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  1. #1
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    Dec. 23, 2009
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    Default unethical trainers

    After going back and reading numerous threads, I can see issues with unethical trainers are not new to anyone here. Aside from taking your business away from them, what do you do to get over being taken advantage of? Are there any committees out there that "police" trainers? Any words of advice would be appreciated. Thank you!



  2. #2
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    Feb. 24, 2011
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    I suppose it depends a bit on what you mean by "unethical". Are you talking about something illegal like insurance fraud , non transparent billing processes or something else?

    If its minor stuff then move on and take your money elsewhere. Life tends to punish these people eventually. Now if it'd something unlawful then report it



  3. #3
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    Mar. 5, 2007
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    1,704

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by mrslipstick View Post
    After going back and reading numerous threads, I can see issues with unethical trainers are not new to anyone here. Aside from taking your business away from them, what do you do to get over being taken advantage of? Are there any committees out there that "police" trainers? Any words of advice would be appreciated. Thank you!
    USEF could care less.
    One of their candidates for Horseman of the year got busted twice in a 5 week period for medications violations.
    He got fined and was suspended for a month yet he is still up there as a USEF role model.
    So no, they won't care. won't want to hear about your issue.



  4. #4
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    Apr. 2, 2011
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    Westchester, NY
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    My old trainer was bad bad bad...but never illegal. Also depends on your definition of unethical. She was reprimanded by an official at HITs for screaming at a client and making both her 11 year old student AND her mother burst into tears. Steward encouraged client to lodge a complaint against the trainer as well, and the client's mother did not.

    So at some point the client has to take responsibility and do something if they can. Many people has a similar issue with this particular trainer. Yet because board was low many could not afford to leave and the fact that trainer didn't do anything illegal...not much could be done.



  5. #5
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    Nov. 28, 2011
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    North East
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    Default

    I feel you have to "police" unethical trainers yourself.
    In my area, most people know the good trainers from the bad.
    The horse world is a hot bed of gossip and few things go unnoticed. Unethical trainer really don't last too long and don't have a big client base.



  6. #6
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    Jul. 19, 2003
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    Middleburg, VA
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Angry Bird View Post
    I feel you have to "police" unethical trainers yourself.
    In my area, most people know the good trainers from the bad.
    The horse world is a hot bed of gossip and few things go unnoticed. Unethical trainer really don't last too long and don't have a big client base.
    Reaaly? It often seems to me that the crooks and the jerks always have a barn full, make money hand over fist (because they're screwing all their clients), while the good, honest people some times end up struggling.



  7. #7
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    Aug. 27, 2010
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    OH
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by yellowbritches View Post
    Reaaly? It often seems to me that the crooks and the jerks always have a barn full, make money hand over fist (because they're screwing all their clients), while the good, honest people some times end up struggling.
    I second this opinion. There is a stable down the street that I and other people, have seen horses colic and the horse will not get walked, or medicated or the vet called unless the owner comes out and does it themselves. Many horses have died over there Yet the place is full, like 50 plus boarders full.



  8. #8
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    Dec. 4, 2002
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    Alpharetta, GA
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    I think Joe Client must take some responsibility for "crooks" staying in business. In my area, there are so many good choices. There's just no excuse for an owner to tolerate poor care or bad training. Owners, if your horse isn't happy, healthy and a pleasure to be around, then move! Don't tolerate cruel training or bad lessons. Support the programs that take care of their charges, equine and human. Expect to pay for quality- don't ask that your barn owners supply quality feed, hay and labor for less than it costs! Don't ask that a trainer work in all weather conditions, day after day without being compensated. I mean, really.....



  9. #9
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    Aug. 4, 2009
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    MD
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by yellowbritches View Post
    Reaaly? It often seems to me that the crooks and the jerks always have a barn full, make money hand over fist (because they're screwing all their clients), while the good, honest people some times end up struggling.



  10. #10
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    Nov. 6, 2009
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    No. No one polices trainers. Even disgruntled ex-clients who were treated poorly or had something terrible happen often will refuse to say anything bad because the horse world is a small place and they don't want to stir things up.

    So, as a client/owner, the answer is you've got to have your s%^t together. Don't leave common sense and good judgment behind when you enter the horse world to do business of any kind. Get recommendations when choosing trainers, but understand that negatives might be buried in vague statements or faint praise. Look instead for glowing recommendations.

    If you put a horse in training, visit often to watch training sessions and check on the horse's condition and progress. Ride the horse yourself occasionally if it is possible. Insist on a training calendar. Be realistic about your price range, but DO NOT bargain shop. It costs a LOT of money to board and train a horse. Simple is fine, but even simple good care and training costs a fair bit.

    With lessons and coaching, are you making consistent progress? Are you enjoying your riding? Are you building your skills and confidence? Does your trainer treat you professionally in private and in public? If not, then it is time to walk on your own two feet to another trainer.

    I've been in the horse world my entire life. There are a LOT of trainers out there. If someone isn't meeting your needs, it's time to move on. Don't allow trainers to act like they own you--they don't. Sometimes a trainer is great for a certain period in your riding or for a certain horse, but you eventually need to move on. That's FINE.

    Lastly, police your own behavior. Be polite and considerate. Listen to the advice you are paying for. Pay promptly. Have realistic expectations. Be a partner in taking good care of your animals.

    Yes, many people often do stay with trainers that abuse them or the horses or who use unethical practices, etc. You can't control those people, you can only control yourself.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug. 1, 2004
    Location
    Golden State
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    Ethics is a giant iceberg in the sea of the horse business.. so many little things that are easy to see and many many more that you can't see until it's too late.. unless you --> yourself take the time to look and ask questions.

    I had a friend send a sale horse to a person I don't trust.. I told my friend this but the "other" trainer said they could sell the horse fast,had someone, all the usual nice things. Of course it went badly. Turns out a simple check in the county court system would have showed how many times that trainer had been sued for fraud. Even though many cases were settled, that fact that so many people had even hired a lawyer and filed would have been a giant red light.
    My friend is got over being taken advantage of by hiring a lawyer and of course, telling people what happened to her. She also has learned to do everything by contract (and pay attention to me when I quietly tell her to stay away from someone. She knows I am gonna do the "I told ya so dance" randomly at some point.)

    My advice, if you have already been taken advantage of is to simply take it as a lesson learned and move on. If the loss is large and you have the grounds and funds, go ahead and at least talk to an attorney. Most associations are not going to help you, they simply don't have a mechanism. Maybe complain to the Better Business Bureau at least they can record your complaint. Take your money elsewhere.
    I can explain it TO you,but I can't understand it FOR you



  12. #12
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    May. 6, 2006
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    rapidan,virginia
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    Quote Originally Posted by BeeHoney View Post
    No. No one polices trainers. Even disgruntled ex-clients who were treated poorly or had something terrible happen often will refuse to say anything bad because the horse world is a small place and they don't want to stir things up.

    So, as a client/owner, the answer is you've got to have your s%^t together. Don't leave common sense and good judgment behind when you enter the horse world to do business of any kind. Get recommendations when choosing trainers, but understand that negatives might be buried in vague statements or faint praise. Look instead for glowing recommendations.

    If you put a horse in training, visit often to watch training sessions and check on the horse's condition and progress. Ride the horse yourself occasionally if it is possible. Insist on a training calendar. Be realistic about your price range, but DO NOT bargain shop. It costs a LOT of money to board and train a horse. Simple is fine, but even simple good care and training costs a fair bit.

    With lessons and coaching, are you making consistent progress? Are you enjoying your riding? Are you building your skills and confidence? Does your trainer treat you professionally in private and in public? If not, then it is time to walk on your own two feet to another trainer. I've been in the horse world my entire life. There are a LOT of trainers out there. If someone isn't meeting your needs, it's time to move on. Don't allow trainers to act like they own you--they don't. Sometimes a trainer is great for a certain period in your riding or for a certain horse, but you eventually need to move on. That's FINE.

    Lastly, police your own behavior. Be polite and considerate. Listen to the advice you are paying for. Pay promptly. Have realistic expectations. Be a partner in taking good care of your animals.

    Yes, many people often do stay with trainers that abuse them or the horses or who use unethical practices, etc. You can't control those people, you can only control yourself.
    THIS ^^^^^^

    "Can you imagine what I would do if I could do all I can?" Sun Tzu, The Art of War
    Rainy
    Stash



  13. #13
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    Nov. 9, 2011
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    Where no hay grows
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    Default Ethics

    I'm getting ready to take my former trainer to small claims court because she cashed a lease check she said she lost, along with the replacement check.

    I've served her once already and given fair warning about taking her to court and also requesting that she pay my attorney/court fees. (I work for a law firm - hello!) She's acknowldedged it but do I have the check yet? Nope - going on 2 months.

    Wrote me a very amusing email calling me unstable and she thought I was her "friend" and that you don't treat "friends" that way.

    Ummm, it's called business my dear. Friendship goes out the window when you rip me off and call me names. Bye-Bye



  14. #14
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    Jun. 20, 2008
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    Depends on what you deem unethical and I agree w/ Yellowbritches and Jselm. I know of several trainers whose ethics, or I should really say business practices, as they're not crooks, I don't necessarily approve of but that's ME. I want to be billed direct for vet & farrier, other people don't mind the extra fees added on for the sake of having one bill - they might if they knew how much the vet and farriers really charge though LOL.

    And as long as we clients tolerate this behavior it won't change. If you don't like that your kid is getting screamed at, berated and belitted every other show and lesson w/o calling out the trainer what makes you think they will stop that behavior? Some trainers might not even be completely aware of how cruel they are sometimes. if you get an excessive bill - it could be a bunch of add-ons or a legitimate mistake. A friend of mine was taking lessons on a lesson horse, as hers was lame. She got a bill for the lesson horses shoes $180! She asked a person at the barn about it and their response was "oh she's probably just testing you to see what she can get away with" Really? So if we clients accept this then who are we really to blame?



  15. #15
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    Mar. 1, 2007
    Location
    upstate new york
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    355

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    Quote Originally Posted by yellowbritches View Post
    Reaaly? It often seems to me that the crooks and the jerks always have a barn full, make money hand over fist (because they're screwing all their clients), while the good, honest people some times end up struggling.
    Sadly, I agree with this. I think a lot of the problems stem from the amount of money people are spending on horses/lesson/everything that goes along with it. I think people want to see results, most times meaning blue ribbons. Also, a lot of these people are parents and non-horse educated people. I know that my trainer is a true horseman and does not cut corners, use any medications or lunge horses that don't truly need it (and none at shows). Sadly, he is not the norm anymore.



  16. #16
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    Jan. 18, 2011
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    40

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    I'm going under cover for this one. A good friend was offered a horse for sale that was 14, short stirrup champion, big and safe under her junior rider, a warmblood whose papers were "lost."

    A little digging on my part (I was horse shopping for myself and ran across one of the mare's relatives for sale) led to the breeder of the mare who indeed had papers and the mare was 16, not 14.

    (You can insure a 14 year old horse, but not a 16 year old horse.)

    So the selling trainer lied to her and everyone knew it. Yet my friend ended up in their barn because they knew the horse, and could use her as a school horse in exchange for giving my friend lessons.

    They were and are awful people and total con artists, yet somehow people overlook their ethical lapses.



  17. #17
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    Nov. 18, 2010
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    california
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    There are a fair share of "ethically challenged" trainers in this business. I think when you mix animals and children into an expensive sport, there are many ways to get a bit more than is ethical out of clients and horses.

    I have known of a couple of trainers who have been taken to court and lost and they are still in business. I think listening to the community if they talk about it, is important. I promised my husband-because he asked-that I would never do business with a horse person that I knew to be dishonest in any way. I am very selective about who I associate with in the horse world.



  18. #18
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    Dec. 23, 2009
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    Lots of great comments and advice. I have gone the legal route and filed complaints with Better Business Bureau and Office of Consumer Fraud. I'm going to check with these agencies from now on...should've done that the first time around...hopefully, others will and be forewarned about this particular group that I had to find out the hard/expensive way. It's amazing to me that none of what is tolerated in the horse business would fly in any other business. I'm at a loss as to why so many of us freeze when it comes to demanding what is fair and right from our trainers!!! I've definately learned my lesson!



  19. #19
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    Mar. 22, 2004
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    Florida
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    Quote Originally Posted by yellowbritches View Post
    Reaaly? It often seems to me that the crooks and the jerks always have a barn full, make money hand over fist (because they're screwing all their clients), while the good, honest people some times end up struggling.
    I agree yellowbritches... Many times people don't realize who the crooks are until they are victims. I think many of us have been there. An education can be costly to not only the pocketbook but also our horses...

    You can police the horse industry at www.ratemyhorsepro.com
    Platinum Equestrian - Florida, USA



  20. #20
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    Nov. 6, 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by Break-away Alter View Post
    led to the breeder of the mare who indeed had papers and the mare was 16, not 14.

    (You can insure a 14 year old horse, but not a 16 year old horse.)
    Just an aside:

    I would automatically assume that the stated age of a horse with no papers has had AT LEAST two years deducted from the actual age...if not more. When registered horses become separated from their papers there is often a very convenient (unethical) reason. Obscuring age (for both insurance and resale purposes), unpopular breeding, past show record and past reputation are a few.

    I know there are those on this board who will swear up and down that people in the show world don't care about papers and lose track of them all the time (yes, probably because of the reasons listed in my first paragraph), but to me, missing papers is a red flag.



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