There's no shortage of trainers who take advantage of the paying customer. I'd want to know if I was paying one of them!. You can think the owner will find out eventually when the horse can't do upper level stuff. But you never know the excuses the trainer is telling the owner, blaming lack of progress on the horse and not saying that the horse is only being longed. The problem is how to bring it up. I'd probably ask about the longe training program she has her horse on or if he has a back problem and can't be ridden much or something like that.I always appreciate honesty and fairness from other horsepeople and try to give it when I can.
Well, I do have my upper level horse in full training with a professional, and I would absolutely want to know if something didn't look quite right with the training...whether this person is a stranger to me or not. I would be pi$$ed if the only time my horse was ridden was when I came out on the weekend to see him.
And I don't think this will necessarily come to light when the horse is shown. Bad rides can be chalked up to anything..."he was having a bad day"..."the judging was particularly harsh today" etc etc. Especially if the owner is not super knowledgable, she may not really know a bad ride from a good one.
OP, I'm not sure I'd hunt the owner down to tell her, but if the opportunity presents itself (you're both at the barn and happen to strike up a conversation...under the guise that you're "curious" how the training is going), then why not?
I think an innocent "so what is Trainer working on with all that longe work? I'm always looking to learn more about different programs!" would be the only safe way to go, which wouldn't come across as butting your head in where it doesn't belong.
I know of people who are completely cheated by trainers who DO work with their horses, and I want to tell them "no, you don't have to pay a huge commission to get a new horse with training for the next few levels - your horse IS capable, your trainer is the one who hit a wall!" but that's not my place. If I knew for certain a trainer was claiming to ride horses and wasn't, I would want to tell people. But it sounds like that's not the case here - that it's more a gray area where the trainer may or may not be doing something wrong, and we don't know.
My horse is a dressage diva so I don't have to be.
Originally Posted by katarine
If you have a fat gay horse that likes Parelli, you're really screwed
There is also that point that I am sure the OP is not at the barn all day every day. They do not know the trainer is not riding. Just because they see the trainer lunge does not mean the trainer does not ride too.
I have no problem letting a horse owner know if they are not getting what they paid for, if you know that is the case. If you are assuming a bunch of stuff then mind your own business.
I've been in similar situations. In one, I am very good friends with the owner and know the horse well. So I had no problem calling the owner to say "you're not getting your money's worth and, in fact, this person is going to mess up your horse if he keeps on 'training him.' " Owner was happy for the heads up.
The one I've witnessed most recently involves people I know, but I'm not good friends with. They're working with a know-it-all who doesn't know squat. I have decided not to say anything. They're adults, not new to the horse world and I don't think they'd appreciate my butting in.
Two different situations. Two different decisions.
OP, you know the situation best. Go with your gut.
__________________________ "... if you think i'm MAD, today, of all days,
the best day in ten years,
you are SORELY MISTAKEN, MY LITTLE ANCHOVY."
I think calling a stranger out of the blue and bad-mouthing his/her trainer could backfire on you. I have had people I don't know relay 'bad news' that was really not their business, and I didn't welcome it. I don't know them and don't trust the info. Lots of people like to stir things up and you may be seen as one of them...
If you know a friend of the client, I might tell them, and see what they think. It is awkward though.
If this was my horse I would sincerely appreciate knowing what is going on when I am not there. I personally feel like there is an unwritten code amongst horse owners to look out for each other. Unless I was certain of the training arrangement I would prefer not to point fingers or make accusations but simply make an "innocent" comment about the lunging and see where it goes. Even so, if I was an absent owner I would not be mad or offended if someone approached me with this information and in fact a lunging program was agreed upon. I would feel glad to know someone cared enough to bring this to my attention.
If that were one of my horses in training I would appreciate a phone call. As an out-of-town owner you always find out the hard way - i. e. after months of paying thousands of dollars for training, the horse is making no progress and the trainer attributes it to lack of talent on the part of the horse, or whatever. I don't understand why some folks are willing to sweep such behavior under the rug, so to speak....
I agree with this. As the owner I would definitely want to know and would appreciate someone telling me.
OP, who do you know at the barn who knows the HO better than you?
Perhaps the tactful way is to ask that mutual friend if what you see Trainer doing is what HO thought she was buying.
FWIW, I have left horses in full training for 1-4 months during out of town work assignments, and the trainers-- different people-- have almost never done to a T what we discussed. Not pleased and muddled through.
If I were the HO in this case, I'd want a heads up if the full training didn't look like full training. If it turns out that lots of lunging and few rides is what the HO wanted/knew she was getting then apologize for wasting her time with your question.
If I had a horse in training with the trainer, or was considering it, I would call the HO and ask directly, regardless of how well I knew the HO. "Hi, I see that Ms. Trainer is working with your horse, and was wondering if you'd share with me your arrangement. Not in terms of money, but whether you've been pleased with how your horse is progressing."
If HO told me horse is in full training, I would ask more questions: how much work, ride vs. longe, etc.
If I didn't have a horse in training, I would try to find someone who knows the HO.
From threads I've seen here, there's no shortage of people who feel their trainers aren't honest with them about what's done.
unless it was a friend that I knew wouldnt turn into a crazy person who ran to the trainer to make me look bad Id stay out of it.
Some loyalty to trainers run crazy deep to an almost unreasonable depth. I honestly believe some people get to a point that is unhealthy in their blind acceptance and if you happen to step into one of those traps vs a nice party who welcomes help it could end up very messy indeed.
No way am I paying full training and having them lunge my horses even "artfully" unless they are being started.
If I am paying it out I want AIS more often then not. (a** in seat)
Why don't you ask the trainer, in a sincere way. Maybe just inquire what they are accomplishing on the lunge. You might learn something new, OR the trainer might feel noticed and start riding more if they are just being a slacker.
So is this a situation where the OP is working and/or present at the barn all day every day? If not, how do you know that they aren't trying to increase conditioning by working the horse multiple times per day? Lots of upper level trainers will work horses multiple times per day, and many will do a ground session as the second session so they can see how the horse is carrying itself, etc. If you can't prove the horse isn't being worked other than what you yourself are seeing, I think you would be on pretty thin ice to claim the trainer wasn't training the horse. Normally the upper level horses are the ones who the trainers WANT to work, and it's the younger or more boring mounts (or the dangerous ones) who get neglected, in my observation.
Last edited by Spectrum; Apr. 4, 2013 at 01:43 PM.
Why don't you ask the trainer, in a sincere way. Maybe just inquire what they are accomplishing on the lunge.
I was about to suggest this - along the "You know I'm always trying to soak up all the info I can. I've always thought a lot of longing was for youngsters, or light/getting into shape work, but I see you longing Superhorse a lot, so my assumption must be limited. What are you working on with him that longing addresses?" or something along those lines...
I know several trainers who skimp on time. Not getting involved unless its a friend.
Playing passive aggressive, coyly digging for answers, and beating around the bush sounds very strange to me. I don't think its too hard to tell when a trainer is unethical if when happens to many horses over a period of time.
For sure. I wouldn't touch this interaction unless directly asked. There's one surefire way to burn bridges in this sport, and that's to butt into someone's horsekeeping practices without being invited. That runs the gamut from training regimes, shoeing choices, feeding practices, and the like.
Keep your own counsel unless asked. That's my motto.
On the surface, it can certainly look questionable. But as others have pointed out, maybe this horse is being worked twice a day? Maybe the horse is working through an issue, such as going forward, that is more easily started on the lunge. Even upper level horses can have pieces missing and need some reminders/refreshers. It doesn't hurt to sincerely ask the trainer about the horse's training, if you're in a position where you would be comfortable to do so. As others have suggested, something along the lines of "Trainer, I'm familiar with lunging young horses, etc. for Reason X, so I was curious as to why Horse needs to be lunged? I didn't realize Y." But if it's not a horse you are able to get involved for, then I would probably butt out.