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  1. #41
    Join Date
    Jan. 7, 2001
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    Usually too far from the barn
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    Most people are smart enough to realize that the client taking 3 lessons a week is going to get 3x the "time" of the 1x a weeker. The problem comes when the 2 are in a lesson together and "miss 3x" gets 80% of the time and attention.
    The boarder with 3 horses pays 3x the one horse owner does but that one horse owner is paying full boat for the services (whatever they are) that you provide. If they are shorted bedding, blanketing or time/attention THAT is a problem. The other person may be a "better" client but the person with the smaller bill is still paying for a service and should get 100% of it.
    It's human nature to like certain people more. We all have very close friends who get priority in our world over other friends and acquaintances . When dealing with paying customers however, keep it even steven. While parents don't need "proof" to gossip, their chatter means that they are feeling slighted. How they "feel" about the service you provide will determine if they stay as clients. Don't dismiss teir "feelings" because eventually they will act on them.
    F O.B
    Resident racing historian ~~~ Re-riders Clique
    Founder of the Mighty Thoroughbred Clique


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  2. #42
    Join Date
    Nov. 29, 2008
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    3,211

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    I tend to see it as a human nature and cultural dilemma.

    One instinct says to take care of yourself finically and prosper within the current parameters of our societal financial framework..

    Another instinct says to build community ties that will create cultural stability that can perpetuate a community system.

    The financial system is a relatively a modern invention, but the impulse to be supportive of others has much deeper primal emotional roots.

    One might call it a form of modern cultural neurosis.

    I think the best question is... Can the system be redefined to shift the balance of values away from the financial values, and more towards the community values?

    It's hard to escape a cultural system that forces you to pick favorites in order to survive (note that the favorites the system forces you to pick causes a perpetuation of the behavior in those who are favored by the system).

    I think the best that anyone can do is to sacrifice as much of the financial aspect as one can afford to, and then convert that "value" into elements of community good.

    Community good can create a sustenance of culture that is superior to the sustenance that the financial element can create. But our freedom to liberally apply ourselves to the cultivation of community good has a negative pressure against it from the interconnected societal demands of perpetuating financial growth.



  3. #43
    Join Date
    May. 17, 2013
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    4

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    Hi, thank you all for your advice. I know all that has to be said has been said, but it seems that some of you are confused by the situation.

    Mom A was talking to Mom B about how I didn't congratulate her daughter on a recent Facebook/barn website/other technology form (can't state for privacy), that was about our last show. The favorited clients 'Mary' and 'Jane', as well as two other, were included on this.

    As some said, it was pretty much bored pony moms gossiping, so I didn't take much thought in till I started considering that Mary and Jane are my favorite clients. Thank you all for your help and insight!



  4. #44
    Join Date
    Apr. 8, 2012
    Location
    North Texas
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    588

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    Was there a reason for not including the daughter? Or was it just oops slipped my mind (it can happen...) But more than once with same person is never great ...
    Clancy 17hh chestnut Dutch WB, '99. Owned and loved since '04 and still goin'!


    2 members found this post helpful.

  5. #45
    Join Date
    May. 5, 2009
    Location
    Location: Indiana, but my heart is in Zone II
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    2,842

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alt View Post
    Hi, thank you all for your advice. I know all that has to be said has been said, but it seems that some of you are confused by the situation.

    Mom A was talking to Mom B about how I didn't congratulate her daughter on a recent Facebook/barn website/other technology form (can't state for privacy), that was about our last show. The favorited clients 'Mary' and 'Jane', as well as two other, were included on this.

    As some said, it was pretty much bored pony moms gossiping, so I didn't take much thought in till I started considering that Mary and Jane are my favorite clients. Thank you all for your help and insight!
    It may have been about a FB post as a head, but it seems like there may be more? (You state you do like the siblings).

    If it were me and this got back to me, I would very nicely at some point ( without selling out the mom who told you) " Hey- I inadvertently left Susie off my FB post about show X! She did a great job, next time I won't be so brain dead after a long weekend!"

    That's just me. If I find out I did something ( and it sound like you inadvertently did), I address it.

    The other thing to consider- who is the mom who Told you? Not knowing the full situation, moms who run to the trainer to tattle about other moms should be taken with a grain of salt.... For all you really know, Susie's mom could have made an innocent comment and its blown out if proportion.
    Come to the dark side, we have cookies



  6. #46
    Join Date
    Mar. 24, 2010
    Location
    Tucson
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    6,511

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    Quote Originally Posted by danceronice View Post
    fooler and FineAlready make really good points--yes, it makes sense to take very good care of your 'best' clients--but remember they can't/don't carry the entire business for you. Look at it this way: you say you instinctively want to put this particular family's needs first. Say there are two shows you can take clients to, one of which this family wants to go to, but three OTHER clients want to go to the second option. That family may be your 'best' customer, but where do you loose more if you go with what they want and, say, two of those other clients opt not to show?

    I just went through HR job training for work at a casino. One point that got made a lot: yes, we have 'high rollers', yes, they get perks that general guests don't. But it's based ONLY on how much they play, and ANY guest can achieve that status and get exactly the same treatment. Yes, there might be guests we as staff don't like as much as others, and maybe they don't get that tiny little extra 'oomph', but they don't get any LESS than they're paying for. That's the thing, yes, you can have perks, you can offer a bit more to those who pay more, but it has to be based on objective things, not on "I just like you better." That can be clients who pay more for shows and have more horses, that can be the kid who comes in and mucks ten stalls after school to pay for lessons, but if you're doing this as a business, it can't be "I just like them better, mom and I are in the same bridge club, dad and I went to the same college, we all shop at the same grocery store," whatever.
    ITA with everything here.

    As a teen I rode with a trainer who at first seemed to have favoritism. Over time I realized there was a reason his students won everything.... and no one beat all the others. He spent more time on those who needed it - and who wouldn't learn from watching him work with others. So when I got a new horse who was herd-bound he always made me do patterns first or last (this was for breed shows) and go to the opposite side of the arena from everyone else. Sometimes I went first so he could demonstrate to everyone what I did correctly so they could think about and use that, and sometimes last for the same reason - to show them the execution of where they had problems. When I was in private lessons he was extremely focused only on me while I rode.

    We all noticed he spent more time with one family, but then we also realized they had 5 horses he was working with and 3 riders, so of course he spent more time with him; they were paying for more time with him!

    The one that really bothered me at first was that he almost paid no attention to me at shows but paid a lot of attention to other people. But I kept beating them... as a teenager in a new barn I didn't get it at first until there was a show I wasn't showing at where he asked me to come help out, and had me warm up horses I had never ridden before and help clients get themselves ready for classes because he knew I would do well enough with them and he had horses he was showing nearly simultaneously in two other rings. That's when the lightbulb finally lit and I realized I didn't need the help at shows, which was why he focused on the ones who did. (I also didn't get charged a "warmup fee" or anything for shows.)

    I no longer assume favoritism, though of course there will be some clients a trainer likes working with more than others. My current trainer has a favorite who is a close personal friend but he only works with her once a month due to geography - and that having a favorite in no way works against me-and we've been at shows together without it affecting me. I'm now the one who gets more attention at shows because of the history my horse and I have of unnecessary explosions. I expect to improve to the point I don't get all that attention, as the whole goal is to make us all self-sufficient to some extent.

    I think in the case of a "shun" of one kid on social media it's something worth being corrected, though I would apologize to the kid, not the parent. I can just about guarantee the kid noticed and had hurt feelings if others were mentioned and she wasn't. Social media is such a firestorm of hurt feelings and emotions, leaving one off feels intentional because so many people do that sort of thing intentionally to send a message or hurt someone. A teen is going to be VERY tied in to that concept of using it to hurt others.
    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



  7. #47
    Join Date
    May. 22, 2013
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    48

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    Nobody will begrudge a trainer for paying a little extra attention to the client who produces the most revenue, but it is important to remember it can cost you business if taken too far. My last trainer struck out on her own and a lot of the clients she thought would go with her didn't because they felt like her relationship with her cash cow was so ridiculously close that that client would dictate the whole program. Clients generally just want to feel like they are getting adequate attention. I personally don't need to feel special. I just want what I pay for. If it gets to the point where you keep having to ask your other students if that line was good because you were talking to the favored child and didn't watch, you've taken it a step too far. Not that I experienced that or anything...lol.


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  8. #48
    Join Date
    Nov. 6, 2009
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    2,202

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    I think it is important for trainers to recognize that part of what a lot of clients enjoy about horses and horse showing is the social aspect. So aside from giving clients personal attention you want to make sure that your barn has an inclusive social environment where all clients are made to feel welcomed and valued and "part of the club." That is achieved by simple things like introducing clients and parents to each other and including all clients in any barn social functions, etc.


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  9. #49
    Join Date
    Oct. 29, 2000
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    11,676

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    To the OP: Until your last post, I was confused about the kind of favortism that you were showing (or afraid you were showing).

    I think the general rule, good for all situations is: Never make a client feel less important by leaving them out.

    I can (right off the top of my head) think of 2 examples of this.
    1. In Fla for the winter. Small barn, maybe 6 clients and a total of 10 horses. Many nights, the trainer would go out to dinner with Clients A, B and C. They were his friends, as well as his clients. Fine. But, after several weeks of not being included, I began to feel really left out. It would have been nice if 1x/week, there was a "barn dinner". With only 6 clients, it would not have been hard to do. We were all away from home and (in Ocala) there is not much to do at night, except to have a nice meal.
    2. Another trainer (another decade): I would be given a lesson time -- and I would be on and warmed up at that time. Trainer had finished the prior lesson but was hanging out with those clients in the middle of the ring, laughing and joking and ignoring the time (and me). 20 minutes later, he would look over and realize I was there, and start the lesson. By then, I had worked myself into a snit and the lesson was not very productive.

    Lest you think that I am perenially left out or snubbed -- not the case. I have been riding for decades and these 2 examples just became imbedded in my brain.

    In neither scenario did I get less of the trainer's time than I was paying for. But, in both scenarios I got less of the trainer's attention. And evidently, it upset me.

    It is very easy to play favorites with people (regardless of $$) who you like better. But, it is not professional when the other clients feel left out or like sloppy seconds. It does not take much time to make those other clients feel important. In fact, it takes a lot less time to do that than it does to undo hurt feelings or find new clients to replace those who have felt less appreciated, and so have moved to a new barn.

    Being a good trainer requires more psychology than horsemanship at times.
    "I used to have money, now I have horses."


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  10. #50
    Join Date
    Jun. 17, 2001
    Location
    down the road from bar.ka
    Posts
    32,251

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    I think you do need to be careful of the perception of favoritism here. If it looks to your clients like you are playing favorites? You are, at least in their minds. Just be aware perception can be reality if you don't pay attention to how you are perceived.

    The show congrats on FB is a good idea but...if the siblings got tri colors and the others pastels? That's going to be a challenge to showcase the greater achievement while still mentioning those lesser winners in an equal way...know what I am getting at here?

    Maybe just list the results for all clients without comment and have a "featured rider" every week or month or whatever. That way you'd get everybody equally.

    LordHelpus 2 examples of feeling left out ? Man, hit home with me. Particularly being on my own at a show expecting to dine with the others and trainer at least once as I had for years. Then getting left out of not only the meal but all conversations about what a wonderful time they had and where they were going to go with trainer the next night. I can deal, no problem, but that can sting like being one of the last in a schoolyard pick in 5th grade.

    Trainers need to watch out for things like that if they want harmony in the barn. Don't get seduced no matter how many times the few pick up the check and the many are left out. All those free meals at pricey joints wont make up the loss of good will and, possibly, income down the road.
    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


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  11. #51
    Join Date
    Nov. 13, 2009
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    4,634

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Helpus View Post
    1. In Fla for the winter. Small barn, maybe 6 clients and a total of 10 horses. Many nights, the trainer would go out to dinner with Clients A, B and C. They were his friends, as well as his clients. Fine. But, after several weeks of not being included, I began to feel really left out. It would have been nice if 1x/week, there was a "barn dinner". With only 6 clients, it would not have been hard to do. We were all away from home and (in Ocala) there is not much to do at night, except to have a nice meal.
    Something similar happened to me once, and, yes, ouch it hurts.

    In my situation, my horse was at a show (his very FIRST show, in fact), and he was BADLY injured on the Tuesday we arrived at the show. I mean, BADLY. Huge hock laceration requiring 14 staples. The accident happened while the assistant trainer was riding him (freak accident - mistakes were made, but they were honest mistakes and I'm not mad at the assistant trainer).

    Primary trainer/BO arrived back at the show after dropping her boyfriend off at the airport (sigh...whatever) and told me to "just go home," leave my horse at the show, and they would take care of him. Anyone who knows me would know that there is NO WAY I would ever just leave my badly injured horse alone at a show. I wanted help arranging for him to get home, but she refused to help me. I decided I would stay there (in a hotel) that night and try to find him a ride home in the morning. Trainer made extensive dinner plans with everyone else from our barn and an adjacent barn right in front of me and then looked at me in disgust and flatly said, "Well, I guess I'll see you tomorrow."

    Luckily, I ended up finding a ride home for him that night (which was good, because the laceration was badly infected by the next day and he required much better vet attention than what was available at the show).

    I left that barn primarily because of the way I was treated at that show by the main trainer/BO. What a b*tch. I'm still friendly with the assistant trainer who was actually the one ON my horse at the time of the accident.

    Anyway, sorry to divert. That just hit a nerve.


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  12. #52
    Join Date
    Nov. 6, 2009
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    2,202

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    Quote Originally Posted by findeight View Post
    The show congrats on FB is a good idea but...if the siblings got tri colors and the others pastels? That's going to be a challenge to showcase the greater achievement while still mentioning those lesser winners in an equal way...know what I am getting at here?
    Facebook and website photos and posts don't need to be all about who is winning what...in fact I'd recommend that trainers avoid too much of that except for mentioning special wins. As a trainer, you don't want your clients comparing themselves to each other and keeping too many tabs on who is winning what at every single show. That is another way to spark competition and jealousies within the barn. Instead, facebook is a great place to post cute pictures of people (especially groups of people) and horses having fun both at home and at shows. Show pictures are fine, too, but it isn't necessary to mention placings, just "Congratulations on a fantastic job in the x division!"


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