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  1. #1
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    May. 31, 2013
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    Default Trainers- What are your ideas and program structure about this?

    Hi Trainers. What are your rules and program structure about students riding with other trainers? Is it up to you to decide if there is a need and set that up? Do you have customers who just "do" that on their own, and if so, what happens next? I would like to know your ideas on appropriate handling of a situation where a student wants to ride with someone else, but still wants to remain in your barn.



  2. #2
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    Nov. 30, 2006
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    I'm not a trainer but from a client POV - if I wanted to trailer out for lessons that is my decision.

    However, if you require lessons be taken by all who board with you, that's a no brainer. If that is the case and a client doesn't want to take lessons with you he or she is free to board where lessons are more appealing.


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  3. #3
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    Well said - Thank you!



  4. #4
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    Dec. 17, 2013
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    Another client POV here. I'm not sure if you're referring to a student taking lessons with both you and an outside trainer, or just switching trainers completely. If it's the latter, it's entirely up to you and your barn set-up if you want to allow that. If it's the former, know that a rider working with two trainers at once, especially when one is of significantly higher caliber than the other, is fairly common. Sometimes it works out beautifully... sometimes it doesn't. I've seen many of both cases.

    If you think it's time to move on, you should be the one to initiate that and make the first phone call. Know that this may be (and likely is) the first step to losing your client. First it's a few lessons, then it's a show or two, then its a few weeks of a circuit and eventually the horse moves. But if everyone stays on the same page the client may come back eventually, especially if we're talking a junior rider who is going to age out. Things start going sour when the first trainer gets angry the client is leaving and/or wants something that wasn't discussed.


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  5. #5
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    Nov. 15, 2012
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    Another client point of view. I have my own farm and primarily ride with one trainer, however she doesn't go up to all of the shows I plan to attend so I have another trainer that I work with at the shows. Both trainers are friendly and communicate with each other and have a similar program so it works out great. I am incredibly grateful for this situation and how well the trainers respect each other and myself, and I have no plans on leaving the main trainer. I can see how it would be different, however, if it was a boarder as I understand that a significant portion of income comes from training and not just the board. If done right I think this can be a fantastic set up!


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  6. #6
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    Sep. 26, 2010
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    Another client point of view:

    As an adult who wants to compete in more than one discipline, I find I get the best results when I can work with two trainers who have similar programs. My H/J doesn't go to dressage shows or HT's so when I do dressage or event, I go with another trainer.

    It works because my H/J values good flatwork and knows that I also want to event. My dressage trainer also events so she understands the need to take time for jumping.


    I understand that most trainers who work out of one barn are going to prefer that their clients train solely with then. Some go so far as to say no outside trainers are allowed. I can understand that because they have a business to run, but that model doesn't work for everyone.

    I currently board at a private facility so that I have more freedom and flexibility in designing my own program around the two trainers. If I moved to a barn that focuses solely on eventing, I'd have to commit to that program and not train with outside people. That's not a model that would work for me right now and I imagine there are others in a similar situation.



  7. #7
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    Jun. 17, 2001
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    Depend on why they want to ride with another. Clinic, specialist (like elite level Jumper), different but compatible discipline? Might be OK providing they also work with you if you require it for your boarders.

    But if they want to trainer shop. Nope.
    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.



  8. #8
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    Jun. 7, 2006
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    Quote Originally Posted by gumshoe View Post
    I'm not a trainer but from a client POV - if I wanted to trailer out for lessons that is my decision.

    However, if you require lessons be taken by all who board with you, that's a no brainer. If that is the case and a client doesn't want to take lessons with you he or she is free to board where lessons are more appealing.
    You can still meet one trainer's lesson requirement (which I assume you would want to if you are in their program) while ALSO lessoning with additional people.

    I have never had a problem with my students doing this. As long as they are lessoning in addition to me as opposed to instead of with me, I will go so far as to encourage them to come with me when I go for a lesson and take one too, for example.

    I lesson with multiple people, and I encourage my students to do so as well. If I can learn from someone, they surely can too. If they want to do some different stuff in addition to riding with me, also fine.


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  9. #9
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    Not a trainer, but a client. I think it is fine, as long as the lessons with the other trainer are in addition to yours, not instead of yours. The two barns I've been at did have a required minimum number of lessons, as part of the board contract. As long as I met that obligation, I was free to train with other people. If I went to the other trainer's barn for a lesson, no problem. If the other trainer came to me, I asked BO (also trainer in both cases) permission and paid a ring ($20-$25) fee since someone else was then earning money using their facility.

    I would not stay in a program that out and out forbade lessoning with anyone else, but I'm well aware that no one makes much, if any, profit on board, so supporting BO's/trainers operation with lessons and training is only fair.

    So that everyone is on the same page, I did share with main trainer what I worked on with the other (in this case home trainer was jumping, other was dressage), so we weren't working at cross purposes.



  10. #10
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    May. 5, 2009
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    Location: Indiana, but my heart is in Zone II
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    From a client view, I do want to make certain the training Somewhat meshes. Of course, it is always helpful to get a fresh pair of eyes. I can't think of a great example but if you are working on lead changes with trainer A and the horse IS getting it but Trainer B teaches a different method, it can confuse the horse. Or if A wants you in a 2 point, B wants you sitting and driving. It's up to the owner to figure out a plan if you are getting conflicting instruction. Just a different perspective.
    Come to the dark side, we have cookies



  11. #11
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    for me it would depend on the situation. If I was a trainer with clients boarding at my barn I wouldn't necessarily want other trainers coming in or clients trailering out regularly [I]unless[/I] it was say a dressage trainer to help my clients. But if I had certain limitations and I had a client that needed help then that's a different story. If a client had a young horse that needed a trainer to ride/school the horse, and I don't ride or don't have an assistant, then that client should be able to get help for their horse - it some ways it can help everyone in the long run - good will goes a long way. On the flip side, if I'm a traveling trainer or have clients trailer to me, I really couldn't have much say in who they choose to work with - I might not like it but can't control them. And again, good will goes a long way.


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  12. #12
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    Nov. 13, 2009
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    In general, I think the h/j industry would benefit a LOT from getting away from the tendency to jealously guard clients.

    One of the best bonuses I got when I went off on my own and left h/j "programs" behind was the ability to ride with whoever I want, whenever I want.

    If anything, I would be MORE inclined to continue riding with a trainer who was comfortable with me taking lessons from others.


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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by FineAlready View Post
    In general, I think the h/j industry would benefit a LOT from getting away from the tendency to jealously guard clients.

    One of the best bonuses I got when I went off on my own and left h/j "programs" behind was the ability to ride with whoever I want, whenever I want.

    If anything, I would be MORE inclined to continue riding with a trainer who was comfortable with me taking lessons from others.
    This exactly.
    If a trainer wants to get jealous about me to guard my business, it has the effect of immediately losing them my business.

    I had one dressage trainer (a travelling trainer who taught clients at a barn where I boarded) who COULD NOT HANDLE the fact that I clinicked with someone who was brought in from Germany for a weekend by a barn down the road. I had been taking a weekly lesson, was one of her more advanced students, got show results that I "credited" her for, and after I mentioned that I went to one clinic she threw a tantrum, swore at me when I came in to the arena to hack (she travelled to this barn, I "lived" there), and ....well, that was that, then.

    What an excellent job she did protecting her business...


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  14. #14
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    Dec. 4, 2010
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    Students are free to ride with whomever they like, as long as they fulfill the lesson requirement for boarding (and no outside trainers are allowed on the property, students must trailer out if they wish to ride with someone not based at the farm). I think this is reasonable, as money is made by boarding and training, and we run a training facility, not just a boarding barn. The exception to this rule is for clinics, which are generally organized by the barn and there is a ring fee involved. We are generally happy to organize clinics as requested by students.

    I think it is a good thing for students to have fresh eyes on them, whether occasionally or somewhat regularly. The only issues become when two unfamiliar trainers are taking very different approaches, which is detrimental to both the horse and the rider. IME, however, this tends to be more of an issue for inexperienced riders riding with low-level trainers, as most quality trainers are able to see (somewhat) eye-to-eye and most experienced riders are able to select programs and trainers that are complimentary.


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  15. #15
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    Nov. 28, 2006
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    I think it depends on the situation. For example, if you are taking lessons in another discipline, I don't think it should be a problem. If you are going to clinics or occasionally taking lessons from a bigger name trainer that the current trainer subscribes to the program of, again I don't see a problem. However, if you are consistently seeking outside instruction on the same level as your trainer in the same discipline on a very regular basis, I could see how that is a bit offensive to your current trainer and might not sit very well over the long term - especially if you are on a training program vs. a la carte lessons.
    Proud Member of the "Tidy Rabbit Tinfoil Hat Wearers" clique and the "I'm in my 30's and Hope to be a Good Rider Someday" clique



  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Classic View Post
    Hi Trainers. What are your rules and program structure about students riding with other trainers? Is it up to you to decide if there is a need and set that up? Do you have customers who just "do" that on their own, and if so, what happens next? I would like to know your ideas on appropriate handling of a situation where a student wants to ride with someone else, but still wants to remain in your barn.
    Do you own the barn or lease the stalls?

    If the HO takes the horse out of training with you, such that you now have a horse paying board only, it would make financial sense to cut this client loose. After all, every stall filled by a horse not in training deprives you of income.

    Otherwise, I think you should encourage clients to go learn from trainers as good as you or better. Or you should realize that clients are not the property of trainers; you must attract them rather than prohibit them from looking elsewhere.
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat


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  17. #17
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    Oct. 26, 2007
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    I have been in "full training" in two different situations, once with an eventing barn, once with a h/j barn.

    When I was with the event trainer - I took month dressage lessons with a well known dressage coach - and occasional, but monthly at least, lessons with a show jumper. My trainer had no problems with this, and encouraged cross training. Dressage coach was on site (and gave lessons to many of my trainer's students), I hauled out to the show jumper.

    When I was with the H/J barn - I still rode with dressage coaches, and hauled out for XC lessons. Trainer never had any issues.



  18. #18
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    Most "trainer run" barns wouldn't approve of outside lessons as they typically set rates for board based on the assumption that clients will do lessons there as well. Exceptions would be for different discipline or a clinic and many trainers want to arrange or approve such decisions.

    I agree that H/J trainers tend to be very "program-centric" even though I don't see much "program," meaning, I don't see lessons designed to build upon one another to develop a horse or rider. Event trainers are are much less so program centric.

    I don't see how a trainer with whom you don't board (they don't have care and custody of horse) can dictate with whom else you may ride.
    Last edited by Linny; Jun. 18, 2014 at 11:03 PM.
    F O.B
    Resident racing historian ~~~ Re-riders Clique
    Founder of the Mighty Thoroughbred Clique



  19. #19
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    Thanks to you all for your replies. Linny, I do see quite a difference in the hunter and eventing philosophy re: I guess the words are mutual loyalty. There is so much work and thought that goes into forming a trained horse or rider. It seems to me the "home" or barn owner trainer deserves so much respect and loyalty of the client (especially in a situation where the horse is boarded there). And then if the client is dissastified, they should move on.


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  20. #20
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    Jul. 31, 2006
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    What FineAlready said...I have always ridden competitively in Hunter/Jumpers, but have been a working student and boarded with my friend who was an eventer. I liked to take the good from both disciplines. I can feel a bit isolated and not given top priority from some Hunter/Jumper trainers because I am not a "full time client", but I learn a ton from seeking help from multiple trainers. However, I do not board at a barn with a designated trainer. I do tend to have a "main trainer". In NC, I boarded with a friend and trailered out to a trainer, went to "boot camp" a few times with another, and showed with a few different (with recommendation) or by myself (if "main trainer" didn't go to the horse show). In Indiana, I board at a private facility, trailer out to a trainer in Indy 1-2X a month (typically show with this trainer at the rated stuff), and another trainer will travel in once a month or every other month for lessons from Indy (I have shown with her at the schooling shows). Even when I was at a show barn in NC where there were 2-3 trainers, I trained with two of them. I had one lesson a week and was coached at shows by one trainer, and then took an extra lesson every other week with another trainer. No one seems to mind if I don't burn bridges, pay my bills, and show up to learn. But I do tend to take a back burner or work around their schedules and have last pick of the lesson times. I don't mind because I enjoy where I keep my horse and it's less expensive (plus I know I am not bringing in most of their income, but I try to tip well!).

    I think having a hold on your clients will eventually drive them away. I am "loyal" to my multiple trainers in that I am quick to recommend them to others and I provide consistent income (although not a lot of it)! So I am on the same page as everyone else that training with multiple trainers isn't bad!

    Some open communication with your client can always be good. Ask what they like about the other trainer and what they seek to gain. If it's simply a different perspective, I would encourage them to go and encourage them to share with you what they learn each lesson so you can incorporate it into your program and continue the learning. I like to tell all my trainers what the others say and how they say it. Often I find the trainers are all telling me the same thing, but one of them says it in a way that sticks . Sounds like your a great, open minded trainer, so I wouldn't worry about your client leaving .
    There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the
    inside of a man.

    -Sir Winston Churchill



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