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  1. #1
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    Anyone else read this article by Geoff Teall in PH February? After all the discussion here about the relationship between a trainer and a client and the idea that it is simpler to switch barns than to try and change your barn's policies, this article was very interesting. It made me wonder -- how many of us out there actually have this ideal relationship with our trainers that we would feel comfortable bringing up issues such as commission ammounts, extra fees, and barn care? Likewise, would your trainer, as the article describes, admit that "'I bought you the wrong horse. We need to sell him, and you're going to lose money'"?
    If I needed a new trainer and had the resources, I would certainly search for a trainer like Geoff Teall. Are there many of these trainers out there, that truly believe in the need for a mutual trust between client and trainer?

    *EMMA*
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  2. #2
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    Anyone else read this article by Geoff Teall in PH February? After all the discussion here about the relationship between a trainer and a client and the idea that it is simpler to switch barns than to try and change your barn's policies, this article was very interesting. It made me wonder -- how many of us out there actually have this ideal relationship with our trainers that we would feel comfortable bringing up issues such as commission ammounts, extra fees, and barn care? Likewise, would your trainer, as the article describes, admit that "'I bought you the wrong horse. We need to sell him, and you're going to lose money'"?
    If I needed a new trainer and had the resources, I would certainly search for a trainer like Geoff Teall. Are there many of these trainers out there, that truly believe in the need for a mutual trust between client and trainer?

    *EMMA*
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  3. #3
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    I appreciate his honesty in saying that his program may not be for everyone. I think a lot more trainers should be so honest up front about what it takes to be in a certain barn. I think there would be a lot less disgruntled clients if they knew what to expect in all areas.

    What I questioned about that article, though, is his need for a vet check for a new horse that comes into his barn....without the client present. The client ISN'T allowed to be there. Then he'll have a separate follow up meeting with his client to discuss the vet's findings. I just found that very odd. I can understand him wanting to have a vet come out to evalutae a horse, but why can't the owner be there to help give the horse's history and her own two cents?

    "Both rider and horse must enjoy the work. This is the essence of success" - Reiner Klimke
    My Mustang Adventures - Mac, my mustang | Annwylid D'Lite - my Cob filly

    "A horse's face always conveys clearly whether it is loved by its owner or simply used." - Anja Beran



  4. #4
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    I have not read the article yet, does he mean the buyer or the seller?

    "Proud Member Of The I Loff Starman Babies, Sunnieflax and Horse Boxes Cliques" Bora Da



  5. #5
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    I don't get PH but would love to see this article - can someone post it online or is there a link to it somewhere?? Thanks

    *Ride and let ride...*
    *Ride and let ride...*



  6. #6
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    Batgirl, I had the same issue with that point that you do. He also mentions that all future consultations with the vet and farrier REQUIRE his presence. I can see how his willingness to take total control is helpful for busy ammies who don't have time to manange their horses lives. However, by assuming these responsibilities himself, and indeed by discouraging owners from being present, he's certainly not making horsemen. And I find this somewhat hypocritical since Geoff claims to be an advocate of the "let them be horses" philosophy.

    If you WANT to do things yourself, you aren't allowed to benefit from his knowledge. He also emphatically stated that he does not allow clients to ship in or to work with him at horse shows only; he must totally control the horse's program.

    All I can say is, I hope his client base isn't hurt by the current economy, because I don't think his business plan is aimed at "real" clients.

    I also think a 15% commission is excessive when you are going to be making megabucks by indoctrinating the horse into the magic "program" but that's a personal beef. I think in that situation 10% should be plenty. I don't think there should be ANY commission when you bear the brunt of the "this horse isn't working, we need to sell him and you're going to lose money" situation. Commission on the purchase of the replacement horse, yes, but not the sale of the mistake horse.

    I applaud the use and distribution of a rate sheet. I do think it's excessive to sit a new client down and tell her what her yearly show budget will be. It's nice to give people some idea of the costs, but he expects his clients to never vary from his "program" going to every horse show. He basically flat out says that he only wants clients who are willing to pay, period. This reminds me of the old equitation adage that the parents pay the bills and shut up. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_c.../icon_wink.gif Seriously, I think trainers like this, who are inflexible with the demands of the real world, only serve to give our sport more of an elitist reputation.
    *****************************
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    [This message was edited by Anne on Jan. 27, 2003 at 02:40 PM.]



  7. #7
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    I don't think copying the article is allowed, but if it is I wouldn't mind writing it up for you, Dusty http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_c...icon_smile.gif

    Now that I look back on it, his "total control" policy might turn me off a bit. I'm not sure I would be comfortable having him there EVERY time I talk to the vet or farrier.

    *EMMA*
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  8. #8
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Anne:
    Batgirl, I had the same issue with that point that you do. He also mentions that all future consultations with the vet and farrier REQUIRE his presence. I can see how his willingness to take total control is helpful for busy ammies who don't have time to manange their horses lives. However, by assuming these responsibilities himself, and indeed by discouraging owners from being present, he's certainly not making horsemen. And I find this somewhat hypocritical since Geoff claims to be an advocate of the "let them be horses" philosophy.

    (snip)

    I also think a 15% commission is excessive when you are going to be making megabucks by indoctrinating the horse into the magic "program" but that's a personal beef. I think in that situation 10% should be plenty. I don't think there should be ANY commission when you bear the brunt of the "this horse isn't working, we need to sell him and you're going to lose money" situation. Commission on the purchase of the replacement horse, yes, but not the sale of the mistake horse.

    I applaud the use and distribution of a rate sheet. I do think it's excessive to sit a new client down and tell her what her yearly show budget will be. It's nice to give people some idea of the costs, but he expects his clients to never vary from his "program" going to every horse show. He basically flat out says that he only wants clients who are willing to pay, period. This reminds me of the old equitation adage that the parents pay the bills and shut up. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_c.../icon_wink.gif Seriously, I think trainers like this, who are inflexible with the demands of the real world, only serve to give our sport more of an elitist reputation.
    *****************************
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    [This message was edited by Anne on Jan. 27, 2003 at 02:40 PM.]<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Hmm, glad I wasn't the only one who thought the comments about his private consultation with the vet and farrier - with the OWNER not being ALLOWED - were a little odd. It would make me wonder, what is being said that I, as the owner, cannot hear?

    They struck me as inconsistent with the "building horsemen" approach that Geoff usually espouses.

    However, apparently that program works for him and at least he is up front about it. And he does say that in the event that he makes a mistake in recommending a horse for purchase that doesn't work out, that he tries to make it up to the client by finding a replacement that can be had for the sales price of the mistake. (Of course, in that case I wonder, why did the client have to pay more in the first place...?)

    But then, I am a cynic.

    I do think that he at least does offer a businesslike approach and you would at least know where you stand with a trainer like that. He makes no bones about the fact that he basically is only interested in the top (financial) tier of clients, and that his program is not going to be suitable for the do-it- yourself types. He has a niche and has been successful.

    It wouldn't work for me, which I am secretly disappointed about -- I have watched his lessons and thought he was great. One of those "Maybe someday... " things. Guess not!!!

    I choose my friends for their good looks, my acquaintances for their good characters, and my enemies for their intellects. A man cannot be too careful in the choice of his enemies.
    Oscar Wilde (1854–1900)
    \"It\'s a funny thing about life: If you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it.\" ---W. Somerset Maugham




  9. #9
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    Hey Liverpool, does he clinic much?

    *****************************
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  10. #10
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    I must say, I think G.T.'s article was great, and stressed the "up-front" attitude that is KEY KEY KEY!!! That said, I would appreciate his involvement, but I wouldn't be comfortable with the farrier/vet talking to G.T. and making decisions, and then me being told later. I like to be more involved.

    That said, he is up front that he requires total control when people come there. So I'm glad.

    I think one of the issues I've noticed, (maybe ESPECIALLY with H/J riders, but with all riders too), is this treatment of trainers as Gods. Adult Amatures tend to be the worst. I can't tell you how many times I've seen competent, smart, educated people (including attorneys, doctors, PhDs, etc.) be reduced to sniviling wimps when they're around their trainers. They can't do ANYTHING without having their hands held, and they would never DREAM of confronting someone about how big a but they took on that new horse the client purchased.

    It's truly bizarre.

    I tried to be as communicative as possible with students. I spelled out costs up front. I spelled out expectations. I *think* I was approachable. Even so, I had several hesistant adult amatures who were scared to talk to me. So, I started handing out class review forms,... I asked them what they wanted out of their class, how I was doing, were they getting what they wanted, what were their goals, what would they like to do more of, etc. etc.

    With SOME students, I made a special time to sit down and talk about it with them. One beginner student was upset that she felt I wasn't spending more time teaching her "dressage"... i.e., I was relatively unconcerned about how the horse was going. We sat down and talked about it, and I tried to explain to her why I thought she needed to focus SOLELY on her position for a little, and why that was necessary before we starting "doing dressage".

    You can't always please them... nor do you want to. The adult amature mentioned above left me a short time later... but on good terms. I wasn't willing to teach her what she wanted quite yet. That's her choice, but at least she knew where we were headed.

    I'm rambling. In short, I think G.T. has the right idea. But I think professionals should be aware of the "aura" that surrounds them, and maybe go out of their way a little to encourage the customer to feel comfortable discussing things with them.

    Anyone who has taught for any length of time, I suspect will tell you... 90% of riding students who aren't getting what they want... just LEAVE (and then maybe bash the trainer). They rarely are forthright enough to say "Here's what I want, and here's why I'm not happy."

    Half of Riding is 30% mental ... no wonder there are so many bad riders http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_c...n_rolleyes.gif



  11. #11
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    that is the only thing that bothered me reading the article <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Hmm, glad I wasn't the only one who thought the comments about his private consultation with the vet and farrier - with the OWNER not being ALLOWED - were a little odd.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    i really like the article in general too...



  12. #12
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Liverpool:
    I do think that he at least does offer a businesslike approach and you would at least know where you stand with a trainer like that.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    This is what made me appreciate his methods -- from what I read on this BB, it sure seems like there are a lot of trainers who will open their arms to clients who really are not what they are interested in training, simply to get the $$ from that person's boarding. They might seem friendly and welcoming, but down the road when the client might not want to do every A show or doesn't want to upgrade to a higher quality (more expensive) horse, the trainer abandons them. At least that's what it seems like -- I've never been in said situation.

    *EMMA*
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  13. #13
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    How long has he had this business in Florida? I remember reading about a trainer in the New York/New Jersey area several years ago in PH. This gentleman was teaching in several different places and talked about giving his clients homework so they could continue to prosper when he wasn't there. I was thinking this person was Geoff Teal, so I was very surprised to read this article. I also found it odd that he had to have a private conversation with the vet and farrier first.

    In the same issue, did you read about the woman who had developed a business approach to training. Other than getting an MBA and teaching (what, I don't know) in a college before continuing her riding career, the whole article was about who she trained with. I didn't see anything about her unique business methods. Did you?



  14. #14
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    Thanks for the offer Emma, but I need to stop by the tack store this week and I'll take a peek at it there!

    *Ride and let ride...*
    *Ride and let ride...*



  15. #15
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    COMPROMISE

    Before we go blaming adult amateurs for all the problems in the horse show world...

    Most people don't have the luxury of choosing the best possible trainer for their situation. they are limited by:

    MONEY
    DISTANCE
    TIME
    FACILITIES
    DISCIPLINE (ie hunters, dressage, etc)

    Trying to find the "ideal" barn is hard! You make a list of priorities, and them trying to match them to a barn you can afford within a reasonable distance with a good trainer that competes in your discipline with the facilities you need is hard!

    Most of the time you have to compromise. And some trainer personalities mesh better with certain client personalities. Some people are too busy to worry about every detail, or just don't have tons of knowledge, and would rather have the trainer manage the details. Some people pull a few testimonials off the internet and want the trainer to embark on a spiritual holistic journey of oneness with the horse complete with mystic healers and spirit talkers!

    It's a little like dating - you have to kiss a few frogs before you find your prince. And you don't know what a barn or trainer is really like until you've spent a while with them. There is nothing wrong with leaving a trainer, it just means the situation was not right for the client.



  16. #16
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> I think one of the issues I've noticed, (maybe ESPECIALLY with H/J riders, but with all riders too), is this treatment of trainers as Gods. Adult Amatures tend to be the worst. I can't tell you how many times I've seen competent, smart, educated people (including attorneys, doctors, PhDs, etc.) be reduced to sniviling wimps when they're around their trainers. They can't do ANYTHING without having their hands held, and they would never DREAM of confronting someone about how big a but they took on that new horse the client purchased. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I think that most professionals who ride as adult amateurs regard their trainers as fellow PROFESSIONALS (ie, if they are a lawyer, they expect to be able to tell clients what approach to take on a case, and don't look to be second guessed about how to handle a jury or whatever) and therefore expect and depend upon their trainers to deliver the goods, so to speak.

    I think that is why so many of them leave, too,when their expectations are not being met - without sitting down to have those big heart to heart talks that we keep hearing about.

    Not to bash ANY professionals, but frankly... those conversations tend to wind up being justifications for why the program is the way it is, and why it isn't going to change. A/As learn that (we talk amongst ourselves, as you may have noticed!) and so we often figure it simply isn't worth the hassle.

    This is what we do for fun, and if the training situation becomes just one more big hairy negotiation, it is not fun anymore.

    Now, please don't misunderstand. Trainers often have very good reasons for not doing what their customers want them to do. However, it is also true that sometimes the clients DO wind up successfully doing whatever *it* is with someone else, and they often share that experience with others.

    I think trainers would be very well served to sit down and discuss short and long term goals in advance with each client, particularly with adults, and maybe even go so far as to put a plan in writing. That way there are clear milestones to be measured, and there is less opportunity for either party to be dissatisfied or disgruntled.

    I choose my friends for their good looks, my acquaintances for their good characters, and my enemies for their intellects. A man cannot be too careful in the choice of his enemies.
    Oscar Wilde (1854–1900)
    \"It\'s a funny thing about life: If you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it.\" ---W. Somerset Maugham




  17. #17
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by rileyt:

    Anyone who has taught for any length of time, I suspect will tell you... 90% of riding students who aren't getting what they want... just LEAVE (and then maybe bash the trainer). They rarely are forthright enough to say "Here's what I want, and here's why I'm not happy."

    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    This is where I'd like to see the idea of a professional certification start - a set of courses/continuing education on business practices & communication. We can skip the part about whether you can ride or teach if the politics are just too ugly to get it done.

    It is up to the trainer to start this communication. Honestly, I've found that trying to change a trainer to meet my needs better is about as successful as trying to do so with a mate. http://chronicleforums.com/images/cu...ilies/dead.gif They have to want to change, and most get too defensive when questioned by a student to do so. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_c...n_rolleyes.gif
    If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket



  18. #18
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    The vet/farrier thing struck a cord with me, since I am my own farrier and can diagnose most lamenesses on my own, I would have a problem.

    I feel it is important for owners to know what is going on with there animal. After all they are the ones who are paying for it.



  19. #19
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    I have a lot of respect for the fact that he is so up fron with his clients and that he admits that his program requires 100% control. Unfortunatly, that along with the requirement that he have a private meeting about the horse with his vet and farrier without the owner present would definatly be a deal breaker for me. I should be welcome at ANY and ALL professional consultations regarding my horse (especially since I am paying for it).I do not want to have to rely on someone else's interpretation of what was said.

    When the vet comes out to see my horse I am happy to let the barn manager handle it so that I do not have to take time off from work, however, I know that I am always welcome to be there. If the vet were coming to do some sort of evaluation or if my horse had a problem that did not seem to be relatively minor, I would definatly be there.

    ~~ Does killing time hurt eternity?~~
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  20. #20
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    I actually have no problem with him wanting to have 100% control over the horse. I will go into further detail later.



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