Go see the horse. It may surprise you. Have a frank talk with the client about what kind of time it will take to train this horse. If their expectation mesh with the timeline, there should be no problem. If their expectations are too high, tell them you will do what you can, but you will not rush a horse's training. If they don't believe you, then let it go. But you can't go in with a negative attitude. They will just think you are sabotaging the purchase.
I bought a horse on my own...although I went into the experience with quite a bit of knowledge (not of buying, but of horses in general). My trainer saw three pictures and that was it. We talked and because I was expecting her to help me train the youngster, agreed that if she ever felt unsafe on my horse she was to tell me right away and she would no longer ride him. Thankfully my experience has turned out well. While I did buy a green, spooky WB, he has a good mind underneath it all. After a year and a half, things are finally starting to come together...but there's been some frustrating times. All in all it's been a good experience, but I was prepared for what it would take.
A late-gelded, green older horse for a junior rider- yikes!!! I fear, as you do, that the odds are greatly stacked against this one. Also, I'm sure you already know this but try to test the horse in the arena with other horses. I have had 2 late-gelded (age 3) horses and both had a lot of trouble with other horses in the ring, especially in the close quarters of a warm-up ring.
I had a long-term customer buy a horse who was unsuitable for various reasons, against my advice. (Although I had been looking on her behalf for several months, the horse she bought was "found" for her by a former trainer, who had also "found" her the unsuitable horse she was replacing.) I was willing to work with her and the horse regardless, although I made clear the problems I foresaw cropping up along the way to reaching her goals and underlined the amount of extra time and money it would take to get there with this particular horse, IF it was possible at all. After the first few days, she told me she thought it would be best if she also took lessons with the former trainer (since she knew the horse). I calmly and politely told her that it was not something I was interested in doing. I pointed out to her she had made vast improvements in her riding and her old horse's training with me (after several other trainers had written them both off) and if that didn't give her confidence in me, I felt there was no point in continuing. She decided to go with the other trainer. The horse has been lame and unrideable for most of the past two years.
I have to say I haven't lost any sleep over it.
If you really feel negative about this horse, do everyone (especially you) a favor and cut them loose. The clients may learn a valuable lesson, or they may do quite well with the horse and another trainer, but your piece of mind and reputation won't be damaged by it.
What we hope ever to do with ease, we must learn first to do with diligence.
- Samuel Jackson
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">f you really feel negative about this horse, do everyone (especially you) a favor and cut them loose. The clients may learn a valuable lesson, or they may do quite well with the horse and another trainer, but your piece of mind and reputation won't be damaged by it. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
I agree it isnt worth your reputation as a trainer...
Let the horse go, get out of its way, it knows what to do...Stop pulling and keep kicking!!!!!!
With all due respect to you as a professional trainer, here's my 2 cents. Take all emotions out of the picture. You are feeling betrayed by these clients and rightful so. However; you have given them your advise about what you thought were their goals based on showing a Children's Hunter at Upperville in June. Period.
If they buy this horse, without taking advantage of your professional opinion, so be it. I would back off and let the breeder perform the magic in their 60 days of training. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_c...n_rolleyes.gif If they come crawling back to you for help, then you have the option of saying yes I can or no I'm sorry.
I agree. You have the responsibility to tell them exactly what you think the downsides of this horse are, what time frame they should expect, and to give them fair warning that it might not work out.
And the next, probably unpopular part:
After that, it's their decision. If they decide to buy the horse, let your feelings go and embrace it. You aren't their mother, you are paid to give them advice. You are not paid to make sure they take it.
It might be that their goals are not exactly what you think they are. Sure, the kid has two junior years left, but not everyone lives on the A circuit and wants that type of goal for themselves. Just make sure that you aren't imposing your competitive goals onto her -- she may find playing with a youngster more appealing than you think.
I would make sure you're getting a commission if you go try out the horse for them, and make sure they know beforehand that you'll expect one.
I counsel against cutting them loose if your ego can take it. I think attitudes like, "you must do everything I tell you or you can't be my disciple" are far too prima-donnaish for a businessperson with any common sense to adopt. I wouldn't ride with someone who had such a strict program that I couldn't partake unless I bit in hook, line, and sinker. Trainers are not gods and shouldn't pretend to be.
You sound like you're just venting and know all this already. Good luck, and I really hope they pass on the horse!
This is a little more complicated then just them buying a horse outside of a trainer's recommendation though...this seller wants them to leave the trainer for 2 months and work with her exclusively. So they are asking this trainer to evaluate the horse but not work with her for 2 months.
Kind of ridiculous really, expecting the trainer to evaluate the horse and say yes so the clients can stay with the breeder/seller instead of working with the trainer.
A little unusual to say the least.
Warefox, make sure you bill for that evaluation.
When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.
West of insanity, east of apathy, deep in the heart of Texas.
I like findeight's perspective. Definitely be sure to bill for the evaluation (present them with the bill before you go http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_c.../icon_wink.gif ), but then be as absolutely open minded as you can about the horse. Sometimes these greenies can, indeed, surprise you.
That said, I'd not hold my breath. The seller sounds like she could sell ice to Eskimos. I'd love to have a talent like that. But the thing that really sets off my charlatan siren is the 60 days training with the breeder. Surely, if the horse is all she says he is, the child won't have any trouble riding him? And if the horse is all that, make sure the breeder gets on and rides him and demonstrates just exactly why this horse will be ready for Upperville in June. *BEG*
Anyway, if after your evaluation the pair are still convinced that this horse is "the one", I'd collect my evaluation fee and politely present them with several names and numbers of trainers that you think might put up with this sort of garbage. I'd thought about saying to let them buy the horse and ride with the breeder and then come crawling back, but I decided against it. This sort of client rarely stops with one such foray into horse ownership - let someone else beat her head against the wall trying to get this kid what she needs. Pity of it is the waste of the kid's remaining junior years, since that seemed to be her goal.........http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/no.gif
When its your money - you can make the decsions, when its not, all you can do is give advice. I have turned people away from horses that I had for sale because they are not suitable - but not every breeder will do that. Maybe this horse isn't right for them, and unfortunalty if that's the case the horse will be the ultimate loser in the whole story. But, to be devils advocate - have you even seen the horse? Perhaps this breeder knows what he/she is talking about. Maybe there is an issue that you won't get a commission if they buy a horse on their own that is keeping you from accepting the situation? I know of a lot of trainers out there that buy and sell only to one another thus keep each other in business - could this be the contention about someone buying their own horse with their own money? As a trainer, I hope you can look past that and use what good training skills you have to bring this pair up to par - and if that's not your "bag", then politely tell them to find someone else. Bottom line is you don't HAVE to train these people. If you are not happy about how they spend their money, find a client who is willing to let you spend their money on how you see fit.
And you're absolutely right - it is the client's horse, kid, and money. But when you're also that client's trainer, and have been for several years through several horses and that client completely ignores your advice that once came from the burning bush, I can see her getting a bit annoyed and feeling as she does. And you know that if the OP wanted to placate the client and gave her grudging approval to an obviously unsuitable horse, it would be all her fault when the horse turns out to be a POS. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_c...n_rolleyes.gif Sorry, but in her shoes, I'd choose not to go there. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_c.../icon_wink.gif
Go and see the horse. Talk to the breeder/seller and find out HOW the DEVIL she thinks that he's going to be ready for Upperville (anything but uber-tiny-itty-bitty baby green) in 5 months.
On the way there (or before) speak to kid and mom about goals. Remind her that it is VERY unlikely that this horse will fulfill her needs, unless her goals have changed. Even if this greenie turns out to be all she believes, he will not likely be a childrens horse by the summer/fall. Maybe the girl HAS had a change of heart as to her goals. Maybe she wants to develop this horse into an A/A horse for after she ages out. We have all been guilty of falling for something in our lives that doesn't suit our needs. Anyone who ever bought a sports car when they walked onto the showroom looking for an economy car can commiserate.
At some point, I imagine that every trainer has had clients ignore their advice. The decision is ultimately theirs. You can however tell them that IF they buy this horse and want to train with the seller, that YOU will not take any role in training. You could refuse to take the horse in after the 60 days. You are not obligated to train any horse or rider.
Only you can decide whether you want to continue to have a business relationship with these people. Are you possibly losing a client because you are "bothered" or "offended" by something that they are doing? Unless you have a strict policy of "I call the shots" you may be burnihg a bridge. OTOH, if they are more confident in the other trainer/seller maybe they would be better off there. It sounds like they might prefer that spot because that trainer is flattering the girl in an attempt to sell something. The other trainer is telling girl and mom what they want to here and you are not.
Resident racing historian ~~~ Re-riders Clique
Founder of the Mighty Thoroughbred Clique
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Linny:
Go and see the horse. Talk to the breeder/seller and find out HOW the DEVIL she thinks that he's going to be ready for Upperville (anything but uber-tiny-itty-bitty baby green) in 5 months. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
Actually, Upperville is really only 3 1/2 months away.
I think you should go see it with an open mind and sit on it yourself. School the changes and see if the horse really doesn't know how to do them - maybe the breeder just isn't a very good rider and hasn't taught them properly.
I know that parents also get very excited about Upperville (I think it is the only show that my mother liked going to) - but also remind them that it is one of the scariest (for the horses) and trickiest (for the riders) so many times it is not the best goal to be working towards.
fwiw, from the client perspective, here's what I'd like to see:
I'd like you to see the horse. I'd like you to tell me before we go that there will be a fee for your evaluating the horse, and to give me a written bill stating the fee and what I can expect from it (riding the horse, verbal or written report, etc). In your report you can list the pros and cons of the horse, being sure to state that you are evaluating the horse against the stated goal of X; if that goal has changed that could have an impact on your evluation of the horse.
With that in hand, the clients will decide whether to buy the horse or not. If they do, I suggest you give them your notes on what you feel will be necessary to reach their goal (training by you? extra lessons? local schooling shows and no 2'6" to start? pro rides at first shows?).
If they do not agree/are not willing to do what you feel is necessary, or if you just do not want to work with this horse/rider combo, I suggest you tell them your concerns and give them several other people to call, wish them well and say that you hope they stay in touch. Then be thankful you've behaved well and professionally and forget about them.
I KNOW the horse world is fraught with emotional involvement and none of us are immune to it. But whenever possible, try to remember it IS still a professional relationship between trainer and rider, and it ain't ALL personal. Good luck.
I don't think one client buying a horse against advice will harm one's reputation as a trainer. I did it, and the trainer's reputation wasn't harmed at all.
I think it's a good thing to have your opinion out there, but avoid being rude to anyone (not saying you are), espically not the owners of the horse currently.
All in all, if it doesn't work out, they know that you did your best to warn them. In my case, the trainer ended up extremelly sorry to see my horse go when we eventually did leave- because he exceeded everything she thought.
I think it's enough to have your opinion out there, and not worth "cutting them loose."
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by findeight:
And these clients are asking the OP to act as a pro and evaluate the horse then NOT letting her train it.
As I said, kind of unusual. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
Yeah, that 60 days of training with the breeder thing is weird. As a trainer, I wouldn't feel comfortable with that.
Keith: "Now...let's do something normal fathers and daughters do."
Veronica: "Buy me a pony?"
Warefox - I think I have the same client!!! Mom came in this morning and announced she bought a horse in Florida this weekend on another trainer's advice and is leaving it with that trainer. Then it will come to us next fall after the other trainer has taught the kid how to ride it this summer. Whatever... http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_c...n_rolleyes.gif
I'm a little confused about the issue of timing, specifically for Upperville.... Unless I've misunderstood, you indicated that the girl is 16 and you've trained her for five years, and yet she has never done a 2-6 course..... if that's correct, why the sudden hurry to get her even beyond 2-6 to 3-0 in the next three months?
If show readiness was the big issue, why has she had two green ponies? As a non-pro and former pony-mom, I would feel somewhat betrayed if you, the trainer to whom I had committed my child's junior years, five already, would refuse to evaluate this horse. As for the breeder's desire to keep it in training, oh well.... that's neither here nor there. If you see the horse and like it, you'll train it, period. Of course the customers are free to change trainers....that's always true. But it sounds like they are committed to you. At least check it out and go from there. Don't make the decision before seeing the horse. You may be surprised. Keep an open mind!!
To those who have inquired about the commission, I will neither gain NOR LOSE financially by the purchase of this horse, unless they end up as somebody else's client. I am charging them a consultation fee every time I look at a horse, which is why I didn't mind when they went initially and looked on their own, and promised to return with a video. I knew the horse was green, and told them I wanted to see it walk-trot-canter, jump a small line, and do a lead change. The horse is SEVEN, I don't think I am unreasonable in my expectations. What I saw on the video was the horse trotting some x's and not even attempt to do a change across the diagonal. (This is with the owner/breeder/trainer on it!!!) The horse didn't do a simple change, it didn't swap in front and then skip up behind, it did absolutely nothing except swish its tail as the owner was kicking and pulling in the corner. Yet this is the "trainer" with whom the horse must stay for 60 days while the child learns to ride it. When I questioned mother about this lead change problem, she said that the horse had recently returned from Florida where it had spent a month with another trainer, and was "confused" about the changes. Can you say RED FLAG?
I intend to see and ride the horse on Sunday, and I am going to try my very hardest to keep an open mind. Please understand, I do not want this child to fail, I want her to SUCCEED. She has spent her entire riding career on green animals because of financial constraint, but they did very well on the last pony sale (with my help and training, thank you) and now can put a decent amount of money on a suitable horse that the child can just go and ENJOY. We talked about her goals, which two weeks ago was to show at 3' by the end of the season and do well at a particular year-end championships, but now they say that because of this horse the goals have changed and they think they can go even farther than they first thought. Based on what? This breeder has them completely snowed, and frankly I am looking forward to meeting her so I can learn the trick. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_c.../icon_wink.gif
\"I ride because the partnership with horses fills my mind with perfections of cadence and rhythmic excitement and intensities of communion.\" Dick Francis