden with, based on the exposure I've had to them in other venues, where they have conducted themselves inappropriately, and I'm sure I'm not the only one.

Oh, I don't disagree with you. ;)

But it's a trainer's decision whether they want to relate their tales of woe or not. Hopefully they are doing so realizing they may be hurting their business...

I'm assuming that if a trainer vents here, they're smart enough to have made that decision. Maybe I'm giving them too much credit. :lol:

Trevelyan96
Nov. 18, 2010, 03:31 PM
I try to be a good client and always appreciate my trainers. If I choose to work with a trainer, I'm willing to pay them what they bill me. But I am also a hands on owner, and I take excellent care of my horses. On the rare occasions I've been a boarder, I STILL take care of my horses stall, etc. when I'm at the barn. I welcome frank, blunt, constructive criticism on my riding, my work ethic and committment (or lack thereof, usually), my wimpiness, and I don't mind being chewed out for getting careless about ground manners, etc.

What I absolutely will NOT accept from a trainer is that they think they have a total read on my horse's personality, needs, etc., and whether he's worth keeping or selling after only seeing him 3 or 4 times. That's when I'll move on. They are more than free to tell me "you've got a lot of work to do on this horse, and he will probably never jump 3'6" or get past training level in dressage... but don't say 'sell him' when he's been a total angel 3 out of the 4 times you've seen him just because he acted like exactly what I told you he is. A herdbound backyard horse who hasn't done anything in several yeas.:mad: I"m paying for professional assistance in working with the issue. If you can't or don't want to deal with typical green behaviour, and do so slowly and correctly, say so up front. Don't tell me to sell my horse so that you can get the training fees to get him ready for sale, and the commission on both my horse and the new one you're trying to sell me.

ETA: Sorry for the rant. Actually, I have a great deal of appreciation, admiration, and respect for anyone who chooses to be a professional horse person in ANY capacity as a career. Its generally a thankless, low paying, mildly dangerous, career with fruitbatting, PITA clients. (The 2 legged ones, especially!). A good trainer, BO, BM, Farrier, Vet, etc. is worth their weight in gold. We trust them with our most precious posessions, our kids, our own aging bodies, and our horses, and most of them do the best job they can for no other reason than that our horses are precious to them as well.

Linny
Nov. 18, 2010, 04:16 PM
Did anyone come on here to see if they could catch their trainer complaining about them?:lol:

RugBug
Nov. 18, 2010, 04:47 PM
Did anyone come on here to see if they could catch their trainer complaining about them?:lol:

Heheee. I'd love to know her complaints about me. I can tell when she doesn't agree with me or is upset with me as she gets REALLY quiet and/or finds a way to excuse herself from the discussion/group. Actually, that's what she does for anyone, but I often wonder what part she is objecting too.

Timex
Nov. 18, 2010, 08:34 PM
Did anyone come on here to see if they could catch their trainer complaining about them?:lol:

well, i've got the OCD one, and the chronically late/forgetful/slightly flaky one, the one who fixes one thing, only to have everything fall apart, on a horse that i've got going really nicely, until she sits back on it...... and if my clients can recognize themselves in that, they would laugh, because they know it's true! LOL i have gripes about my clients, and they know it, and it's things that they see in themselves, anyway.

doublesstable
Nov. 18, 2010, 09:05 PM
Did anyone come on here to see if they could catch their trainer complaining about them?:lol:

:lol: No, "but" did open it up to see what trainers think a bad client is - so as a client - I want to make sure I don't do what is bad in a trainers eyes. :lol:

I like my trainer very much; just wish I had more money ;)

luckyduck
Nov. 18, 2010, 09:12 PM
The one thing I wished I had learned in the start of my career.... I have the right to fire my customers too....

Don't get me wrong....I had 90% excellent customers who were more loyal than my own blood relatives half the time...but that 10% made me want to jump from the edge of a cliff.

I should have put an end to it before it turned into years of anger and made my whole barn split into pieces.

Like control freak trainers....there ARE control freak clients.

As with anything there are 2 sides to all stories. Remember that time goes by very qucikly and before you know it....you are suffereing from years of putting up with things you should not have had to. (This goes for clients and trainers) GET OUT BEFORE IT DOES DAMAGE.

nlk
Nov. 18, 2010, 11:28 PM
The one thing I wished I had learned in the start of my career.... I have the right to fire my customers too....

Don't get me wrong....I had 90% excellent customers who were more loyal than my own blood relatives half the time...but that 10% made me want to jump from the edge of a cliff.

I should have put an end to it before it turned into years of anger and made my whole barn split into pieces.

Like control freak trainers....there ARE control freak clients.

As with anything there are 2 sides to all stories. Remember that time goes by very qucikly and before you know it....you are suffereing from years of putting up with things you should not have had to. (This goes for clients and trainers) GET OUT BEFORE IT DOES DAMAGE.

Love this!!!!!

I think it's the absolute truth. It's a two way road!