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Trainer driving me crazy

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  • #21
    You have at some point decided your business model is grass without hay in season. If this boarder's pony can't be out on the grass, then that boarder needs to find a barn that offers dry lot with hay instead of grass.

    Unless you want to change your mind and charge appropriately for alternative care models.

    Honestly, I get the idea you would rather not do the alternative care models. If that's the case, then give notice to the boarder.

    The trainer is a different story, made more awkward by the co owned pony, but it sounds like you need to lay out the rules or part ways. I have boarded at barns where someone brought in a coach who shortly wanted a say in how the barn was run. Either the BO shut them down, or I left. Really the trainer can make suggestions to the student/boarder, and if the boarder agrees then the boarder should be talking to the BO. You get to decide how your barn runs. Remember that!

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    • #22
      Originally posted by TiredofBS View Post

      Unfortunately the trainer inserts herself when I tell the boarder something and they run to the trainer, who in turn tells me that I can't or shouldn't do that. I in turn feel like I work for trainer.
      But it is YOU that is making you "feel like I work for trainer".

      It may be that she is good at being manipulative, but you do not need to allow yourself to be manipulated.
      Janet

      chief feeder and mucker for Music, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now). Spy is gone. April 15, 1982 to Jan 10, 2017.

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      • #23
        Originally posted by TiredofBS View Post

        Unfortunately the trainer inserts herself when I tell the boarder something and they run to the trainer, who in turn tells me that I can't or shouldn't do that. I in turn feel like I work for trainer.
        This is yours to fix. It's your barn, your rules. You don't work for the trainer, so don't allow yourself to be treated as such.

        I would decide what your plan is (give notice to the boarder or decide to accommodate the boarder's needs at an additional cost or whatever) and then politely but firmly inform both parties.

        I would also extend the conversation with the trainer to include respecting your parameters. "Trainer, we all want to find a good solution for this situation. I've been up front about the services I provide from the beginning, and I can't start making exceptions because I need to stick with what works for me. I'm sure it's an inconvenience to not be able to do xzy for Pony, but this is the extent of what I can offer at this time. I'm happy to brainstorm with you, but I am set up to operate a certain way that works for me and my lifestyle." The directness and extent of this conversation should depend on if you want trainer to stay or go.

        Don't let the co-owned pony prevent this conversation from happening. You're the BO...present yourself as such. There's a myriad of solutions to the co-owned pony should you and the trainer part ways.

        You being burned out is a separate issue; it's because you're burned out that this one issue puts you over the edge. You need to spend some time with yourself thinking through how you want to continue to be involved in the sport. No right or wrong answers there - it's entirely up to you. But you need to think through what's making you feel burned out, and what changes you can make to alleviate it. I guarantee you it's not this one single issue.
        Jennifer Baas
        It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. (Aristotle)

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        • #24
          Originally posted by TiredofBS View Post
          Thank you. Yes I'll talk with boarder. Unfortunately the pony now has a medical condition that will keep him unable to be on grass like he was previously. I understand their predicament....but I still don't have the resources to make it happen for them.
          OP, I agree with other posters that I think you are confusing at least three separate issues. Trying to boil them up all in one pot will just create an unpalatable mess - on your stove, more than the trainer's and boarder's. Instead, look at the issues separately, and I think you'll find reasonable answers.

          Looking at this from another point of view - hypothetically speaking ...

          If I'm the owner of the pony, when I get that diagnosis from the vet, my life with my pony unfortunately changes, because my pony has just become needy and a lot more expensive.

          As the pony owner, I do two things -
          1) Ask the BO if they would consider accommodating this pony for a different board rate. Assuming they don't want to do that (probably not in these circumstances), then talk to the BO about working out a temporary accommodation, which may cost me more, and may mean I have to go out to the barn more often than previously to help pick up the load.
          2) Start looking for a new place that can accommodate my pony's needs, with an asap move date. And let the BO know that I'm looking, of course. And cooperate with said BO as they find a new boarder to fill my soon-to-be-vacant spot.

          Regardless of where the pony lives, the kind of care he needs now is typically much more costly than pasture board. As the pony's owner I have a lot of decisions to make and arrangements to work out.

          That's my problem as the pony's owner. It isn't anyone else's problem to solve for me.

          One thing I do not do is ask my trainer to pressure my current BO to provide this extra care on the BO's own dime. Why would any BO do that? It's not their problem to support my equine. And it's inappropriate for me to drag in the trainer, and will create strained relationships no matter how the trainer responds.

          I might ask a trainer with experience for advice and even some sympathy and comfort for me and my pony. But the BO wouldn't be in that conversation, unless the BO is ready to work out a different care package for my pony, in which case maybe the BO may want to share the trainer's experience with whatever the pony's problem is.

          Continuing the hypothetical case, if my current BO is kind of burned out with all the needs that farms with horses tend to have, with or without boarders, then it has probably been time to look for a new place for some time now. That's a separate issue. That can happen, and maybe the BO is slow to recognize the issues, but as a boarder I'm not going to make whatever life problems the BO is having part of my problems.

          As horse owners, for all of us it's hard (and expensive) when our horse develops a chronic condition that requires extra care. It's our role as the owner to work out solutions as they are needed. And to figure out the financial part of it. It's part of horse ownership.

          That's how I see it.

          Comment


          • #25
            Originally posted by Janet View Post

            But it is YOU that is making you "feel like I work for trainer".

            It may be that she is good at being manipulative, but you do not need to allow yourself to be manipulated.
            Exactly. OP, sounds like part of the root problem is that you've allowed the trainer to create an unbalanced relationship between you. The solution is entirely on you. It's easy to give rein and allow latitude, but then it's hard to take it back. Do what you have to do, and then going forward stick to your guns, because this relationship is probably always going to be tilting in the trainer's direction. Just due to the personalities involved.

            Comment


            • #26
              I agree that you need to be more comfortable saying no, and also making it clear that if your trainer does extra things that aren't needed/discussed, that they aren't of value to you (for example fixing a fence after a horse tears it down might be of value as it is needed/urgent, painting fences is not).

              For example, I have a client who likes building and painting jumps. The wood usually comes from here, but she does the labour and provides the paint. They are my jumps, and she gets nothing in trade for doing it, even though I benefit. That is her decision. Now, if I asked her to do the work, that would be different.

              Another example, I have clients that will try to encourage me to do xyz (maybe improvements, maybe going to some away shows). If I am not interested, I just say no. If it is important to them, I will suggest an alternative coach/barn to help address that need/want.

              So if you trainer paints your jumps and then implies that this is something that deserves compensation, just say no. Remind them of our focus and business plan. My guess is that they want to eventually build their business at your property and are trying to mold it to suite their needs?
              Freeing worms from cans everywhere!

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              • #27
                As someone who boards retirees and works a full time job (though not on the scale you seem to), I am wondering about what you call "basic" care, feeding and cleaning.? If you don't have the time to clean a single stall each day, then how are you managing pasture care, water, and property maintenance?

                The answer here is simple: tell the stalled pony's owner that stall board is ____ cost, because hay and bedding and labor must be part of the equation. If they want to continue boarding, then they'll pay the increased cost to care for the pony in a new way. Perhaps it's time for a barn meeting with all the clients and the trainer to set out the rules you want them to live by, any increase in board, etc. You also need to be open minded if they bring up issues that they see as needing to be addressed. It's a two way street.
                Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!

                Comment


                • #28
                  We have plenty of smallish barns like this in my area. Some are better run than others, some have trainers working out of them or owning them. At all of them, regardless of the level of care given, stall board costs more than pasture board. Just be direct with the owner and say, "stall board is more than pasture board and your new cost is $X/month". If they say they painted jumps then reply that makes no difference. If they leave it doesn't sound like you'll be upset.

                  Comment


                  • #29
                    Originally posted by TiredofBS View Post
                    Thank you. Yes I'll talk with boarder. Unfortunately the pony now has a medical condition that will keep him unable to be on grass like he was previously. I understand their predicament....but I still don't have the resources to make it happen for them.
                    That's ok. Not all boarding situations work for every horse. Let them give notice and find a more suitable boarding situation.
                    ~Veronica
                    "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
                    http://photobucket.com/albums/y192/vxf111/

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                    • #30
                      If you take money for services or products, you are a business owner. Business owners with a philosophy of "my business, my rules" are not going to be very successful and ironically, you're probably never going to be happy. My way or the highway is not a business theory or management strategy taught in any business school. Sounds like you'd be better off financially and emotionally if you closed your facility to boarders.

                      Comment


                      • #31
                        Originally posted by marginall View Post
                        If you take money for services or products, you are a business owner. Business owners with a philosophy of "my business, my rules" are not going to be very successful and ironically, you're probably never going to be happy. My way or the highway is not a business theory or management strategy taught in any business school. Sounds like you'd be better off financially and emotionally if you closed your facility to boarders.
                        This is a very interesting point. While it is true that "my way or the highway" isn't a business theory taught in school, businesses do need to have a clear mission statement about the services or products they offer. Every business at one time or another is asked to "stretch" their mission statement and venture into new products or new services. Sometimes it is good idea, sometimes not. That decision is really up to the business owner(s).

                        The way I see it, OP offers pasture board, while client needs full board. OP needs to decide if she is going to start offering full board, and if she is, she should charge accordingly. If OP isn't going to start offering full board, she should give the client notice that pony needs to find another facility that offers full board. OP can work out an interim solution with a firm termination date, i.e. OP will offer full board to pony for 30 days at the rate of $XXX and pony will be moved by August 15st. The question about full board seems like a fairly straightforward issue to solve. OP just needs to make a decision and stick to her guns. It isn't the client's fault the pony needs full board and it isn't the OP's fault if she doesn't offer full board. No need for anyone to get ruffled feathers.

                        The relationship between OP and the trainer is a separate issue to tackle. It sounds like the trainer is trying to morph OP's barn into a situation that better fits the trainers needs, while the OP is not interested in making such changes. This is not uncommon. It happens all the time. OP should just keep stating the barn's "mission statement". Saying something like, "These are the services and amenities we offer...…….. I don't plan to add XYZ service or amenity."

                        Or if OP wanted to try and find some middle ground, she could always say something like, "Trainer Susie, I understand your desire to have XYZ amenity/service added to our arrangement. Unfortunately, there isn't room in the budget given the rates were currently charge. If you would be open to higher board rates, we could discuss taking those extra funds and earmarking them for XYZ service/amenity."

                        One last thought, an earlier poster raised a good point about maintenance. OP does need to provide safe fencing, water 24/7, shelter, and all the other things promised in her boarding contract. So long as those things are being provided, trainer will be hard pressed to have valid complaints. Valid being the operative word.

                        Comment


                        • #32
                          An alternative option would be to lease your barn/pasture to the trainer at a flat monthly rate and let her manage it (with an iron clad contract stating who is responsible for what re: labor and expenses.)

                          You get a steady income from the property and somebody else gets the hassles.

                          You still have to be clear and firm about what you will and will not allow on YOUR property............which is why you need a good solid lease contract.

                          Comment


                          • #33
                            Originally posted by TiredofBS View Post

                            Unfortunately the trainer inserts herself when I tell the boarder something and they run to the trainer, who in turn tells me that I can't or shouldn't do that. I in turn feel like I work for trainer.
                            Thats easy, stop being a door mat and letting trainer make your decisions for your business over your objections. YOU are the one that has to do the extra work on top of your full time job and you who incur extra costs caring for their horse.

                            Is there some reason you have to keep this trainer around your property and your business? Once these situations get started, it’s nothing but drama, drama, drama and your other clients are likely to leave because they no longer have the pleasant environment they selected your barn for plus they perceive favoritism when one boarder gets extras included in the board not available to them.

                            Be warned.
                            When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                            The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                            Comment


                            • #34
                              Originally posted by TiredofBS View Post
                              Thank you. Yes I'll talk with boarder. Unfortunately the pony now has a medical condition that will keep him unable to be on grass like he was previously. I understand their predicament....but I still don't have the resources to make it happen for them.
                              Then the pony moves to a facility that can deal with his condition. Of course the owner will pay more, but that's the joy of horses. Of course if the owner insists the pony stay, then she pays increased board and/or comes out daily to clean stall , scrub water bucket and hang hay net with day's supply.

                              Trainer is more than welcome to do the owner's work instead of owner.

                              It just ain't gonna be you.
                              Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

                              Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.

                              Comment


                              • #35
                                Originally posted by merrygoround View Post

                                Then the pony moves to a facility that can deal with his condition. Of course the owner will pay more, but that's the joy of horses. Of course if the owner insists the pony stay, then she pays increased board and/or comes out daily to clean stall , scrub water bucket and hang hay net with day's supply.

                                Trainer is more than welcome to do the owner's work instead of owner.

                                It just ain't gonna be you.
                                Absolutely, they want it, they can do it themselves and pay for extra hay as would any other boarders.

                                Dont let these people ruin your long standing business plan, enjoyment of your little barn and stress out your life.

                                Oh, and being partners with trainer in an ‘ investment Pony” without a written contract in place is a sure fire set up for disaster. If you don’t have a written agreement, get one or get out of the arrangement. Sounds like she’s holding that dream of future profit over your head, don’t be a sucker. Rarely happens that way and sounds like you are putting most of the money into it, money you are unlikely to get back unless it sells for triple the purchase price in 90 days or less. Not costing trainer a dime out of her pocket.
                                When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                                The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                                Comment


                                • #36
                                  Originally posted by marginall View Post
                                  If you take money for services or products, you are a business owner. Business owners with a philosophy of "my business, my rules" are not going to be very successful and ironically, you're probably never going to be happy. My way or the highway is not a business theory or management strategy taught in any business school. Sounds like you'd be better off financially and emotionally if you closed your facility to boarders.
                                  Why can't I get sushi at McDonalds? Because it is not what they offer. Do you think they are going to be unsuccessful?
                                  *****
                                  You will not rise to the occasion, you will default to your level of training.

                                  Comment


                                  • #37
                                    I disagree businesses targeting a specific type client looking for specific things should change their business plan for a single client that wants something else. There are many successful business that only target one segment of the market. Want something else, go someplace elsethat offers that..
                                    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                                    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                                    Comment


                                    • #38
                                      Originally posted by OneTwoMany View Post

                                      This is a very interesting point. While it is true that "my way or the highway" isn't a business theory taught in school, businesses do need to have a clear mission statement about the services or products they offer. Every business at one time or another is asked to "stretch" their mission statement and venture into new products or new services. Sometimes it is good idea, sometimes not. That decision is really up to the business owner(s).
                                      Sure, but the "mission statement" and "business plan" for a horse boarding operation also need to include basic property maintenance and horse care.

                                      OP's post indicates she feels *hay* is some sort of fancy extra and being notified about pasture maintenance issues is out of line for a business owner in the business of pasture boarding.

                                      There are a lot of establishments around that cut a lot of corners. That shouldn't be excused as a "business plan".
                                      The Noodlehttp://tiny.cc/NGKmT&http://tiny.cc/gioSA
                                      Jinxyhttp://tiny.cc/PIC798&http://tiny.cc/jinx364
                                      Boy Wonderhttp://tiny.cc/G9290
                                      The Hana is nuts! NUTS!!http://tinyurl.com/SOCRAZY

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                                      • #39
                                        Originally posted by Hej View Post
                                        An alternative option would be to lease your barn/pasture to the trainer at a flat monthly rate and let her manage it (with an iron clad contract stating who is responsible for what re: labor and expenses.)

                                        You get a steady income from the property and somebody else gets the hassles.

                                        You still have to be clear and firm about what you will and will not allow on YOUR property............which is why you need a good solid lease contract.
                                        Very smart--I love the way you are thinking about the situation outside the box it's been presented in!

                                        Comment


                                        • #40
                                          Originally posted by meupatdoes View Post

                                          Sure, but the "mission statement" and "business plan" for a horse boarding operation also need to include basic property maintenance and horse care.

                                          OP's post indicates she feels *hay* is some sort of fancy extra and being notified about pasture maintenance issues is out of line for a business owner in the business of pasture boarding.

                                          There are a lot of establishments around that cut a lot of corners. That shouldn't be excused as a "business plan".
                                          Hay is not part of a business plan when your business plan is pasture board on grass, not stall board or dry lot board with hay. So yes, hay can be a fancy extra when the facility only offers pasture board on grass. That does not mean the business is cutting corners. It just means the business is for a certain market, and not for others.

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