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View Full Version : Showing "on your own" instead of "with the barn"



ArabDiva
Feb. 7, 2011, 11:48 PM
This is a bit of an etiquette/expectations question. I wanted to get the collective COTH input before it becomes an issue...

I've been showing since 2007 (at the schooling/unrated/local GMO shows level). Since my horses live at home with me, and my original trainer didn't show, I have always done EVERYTHING myself, from the trailering to the braiding and grooming and schooling and wiping the dirt off my own boots before I go into the ring. I show out of my trailer whenever it's possible and I've got everything down to a system.

Since this past August, I have been riding with a new trainer who is absolutely wonderful. Even though I trailer-in on a weekly basis she makes me feel like a part of the barn family, as opposed to other situations I've been in where trailer-ins were treated like aliens or second-class citizens.

So what I'm wondering is, now that I'm 'part' of a barn will I be expected to show 'with' the barn' (and pay the associated fees for assistance, grooming, etc.)? Will I be a bad client if I want to 'go it alone'? While I would love to be able to relax a little and let somebody else help take care of things on show day, I am a) kind of a control freak and b) don't really like the idea of paying for what I am perfectly capable of doing on my own (and don't really have the money to spend). I wouldn't mind paying for a schooling session with my trainer at the show, but paying for a full complement of services at every show will curtail the number of shows I can afford to go to this summer.

thoughts?

Elegante E
Feb. 8, 2011, 12:09 AM
Depends on the trainer. If she isn't a control freak type, she'll let you pick and choose which, if any, services you wish to buy at a show, and just let you stall with them (maybe split the tack stall fee if you use it). Being schooled in the warmup can be a help for at least the first show, but the grooming shouldn't be mandatory. Stalling with a group can add to the fun of showing.

Discuss it with the coach. If she's a bit of a scab, you may find it out now and it will save you time/expenses later.

mypaintwattie
Feb. 8, 2011, 12:21 AM
Definitely talk it over with her. Since you trailer in you probably will be able to do everything yourself since you do not normally use the grooming services, ect. You may be able to stable with them, I know a few people in similar situations that do everything themselves but have their stalls at the end of the trainers row so that they are still 'part of the barn'. The trainer helps them school and coaches them, so they only pay the trainers schooling fee.

Velvet
Feb. 8, 2011, 09:36 AM
Speaking as a trainer/coach and someone who in her youth showed with her barn, all I can ask is WTF (that's fruitbat)????

It's your horse. You're paying for training. You have your own trialer, etc. If you WANT to go with the rest of the barn, do it. If you want to be independent, do it. You should never be required to go with her and pay all those extra fees, etc. YOU are in control of your horse. No trainer would ever expect you to go with the barn if you're just trailiering in for lessons. Even if you're a part of the barn, you would have to specify that you wanted to be a part of the group.

Do what makes you happy. You have no obligation to talk to the trainer about it. She doesn't control your show schedule. If you want to join the barn group, THEN talk to her. If you just plan on being at a show and maybe hanging out with them once you're there, do it.

SaddleUp158
Feb. 8, 2011, 10:11 AM
First determine if you want to be responsible for you and your horse or if you are willing to pay her to get you all ready for the ring. If you want to be the one getting your horse ready, but still would like to be a part of the group consider asking her if you can stall with them, but get your own horse ready. We have done that before at Nationals. Stall with a trainer friend, but have our own grooming/tack/feed stalls and do everything ourselves, but still be a part of the barn group.

KBEquine
Feb. 8, 2011, 10:13 AM
I would talk to the trainer ahead of time, tell her exactly what you said here - that you don't want to step on any toes or commit an etiquette faux pas, but want to know if there would be any expectations/cost if you attend the same shows but don't want any help at the show (because a groom isn't in your budget) - and also what the cost would be if you attend the same show & just want schooled before your class, but no other help.

It really doesn't matter what she says, so long as she is honest with you. You now know her expectations.

You can plan from there.

rugbygirl
Feb. 8, 2011, 10:20 AM
^ I think this is a totally valid question, unfortunately for the OP, the response is probably not satisfying...like most things, you really need to have a frank discussion with the trainer, and probably do a little digging to make sure you're both clear on what services you expect, and what services (if any) she may expect you to pay for.

It's not common here for barns to have a mandatory grooming fee. It's usually optional, so if you want to do your own braiding and grooming, that should be fine (as long as you are clear.) If your trainer is planning to help you out at the gate and such, I would pay a coaching fee if the trainer charges for show coaching, although several nice people in the past have helped me out and not charged me for it. I also sometimes ask to be stabled "near XXX stable" if I know someone going to the show, but I wouldn't use their tack stall (or any equipment) without asking first. Tack stalls are expensive, and if I used it I would expect to pay something.

I guess what I am saying is that yes, by training with this person and inevitably the training involved something to do with preparation for competition, unless you make ANOTHER arrangement it would be reasonable for the trainer and other clients to expect that you'd do the show with them. Making that other arrangement should be really simple and not a big deal though, in my experience.

It's really fun to show with a barn, I really value the coach who makes an effort to include me (a sporadic lesson-taker and trailer-in-er) with her stable, even though I am happy to "go it alone" too.


You definitely need to have the discussion though. I had another coach who was (and this is understandable) always worried about her clients representing her poorly. Because it was "known" that I trained with her, if I showed up to a show on my own, ill-prepped and not braided, that was a major concern for her. Yes, it is my horse and my right to do whatever I want...but my choosing to take lessons in this large, well-known barn meant that people tied me to her...and that affects her professionally. In the end, this is part of the reason I moved on (I was sick of being made to feel that I was ruining her reputation with my suckitude.)

netg
Feb. 8, 2011, 10:47 AM
I think it sounds like you have the kind of relationship where you should be able to discuss this openly as others have suggested - let her know the finances are a stretch, and while you expect to pay her for schooling help, you really prefer doing all the grooming, etc., on your own.
It amazes me reading the stories on here of people getting charged for every tiny thing, because my breed show trainer didn't charge me for *anything* - braiding, clipping, schooling, etc. - and my dressage trainer charges if she does the trailering and a schooling show on the days she actively schools which is less than a lesson fee. I am lucky!

ArabDiva
Feb. 8, 2011, 12:05 PM
Speaking as a trainer/coach and someone who in her youth showed with her barn, all I can ask is WTF (that's fruitbat)????

It's your horse. You're paying for training. You have your own trialer, etc. If you WANT to go with the rest of the barn, do it. If you want to be independent, do it. You should never be required to go with her and pay all those extra fees, etc. YOU are in control of your horse. No trainer would ever expect you to go with the barn if you're just trailiering in for lessons. Even if you're a part of the barn, you would have to specify that you wanted to be a part of the group.

Do what makes you happy. You have no obligation to talk to the trainer about it. She doesn't control your show schedule. If you want to join the barn group, THEN talk to her. If you just plan on being at a show and maybe hanging out with them once you're there, do it.

Fortunately, she is very laid-back and wonderful about everything...I don't really expect any of this to be a problem BUT I also wanted to see what "the norm" is because I don't want to take advantage of HER either...she treats me so well that I want to make sure I do the same.

princessfluffybritches
Feb. 8, 2011, 12:26 PM
I used to trailer in but was "with" a barn or specifically "with a trainer." There are alot of politics with showing. There was a dramatic difference in placings from when I showed "on my own" and where my trainer was standing at the side of the ring and I was known to be with a barn even tho I trailered in. I think the trainer at ringside and the sight of a relationship with her got me more serious attention from judges. Being on my own , I felt I was not even being considered for placing.

MeghanDACVA
Feb. 8, 2011, 12:40 PM
I admit I am eventer and I have discovered that the dressage show world is a bit different than the eventing show world. Sorry, but that is my finding.

I have always done stuff on my own. Even when I have riding/training with a group from a barn or same trainer. TBH, we are sort of expected to. And I have been with several big time trainers.

I do my own braiding, my own stall care, my own tacking up, etc.
I do pay for coaching since I figure I am riding with that person for a reason and want to be able to have the best possible performance at the show and my trainer knows how to do that with me.

But again, the event world is different from the dressage world (and definitely from the H/J world!) so it prob would be wise to talk to your trainer. If nothing else you can "play dumb" and tell her how you have always done it and whether or not you still "need" to do it or if help will be available IF YOU NEED IT. And since it sounds like you are very comfortable doing it on your own, you prob ought to tell her that. Suddenly changing your whole system, or changing big portions of it, at a show is prob not in your best interest as it may throw you off. So I would be honest with her.

Just an eventer's point of view.

atlatl
Feb. 8, 2011, 03:14 PM
Not just playing devil's advocate here, but this may be a situation where if you don't think you'll like the answer it's best to not ask the question.

I've always shown by myself, filled out my own entries and did not have a coach or trainer sign anything. I am responsible for myself and my horse.

When I did want to be coached at a show, I asked the trainer their day fee and arranged to meet her at the show. Otherwise, I just did my own thing.

On a side note: Having scribed frequently, I've never heard or detected a judge even noticing who was standing next to anyone before they came in the ring.

oldenmare
Feb. 8, 2011, 03:28 PM
BTDT both as a boarder at trainer's barn and as the client who trailered in.

As such, horses are now home and I trailer out when I want lessons.

I will pay for coaching at a show, but I will not stable with any trainer's "group" - be it barn or a bunch of students - as I find it inevitably becomes political on some level amongst them - and I want no parts of it.

I do believe a great deal is due to show nerves - but I don't need their nerves affecting my enjoyment of the show.

So - I go it alone or with a specific friend, we hang out, have a great time and generally become the "hang-out" place when we're at our stalls for various friends and acquaintances. It's a blast and there are no other expectations involved.

It is your horse, your time and your dime. Thus - your decision although it is a matter of courtesy (an oft forgotten consideration in this day and age) to discuss it with your trainer.

pluvinel
Feb. 8, 2011, 04:53 PM
I used to trailer in but was "with" a barn or specifically "with a trainer." There are alot of politics with showing. There was a dramatic difference in placings from when I showed "on my own" and where my trainer was standing at the side of the ring and I was known to be with a barn even tho I trailered in. I think the trainer at ringside and the sight of a relationship with her got me more serious attention from judges. Being on my own , I felt I was not even being considered for placing.
If that's the case, then its a popularity contest not a competition. Save your money and go to good clinics.

princessfluffybritches
Feb. 8, 2011, 08:14 PM
If that's the case, then its a popularity contest not a competition. Save your money and go to good clinics.


I guess I was naive at the time, there were alot of things I didn't know, that's why I don't show anymore and just do my own thing with whoever I want-for personal satisfaction

MysticOakRanch
Feb. 8, 2011, 08:27 PM
Oh, I often show "on my own". Or with a few friends. I don't think it is at all uncommon in the dressage world - there are a lot of us soloists out there. Sometimes I'll pay for some coaching, but more often, I just go out and do it on my own. My husband gets jacket and boot duty:D

I know of some people who ONLY go with a trainer - but they are also in full training, and often don't even own their own trailer (and in the long run, I wonder if that is cheaper then buying and maintaining a truck and trailer :lol:).

I don't think you "owe" it to the trainer to "ask permission", but I don't think it is a bad idea to just mention you are use to showing solo, and it is one way you help keep costs down so you have the money for lessons and showing - my guess is, she'll be fine with it.

Jeannette, formerly ponygyrl
Feb. 8, 2011, 09:05 PM
Mypaintwattie summed up my experience and feelings perfectly. I have asked to stable near a barn group, and then asked the trainer to school me as possible - and actually, trainers have not necessarily charged me - I'm hoping it's not because they have been dodging any connection to me! ;)

Sounds like you are in a great position to ask, and I would bet dollars to doughnuts that it will all work out. If there is someone in the full program warming up at the same time as you are, on the other end of the showgrounds, you might be going solo for that test, but it will work out, I bet!

netg
Feb. 9, 2011, 11:54 AM
I know of some people who ONLY go with a trainer - but they are also in full training, and often don't even own their own trailer (and in the long run, I wonder if that is cheaper then buying and maintaining a truck and trailer :lol:).

Given how little my trainer charges + how much I'm incapable of driving long distances in a car, much less hauling a trailer + the fact I can get my trainer to come out for lessons... it definitely is for me.

I'll be getting a truck and trailer asap anyway, though, because when we have the horses on our property I prefer shipping in to lessons to make sure the goober is used to going somewhere else and working right away.

Eclectic Horseman
Feb. 10, 2011, 10:08 AM
I used to trailer in but was "with" a barn or specifically "with a trainer." There are alot of politics with showing. There was a dramatic difference in placings from when I showed "on my own" and where my trainer was standing at the side of the ring and I was known to be with a barn even tho I trailered in. I think the trainer at ringside and the sight of a relationship with her got me more serious attention from judges. Being on my own , I felt I was not even being considered for placing.


Very, very common at hunter shows at least since the 1980s. Many shows ask you to name your trainer on the entry form, and when I didn't, the steward would yell at me as I entered the ring "who's your trainer?!" Note that award photos for h/j shows usually include the trainer.

That being said, I have never, ever, ever experienced that at a dressage show; not at a schooling show nor at a recognized show. The difference is that the hunter classes are almost totally subjective and there are no scores posted for comparison. It it one of the many reasons that I stopped doing h/j. The h/j trainers keep their businesses tightly controlled by using monopoly like practices.

I have not seen that in dressage.

katarine
Feb. 10, 2011, 10:52 AM
I think what's normal in one barn will be entirely abnormal somewhere else.

Just ask your trainer how she manages clients like you, who prefer to do their own thing at the horse show, manage their own horse...but do want to employ her services in the warm up, maybe call your ride/test, etc: How does she like to do that?

Just ask.