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Barn Drama/Trainer whoa's

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  • Barn Drama/Trainer whoa's

    So my situation sucks to say the least. here is the back round story.

    I've been with my trainer for 9 years. I'm 22 now Love her, she's a great trainer and has a huge heart. Ive been through many horses, laughs, frustrations, time, and tears with her and I've become somewhat of her assistant trainer.

    so the drama begins with this other girl who is at the barn.
    (let me preface this by saying i am an extremely non-confrontational girl. go with the flow, quite, happy go lucky) She is in her mid 20's and cant afford a horse but has all the accessories and loves to ride so my trainer helps her by allowing her to ride and train her horses and then she gets lessons and rides for free. (lets call her Mary) Mary's personality is opinionated, bossy, and a natural born leader (and people easily want to follow her) but has a great heart (or so i thought) so Mary and I have gotten along great for years. our barn is very close nit and she always goes with us to shows and is a big, great help. We have even been known to call each other sisters (because we are both only children)

    Well recently Mary has had a problem with me. Not a clue where this is coming from but the only thing that I can tell is different is my new horse (in my years of eventing i haven't had the best horses. living in last place after dressage and just relying on my jumping ability to end up in the middle of the pack. well now im on horse 4 and finally i have a well behaved, fast learning, great mare and we are doing fabulous! i mean consistently getting better every show with every dressage test. ending up in top 3 almost every show we have been to) I cant say that Mary is jealous because I'm not her but something has changed in our relationship.

    I was told my another barn member who was talking to our trainer that they were dicussing "whats up between Mary and I" and basically my trainer was siding with Mary on every topic. And Mary sent my trainer a rather nasty message about me and another rider at the barn she dislikes (who is a 9 year old) and basically my trainer all but agreed with Mary. And over all my trainer has not been supportive of my success either. for example: my first schooling training horse trial i was competing against my fellow barn mate who had gone training previously, and 1 other competitor. well before we even go to the show my trainer says to me " well you might at least get second place, insinuating that i would be able to be competitive with my barn mate because she had got training previously. well i ended up in 1st at the end of the show. my barn mate and the other competitor had several refusals xc and me and my mare went beautifully! i was so excited! as well as my barn mate was for me. when i showed my trainer what the color of my ribbon was all she had to say was " well the only reason you got that was because your barn mate had a refusal." i was so disappointed.

    sorry long story short, my trainer is siding with the non paying barn member and i am left getting the short end of the stick. im paying my trainer to train me, not pine against me. has anyone been in a situation like this? what did you do? I'm on the verge of finding a new barn (even thought i really dont wanna) please help!

  • #2
    Uhmmm....you need to post this over on the Hunter/Jumper forum....they do that kind of thing over there really well.
    Proud & Permanent Student Of The Long Road
    Read me: EN (http://eventingnation.com/author/annemarch/) and HJU (http://horsejunkiesunited.com/author/holly-covey/)


    • Original Poster

      thats whats so stupid.. this is an eventing barn! ugh drama!


      • #4
        Originally posted by retreadeventer View Post
        Uhmmm....you need to post this over on the Hunter/Jumper forum....they do that kind of thing over there really well.
        It's true.

        My opinion? Talk to your trainer. Easier said than done, I know. I am pretty non-confrontational myself. I hate to rock the boat, even in situations where I should say something. I feel like I'm getting better at it, but it is hard. So I know how you feel about being non-confrontational. But I would really try to talk to your trainer about it. You say you've ridden with her a long time, and have always had a good relationship with her.

        As far as Mary? I say ignore her. I mean, she's in her 20s and talking about a nine year old she doesn't like? Really? She sounds jealous, honestly. And catty. And catty and jealous can make your life miserable.

        I vote talk to your trainer. If you get nowhere with that, then maybe it really is time to move on. I know a lot of people read about things like this on here and say to leave, but if you've always had a great relationship with this trainer I think it's worth it to try and work out whatever is going on.


        • #5
          I evented just for the Halibut.


          • #6
            No matter how good your trainer was for you in the past, she may not be right for you in the future.
            Maybe she was good when you needed her more. But now that your moving forward with a nice horse, you just might be moving past her level of comfort. She just might be a better fit for students who aren't doing so well. Or she might be more comfortable with students who are more needy.
            That she was not comfortable with your being successful is to me very telling.


            • #7
              Time to move on?

              Sometimes you just outgrow a barn! I am surprised that your trainer isn't excited for you given the long term investment she has had in your success, but if she AND "Mary" are jealous (and trainers def. can get jealous!) then it might be time to move on.

              There are two "moving on" scenarios (both of which I have done): find a new barn & trainer all together or move the horse and get the trainer to come to you or ship to her.

              I would start by talking to her, though. It can't really hurt as long as you stay calm and don't get overly emotional (which leads me to say things I may not mean). Even if you end up leaving, you probably don't want to burn any bridges!

              You could start by saying that you feel like the dynamic in the barn has changed and it feels distracting/stressful. Also, try to make a "criticism sandwich": one nice thing on either side of the problem statement. Example:

              "I have had so may great years at this barn and my horse and I owe so much of our recent success to your help/training. However, I feel like the social dynamic has changed recently and it is making me kind of uncomfortable, especially since the last thing I want to do is leave since my horse is so happy here and we clearly benefit from your training!"

              See what she says. BUT if you are paying for services and leaving the barn unhappy at the end of the day, IMO it's time to move on!
              "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals" Immanuel Kant


              • #8
                Too bad barns can turn into high schools but they do depending on the mix that comes in. Mary sounds toxic. Move on-----you'll be surprised how much more relaxed you'll be when the BS is gone. Also, in your next barn, try not to get involved in the politics----be everyone's friend but noone's close friend.
                L'in'MAO at the horse world


                • #9
                  People who complain about 9 year olds are silly, unless the kid is a brat, then they should complain about the parent.

                  If my trainer EVER told me
                  as well as my barn mate was for me. when i showed my trainer what the color of my ribbon was all she had to say was " well the only reason you got that was because your barn mate had a refusal." i was so disappointed.
                  I'd have a word with her, unless it was a joke. Your trainer is paid to coach you and support you. It's very easy- move on. The odd thing- I moved on from a barn where some of the people kind of bothered me, and I wasn't all that keen on the trainer. Funny thing- now at a new barn, the trainer still comes to teach me and I enjoy riding with her 150x more. And LOL, I think she enjoys teaching me more- the focus is on learning vs dealing with other issues.

                  Perhaps-- absence makes the heart grow fonder.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by magnolia73 View Post
                    If my trainer EVER told me

                    I'd have a word with her, unless it was a joke. Your trainer is paid to coach you and support you.

                    Unless it was said because the rider is too focused on the results...instead of their ride.

                    I could see a good coach saying something like that because the rider's dressage test wasn't very good, the jumping wasn't smooth and accurate (and their horse saved their a$$) but they thought they did great because they won or thought that their ride was better than it really was.

                    Not saying that is the case with the OP...but it could be. It could be that while she does have a nice horse now...and is being successfull....she could be a lot better but has a bit of an inflated ego and needs to be brought down a peg or two...no idea...that does happen though.

                    Can't tell from cyber space with just 1/2 the story.

                    Bottom line though...if you are not having fun and are not happy at the barn...not getting what you want from your trainer....then move on. It doesn't matter about the other girl or that you are a paying client or the past....if you are posting this here...then I'd say you need to move on.
                    ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by eventmom View Post
                      That she was not comfortable with your being successful is to me very telling.
                      Exactly. Good trainers are happy for their students success.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by retreadeventer View Post
                        Uhmmm....you need to post this over on the Hunter/Jumper forum....they do that kind of thing over there really well.
                        Ah, we come over here as well.

                        This one is easy, you are replacing what should be a business based relationship-you and the trainer-with what you perceive to be a friendship based relationship. So you are getting your feelings hurt and letting them blind you to what you need to do here.

                        I don't care how good you think this trainer is-she is highly unprofessional. At best. At worst she is destroying your confidence, playing favorites, allowing barn gossip and, worst of all, sharing negative opinions of clients with other clients. And you are PAYING her for this immature crap.


                        Of course, over in Hunterland that would be alot easier. Mary is a Pro over here and cannot compete against you in Ammie classes.
                        When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                        The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


                        • #13
                          So I'm usually a lurker... reading and learning, but there have been a couple of threads that have spoken to me

                          Unfortunately, I know your situation. I've been there and it sucked. I even talked with my trainer about it. I spent several years giving her "another chance" out of loyalty but things would get better for about a month or so and then go back to the way it was.

                          I would get the same advice over and over but I was too naive to listen... So, definitely talk to your trainer however be prepared if nothing changes or if it changes for a short period of time.

                          Good luck!
                          "A good feeling after the round is better than any ribbon." ~ Bert de Némethy


                          • #14
                            Find Eight

                            Listen to her, I can't think of better advice!


                            • #15
                              hey, I am not smart, just been doing this for 40 years or so...and been there, done that and watched it go on with others. Alot.

                              Trainer's side of this story, and you know there is one from her side, is that she needs help and a rider she does not have to pay for-you know, like a real professional. Apparently she needs that more then a paying client.

                              Immature and short sighted in the long run. Might help her in the short term.

                              But that does not mean OP needs to stay there and accept second tier or B string status. Or that sorority, back stabby atmosphere where second hand tidbits of what trainer said about whom are floating around.

                              Any so called trainer that lets that simmer and fester-or even start it-is not worth your money. That is what keeps them from ever establishing any kind of decent status within the disipline and keeps them majoring in the minors. Not worth hitching your star to because they are not going anywhere.
                              When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                              The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


                              • #16
                                IMHO, I would be taking that newfound success somewhere else, where they'll be happy for you. I've been beaten by my teammates and still been able to feel excited for them and congratulate them. Your trainer should feel at least as happy for you as that barnmate you beat did. I don't want any trainer that's not pulling for me.
                                "Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out." ~John Wooden

                                Phoenix Animal Rescue


                                • #17
                                  Leave your "goodbye letter" thumbtacked to a bag of meow-mix! Maybe they'll get the point
                                  Always be yourself. Unless you can be Batman. Then always be Batman.

                                  The Grove at Five Points