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  1. #21
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    It could have also been something as simple as, "Are you currently working with a trainer?" When I sold my draft mare, this WAS a question I asked, because she would NOT be a good fit for a newbie who didn't have trainer help. My trainer and I very carefully screened buyers to make sure that they were either working with a competent trainer, or had enough experience to handle her. She wasn't mean, she was just still green and we wanted to make sure we didn't combo green and green if the buyer didn't have someone to help them. No matter how sweet a horse is, green/green can be dangerous without proper guidance. We also asked questions about where they were boarding not to poach them, but because we wanted to make sure the fit was as good as possible. Draft mare HATED being stalled, and does a lot better turned out. If we sold her to someone who planned on keeping her mostly stalled, behavior problems WOULD crop up, and then it turns into "Well, the horse acts differently than when we bought her, you must have drugged her."

    When you sell a horse, you're putting your reputation on the line, as well as your trainer/barn's reps. There is nothing wrong with asking questions to make sure the horse is going to have the best possible chance to succeed.


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  2. #22
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    i find it very disturbing that there appears to be some kind of "gentleman's" agreement amongst trainers that clients of other trainers are off base.

    do you find say - your shoe store getting peeved when you talk to other shoe stores? do you find your plumber getting all uptight if you were to talk to another plumber or if another plumber offered services to you?

    a REAL business is always trying to maximize their profits and future and that includes always trying to increase or better their client base.


    a question: do you guys pay each other for not "stealing" clients?


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  3. #23
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    At great risk of being flamed, I'll say that the majority of horse trainers have no education or experience in the field of business, let alone the service industry specifically. Pair that with a little natural human insecurity and you have this idea that even speaking to someone else's client is considered utterly unacceptable. I know of no other industry, aside from horses, where the words "professional" and "unprofessional" are thrown around so much. But the irony is in the fact that to different people, the terms mean entirely different things.
    "Absent a correct diagnosis, medicine is poison, surgery is trauma and alternative therapy is witchcraft" A. Kent Allen
    http://www.etsy.com/shop/tailsofglory


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  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by MyssMyst View Post
    It could have also been something as simple as, "Are you currently working with a trainer?" When I sold my draft mare, this WAS a question I asked, because she would NOT be a good fit for a newbie who didn't have trainer help. My trainer and I very carefully screened buyers to make sure that they were either working with a competent trainer, or had enough experience to handle her. She wasn't mean, she was just still green and we wanted to make sure we didn't combo green and green if the buyer didn't have someone to help them. No matter how sweet a horse is, green/green can be dangerous without proper guidance. We also asked questions about where they were boarding not to poach them, but because we wanted to make sure the fit was as good as possible. Draft mare HATED being stalled, and does a lot better turned out. If we sold her to someone who planned on keeping her mostly stalled, behavior problems WOULD crop up, and then it turns into "Well, the horse acts differently than when we bought her, you must have drugged her."

    When you sell a horse, you're putting your reputation on the line, as well as your trainer/barn's reps. There is nothing wrong with asking questions to make sure the horse is going to have the best possible chance to succeed.
    Yep. Without having been there I could see it being something that innocent, something such as "if you're not working with a trainer, you could keep her here and work with me" or even that the client said something which was not meant that way but taken as an indication that the client was unhappy in the current situation. No need for it to have been unethical.


    Of course, in a way I was just "poached" - from a trainer I adore, but who wasn't the greatest fit for what I want to learn, and I wasn't the greatest fit for what she wants to focus on with her business. I went somewhere else for help with specific problems she was having trouble helping me with fully intending to return to her, and the new trainer is simply a better fit for each of our goals right now. Sometimes it happens, and the "poached" client still absolutely adores the original trainer and would recommend that trainer, and the original trainer is happier with the results, too. I think I'm a little sensitive over something being called poaching because of that, because it was my choice to ride with someone who is currently a better match, not a personal choice or any sort of condemnation of my old trainer, nor was it someone seeking me out to acquire me as a student. I can just imagine people saying that sort of thing behind my back, though, and don't think it gives any of the parties involved enough credit...
    My horse is a dressage diva so I don't have to be.

    Quote Originally Posted by katarine
    If you have a fat gay horse that likes Parelli, you're really screwed



  5. #25
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    Poaching to me would include some kind of incentive to move to a different trainer...a financial incentive or otherwise. I wouldn't call that poaching. If you're doing a great job as BO/BM and trainer, no worries, right?
    Join the Clinton 2016 campaign...Hillary For America. https://www.hillaryclinton.com/



  6. #26
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    My attitude is that this "offense" wasn't personal, it was business. This is all part of the process of doing business. The student isn't "yours". They have free will and can come and go as they please. I don't believe there is any foul to having another trainer say "You're a really nice rider and we'd love to have someone with your skill set riding with us. If you're ever looking for a new barn, we'd be thrilled to have you." That's not poaching, just word of mouth marketing.


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  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by LauraKY View Post
    Poaching to me would include some kind of incentive to move to a different trainer...a financial incentive or otherwise. I wouldn't call that poaching. If you're doing a great job as BO/BM and trainer, no worries, right?
    So what if some sort of incentive is offered? "Buy my horse and I'll discount lessons for 3 months" - that's called MARKETING in any other business. When I bought my car I got 2 year free maintenance. I don't see why the "poaching" conversation even exists other than trainers/instructors don't like any competion.


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  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by red mares View Post
    So what if some sort of incentive is offered? "Buy my horse and I'll discount lessons for 3 months" - that's called MARKETING in any other business. When I bought my car I got 2 year free maintenance. I don't see why the "poaching" conversation even exists other than trainers/instructors don't like any competion.
    It's considered poaching among vet clinics...I've seen it happen. It never ends well. I suspect it would be considered poaching in many professional service type businesses...lawyers, accountants, etc. It would be one thing to advertise a discount to new clients, but to selectively make special individual deals to steal clients? Nope, not kosher in my book.
    Join the Clinton 2016 campaign...Hillary For America. https://www.hillaryclinton.com/


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  9. #29
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    From what I read, OP is not asking us to validate her feelings about what happened, only whether or not she should say something to other trainer. My answer is no. Let it go.

    And as a side note, one pet peeve of mine - and not about COTH specifically, but just in general - is other people telling someone how they should be feeling, about anything.

    IMO, someone is allowed to feel however they want about whatever they want and it should not be your job - or place, rather - to shove your own feelings down their throat and tell them what what they're feeling is wrong. It is fine to agree or disagree. But one can still do so without making the other person feel like a piece of sh*t or defensive for expressing themselves.

    Ok, rant over. It must be Monday.
    Barn rat for life

    The Big Horse


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  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by War Admiral View Post
    I don't know, I don't think I'd be offended. I'd be more inclined to think this horse may be a REALLY good one that she doesn't want to let go out of her barn.

    Anyway, if you cared that much about potentially having this client poached, I reckon you would have wanted to show UP. You're not entitled to a client's repeat business if you keep dropping the ball on them.
    Yeah, no kidding. Why not wait to send her to look at a horse until your schedules jive if you're going to be worried about such a thing? Or clear some of your schedule?


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  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by LauraKY View Post
    It's considered poaching among vet clinics...I've seen it happen. It never ends well. I suspect it would be considered poaching in many professional service type businesses...lawyers, accountants, etc. It would be one thing to advertise a discount to new clients, but to selectively make special individual deals to steal clients? Nope, not kosher in my book.
    I've worked in many vet clinics and my husband manages a large, busy practice here in Virginia. I've never heard the term "poaching" used in the context of veterinary clinics. In fact, it's known that clients will complain with their feet. IOW, if you're losing business to the other guy, it's because of something you're NOT doing right, not because of something he's doing. And it "never ends well"? If your client starts someone else for veterinary care, what can you do about it? Leave pestering phone messages? Stalk them on Facebook? IME, it ends just fine. Records are faxed and life goes on. And if it happens often enough, you take a hard look at your own business.
    'Not sure where the idea of "selectively offering special individual deals" came from. I'm sure the seller of the horse has offered her facilities for boarding to more than just this prospective buyer.
    I think that people really do know that it's their responsibility to keep their customers happy enough to engender loyalty. And when they fail to do that (i.e. customer goes elsewhere), they turn their anger outward, even though it's really themselves they're unhappy with. But what bugs me the most about the possessive attitude of some trainers is this. No one trainer knows everything. Not every trainer is capable of bringing every rider to the cusp of his or her potential. Sometimes just a slightly different wording when instruction is given can make a world of difference. And, oftentimes, it's helpful to go back to trainers we've worked with before (as long as they don't think you've been poached and hold a grudge ). As riders, we grow the most and develop most fully when we receive instruction from a variety of sources over the years. Anyone who's been a this sport for a reasonable length of time knows this to be true. Otherwise, why would we bother with clinics? Why would we care what judges think? For any trainer to think that they know and can impart everything their students ever need know to be the very best horseman and riders they can be is a bit, I dunno, narcissistic?
    "Absent a correct diagnosis, medicine is poison, surgery is trauma and alternative therapy is witchcraft" A. Kent Allen
    http://www.etsy.com/shop/tailsofglory


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  12. #32
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    Jan. 30, 2010
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    I have sent students to look at horses without me and will continue to do so. it saves them money (I do not work on commission) and makes it easier to schedule. I also have had clients take (pay for) a lesson with the current trainer on the horse to really help them get to know the horse. I also find this beneficial. This is the first time the trainer has encouraged them to change barns.

    Back when I played with the "big boys" it was my experience that the trainers that actively solicited other people's students at shows, were also the ones most likely to drug the horses at shows (I think high pressure to improve achievement in a short time once student did jump ship), so this is why I feel that this type of behaviour is sketchy. I feel that actively soliciting a student (and she knew who she rides with) sent to try out a horse is even sketchier.

    This scenario is nothing like the previously mentioned shoe store analogy as I was the one to encourage the client to shop at the other store, but this shoe store is only open 1 hour a week and this week it happened to only be open an hour I couldn't make it, so I trusted the other shoe store owner to be able to offer good advice/assistance rather than wait another week.

    Again: I AM NOT WORRIED ABOUT A STUDENT LEAVING> I am worried that this behaviour indicates less than admirable scruples that could indicate other less than admirable policies in her training program.

    I am really not sure why people think my feelings are hurt, or that I am trying to buffer clients from knowing about other barns...but then I have to remember you don't know me or my business model.

    Anyway, not saying anything to other trainer, but still not impressed with her. I do now think though, that she does want the horse to stay with her for reasons I just found out. I still think though, that she should have behaved as she would have had I been standing right there.
    Freeing worms from cans everywhere!


    1 members found this post helpful.

  13. #33
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    i honestly think that the majority of horse "professionals" need to learn a bit about business and maximizing your assets and all that.

    if someone is losing clients it is time to take a look at your business model instead of getting all worried. and honestly - there are enough potential customers out there.... focus on what *you can do to improve your own business and *you will have no trouble staying afloat.

    (*you = horse pros in general and not anyone in this thread)



  14. #34
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    Tacky, yes. Your attitude about "students come and go as their needs change, etc." is the healthy one to have.

    I wouldn't scratch the horse off the list over the trainer's tacky remark. For me it doesn't really fall under horribly unethical...just more tacky & rude. I wouldn't leave a trainer I was happy with to go ride with someone else - especially one that tried a hard sell (which, as you stated, you don't this was) Que sera.


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  15. #35
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    I don't think it's a reason to discount the horse, but f I were the student with an exclusive trainer I probably wouldn't have mentioned it.


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  16. #36
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    Jun. 17, 2001
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    Kind of a leap to assume the trainer here must also drug horses and be totally unethical. Using that definition, every trainer I ever met tried to "poach" me and they all drugged routinely because they usually did say they'd love to have me with them should I ever need, or want, to move.

    I am also a big fan of plan B and think all of us clients need to keep in mind we might need to move if a trainer we love gets hit by a bus, looses the barn or facility because the property owner goes broke, goes broke themselves, experiences an upheaval in their personal life or gets seriously, or even terminally, ill. BTDT a few times and selected a new trainer based on open invites to join them appropriately conveyed in the past. Nothing is forever and sh*t happens.

    Since this whole thing is second hand? IMO you are taking it a little too seriously as an outright client grab when it may simply have been letting them know a client would be welcome when on their property trying a sale horse under their supervision.
    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


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  17. #37
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    Classless? Yeah a little. But I also think it is a huge leap to think because of it you now can't trust a word she says. And to me, context is everything... Since you weren't there, you can't possibly know. I think you are overreacting and if I were your client and found out you were dissuading me or worse about a horse because your feelings were hurt, I would absolutely find a new trainer. Let go and move on.



  18. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by CHT View Post
    I have sent students to look at horses without me and will continue to do so. it saves them money (I do not work on commission) and makes it easier to schedule. I also have had clients take (pay for) a lesson with the current trainer on the horse to really help them get to know the horse. I also find this beneficial. This is the first time the trainer has encouraged them to change barns.

    Back when I played with the "big boys" it was my experience that the trainers that actively solicited other people's students at shows, were also the ones most likely to drug the horses at shows (I think high pressure to improve achievement in a short time once student did jump ship), so this is why I feel that this type of behaviour is sketchy. I feel that actively soliciting a student (and she knew who she rides with) sent to try out a horse is even sketchier.

    This scenario is nothing like the previously mentioned shoe store analogy as I was the one to encourage the client to shop at the other store,

    You've missed the analogy. You did not encourage the client to take advantage of any of the other trainers' services. You sent her to look at a horse the trainer had for sale. Had you encouraged her to go take a lesson with the other trainer, then you would have been "encouraging her to shop at the other shoe store".



    but this shoe store is only open 1 hour a week and this week it happened to only be open an hour I couldn't make it, so I trusted the other shoe store owner to be able to offer good advice/assistance rather than wait another week.

    Again: I AM NOT WORRIED ABOUT A STUDENT LEAVING> I am worried that this behaviour indicates less than admirable scruples that could indicate other less than admirable policies in her training program.

    I am really not sure why people think my feelings are hurt, or that I am trying to buffer clients from knowing about other barns...but then I have to remember you don't know me or my business model.

    Anyway, not saying anything to other trainer, but still not impressed with her. I do now think though, that she does want the horse to stay with her for reasons I just found out. I still think though, that she should have behaved as she would have had I been standing right there.

    But you weren't standing right there, so you don't know how she behaved.
    And I agree that assuming that she has no scruples because she mentioned that the horse could stay at her barn is quite a stretch. I thought you decided you didn't care anyway?
    "Absent a correct diagnosis, medicine is poison, surgery is trauma and alternative therapy is witchcraft" A. Kent Allen
    http://www.etsy.com/shop/tailsofglory


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  19. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by CHT View Post
    I find this hugely inappropriate and want to say something, and part of me wants to walk away from the horse based on this.
    Why would YOU want to walk away from the horse?
    Your student is the one who is buying it. Your student is the one who is going to pay for it, and pay for its upkeep, and attempt to use the horse to further their riding goals.

    If you are advising your students on what horses to buy based on anything other than the suitability of the horse for the student, reconsider.


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  20. #40

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    Zipping up my flame suit here -- I tend to go along with CHT, looking at this as a professional courtesy type of situation. You can bet your bippy that if a physician or attorney tried to poach a patient who had been sent for specialized advice, referrals to that physician or attorney would come to an abrupt, immediate halt.

    It is considered very bad form among professionals. For example, an internist sends a patient to a cardiologist for heart trouble. That cardiologist is not supposed to poach that patient into their own clinic, where it is not unusual for them to have their "own" internists. If that happens, the referring doc will be extremely offended and will NOT send any more patients. Period. (They don't go onto a forum and ask a bunch of patients their opinions about it, though.)

    Similarly, if an estate attorney refers a client to an advanced tax specialist for specific tax work, that tax specialist is not supposed to poach the client for general estate planning. And if he does, he will not be receiving any more referrals.

    It's called professional courtesy, and in my opinion, this trainer breached it.

    CHT was kind enough to refer her client as a prospective buyer for the trainer's horse. It was very poor form for that trainer to try and poach the client. Such poor form, in fact, that I think CHT is correct to question the trainer's general professional judgment.

    If it were me, and I thought there might be a misunderstanding and I wanted to preserve the relationship with the trainer, I would speak to her about it. It's possible that any of these "innocent" situations may have arisen and there is a legitimate misunderstanding. But if, indeed, the trainer took the opportunity to sell a horse and turned it into an opportunity to poach a client, I think I would have words.


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