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Timely topic: trainers bashing their former clients

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  • Timely topic: trainers bashing their former clients

    Is it me or is it getting worse? I feel that if you as the departing client paid your bill in full, left in a respectful and timely manner, and didn’t bash the trainer or gossip about him/her, you are entitled to be treated with the same respect by the trainer you left. One prominent east coast family just left their BNT, and now every single trainer who ever helped the kids is weighing in, gossiping about the mother, the kids, etc when all they did was seek a training option that suited them better. is there anything we as customers and riders can do to minimize this culture? I know for me I have decided I will not every so business with these chief trashers of clients. Thoughts?

  • #2
    I don't think it's getting worse. I think it has always been that way. The difference is that back before social media, the bad mouthing was, of necessity, limited to people the trainers could talk to in person or on the phone. Today, it gets disseminated to a much wider audience.

    I can think of ways to push back as an individual through direct contact with the gossipers, but those pose some risk to the person who is pushing back.

    Maybe get the Chronicle to publish a letter to the editor? Get one of the Chronicle bloggers to write about it? Those approaches eliminate the need for direct one-to-one contact with any individual gossiper.
    "Facts are meaningless. You can use facts to prove anything
    that's even remotely true."

    Homer Simpson

    Comment


    • #3
      There are always going to be both trainers AND clients who stir the pot unnecessarily. This may be an unpopular opinion, but I think it is important that all sides of these stories are shared (post-mortem) so that people can draw their own conclusions. If I hear one or two negative things about a trainer and ten positive things from other people, I may choose to give them the benefit of the doubt. If I only hear negative feedback from people that I know are dramatic and/or difficult themselves, I am less likely to believe them. If you get trashed by a trainer with a reputation for trashing their clients, then you will hopefully be given the benefit of the doubt moving forward. Without explicitly advocating trash talk...the only way reputations can be created is by spreading first hand experiences (this applies to both positive and negative info!).

      Comment


      • #4
        Well, two sides to every story. I think social media has made the usual crap-chat more public, BUT a few years ago we had a problem with a young trainer who came to two clinics at our farm then proceeded to tell potential clients, clients of hers, and mutual horse acquaintances that she "worked at our barn," or "worked with us and our horses." True in a sense as she'd been at our place at a clinic where our kids/horses were also attending.

        She appeared (third hand here) to be attempting to take credit for some pretty awesome results we were getting with a particular horse/rider combination. A word in the right place cleared up the problem and she moved (far, far) away soon after --however, I did see at one point , somewhat later, she'd put a photograph of our high-flying horse on a paper self-advertising brochure --of an unidentified horse and rider, but actually a photo I took--that listed her OWN accomplishments in 3-Day eventing. One could easily assume that she was in some way responsible for that horse and or rider's breathtaking attempt over a massive Intermediate fence.

        Did I bad mouth her? Only when I was directly asked --and then I said exactly what I wrote --"she attended clinics at our place. If she's told you she did more than that, she is mistaken."

        I have, and have encouraged my kiddos to do the same, always left trainers with words of appreciating and explanation of why we are moving on ---sometimes as simple as "we've founds someone closer." Or, "Daughter has enjoyed working with you, but wants to try a different direction." --and we've had trainers kick us out (nicely) my favorite two have said, "She's gone past what I know," and, "I feel like at this point, I should be taking lessons from her."

        I think the horse world is too small to make enemies.

        Comment


        • #5
          I hate the trash talking. It's so easy to get sucked in and listen and give your opinion. Back in the day I gave lessons to beginners. I just did this at my own farm with a handful of clients. Well, a local trainer whom I didn't even know was trash talking me. Likely because a few of her boarders came to me. But the funny thing is, if you know me in person, I'm a fairly quiet person. For lessons I actually walked around my arena to always be closer to my riders so they could hear me. Well, this other trainer didn't know me, but her "trash talking" consisted of "She's a screamer." Haa. I had to laugh because she really got that one wrong. Ah, well.
          "Be yourself; everyone else is already taken."
          - Oscar Wilde

          Comment


          • #6
            I'm not sure it'll ever stop. When a trainer loses a client -- even if the reasons were legit -- it's such a blow to the ego. I mean, it's soul-crushing sometimes. I've seen trainers want to quit over it. I think the negative talking about the client helps them heal/protect themselves a little. That does NOT make it right, of course. But they're human. Imagine what it must be like. Now....when it's blasted on social media....that's trashy.

            All this said, I'm not sure most clients leave their trainers in the most mature of ways. It's usually a dumpster fire on both sides.

            Comment


            • #7
              Are they posting this on social media?

              Comment


              • #8
                It’s always been a thing. Social media isn’t that new any more. I got bashed leaving my last barn. A spot opened up where I am at now, I get to ride in my chosen discipline and the barn is overall more professionally run and better for my horse as they have a 24/7 turnout option. I paid up in full with 30 days notice despite no contract, I recommend the barn when people ask me about lessons for their kids because they are good for that. It just wasn’t a good fit and had too much drama for my taste. They tried to drag clients into the drama with employees among other things.

                I think, it’s not as common happening to “prominent east coast families.”

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by gertie06 View Post
                  I'm not sure it'll ever stop. When a trainer loses a client -- even if the reasons were legit -- it's such a blow to the ego. I mean, it's soul-crushing sometimes. I've seen trainers want to quit over it. I think the negative talking about the client helps them heal/protect themselves a little. That does NOT make it right, of course. But they're human. Imagine what it must be like. Now....when it's blasted on social media....that's trashy.

                  All this said, I'm not sure most clients leave their trainers in the most mature of ways. It's usually a dumpster fire on both sides.
                  This is really pathetic if a trainer's ego is so fragile that they can't move on without bathmouthing the client, regardless of the reason. If it is truly a soul-crushing moment the trainer needs to find a new career or develop a thicker skin, that is so juvenile.

                  I have seen a number of clients leave my trainer for various reasons over the years. She is always polite and even friendly to them, whether at the barn or when running into them at shows. I'm sure it hurts her to lose a client but she acts like an adult about it and not surprisingly, a good number of them end up coming back to her after they realize the grass is not always greener. I do agree that many times the client is also not very adult and polite when leaving a trainer.
                  Last edited by BAC; Jul. 1, 2019, 03:24 PM. Reason: spelling

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by BAC View Post

                    This is really pathetic if a trainer's ego is so fragile that they can't move on without bathmouthing the client, regardless of the reason. If it is truly a soul-crushing moment the trainer needs to find a new career or develop a thicker skin, that is so juvenile.

                    I have seen a number of clients leave my trainer for various reasons over the years. She is always polite and even friendly to them, whether at the barn or when running into them at shows. I'm sure it hurts her to lose a client but she acts like an adult about it and not surprisingly, a good number of them end up coming back to her after they realize the grass is not always greener. I do agree that many times the client is also not very adult and polite when leaving a trainer.
                    I don't disagree that it *can* be a cordial parting of the ways. I once left a trainer because I REALLY wanted to show at bigger shows and a higher level than her program supported. I had just acquired a really capable horse, and it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I spoke with her one-on-one before I made any arrangements. Because we have a foundation of friendship and trust, it worked out. And ultimately, when I was burned out on big shows, I went right back to her. I live across the country now, but still consider her a dear friend and mentor. But yeah, lots of times....dumpster fire.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I knew one who would say the most weird and awful stuff. Like accuse people of stealing, or general craziness... but only if that person left. And like, they'd gone to the movies together the week before and I doubt any of the stuff said after actually happened. Or call a trainer in another state to bash someone, not knowing they'd been friends with that person for like ten years so of course it got back around.

                      Had to call the cops once to remove a horse for a friend at the end of a 30 day notice, well within business hours and they'd locked the gates. The trainer told the cop she was worried I would run her over with my truck and trailer. Because I would totally do that in front of the officer I had called to sort out the situation. (The aggro was because I'd paid and left the month previously and I was the one picking up the other horse - I had mentioned potentially moving to another barn that did more A shows and was closer to work, the personal trashing started so I bumped up the move date, though had still paid out >30 days.)

                      If your client leaves with all terms of the contract fulfilled, isn't it better to have an unhappy client gone to make room for one that might suit you better? Like, why does it have to be an ego thing?

                      The whole notion is preposterous and it's the reason I pay, give notice, and then leave immediately. Nowhere in the contract does it say I have to warn the BO/trainer that I might leave soon, or stay the full 30 days. It's a toxic thing and people should really stop.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by APirateLooksAtForty View Post
                        Is it me or is it getting worse? I feel that if you as the departing client paid your bill in full, left in a respectful and timely manner, and didn’t bash the trainer or gossip about him/her, you are entitled to be treated with the same respect by the trainer you left. One prominent east coast family just left their BNT, and now every single trainer who ever helped the kids is weighing in, gossiping about the mother, the kids, etc when all they did was seek a training option that suited them better. is there anything we as customers and riders can do to minimize this culture? I know for me I have decided I will not every so business with these chief trashers of clients. Thoughts?
                        People bad mouthing other people has been going on forever. It is certainly not new or worse.

                        I think the only thing to do is to just not get involved in it. If you (general) stop and listen and pass along you are part of the problem too.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          This business is hard, riding is hard, horses can be hard. Trainers put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into their folks and horses. A whole lot of try. It hurts a lot for many reasons when a client becomes unhappy and/or leaves. Can be emotionally hard to keep a lid on those emotions, even though of course it is the right thing.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            What does your last sentence mean? ?” I know for me I have decided I will not every so business with these chief trashers of clients. Thoughts?”

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Limerick2017 View Post
                              What does your last sentence mean? ?” I know for me I have decided I will not every so business with these chief trashers of clients. Thoughts?”

                              I assume a typo. OP said they will not (ever do) business with the primary suspects they see client bashing.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Figment View Post
                                This business is hard, riding is hard, horses can be hard. Trainers put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into their folks and horses. A whole lot of try. It hurts a lot for many reasons when a client becomes unhappy and/or leaves. Can be emotionally hard to keep a lid on those emotions, even though of course it is the right thing.
                                Or they could be professional and not take it personally?

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I think a big part of the problem is the sudden, huge loss of income and lack of loyalty. And there is often an emotional attachment to the horses that are leaving and concern for their well being in the next program. A big client could be paying upwards of $10000 a month in board, training, and show costs right? And if it happens right after a big show like Devon, trainers are tired and possibly frustrated. I am sure they sometimes feel powerless to keep the wealthy clients happy. And so the gossip/bitching/comparing notes begins especially if it is starting to seem like it is almost impossible to keep a client in a program long enough to see the current trainer’s influence. It is human nature. And trainers want to understand where they went wrong or recognize that it wasn’t them; it is simply impossible to make certain customers happy.

                                  So to answer your question, I don’t think the chatter will go away despite the fact it is supposed to be a business. There are too many emotions, egos, and so much
                                  money at that level for client departures to be par for the course.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Not saying it is right, but I think it also stems from fear of losing more business. Atleast in my experience, when one major client leaves they often bring another client with them. Or it opens the door for others who have been thinking of moving on to make the move.

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      Originally posted by Denali6298 View Post

                                      Or they could be professional and not take it personally?
                                      This, exactly. My experience as someone who is friends socially with a lot of trainers is the supremely professional ones do not badmouth a person solely for leaving. The very unprofessional ones do.

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by ClassyJumper View Post
                                        Not saying it is right, but I think it also stems from fear of losing more business. Atleast in my experience, when one major client leaves they often bring another client with them. Or it opens the door for others who have been thinking of moving on to make the move.
                                        And my point is it would make me absolutely think twice before riding with the trash talking trainer ... I think they are making themselves look worse by sullying the former clients name.

                                        Comment

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