PDA

View Full Version : Trainers, how close are you to your students?



Starda01
Nov. 18, 2010, 10:07 PM
Trainers, how involved are you in the lives of your students. I don't mean "as in dating", but do you take your students to school when the parents can't. Babysit? Go out on the town with them? What do you think is appropriate, keeping it on a clearly professional basis, or is it ok to become more friendly? Undoubtedly you have made friends among the ranks of your students, but where do you draw the line?

toomanyponies
Nov. 18, 2010, 10:38 PM
Keep it professional - always. Your time is worth something. You shouldnt be driving, picking up, babysitting etc.

Friendly is great - dinners super. Driving them should be the exception, and the parents should realize that. With adult students, the odd event might be fun, but I would be careful.

Having said that, every trainer is different, and has different levels of comfort.

SnicklefritzG
Nov. 18, 2010, 10:48 PM
I think it is best to keep business and socializing/friendship separate. What if things go badly for a student in a lesson program, a horse purchase or some other thing? It could adversely affect the social interchange. Another thing is that when you become too friendly or chummy there's the tendency to not question the trainer or speak up when you are unsatisfied with the program.


Holiday parties, end of show season get-togethers, that sort of stuff I think is totally fine, but if I were a trainer that's about the most I'd do.

TheHunterKid90
Nov. 18, 2010, 10:49 PM
Depends on the student, I have quite a few that come, take their lesson, and go home...which is perfectly okay with me...
I also have a group of 3 girls who are all good friends with eachother and they've slept over (I live on the farm) on nights before a horse show when we have to leave at 4am and parents don't want to drive them over...they set up cots in my living room and camp out. I don't make a habit out of allowing it and it's only if necessary.
I've gone to lunch with a few of my girls before, either after a horse show or if they're spending the day at the barn being slaves, I mean working students for the day.
We've also done day trips to tack shops or horse searches.
But, do I hook them up with guys to date and party with them on a friday night? Absolutely not.

A line has to be drawn at some point but in the same breath they know that they can come to me if they need a non-judgemental adult to talk to about something...

spacytracy
Nov. 19, 2010, 10:26 AM
My trainer and I are very close - but we're both adults and we both understand the boundaries between a friend and trainer. I don't know - when she gives me a lesson its more of a friend giving me tips and advice - and she tailors lessons based on my needs - I'm not too demanding/competetive, so its easier.

Anyplace Farm
Nov. 19, 2010, 10:35 AM
I don't train kids anymore because I wanted to get my amateur status (and life!) back but when I did, I taught a few to drive, I took one (at the asking of her mother) to college to sign up for her classes and I went through the parents' orientation. I drove one to her first dance and helped her get ready for it. I did another's hair for prom and loaned her foundations for under her dress. I've been to graduations, funerals, visited with one overseas and I'm sure some weddings will be coming soon. When one got hurt and had to be taken away in an amublance, the mother wanted me in the ambulance with the kid while she drove the car instead of me driving the car so she could be in the ambulance. I've taken one for major surgery.... the list goes on.

HRF Second Chance
Nov. 19, 2010, 10:58 AM
Interesting topic! I was accused of being "too close" to my students when I taught. But I was close to them in the respect that in the barn, they told me things the wouldn't tell their parents. But i n the ring they were respectful and polite.

I did have three students who I am still very close to. Mostly because they were on my show team and we spent many a long Sunday together at the shows, and many a lesson together getting ready.

I think there is something about this business that makes people be closer to you than say soccer. Maybe it's the long days at shows and the barn, or maybe it's the nature of a somewhat dangerous sport. I've done everything from having one spend the night when her mom left her alone for the weekend to going to drinks with my adults.

dani0303
Nov. 19, 2010, 11:41 AM
As I am a younger trainer (in my 20's), my pre-teen and teenage students tend to open up to me more than they would a parental figure type trainer. However, there is still a distinct line of appropriate and inappropriate. Sometimes they try to push that line and I have to become less "friendly" and more "parental". I've also had to go to parents at times and let them know what their kids have said to me as I felt the students were potentially endangering themselves (i.e. drinking, boys, etc.). We will go out to lunch as a barn and sometimes they come to the barn to "hang out" and help on weekends but it is always during business hours and my personal life is never brought up around them.

There is one exception to this. I have a student who also happens to be my best friend. We often get together outside of the barn but when she is at the barn the relationship is 100% professional.

ponyjumper525
Nov. 19, 2010, 11:45 AM
I'm not a trainer, but my trainer and I are very close. My friends and I have spent the night at the barn, he's come with me to Father-Daughter Dances (as my dad lives far away and usually doesnt want to come), and we've taken him out on his birthday to dinner, movies, etc.

My trainer has seriously been my dad. I've been at his barn since I was six and now I am seventeen. I can trust him with anything and he's a great person to talk to. He taught me how to drive, pull a trailer, and has been to my house for dinners. He's met my boyfriends and has come out to dinner and movies with us.

Some people might think this is weird that we're so close, but I love it. He knows just what to say to make me smile and would have been a great dad... when I was little I asked him to adopt me MANY times! Although we are so close, when he's teaching me, it's a whole different ballgame. I'm very focused and he's very strict. When we're in the arena, our relationship becomes professional.

ParisHillEC
Nov. 19, 2010, 12:15 PM
I am also a young trainer, and I try to keep it as professional as possible. Most of my students are between the ages of 4 and 16, with a few adults.

There was one of my students whose house I literally passed on the way to the barn, who I would give a ride to occasionally, but now she can drive. I didn't mind helping her on occasion as she was helping me with summer camps etc.

I have also had students who felt more comfortable talking to me about things, but like a poster said above, if it was anything dangerous, Id always talk to the parents about it.

Ive never had the kids sleep in my house, but I did have a few camp out in the indoor during the summer before shows. It was great, they got up extra early and fed for me!

The barn has the occasional lunch/dinner after a show, holiday parties things like that.

As far as calling/texting hanging out at the mall, I do not. The line has to be drawn somewhere and the same for all students. I find it can quickly turn into a "well you like her better" type of thing if one talks to me more than the others.

bazinga
Nov. 19, 2010, 01:07 PM
In the past I made the mistake of becoming too friendly with coaches (like BFF type friendships), where I would go up just to talk and gossip with them more than I would ride. It got to the point where my lessons would consist of more talking than riding. Also when it came time to leave those barns the coaches took it way to personally. And I find if you leave those people I find you can never really leave on good terms with them, because they get offended. Also it came to the point where they would really cheap out on the services they offer, ie. I paid for my horses to be ridden, they never were ridden.

I have now made it a point to not become to close with my coaches and keep everything on a professional level, so if I ever have to leave there will not be a huge drama festival. Thankfully now we have our own place to ride so people will not get as offended if we leave.

lisa
Nov. 19, 2010, 01:43 PM
My coach is one of my closest friends.

We have had our differences and have severed our professional relationship several times over the past 11 years, but have always remained friends.

We have an agreement that our friendship means more to us than a professional relationship.

findeight
Nov. 19, 2010, 02:02 PM
The relationships between student and trainer I have seen really disintegrate seem to have ended up with one or both sides using the other to replace what may be missing intheir away from the barn lives.

Sometimes they get too clingy. Sometimes too involved in the others personal life-and about things best not shared. Get too nosey. Gets to be like BFFs with signifigant downside potential if they start feeling "left out" of the loop with personal issues.

In response to the specific issue of providing transportation, watch out you don't become that family's go to person. Nobody needs a client so bad they need to turn into a defacto nanny-it's fine to help occaisionally IF the trainer can leave her barn to play chauffer. But if the rest of the family is not committed to get the kid there? You risk being the only one providing that ride to the barn, shows and maybe social events-with little thanks from the rest of the family.

Never forget, all it takes is an insinuation or hollow promise from another trainer and they will be gone. possibly sharing tidbits you shared with them.

Keep it businesslike and professional, socialize when appropriate but don't think most of your clients are your BFF forever.

HRF Second Chance
Nov. 19, 2010, 02:03 PM
In the past I made the mistake of becoming too friendly with coaches (like BFF type friendships), where I would go up just to talk and gossip with them more than I would ride. It got to the point where my lessons would consist of more talking than riding. Also when it came time to leave those barns the coaches took it way to personally. And I find if you leave those people I find you can never really leave on good terms with them, because they get offended. Also it came to the point where they would really cheap out on the services they offer, ie. I paid for my horses to be ridden, they never were ridden.

I have now made it a point to not become to close with my coaches and keep everything on a professional level, so if I ever have to leave there will not be a huge drama festival. Thankfully now we have our own place to ride so people will not get as offended if we leave.

Conversely for me, this! ^

I have had a hard time between being the "friend' and being the paying student in the past. Something I"m working on! As a teacher, I always strive to make sure that there was minimal talking in the group and that everyone worked hard. So it's important for me as a student to get the same.

I did encourage all my students to seek instruction outside of just riding with me because I don't know it all and I would frequently tell them that. But now that I don't teach at all I get numerous calls/e-mails to ask if I'm back working again.

mrsbradbury
Nov. 19, 2010, 04:36 PM
I tend to keep things on the professional side.

However, when invited to parties and gatherings hosted by clients, I accept and attend. As in instructor/barn owner/ trainer I feel that the invitation is an extension of the rapport we build in the ring, and feel honored to attend.

I also on occassion have meals/ cocktails with my adult clients at the end of a show.

I have had "special" lunch with a junior rider when we went saddle shopping and drove her, her parents wanted my judgement call and thought it would be a cool grown-up day for her.

I do not drive children home from lessons (unless there was an emergency, and say mom couldn't get here; then I might take Susie home at the end of the day.)
I do not share hotel rooms with students of any age.

I will on occasion will let students ride with the rig to a show.

If someone wants to share something personal, I will listen and give appropriate advice.

Starda01
Nov. 19, 2010, 09:05 PM
There seems to be quite a range of responses. But I have the impression that more would rather it be a professional relationship than blur the lines by being den mother/bff. Of course, in between, there are relationships of true friendship and respect.

I have watched the two 20-something trainers at my barn and how they work. I personally think they cross some lines, but that's MHO. I can see and accept that riding is a sport that takes a lot of time commitment, and your barn buddies are special, and your trainer is special, and sometimes "God-like". And admit it, don't we tend to see our riding heroes that way, even as adults? So I think all that is pretty normal. Of course, how its handled is my quest to understand.

I do teach beginners, but I am older. What I see at my barn is that the pretty 20-something trainers are the preferred ones. They are closer in age and physical appearance, and they play with them in a flirty sort of way. They are like hip older sisters, and give their student's dads something to look at and flirt with. Even with the adult students, they have quite a following because they are more fun. Can't fight it at my age, lol.

But this summer, I was told I couldn't do summer camp,(which hurt my pocket), because the BO was concerned that students wouldn't show up unless their favorite trainer was there. One of the other trainers even told me that her students wouldn't come if she weren't there. Its like a cult following!

I like to help my students when I can, within reason. I have my own family to take care of, I'm older, so I don't come across as cuddly. But should one need a pair of half chaps, a helmet, I even bought a saddle that would fit smaller students because one of mine was struggling so much. I can use the saddle for other little ones also, so it wasn't a total gift to her, but it has helped her gain confidence, so no regrets there.

I also have a daughter who rides. She now rides at another barn, but when she was at my barn, and one of the trainers tried to "mother" her, I didn't like it. She changed barns for a lot of reasons, but one major one was because of the way the younger trainers behaved.

Now, this is one barn, so I don't mean to extend it to all others, or to the relationships that have developed between trainers and their students. I'm just trying to find a comfortable zone with my coworkers.

PaintPony
Nov. 19, 2010, 11:09 PM
Most of the kids I have taught come for lessons/shows, have a great time and go home. However there are always those few barn rats who want to hang around and help.

I was one of those girls myself so I am always happy to let them work for extra rides or get pizza while they clean tack and do laundry. I also let them spend the night at my place before shows. It works out great for me (I have extra hands for those early mornings) and for their parents (no picking them up after evening schooling and then having to get up at the crack of dawn).

It makes me happy to think that I made an impact on a young rider's life, just like someone once did for me.

I agree that you shouldn't go overboard with it though. It is too easy to lose boundaries that way.

sanctuary
Nov. 19, 2010, 11:44 PM
Most of my students come ride and go home. I do have one who we blur the lines with on a regular basis. Her daughter and my son are in the same 4th grade class. She'll pick my son up from school and bring him to the barn when she comes for lessons and I'll drive her daughter home when need be.

Another we vacation together sometimes. Nothing major, normally just a night, but my hubby and their dad get along great so they have a good time. The "line" is talked about on a regular basis though to make sure it's not crossed.

In the ring, it's always professional. The kids know I'm boss. period.

It's hard not to get involved. When the kids are there 5 days a week and all day most weekends, it's hard to stay seperate.

I love my clients and I understand the day will most likely come they move on. I accept it, I hope they do too. I've been burned before and understand it is likely to happen again. It's a risk I'm willing to take.

CHT
Nov. 19, 2010, 11:46 PM
My former coaches would drive certain students to the barn, take them out to movies, and invite them to share their hotel room and so on...it created an atmosphere of favouritism and competition to be a chosen one. It also created some bitterness towards the kids that were the chosen ones.

I talk to my students while they warm up/cool down and know about their lives, but that is not limited by age. I do not plan outside the barn activities that are not able to be open to everyone.

shawneeAcres
Nov. 20, 2010, 08:10 AM
I have a small lesson program. ABout 12 students altogether and about 7 are kids. They range from 6 yrs old to 18 yrs old and most of them have ridden with me for a number of years. Some of the parents also ride and one takes lessons with me. I am good friends with all of them. We have special occasions together, do a "rotating" Thanksgiving around our houses, have a huge fun Christmas party with my other clients and people that are "horsey". I do sometimes pick up a child at school to go to a show etc. I don't "mother" kids, but they are all important to me, especially since I develop long relationships teaching them year after year. We are a big "team" and "family" and everyone enjoys everyone elses company. I like it this way and noone has ever had any "issues" with it.

TalkIsCheap
Nov. 20, 2010, 11:21 AM
Not a trainer, but a parent. And one that has had multiple kids in multiple sports over many years...and they are now adults.

I would expect a trainer/coach to be just that. I would expect good role modeling, and would not want my minor child to be a part of their trainer/coach's social life/family life outside of the context of the sport they are playing.

The default setting for addressing problems with your minor aged students should go back to the parents.

Ask yourself : would my (riding) student's classroom teacher do this for this student in his/her school classroom? If the answer is no, then don't do it.

You have a business to run and a reputation to keep.

bazinga
Nov. 20, 2010, 11:39 AM
It created an atmosphere of favouritism and competition to be a chosen one. It also created some bitterness towards the kids that were the chosen ones.


This is what really happened, and turned people against each other. Litterally some of the students turned into the coaches little snitches, people ended up leaving over this, as half the time false information was being reported (I was one of them). Seriously it turned into a competition who could get the "juiciest" gossip to the coaches, whoever did ended up being their "bff". It was really unprofessional and I never plan to get into that situation again.

I also made the mistake of having one of my coaches on facebook, talking about facebook lurking to the point that if I rode some one elses horses and photos were documented I was accused of wanting to leave! Or they would question why I am giving positive comments to other peoples horses and not to theirs.

It became really messy when I left the last trainer, even though we thought we left on good terms. But it turns out she is still going around making up reasons why we left and that we totally backstabbed her... Oh well.




Ask yourself : would my (riding) student's classroom teacher do this for this student in his/her school classroom? If the answer is no, then don't do it.



I cannot agree more with this statement.

Starda01
Nov. 20, 2010, 09:22 PM
Great responses. I've seen the favoritism thing play out also, and it wasn't pretty. Frankly, people in the position of teacher, coach, have A LOT of power in their student's minds. SOME, by all means, not all, people in that position do play power games like creating favorites. Which is why I believe its better to clearly define roles with the younger students. I am an adult, you are still a kid! Between adults, lines will get blurred, but if both are mature about it then problems shouldn't come up. The problems between adults come about when money comes into play.

findeight
Nov. 21, 2010, 01:44 PM
I am very much an Adult but willingly confess to some not too charitable feelings when any of my trainers over the years-and there have been about 8 over 45 years-gave any hint of favoritism towards some clients and not others.

You know, somewhat immature feelings of being left out of some social gathering or dinner you were not invited to? As an adult, you feel a little silly over it and realize nobody is excluding you and they are trying to close a deal on a horse or something. But for a second, that feeling does crop up. Only human.

But these young 20 something trainers are really, really bad about being "one of the kids" and there is no way some of those teeners and tweeners don't feel left out of the loop. And they are not mature enough to shake that off.

Some of these trainers will go to to great lengths to get and keep clients as well, branching out into providing transportation and meals...or they are so insecure they feel they have to do more then teach/train to make people like them.

Anyway...it's fine to be friendly and social as trainer or client. Holidays, group gatherings and such. But for a trainer-you start singling out a client for what others percieve is special treatment? As a client-you think trainer is your BFF??? Boy, are you in for a shock down the road 99% of the time.

I've watched this happen in 2 disiplines and 2 breed show arenas for 45 years. Trust me. It's a BIG mistake on both sides.

rugbygirl
Nov. 21, 2010, 02:30 PM
I think there is something about this business that makes people be closer to you than say soccer

It might be the tendency for riding coaches to stay the same year after year. In many kids sports, you get a new coach every year, or every year or two...and the athletics groups WANT that. It helps to grow the sport, you learn a new set of info/skills every year. While it is inevitable for a coach to favour some kids somewhat (they relate to them better, see a bit of themselves in there, etc...) if the same age group of kids gets a new coach every year, there is a lot less resentment about that kind of favouritism.

---


It created an atmosphere of favouritism and competition to be a chosen one. It also created some bitterness towards the kids that were the chosen ones.

Very much so. It was very clear what I had to do to be a "chosen one" in my previous situation, and that was to buy a made competition horse that my coach could get her credentials on. Or at the very least buy a made horse that I could bring home lots of ribbons on to make her look better. All of a sudden, I was in a scenario that didn't reward my progress...because she considered my progress on my green horses worthless. In her eyes it was...very sadly, I began to see my own progress as worthless too. In the end, she gained a new client when she devalued my horse by 20% to seal the deal with them, and a friend of hers got my mare for free because coach told me mare was worthless.

--


I talk to my students while they warm up/cool down and know about their lives, but that is not limited by age. I do not plan outside the barn activities that are not able to be open to everyone.

That's a mature, professional way to run a barn. The second a trainer starts to cultivate a much closer relationship with one client over others, guaranteed there is resentment somewhere else, even if it is very quiet. It will cost you clients in the end to provide special treatment like rides, lunches, etc.

I think more trainers need to realize that they charge for every minute of their time. OK, fair enough...but then giving "free" time to some clients becomes unprofessional and biased billing in the eyes of other clients. Charge for hauling, ensuring every gallon of gas is paid for...then let a student get a ride for free. People might be ticked.

giddybiddy
Nov. 21, 2010, 08:55 PM
Me and my trainer are very close, but she stays fully professional in all situations. She is like a second mother to me, and I wouldn't have it any other way. Lots of days it's just me and her in the barn, so we do talk about what's going on in our lives. But when we're in the ring, it's all business (though she is a jokester!) Everyone knows that she's the boss, and what she says goes.

I've gone through some really tough times, and she's been there for me as a big support and has helped me through those times, and for that I'm forever grateful. Like other people have said, this is a sport where you have opportunities to get very close to people, because you spend so much time at the barn.

leilatigress
Nov. 22, 2010, 03:34 PM
DD's Trainer comes to the birthday parties and we go out to eat for dinner on occasion (we each pay our own bills.). I try to keep it professional mostly because I respect my trainer's time and what she wants to do on her free days. But our barn has a 2 hour limit for unattended children. Kiddo can be there an hour before and an hour after lesson otherwise parent needs to be there. It's not their job to babysit the kids and I really really appreciate that. Growing up my trainers were strictly professional and when I did do the circuit it was separate hotel rooms and one parent usually traveled with us(show mom). Trainer was there for the horses and us on the horses.

findeight
Nov. 22, 2010, 06:28 PM
Long as trainer goes to any other birthday parties they are invited to? No problem.

But the first one they are invited to they do not attend can create a slight in the eyes of a 10-15 year old. Nothing worse then tweener girls boasting beloved trainer went to their party but skipped anothers. Regardless of the adult reason for that? That is a huge problem that can tear a barn apart.

fordtraktor
Nov. 22, 2010, 10:28 PM
I used to teach and had a small lesson program. I was on good social terms with my kids. They and their families came to my wedding, and we keep in touch mostly through facebook. When I go home, ten years later, I still often get visits from them. I was a role model and a pivotal part of their childhood. And to be honest, it kept me in line -- as a college aged kid myself, I behaved a lot more than I otherwise might have knowing that I had a dozen little girls watching my every move.

And I was very careful to keep everything open to everyone -- for example, we didn't have one family over for dinner EVER, we had barn parties with everyone invited a few times a year. Any kid was always welcome at the barn. There was always a little drama over who got to ride which pony, but that can't be helped when you only have a handful of lesson steeds. I rotated/assigned them as best I could to keep it fair.

And I cannot imagine picking up a child from school. To what purpose? I am not your mother! Obviously if there was a death in the family or something I would have helped if I could, but it would have had to be something catastrophic like that.

rugbygirl
Nov. 23, 2010, 12:57 PM
^my Martial Arts dojo ended up in a situation like that. One kid was in a rough home situation, but very dedicated to their lessons, instructor wanted to see them able to continue.

I thought the solution was pretty clever, for a small fee the instructor offered pick up service at a few schools (they rented a van/prof. driver so there was no liability issue)

It was a popular service, if I remember correctly and allowed the dojo to open up a previously unused timeslot (right after school.) Parents then only had to make one trip, etc.

fordtraktor
Nov. 23, 2010, 02:16 PM
I guess I could see offering it to everyone as a service, for $$. But not to a particular child, and certainly not without compensation.

Not to mention that this would probably make them some sort of common carrier subject to all sorts of government licensing and transport regulations. And there is ALWAYS a liability issue! No thanks.

hundredacres
Nov. 23, 2010, 02:55 PM
I'm not a trainer, but my trainer and I are very close. My friends and I have spent the night at the barn, he's come with me to Father-Daughter Dances (as my dad lives far away and usually doesnt want to come), and we've taken him out on his birthday to dinner, movies, etc.

My trainer has seriously been my dad. I've been at his barn since I was six and now I am seventeen. I can trust him with anything and he's a great person to talk to. He taught me how to drive, pull a trailer, and has been to my house for dinners. He's met my boyfriends and has come out to dinner and movies with us.

Some people might think this is weird that we're so close, but I love it. He knows just what to say to make me smile and would have been a great dad... when I was little I asked him to adopt me MANY times! Although we are so close, when he's teaching me, it's a whole different ballgame. I'm very focused and he's very strict. When we're in the arena, our relationship becomes professional.

I just want to say that this post is very touching. It made me smile - as an adult child without a dad (never have had one), I'm glad you have someone like your trainer in your life :).

RumoursFollow
Nov. 23, 2010, 11:37 PM
I am a trainer..

I have for sure "crossed the line" with a few of mine... in the sense that I am more than a trainer to most of them. We travel a lot, I take a lot of kids on the road without trainers and when we spend 5-6 days at a show together, we eventually run out of horse stuff to talk about. I dont like any of them better than the others, but am "closer" to those who spend more time on the road with me. Thats just the way it is. I dont think any of them think I play favorites.. frankly I am not an overly friendly person and like my time to myself and so in my neck of the woods, you work hard, ride hard, play hard, you earn my respect, we have a good time at the show and after its over, and thats just that.

I had one student who lost a parent a year ago unexpectedly. I spent a LOT of non-horse time with that student after the fact and even took her to the store to buy a dress she wore to the funeral (after she "forced" me to get my eyebrows waxed- NOT MY THING! haha) and I dont regret that... that kid badly needed someone to lean on and I am grateful that I was able to be there.

My trainer from college is like my family. I wont insult him by calling him a father figure (not old enough!) but he is so dear to me.. I adore him and his wife and their children (whom were in my wedding) He was there for me when my father passed away and saw me through some real highs (meeting my husband, getting married, having my children) and some terribly low lows (losing my dad) but he's just been a constant in my life for so long. I saw some real success in his barn with a horse that we worked hard to make a good one together and he is the reason why I can call myself a professional now. Even now that I've moved away and have my own business, I am comforted to know that hes a phone call away. He's given me so much professional and personal advice over the years. I dont know what I'd do without him.

Tobias
Nov. 24, 2010, 02:05 AM
We are friends, I only have one student now.

My sister and I were pet sitters for her before she started taking lessons, She lives around the corner from me, so when I don't have a ride (to give a lesson) she picks me up. I don't have a car of my own so she loves to help.

The other student that I had (before she moved to Japan on Monday :( ) was a friend from church first, I am close friends with her mom and whole family.

I would usually keep it professional but these were friends before they were students.

SweetTalk
Nov. 26, 2010, 01:59 PM
I've ridden, showed with, and worked for my trainer for around 8 years and we've grown exceptionally close. I even live with her and her family on most weekends. Certainly this is an exceptional situation, but it is what it is. I often farm sit and am in charge of the place when she and her family are on vacation or off at shows. It works really well.

blackcat95
Nov. 27, 2010, 09:08 PM
A very interesting thread...

I've sort of seen both sides of the situation in terms of the really close type of trainer and the all pro all the time trainer.

My summer trainer (who I've been with a lot longer than my school year trainer) is completely a friend. I started riding with her when I was 10 and she was 17 and teaching the up-down lessons on her mom's farm. I guess because the age difference is so small and we (my sister and I) are basically her only students, we really hit it off. She picks us up, we've gone to her house, gone with her to all sorts of stuff, etc. We spend a ton of time with her helping in the barn (I'm basically her assistant barn manager during the summer), going to different barns who she pro-rides for, and generally just spending a lot of time with her. When she went through a rough patch, my mom was there for her. She's going to be teaching me to drive this summer. However, she's totally professional in the ring, and at shows. When I go places with her (horse related), I'm the working student and she's the trainer. No if's, and's, or but's.

My other trainer is much more of a "pro" trainer. She's a lot older, for one thing (I think this is a contributing factor), and her program is much bigger and more competitive (think AA, A, and B shows v. local, B, and C shows). I haven't been with her as long, but I've noticed that she's much more careful about how close she gets to her students. Some of them she's much closer to than others, but that's because some of them have been with her for years since she started her program. Kids are allowed sleep over at her house before a show or if they're going horse shopping, and there are definitely big barn parties and outings- for example, there was a big group who went to see the new HP movie... it's a really tightly knit group of people, like a big family, but it's certainly a different atmosphere than my other trainer's place.

ponyjumper525
Dec. 14, 2010, 09:44 PM
I just want to say that this post is very touching. It made me smile - as an adult child without a dad (never have had one), I'm glad you have someone like your trainer in your life :).

I just saw this... glad it made you smile :)
He's a great guy!

bigeqxo
Dec. 14, 2010, 10:12 PM
I'm not a trainer, but as a student, I can say I feel more comftorable and less intimidated when I'm close to my trainer.
Two of my trainers from Texas (a mother and her daughter) were very, very close with me. Since as long as I can remember, I would get to the barn at 7AM, hang out in her office, help her with lessons, work horses for her that needed it, eat lunch/watch tv at her house (on the barn property), help with cleaning stalls/tack, give hay, etc. Every New Years Eve she would have her campers stay where over night, and we all rode late at night, and went over a jump at midnight when the ball dropped. Even when I stopped doing camps, me and some of the other kids who were close with her stayed over as well, and rode at midnight. We helped her cook dinner, and had a huge breakfast the next day. She was like a mother to me, and still is in a way. She offered me a place to stay and stalls for my horses if I ever wanted to move back to TX. She sold me all my horses but one. She's always been there to help. And although we live in complete opposite sides of the US, we still have a wonderful relationship.
However, when she was teaching, it was a different story. She was a trainer, not a mother figure. And I was a student, not a kid who called the barn her second home. It was very, very professional, and that's the way we both preffered it.

In my opinion, being close to students is perfectly fine, and even batter than not having a friendly relationship. However, the students should know better than to lose respect for you. And both should know that 'hanging out' at the barn, and riding in a lesson/show are two TOTALLY different things.

supershorty628
Dec. 14, 2010, 10:46 PM
All 3 [I'm leaving my mom out for this statement] of the people I've worked with have ended up being like my mom. I'm super close with all of them and have jokingly called them "Mom" because they care so much and are so concerned. I've gone to dinner with them, shared a hotel room with one, and stuff like that. I don't think this is common and for most people, it probably doesn't work. Even when I was training with my [biological] mom, it was clear that when I was riding, she was Trainer, not Mom. It's worked fine for me and for them!

I love all my moms, haha!

Starda01
Dec. 14, 2010, 11:11 PM
All 3 [I'm leaving my mom out for this statement] of the people I've worked with have ended up being like my mom. I'm super close with all of them and have jokingly called them "Mom" because they care so much and are so concerned. I've gone to dinner with them, shared a hotel room with one, and stuff like that. I don't think this is common and for most people, it probably doesn't work. Even when I was training with my [biological] mom, it was clear that when I was riding, she was Trainer, not Mom. It's worked fine for me and for them!

I love all my moms, haha!

Wow! I sure wish I could have that relationship with my dd. She, however, needs her space and rejects me as trainer. I am not her trainer, but I know what she needs to do and I can help her if she wants. Trouble is, she thinks I interfering whenever I give her any advice. So, I don't, until she gets into trouble. :(

nlk
Dec. 14, 2010, 11:20 PM
I'm in my mid twenties. I have 4 or so girls that are in college etc that I find myself more "friends" with then other clients.

These few girls I have known for 10+ years since I was a young teen and they started riding. I find that these are friendships that have lasted. They take my advice and instruction seriously but going on a shopping trip to the tack store and lunch is fun. One of them is actually a more maternal relationship as she doesn't have a very good one with her mother and comes to me with or about things she wouldn't with her mother.

The rest of my clients I am friendly with. I want them to feel like they can come to me with what ever they need to including complaints about classes if they need to. The children LOVE having an instructor who is "cool", but I don't get overly involved. If someone leaves I'll ask why to make improvements if possible but other then that it's bon voyage. Plus everyone respects me in the ring or they leave.

Punkie
Dec. 15, 2010, 01:01 AM
Coming from the client side of things...

One of my trainers is my best friend, my business partner and the closest thing I'll ever have to a husband (I don't believe in the institution of marriage and he's already got a husband, but we fight like cats and dogs and then he makes it up to me by buying me pretty things...like young horses ;) Can't beat that deal!). But I'd argue ours is a very, very unique situation.

My other trainer is someone I have a first a professional relationship with, but she is also someone I consider a friend. We spend a lot of time together on road and have done a lot of talking/going out to dinner/going for drinks. I wouldn't call her up just to chat (like I do my BFF-trainer), but we go out to dinner once a month or so and joke around/chat about non-horse related things, etc. She has been a great support system through some difficult things in my life that she has also experienced (again, non-horse-related), so we certainly share that as a bond. I think I have the perfect blend with her. The line I walk with my BFF is probably a little thin for most people, but it works for us. And we know that if our business relationship dissolves, it has nothing to do with our friendship. We're good about keeping those things emotionally separate...though we do a lot of our fighting at the barn ;)

Pony+ an inch
Dec. 15, 2010, 02:19 PM
From the client's perspective,

My current trainer has been a wonderful person that I can look to as both a teacher and as an adult when I need advice/help on something, horse related or not. I have a lot of respect for trainers because sometimes I think they end up becoming therapists as well as teachers--in fact, most coaches do in sports. A person can be physically fit and adept at their sport, but if they're mentally warped or down or unfocused, it's a coach's job to figure out what's holding them back from being her best at the sport.

Because I am a college kid who lives far away from home, it has been relieving to have someone who has volunteered to get me to a doctor or ER when I've fallen deathly ill (which has been multiple times, gotta love disease and miscellaneous injuries) and who will (and has) yell at me when I am at the barn instead of getting a major assignment done. I wouldn't classify our relationship as a parental one, per say, but perhaps one of mentor and grasshopper. Kids/young adults do stupid things and are clueless. It helps to have someone that's not your mother to look up to and get advice on stuff like, where to get new tires from in town, or my roommate is trying to kill me, but I don't know if I should move out, or I am stuck in my tallboots and can't get them off pls help (true story txt msg). We don't nose about in each other's lives, but she has no problem giving help if I ask her for it--albeit, with that last text message, she first had to laugh a lot.

At my school, we give out these gold coins to people whom have had the most impact on our college career, and my trainer is leading the pack there. She's seen me at my best and my worst, and she knows how to help me get mentally focussed better than any professor as mine, albeit I have had some phenomenal professors. I would not have stayed at my school let alone in school if not for her and the wonderful horse she found me to lease.

supershorty628
Dec. 15, 2010, 04:52 PM
Wow! I sure wish I could have that relationship with my dd. She, however, needs her space and rejects me as trainer. I am not her trainer, but I know what she needs to do and I can help her if she wants. Trouble is, she thinks I interfering whenever I give her any advice. So, I don't, until she gets into trouble. :(

Hahaha well, part of the reason I moved to my trainer is because my mom and I were starting to clash a lot!

StorybrookeFarms
Dec. 15, 2010, 11:45 PM
I think there is something about this business that makes people be closer to you than say soccer.

I agree and believe it is most definitely the horses.


Seeing as I travel between two barns, neither of which I own but simply train out of, I farm/house/horse sit for one group of clients. Been to dance recitals, offered to pick up from school on my way out to teach when mom was sick, gone on trips, to lunch, shopping (horsey) with, etc. I think it's important not to extend yourself too much. But, especially with the kids and when possible, I think supporting them in all their endeavors is very beneficial to all involved!

diKecnadnuS
Dec. 22, 2010, 05:28 AM
I have always been very close with all of my trainers throughout my life, but in very different ways. My current trainer was my friend before she became my trainer, and she is one of my best friends now. We're the same age(ish) and she becomes trainer when I'm on a horse, but the rest of the time we're just great friends. We're both really good at turning on the trainer/student relationship when riding. And yes, we hang out outside of horses... actually, the majority of our interaction is non-horse-related. And yes, I turn to her for dating advice, and we do things most girls in their 20's do with best friends like go to bars or movies or dinner or shopping. I just happened to luck out and become friends with someone whose teaching style I love and horse knowledge I trust. I can't imagine our trainer student relationship ever being compromised because of our friendship. I don't fight with my friends, I never have, and I tend to form long lasting friendships so I'm not concerned. We are extremely professional when horses are involved, and knowing our personalities I don't see that changing.

In the past I have always been extremely close with my trainers, but in more of a parental/ mentor/ guardian way. Trust has always been a major aspect in my relationships with trainers both in my real life and with the horses. I've confided in my trainers about some pretty horrific things that have happened in my life, and never once doubted the trust in our relationship. I spent far and a way more time with my trainer in high school than I did my parents, living with her during the summers, and we had a very strong relationship. I knew I had to be a good kid and behave or she'd kill me... so I stayed out of trouble.