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My horrible experiences with Texas horse trainer/instructor Ellen Doughty-Hume

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  • I agree this needs to be looked at by RMHP
    Boss Mare Eventing Blog

    Comment


    • Stormy, I am head over heels for Fella (I am a firm believer in every kid having a golden pony), and so glad he came through ok!
      Amanda

      Comment


      • I don't bother with Senden Horse anymore - who it is talks in circles.

        Comment


        • I generally am not a fan of the whole publicly-outing-someone-on-Facebook thing, because it is true that every story has two sides and the truth generally lies somewhere in the middle ... such situations usually just lead to bad feelings, drama, and the expectation for others to "take sides".

          In this case, however, (and I have no personal experience with EDH, prior to this she's just been a name I recognized from event results) it seems that the OPs post is supported by facts, and by the overall reputation of the trainer in question.

          Stormy, I'm sorry for the loss of your horse.

          Comment


          • Originally posted by SendenHorse

            This isn't about me, I am way on the other side of the county. But this automatic assumption we should 100% take everything at face value is really annoying.

            No, I would not work with Ellen after reading this. Not a chance. But we all need to not be force fed what our response is.

            I've heard and experienced equal or worse horror stories of many trainers, this isn't some special case. Maybe that is why I don't' have such a strong reaction. Just another day in horse land.
            You are speaking out of both sides of your mouth. You would no way work with this trainer after reading an internet post, but say we shouldn't automatically assume or take this at face value? Ok then.

            "...Horse land." I agree here, you can find "horror stories" on just about all horse trainers and barn service providers. There is some truth to the adage that all horse people are crazy.

            Comment


            • Sad as it is, I don't find much or really anything about this saga shocking. Like many here, I've been around for a long time.

              Its entirely possible to have an outwardly thriving horse business that is riddled with unethical practices. In fact, in the smaller communities, they tend to be able to hang on longer because there are fewer places/options and those leaving are afraid to speak out for fear of being perceived as problem boarders. In the meantime, 'everyone' aka all the experienced people are well aware of what goes on with the unethical one. Because of the small community, no one speaks up because it won't make a difference/not worth it/they'll never change.

              After the victimized client leaves, the stories come out of the woodwork that the problems have been around FOREVER.

              I've seen it everywhere. Its as old as the idea of the horse pro, but don't we as a community LOVE to pretend it isn't?

              To rise to the upper ranks of riding/competing/training in NA (I can't speak to overseas) requires a certain amount of 'its all about me' bordering on sociopathy. The amount it falls to one side of the line or the other varies, but not as much as we pretend.
              The stories of the T-Rex Eventer

              Big Head, Little Arms, Still Not Thinking It Through

              Comment


              • I'm gasping at the post from the barn help that called out the lifestyle of a barn owner. What was your point in bringing up their home life? Why would you address who they love as though that were a reason to dismiss them?

                This thread is indeed a prime example of why whistle-blower's don't blow the whistle! You are the one that ends up being smeared, you are the one defending yourself, you are the one that has family and friends dragged through the mud, not the person that has committed the wrong. Geezus, no wonder we have the current political situation.

                And Sendenhorse seems like one of the personality types that will say up if everyone else is saying down.

                Comment


                • Originally posted by Gestalt View Post
                  This thread is indeed a prime example of why whistle-blower's don't blow the whistle! You are the one that ends up being smeared, you are the one defending yourself, you are the one that has family and friends dragged through the mud, not the person that has committed the wrong.
                  I think, in general, it is good that we (general) question people. You would want people to ask questions if someone was smearing you.

                  Other than a couple of posters this thread has gone from people questioning the OP to people supporting the OP because the OP knew their experiences would be hard to believe at first and she simply explained further and allowed people to learn from people (the OP and other people with similar experiences) who were not shooting spittle at those who dared to ask a question.

                  The OP is clearly a strong person who knows that in the end the truth works, even when at first people ask questions.

                  Comment


                  • Synthesis -

                    Well said!!!

                    I was thinking exactly the same thing about the ULR and degree of ego/narcissism aspect. There are lots of great trainers/riders that don't "break through" because they lack this aspect and there are some less talented individuals that get where they are because of sheer charisma and determination.

                    It's unfortunate that often this means putting the horse's welfare second.

                    Comment


                    • "To rise to the upper ranks of riding/competing/training in NA (I can't speak to overseas) requires a certain amount of 'its all about me' bordering on sociopathy. The amount it falls to one side of the line or the other varies, but not as much as we pretend."

                      So true.


                      Comment


                      • Ainsley and Eventer212121, I have absolutely no issue with you ladies personally. I can absolutely understand your need to defend Ellen and if someone were coming after one of my friends/trainers the same way, I am sure I would do the same in your shoes. To that point, that is what started this shit show. I was told Ellen had made a rude comment regarding Mouse's passing and lost it. So I get it. I really really do.

                        As far as I can tell, she has not given either of you a reason to distrust her or question her judgement. For that I am glad. I don't mean that in a snarky way, I truly do not wish any bad on any of her clients/friends/employees.

                        I do however have an issue with one thing you posted regarding your side of events.

                        "All I can say is that the flash flood was just that. A flash flood. Which happened very quickly, in an area that hadn't flooded like that for decades. I could tell you what I've been told about the other side of the story, but like I said, I wasn't here for that and have no first hand experience. I CAN, however, say that there are NOT horses going out there. Were there? For a few months this year, late spring/early summer, yes. There were 5 animals being pasture boarded in that area. Any time there was rain in the forecast, they were moved (and shut in) pastures on higher grounds that could not flood. They left before Stormy did."


                        "3). Ziggy injuring his stifle in the hail storm.
                        I most definitely was here for that one...! If you look up the hail storm, you will see that it was a super cell that created record amounts of freakishly large and damaging hail. I don't know much about the weather, but I have learned that super cells come out of nowhere, and move extremely fast, with little warning. Was I aware there was a storm brewing? Yes. Was it supposed to hit us? No. It was supposed to go safely north of us, but turned around and came back towards us at the last minute. It was also just a regular rain/thunderstorm. (I know now that there's no such thing as a regular thunderstorm in Texas.)"


                        You are conflicting yourself here. Either storms move through unexpectedly, with not enough warning to bring horses in, or you have time to get them to safety out of an area that had already killed one horse and had another in the hospital for a week. Late spring/early summer are the WORST months here for crazy storms and 5 horses take a lot more time to move to safety than 2 do. As a matter of fact Bailey died in June. I remember vividly because I spent all day Fathers Day searching for him and was the one to find his dead body.

                        Regardless, if in the future you find yourself on the opposite side from where you are now, don't hesitate to reach out. I understand your position and can see how things look from your point of view.

                        Comment


                        • I work for an agency where we are constantly reminded not to post things on websites or social media which appear to represent the thoughts/beliefs or missions from my organization. So I find it interesting that Ellen has made a public statement, albeit failing to address the claims against her, yet continues to permit her employees to respond (doing her dirty work?). Their responses as others have mentioned are incredibly unprofessional and mostly irrelevant given the time frame of the claims. From my outsider perspective, the failure of Ellen to rein in her working students/groom/barn manager/ect seems only to further validate the claims of disorganization, carelessness and lack of professionalism.


                          On a personal note, Stormy's story is one that we a lot of us can relate to, entrusting the care of a horse to a trainer and finding out the care was not to our standards. I also know as an owner the guilt she describes for not taking swifter actions. My deepest sympathies.

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by SendenHorse
                            now we have a spin off! this is not the worst thread on COTH, really. By a LONG SHOT. Wow.
                            Go find something else to do today.

                            Comment


                            • I decided to respond to eventing212121's creative saga of what happened at my barn between Ellen, my partner and myself.
                              1. I purchased the horse property out of which Ellen was to run her business. She was to get all of the profit - all I received in return was rent. She and her husband were also responsible for maintaining all the equipment since they would be using them. Ellen and her husband also had the opportunity to lease with the opportunity to purchase this property but they never signed off on that contract.
                              The property consisted of 125 acres, including a 19 stall barn, a 100' x 250' covered arena with lights and a sprinkler system, a 2-3 bedroom little house with a huge garage/workshop area, a gallup track, 3-board fencing with alleyways, 12+ paddocks and about 50 unfenced acres for riding. Ellen did not build from nothing.
                              I did not purchase this property with Ellen - her name was nowhere on that contract.
                              Before I purchased this property I was a boarder at Ellen's previous barn, was taking lessons from her and she was training my horse. Regrettably, I had drunk her kool-aid. I was helping her get out of a situation and, unfortunately, I had believed Ellen's side of the story.
                              2. As far as wanting "my hands in everything," that was exactly what I did not want. Because of the lack of tack up space in the barn, I was in beginning the process of planning and building a 6 stall tack barn with a large tack room and boarders lounge. I was spending my money to help her business and told her up front that I did not expect to be reimbursed for it. We didn't start getting more involved with things at the barn until it became obvious that it was not being kept up. The flies were horrendous and Ellen was doing nothing about them. They did start using some fly predators but it was too little too late by then. The barn was constantly filthy despite the fact that Ellen had a working student, her husband and a high school girl to help. I walked into the barn one day, found the working student and high school kid sitting in chairs gabbing. The barn was a mess with dirt and horse manure in the aisle way. I got the broom and starting sweeping the dirt up - neither one of them moved a muscle to help.
                              3. Though I've already written about the equipment that Ellen took from my barn, I will try to explain that again. I gave Ellen a check for $5,000 to go buy what ever supplies she needed. It was a loan to be paid back once they got on their feet. I requested receipts for the items that were bought. It took several weeks to get those receipts and they came in the form of copied receipts. Amongst the items one would normally expect someone to buy for a barn (buckets, forks, shovels, hoses, water troughs, etc) I also found on the receipts charges for gas to fill up her truck, dog food and a picnic table. According to the receipts I received from Ellen, none of that money went to fix any equipment or for field maintenance. In the final negotiation to get her off my property, she was told to leave all the items on a list which did not even include all the items on the receipts. The poles and jumping standards were never mentioned - we did not want them.
                              As I have stated in an earlier post, when they left, they took everything that wasn't bolted down. There was nothing in the barn but one floor fan that we had brought to the barn. They also took some very heavy duty mats that had come with the property when I purchased it along with some items we had brought out.
                              And they left us a message in the little house - a single bullet sitting on the bar counter. Some would consider that a threat.
                              4. I also want to add this. Ellen used my property from May 22 to Oct. 31, 2014. During those 5 months I only received rent twice. I had waived her June rent to help her get started. In hindsight, that was one of my first mistakes.

                              Comment


                              • Patalane50, i want to be friends with you! Wow, that was beyond generous.

                                Seriously though, I'm on my way
                                Let me apologize in advance.

                                Comment


                                • Originally posted by patalane50 View Post
                                  I decided to respond to eventing212121's creative saga of what happened at my barn between Ellen, my partner and myself.
                                  1. I purchased the horse property out of which Ellen was to run her business. She was to get all of the profit - all I received in return was rent. She and her husband were also responsible for maintaining all the equipment since they would be using them. Ellen and her husband also had the opportunity to lease with the opportunity to purchase this property but they never signed off on that contract.
                                  The property consisted of 125 acres, including a 19 stall barn, a 100' x 250' covered arena with lights and a sprinkler system, a 2-3 bedroom little house with a huge garage/workshop area, a gallup track, 3-board fencing with alleyways, 12+ paddocks and about 50 unfenced acres for riding. Ellen did not build from nothing.
                                  I did not purchase this property with Ellen - her name was nowhere on that contract.
                                  Before I purchased this property I was a boarder at Ellen's previous barn, was taking lessons from her and she was training my horse. Regrettably, I had drunk her kool-aid. I was helping her get out of a situation and, unfortunately, I had believed Ellen's side of the story.
                                  2. As far as wanting "my hands in everything," that was exactly what I did not want. Because of the lack of tack up space in the barn, I was in beginning the process of planning and building a 6 stall tack barn with a large tack room and boarders lounge. I was spending my money to help her business and told her up front that I did not expect to be reimbursed for it. We didn't start getting more involved with things at the barn until it became obvious that it was not being kept up. The flies were horrendous and Ellen was doing nothing about them. They did start using some fly predators but it was too little too late by then. The barn was constantly filthy despite the fact that Ellen had a working student, her husband and a high school girl to help. I walked into the barn one day, found the working student and high school kid sitting in chairs gabbing. The barn was a mess with dirt and horse manure in the aisle way. I got the broom and starting sweeping the dirt up - neither one of them moved a muscle to help.
                                  3. Though I've already written about the equipment that Ellen took from my barn, I will try to explain that again. I gave Ellen a check for $5,000 to go buy what ever supplies she needed. It was a loan to be paid back once they got on their feet. I requested receipts for the items that were bought. It took several weeks to get those receipts and they came in the form of copied receipts. Amongst the items one would normally expect someone to buy for a barn (buckets, forks, shovels, hoses, water troughs, etc) I also found on the receipts charges for gas to fill up her truck, dog food and a picnic table. According to the receipts I received from Ellen, none of that money went to fix any equipment or for field maintenance. In the final negotiation to get her off my property, she was told to leave all the items on a list which did not even include all the items on the receipts. The poles and jumping standards were never mentioned - we did not want them.
                                  As I have stated in an earlier post, when they left, they took everything that wasn't bolted down. There was nothing in the barn but one floor fan that we had brought to the barn. They also took some very heavy duty mats that had come with the property when I purchased it along with some items we had brought out.
                                  And they left us a message in the little house - a single bullet sitting on the bar counter. Some would consider that a threat.
                                  4. I also want to add this. Ellen used my property from May 22 to Oct. 31, 2014. During those 5 months I only received rent twice. I had waived her June rent to help her get started. In hindsight, that was one of my first mistakes.
                                  Bad of her but it could have been worse. You are lucky she left.

                                  Comment


                                  • OMG. the bullet is beyond anything! and who makes up a detail like that? Yikes.

                                    I am sure it was totally unintentional, you know how it goes with packing....you take out everything not bolted down but trip when the door hits you in the A$s and your lucky bullet manages to fly our of your pocket and land on the counter. Nothing personal.

                                    Comment


                                    • (Also, it is pretty rare when something like this comes along and there are so many people who post about being screwed by the same person. Several with established COTH records, not houseguests.

                                      My condolences on your losses, Stormy. I think you have done the horse world a favor here, and it takes bravery.)

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        Comment


                                        • I have no dog is this hunt so to speak as I don't know Ellen or the OP and I don't event, however, as a barn owner living in the DFW area I can vouch for several of the OP's point.

                                          First, the Dallas Fort Worth area is growing rapidly and horse property is being sold to developers for housing developments. Trying to find a decent place to board seven horses in this area is near impossible. Purchasing suitable horse farm property doesn't happen over night, even if you are a cash buyer. If the property lacks fencing and/or a barn, you're looking at months after the purchase before you can bring the horses home.

                                          Secondly, while flash floods have occurred in the area, and we are prone to severe weather, there is NO excuse for leaving horses in a pasture known to flood during a rainstorm. If you have a weather app on your phone it will warn you of flash flood warnings, thunderstorms, etc. Anyone living in north Texas should know that thunderstorms, hail storms and flooding is a distinct possibility. As a barn owner who boards a couple of horses it is my responsibility to make certain that the horses in my care aren't out in severe weather. There have been a number of nights when my husband I were out in a rainstorm bringing the horses in during the wee hours of the morning. If you don't want the responsibility for the care and well being of the horses entrusted to your care, get out of the business.

                                          I don't understand the "blame the victim mentality" on this thread.

                                          Comment

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