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It's not me, it's you -- trainer breakup speech?

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  • It's not me, it's you -- trainer breakup speech?

    hello all,
    alter looking for a bit of advice or really some convincing here.

    i am planning on changing trainers in the next few weeks. current trainer is mostly an excellent teacher but terrible businessperson, which results in a lot of sketchy behavior towards her clients and her lesson horses. like, selling a lame horse to clients for five figures sketchy.

    i'm pretty comfortable with my decision -- while i don't have huge complaints regarding my own training, i've lost respect for and confidence in her. but i'm waffling about what exactly to say.

    one part of me thinks i should just do the soft sell, the "i just want someone who can commit more time to me and horsey, thanks for the memories, bye."

    the other part of me wants to be more direct, and spell out in at least some detail what my issues are ("i don't respect how you run your business and treat your clients/ horses, i don't have confidence in your integrity, and i don't want to be part of that any more").

    please know, i don't really expect the above to have any impact on my trainer. but, i am not someone to mince words when i think horses/my friends are not being treated well (some who will be staying on with her, at least for a while), so i also don't want to be accused later of the old "saying things behind someone's back that you wouldn't say to their face."


  • #2
    I would just take the high road and thank her for all her help and time, and you are just needing more time/flexibility whatever.

    It's a small world, and especially if you are friends with some of her clients it will be much easier at events/clinics etc if everyone is on good terms. It would be no fun to have that burned bridge interfere with those friendships, or with anything in the future (maybe you will buy/sell a horse to someone she knows, or take lessons from a trainer friend of hers, etc.)

    Like any break-up, the restraint will be hard but worth it over time.


    • #3
      This is a tough business/world to participate in, particularly because a lot of trainers/professionals DON'T handle this sort of thing as professionally as they should. My advice would be to be careful not to burn bridges. A simple "I would like go down a different path with Dobbin and myself" should suffice. You don't need to address it any other way than that. Attacking her business practices, even if you're in the right, is unnecessary and could come back and bite you in the end (no pun intended!). Just tell trainer that you feel it's time to move on and leave it at that.
      Good luck!


      • #4
        If you want a clean break, just saying you are leaving is enough. I think if you get into the real reasons why, you will get drawn into drama if one of your friend's leaves later (you may be blamed for badmouthing the trainer). I guess if the trainer is not gracious about you leaving and acts nasty, you may have a hard time keeping quiet (I would), but I'd at least start out without getting into why you are really leaving. Good luck!


        • #5
          If her business practices are indeed as sketchy as you believe, then you are not going to avoid the sniping behind your back after you leave, so I would just do as the others have recommended and keep your parting speech short and sweet. A simple "I appreciate your teaching and the your time, but I am going to be moving on in a different direction now and I wanted to thank you and say good-bye." Anything else will leave you open to argument and discussion, which just prolongs the uncomfortable-ness of the situation. Ultimately, it's a business, and you pay her for her services. if you want to change providers, that's your business. be very professional and eventually, you will come out ahead. Good luck!
          "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." - Thomas Edison

          So, the Zen Buddhist says to the hotdog vendor, "Make me one with everything."


          • #6
            I guess it depends on how much you're going to be interacting with her post- breakup. If she is prevalent in your horse community, it could make things uncomfortable down the road. Also, if she is a little shady, is she someone who is going to bad mouth you behind your back in return for your honesty? I would measure the worth of being open about your reasons vs. the potential consequences.
            On the other hand, I know shady trainers like this, and as a trainer who has personally focused on being honest and open with my students, clients, and especially about any horses i may be selling, it really bothers me to see trainers who have questionable ethics -- they give trainers a bad name and erode the public's trust in us, and I think it's a good thing for them to know why they are losing the business.
            As a trainer, I would want to know why i was losing a client, and I would rather they be open with me about it so that I could evaluate my business and consider making changes, but I supsect that someone who is dishonest and shady will more than likely turn it around on you rather than take it to heart and grow from it.
            tough call.... good luck!


            • #7
              Don't get into it. Just keep it simple. Otherwise you're liable to end up in a whole mess of crazy.
              We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.


              • #8
                If we all told each other exactly what we thought, it would be pretty rough going. That is why tact and diplomacy is helpful.

                As much as you would like to lay it out, I would not. Given the OP's comments that the current trainer is an excellent teacher AND while the OP does not like her business practices, the OP is peripheral to them, I can see a strong argument for MYOB. Smile and say goodbye.

                If someone asks you about the former trainer, then you should feel free to give an answer about what you know...trainer is an excellent teacher but a poor business person, in your opinion. Nothing wrong with that. Beyond that, there are at least two sides to every story and often more. People will form their own opinion.
                Where Fjeral Norwegian Fjords Rule


                • #9
                  I can't think of a scenario where failing to take the high road is the RIGHT thing to do.
                  Last edited by deltawave; May. 25, 2012, 01:02 PM. Reason: Horrid syntax!
                  Click here before you buy.


                  • Original Poster

                    thanks everyone -- you are all saying what i basically know is true.

                    i wish i thought that being honest would actually DO something -- i'm sad for my friends who still ride with her and for many of the horses involved -- but i know deep down that she is not the type to change.

                    i just wanted to know if it would be better on my end to be more honest or more tactful. miss manners would be so delighted that tactful has apparently won!


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by deltawave View Post
                      I can't think of a scenario where failing to take the high road is the WRONG thing to do.
                      This community is much smaller than you think.

                      Be careful of the words you speak and keep them soft and sweet. You'll never know from day to day the ones you'll have to eat!

                      Take the high road.



                      • #12
                        My apologies for awkward phrasing! I absolutely meant to say "take the high road". How silly of me--please change WRONG to RIGHT in the above statement!
                        Click here before you buy.


                        • #13
                          I took the highest, most complimentary and nice road possible and STILL was trashed and treated poorly after the fact, by a trainer who couldn't handle the breakup gracefully. My advice is keep it short, sweet and don't open it up for discussion. And then be prepared to move quickly. Good luck!


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by currentlyalternating View Post
                            thanks everyone -- you are all saying what i basically know is true.

                            i wish i thought that being honest would actually DO something -- i'm sad for my friends who still ride with her and for many of the horses involved -- but i know deep down that she is not the type to change.
                            Yeah I always hate not being able to give the necessary feedback, not only in the horse world but in every day life. I feel like most people don't know how to take criticism without being bitter, but on the other hand most people do not know how to critisize without being rude. I personally would want someone to tell me if I was doing something that they thought was wrong, even if I couldn't make a client stay, because in the future it could help keep clients. But, you can't change people you can only change yourself.

                            Good luck!
                            Blog of an ordinary and every day horse lover!