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Need some Mentorship on Situation with Client

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  • Need some Mentorship on Situation with Client

    I've had a horse in training for a little over a year off and on. He goes home for a month in the winter and he had some time off when I had an injury that wasn't horse related. I could only work him from the ground at that time. I charged her only for his feed and farrier during that time and sucked up the time handling him and the other extras since she didn't want to bring him home.

    He's a bit of a pip and his owner knows that and I knew that when I took him on. He's got an attitude but I can work around it. When the work gets harder, he throws little fits. Again, something I can work around and handle. I rode with my trainer last weekend and the horse was uncooperative but we worked around it. I paid for the lesson myself.

    Later on in the evening, my trainer mentioned one of the horses in the clinic and said "That's the kind of horse you need to be able to show". I took this to mean a very nice way of saying that the horse I have in training is not of the quality I need.

    The owner is a devotee to a western trainer (I'll call him Supertrainer) about a state away and every time a situation comes up, she says "Oh Supertrainer will fix that". She has sent several rogue horses to him and he has done a good job with them but his approach won't work with this horse as #1 he doesn't have a problem that needs to be solved by Supertrainer's system and #2 this horse is ultra-sensitive and would be a mess if rough tactics were used.

    I've taken this horse a long way from being an unrideable mess to being able to put in a good dressage test. I got an email from her yesterday saying that Supertrainer was coming to her farm in a few weeks and she'd like him to work with and possibly take her horse to "help me out".

    This to me says "I don't trust you can solve the problems with this horse". I've put a lot of sweat into this horse and charged her far less than the going rate because he is a rescue and I wanted to make sure he stayed out of the rescue pipeline. She is too afraid to ride him due to his antics and that is why she sent him to me so instead of the normal rides/lessons for the owner on the horse in training, I teach her on another one of her horses.

    I'm thinking the best thing is for the horse to go to Supertrainer and take a horse from my waiting list.

    Your thoughts?

  • #2
    Yes, I think that if the owner wants the horse to go to Supertrainer, it's her decision. Thank her for the opportunity and take another horse off your waiting list. It sounds like the horse isn't the best fit n your program with your goal and his attitude, and it might be the best move to take another off your list. If she's as devoted to Supertrainer as she is, you won't change her mind about him or his tactics. I do feel badly for the horse, but ultimately it isn't your problem.


    • #3
      Yup. Wish her luck and move on.
      Groom to trainer: "Where's the glamour? You promised me glamour!"


      • #4
        If you have horses on your waiting list, why continue with this one? You have listed the number of reasons not to. I get that you'd like to see him kept out of the rescue "mill."

        But! In your shoes, I'd feign full endorsement of the plan to turn the horse over to the Super Trainer. Heck, I'd go watch. You can always learn something from watching someone else, and someone else who is making a genuine living at this. You might want a new tool that he has, you might get additional clarity on what you would do with this kind of horse.

        The horse, the decision and his fate is really the HO's property, not yours. I wouldn't put this as "If you take your horse to Super-trainer, he can't come back here." But I would make plans to discontinue the relationship.... or at least not keep doing it for free. If the HO can find money to pay Super-trainer, she can find the money to pay you.

        Seriously. If you have other HOs waiting with horses that need work and a willingness to pay, move on.
        The armchair saddler
        Politically Pro-Cat


        • #5
          Honestly, some of those western "supertrainers" really are miracle workers. If he works within a system (the system that is laid out by most western super trainers), then I would not be surprised at all if he could successfully fix the horse's issues. I am a dressage rider who had to take a step back and learn about horsemanship from the Western world...and I have learned a TON. I think maybe you should go watch


          • #6
            IMO, horses do become easy and lose their attitude with the right rider. So far, he has not done that with you, so definitely let him go on to someone else.


            • #7
              I'd be inclined to get 1-2 good informal videos of horse in action while he is still under your care. Send them to the owner since they cannot see progress from afar and wish the horse well.

              Hopefully the horse thrives in the new program but if not, the owner has a clear understanding of where the horse was prior to entering the new program.


              • #8
                Sounds like a graceful "out" from a situation that isn't going anywhere for any of you. We can't win them all.


                • #9
                  I have sent 2 horses with attitude issues to Western trainers. I only use trainers who do not lay a horse out and sit on its neck, or tie the horse to a neck donkey for days. Believe it or not, most Western trainers are very good horse people. The difference between them and us is that they believe horses have to work to earn their keep. They do not lavish pats and carrots; if a horse has been good, he is rewarded by being allowed to walk on a lose rein.

                  There is no anthromorphizing (sp?) horses. They learn to stand tied by the hour, to do their work, get hosed off and put out in a field.

                  Both mine who went to Western trainers came home as solid citizens. They were not spoiled brats (my bad) who thought that obedience was optional.

                  Let this horse get into a Western program and move on.
                  "He lives in a cocoon of solipsism"

                  Charles Krauthammer speaking about Trump


                  • #10
                    And don't take him back, either


                    • #11

                      It seems like you have this horse in training but aren't sure if this horse can "help" your training or not. Your own trainer doesn't think this horse can further your career and the horse's owner wants you to ride with "supertrainer". On the surface, it seems like your goals for the horse are different from the owner's goals. Am I wrong?

                      I have a horse that four very accomplished trainers suggested I send to a particular cowboy. No ego, they knew what was best for THIS horse. If you PM me, I'm happy to provide details. That cowboy made all the difference in the world with this dressage horse (that cowboy also took dressage lessons with the very accomplished dressage trainers that recommended him to me). Now we're schooling dressage, but I couldn't do what I'm doing now 2-3 years ago or without this cowboy's help. This cowboy taught my horse how to problem solve under pressure. Dressage is problem-solving and my horse is excelling with his physique and mental attitude because he learned to problem solve. THIS horse needed THIS approach. He's extremely smart.

                      Granted, many "cowboys" aren't very good. Many of the famous cowboys aren't very good in a clinic setting. You have to decide for yourself and with the input of trusted friends. THAT SAID, it sounds like you have an opportunity to learn something new and good. Take advantage of that.

                      Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation


                      • Original Poster

                        Thx to everyone for their thoughts. Just to let everyone know, I have a GREAT amount of respect for good western trainers and this isn't about my goals. It is about an owner who has constantly changing priorities and ideas for their horse and therefore wants to have someone else look at him.

                        Right now, I've let her know to take the horse. She is sending me angry emails now. Can't win.


                        • #13
                          Why are you receiving angry emails from HO? Did you let her know the horse can't come back to you?

                          Sometimes you just can't win w a HO. And I'm a horse owner admitting that.


                          • #14
                            Makes sense that HO is the problem and is Sort of predictably unpredictsble. You can only control your own behavior, so concentrate on being civil and consistent. Good luck .


                            • #15
                              Hmm, angry emails. You definitely don't want this one back.
                              pace, path, balance, impulsion and ??

                              Don't panic! Ralph Leroy Hill


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Escada View Post
                                It is about an owner who has constantly changing priorities and ideas for their horse and therefore wants to have someone else look at him.
                                And you want to keep working with someone like this why?
                                That sounds like the type of client that most people would be happy to send off to some other trainer.


                                • Original Poster

                                  She is angry because I let her know it would be best to take him. She changed her mind back and forth and now wants me to keep him. I don't see her behavior getting better so it's best to cut ties now.


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by GraceLikeRain View Post
                                    I'd be inclined to get 1-2 good informal videos of horse in action while he is still under your care. Send them to the owner since they cannot see progress from afar and wish the horse well.

                                    Hopefully the horse thrives in the new program but if not, the owner has a clear understanding of where the horse was prior to entering the new program.
                                    Smart advice.

                                    Also, I'd like to say: don't under charge your clients. They will under-value you.


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Escada View Post
                                      I'm thinking the best thing is for the horse to go to Supertrainer and take a horse from my waiting list.

                                      Your thoughts?
                                      Client can go with god, but she needs to go.
                                      The Noodlehttp://tiny.cc/NGKmT&http://tiny.cc/gioSA
                                      Boy Wonderhttp://tiny.cc/G9290
                                      The Hana is nuts! NUTS!!http://tinyurl.com/SOCRAZY


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Escada View Post
                                        She is angry because I let her know it would be best to take him. She changed her mind back and forth and now wants me to keep him. I don't see her behavior getting better so it's best to cut ties now.
                                        Good idea. Life is too short to deal with owners like this, especially if you have a waiting list and can afford to be picky. I suspect part of this horse's issue is that she plucks him out from under you, takes him home, messes with him and sends him back. He's probably confused and would thrive with consistency. In the end, Supertrainer may end up with the same situation on his hands that you have now. Some horses deal with inconsistency better than others.

                                        I don't tolerate clients working a horse in my program with any other trainers. I also require that I am exclusively the one to work the horse for a set amount of time in the beginning (dependent on what issues I am addressing), then require that the owners lesson with me to learn to ride their horse in the way I have to continue both of their educations. If an owner can't agree to that, they are best off finding another person to work with. Otherwise, the horse suffers, and the owners badmouth me because I didn't do my job. Really, I did my job, you messed it up, and now you are blaming me. I don't need that drama....