I hesitate to judge a trainer by one side, but what you are saying sounds not unusual but like not a good fit for your particular situation. That being said, there are barns where the trainer has a system and control, and deviations cause headaches. For instance, if she lets you teach your horse trailer loading, what will she do with the adult student who doesn't know how and will potentially make a horse not load? I let a horse of mine who loaded fine go to a show with some students once, and he came back after having refused to load (took 4 "strong men" to get him on the trailer) and after that continued to have issues despite being worked with. In most cases I do not feel it is nefarious reasons that cause those control issues, but rather, management techniques to keep everything running smoothly. In some cases it perhaps does have to do with money, but most of these trainers aren't getting rich.
If it is not the relationship you want with your horse, then I'd simply say that type of barn isn't good for you, and find another place. I would not look at show barns. You can always trailer in to see most coaches.
I think there is a difference between, "if you have a coach you must list them" vs. "You have to have a coach.' I would like to see the prizelists.
That's what I've done. The jumpers trainer at my barn was pretty horrified that the dressage trainer, who really isn't a show person, lets us go off to schooling shows on our own. That said, we tend to do better when we have a coach to help in the warm-up, and if I was showing recognized, I'd definitely hire someone!
"You have to have experiences to gain experience."
I grew up pretty independent. As a kid, my mom and I did a lot on our own. We were in boarding facilities with farm vets, farriers, and trainers, but the trainers were there to help us and teach us "the ropes" so we did not look out of place in public, but not actually do some of this work for us. Sometimes their advice was a little stronger, like "you will make sure you pull that mane better so you get better braids next time, right??" But the onus was on us to make sure our turnout and riding fell within their standards. I am sure we could have paid them to do the work for us, but it was not expected that we did.
Flash forward a few ... uh decades ... and my fellow barn members now rely heavily on the trainer's staff to do things like teach the horse basic manners, clip it, groom it, ride it, prepare it for the shows, etc. I was working as groom during that transition. In my experience, it was a case of turnout/ training expectations increasing exponentially and the skill/ willingness/ time to put into the turnout/ training was not there. It was easier for all parties to have the trainer's staff do the work. It has now become so ingrained in the culture that when a more independent person comes in, it is almost considered a nuisance to not have control over that horse. It is expected that they pay for services like mane pulling and get the ok from trainer on what color polo wraps are worn on a given day (jk, but sometimes it looks like it). Personally, I can't believe the trainer doesn't get annoyed with everyone relying on them for answers before they do anything. But I do understand why it is way easier to have everyone on the trainer's program from a logistics and standard of care/ turnout point of view.
As I look at my fellow barn members, I see that most of them have had 99% positive experiences during their horse-owning history in programs like this and it works for them on a variety of levels. They also have been "brought up" with this style of management.
If you and your trainer can come to an agreement that makes you both comfortable about the amount of involvement you have and your ability to meet their standards of turnout/care, I wish you both luck. If you think you will be continually clashing, save yourself the heartache and find a place where you can be as independent as you like.
Sure, example 1- I pulled my horse’s mane without “asking”.
2- I taught my horse how to load without ok-ing it first.
3- I had the vet up to check an abscess without them there to “supervise”
The coach is not the BO, they only coach clients at this barn. The BO is quite laid back.
Also I have owned and been the primary care giver of my horse(s) up until 5-6 years ago when I moved off our farm. I’ve shown H/J in my teens and earlier 20s and worked at a few show barns as a groom. I know my riding still needs improving but I do have some horse sense!
You either need to 'fire' the coach, as in just do your own training from now on, or leave if necessary. I would not tolerate that, at all, and you certainly have enough experience to be able to make your own decisions on the items you mentioned. Good luck and keep us posted.
ETA whoever said it was probably the coach wanting to be involved so that those activities were 'billable' was probably on target. In the Saddlebred realm, there are classes for 'AOTs' meaning amateur owner-trainer. Does that not exist in H/J land? Anyone who can read an entry form is capable of filling it out and submitting horse show entries; one does not need a 'coach' for that, especially if one has trailer transportation as OP (original poster) mentioned.
RIP Sasha, best dog ever, pictured shortly before she died. 3/17/12, Jenny has crossed Rainbow Bridge; 5/23/2012 Snowy too now.
That's great that you are going to talk to your coach. I hope you are able to get things worked out. Your coach may indeed be overly controlling, but obviously have an open mind and listen to what they have to say about the situation.
I'm a BO, which is a different situation, but there have been times when I have wanted to intervene in some of the situations you discuss. I don't believe in controlling clients, but trainers and BOs do have an interest in maintaining a safe, workmanlike, and professional appearing barn environment as well as ensuring good horsemanship on their premises. I had one client school her horse to load better (great!) but she chose to park the trailer in a busy area next to the ring (not great) and caused quite a ruckus while some younger students were riding...not good horsemanship, not considerate to others, and possibly not safe. I also like to be included/informed when a horse is lame or ill because my staff and I are the ones providing most of the horse's daily care and we need to know what is going on. As far as mane pulling, I think it is fair for a trainer to be picky about how horses in their training program are turned out and to want to have a little oversight to be sure that manes, tails and clip jobs are suitable.
I was wondering the same as some of the previous posters. Does trainer charge extra for these services and this is a way to bring in more revenue? That would make sense and then it's up to you to come to an arrangement you can live with. Or does this person work with a lot of kids and is just used to needing more control with them? Bottom line, your horse, your money, your decision. Looking forward to the update.