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Taking horse out of training, but staying at the barn

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  • Taking horse out of training, but staying at the barn

    My horse started in full training at a barn I really like earlier this year. This barn does have boarders who just board, but some people (like me) have their horses in full training. I had my horse in full training to overcome a particular issue, which we now have overcome and I feel like I can take him back on as my project.

    I like trainer, don't have issues with her methodologies per se (they aren't abusive or problematic), they just aren't the same as mine, and will have vastly different end results long term. I've backed greenies and done quite a few re-trains, so I'm not ill equipped (although I'm out of shape, so progress will be slow, but I'm ok with that). I tend to follow Littauer and the forward seat, she comes from a breed background where micromanagement of the gaits is desired and no self-carriage is ever expected. So they aren't life or death differences, but they are different enough that I don't want my horse trained in that manner.

    There's no issue except in approaching the conversation. She's also a friend and has done me many favors in the short time I've been there. I feel like the standard "I appreciate all you've done for us" isn't going to be quite enough. I think she'll react fine, she's easygoing and all about what we want to do as riders, but I also want to put it in a way that is thoughtful of her feelings. I also know that I've recruited people into her program and I don't want to shake their confidence in her abilities, since it's not about that at all. It's totally about me and my horse.

    Any suggestions on wording this? Has anyone done this successfully? I've moved on from trainers, but typically there were larger issues or barn moves involved.

  • #2
    What about thanking her for doing such a great job in correcting the training issue that now you feel capable of continuing the training on your own? Let her know its important to you that you do as much of the training as possible on your own but that you will be happy to call on her again if another problem should arise that you don't feel capable of dealing with.

    I guess you could also use finances as an excuse, saying money is a bit tight so that is the reason you don't feel you can continue on full training at the moment.

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    • #3
      If I had a client in your position I would really appreciate you saying something like, hey thank you so much for helping my fix the issues in Dobbins training. With your help he is back on the right path and doing great. At this time I feel confident that I can once again take over the reins. As a trainer I love to know that my clients are happy with the progress their horse is making and a tiny bit of appreciation goes a loooong way. You say trainer is a friend so I’m assuming she knows you are a capable rider and likely needs no further explanation than stated above.

      But look over your contract and make sure trainer doesn’t require 30 days notice. I can’t tell you how much it sucks expecting to make $X a month and having a horse pulled out of training with no notice. Unless the agreement was short term to begin with.
      Spend so much time improving yourself that you have no time left to criticize others.

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      • #4
        Though it's always nice to keep that income, I wouldn't be offended if someone said, "hey thank you so much for helping us get past that issue. I'm so happy with the results you've gotten, and now I feel confident to continue on with his training". The weirder you make it, the weirder it will be, ya know? Just be straightforward. You wanted help with X problem, you got help, and now you can continue on. If that was the plan you both had going into it, I don't know why it would be an issue now.

        If you think you following this plan will shake the confidence others have in her, that makes me think there might be something else going on with trainer that you haven't shared here? Or if it really is just that you have that much influence over the other clients you've brought her, which I totally get, just be very vocal in talking up how happy you are that she helped you with that specific issue so quickly and well.

        I'm sure she appreciates you bringing her additional clientele, and that should also help remove any guilt you might feel in taking away your training fees -- you've brought her more income than your one horse would have provided alone.

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        • Original Poster

          #5
          Originally posted by Credosporthorses View Post

          But look over your contract and make sure trainer doesn’t require 30 days notice. I can’t tell you how much it sucks expecting to make $X a month and having a horse pulled out of training with no notice. Unless the agreement was short term to begin with.
          Thank you - good point - I was even considering just paying the amount as it's not a horrible difference and I do want to support her. I'm not sure she'd accept it though (she really is a good egg).

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          • #6
            Just compliment her work in solving the problem. No need to go into stylistic preferences and make it more complicated then needed. Will work for your co boarders too, you had a problem, she solved it. No worries.
            When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

            The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

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            • #7
              You have gotten the same advice above that I would give. It shouldn't be a big deal as long as you are enthusiastic about how much she has helped you. Perhaps express how happy you are that you can now take over the training, and couldn't have done it without her, etc. And again, for the others, you had a problem, she solved it and did her job, well. That should actually INCREASE their confidence in her!

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              • #8
                If you're polite and upfront, any reasonable trainer would be fine with this. My coach has clients who sometimes leave her "full training" model to go to just a regular lesson (required at least 1x week if boarded with her), and it's not something she takes personally. That being said, it's her livelihood so she will always be looking to fill that spot and I've known people who wanted to sort of yo-yo in and out of her program and found that when they wanted to opt back in she had no room for them. It sounds as though you wanted this trainer for a very specific purpose and that your general training paths are diverging from this point forward, so this may be a moot point for you - just one thing to consider if you think you may want to opt back in to her program at some point.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Credosporthorses View Post
                  If I had a client in your position I would really appreciate you saying something like, hey thank you so much for helping my fix the issues in Dobbins training. With your help he is back on the right path and doing great. At this time I feel confident that I can once again take over the reins. As a trainer I love to know that my clients are happy with the progress their horse is making and a tiny bit of appreciation goes a loooong way. You say trainer is a friend so I’m assuming she knows you are a capable rider and likely needs no further explanation than stated above.

                  But look over your contract and make sure trainer doesn’t require 30 days notice. I can’t tell you how much it sucks expecting to make $X a month and having a horse pulled out of training with no notice. Unless the agreement was short term to begin with.
                  This. The perfect way to handle the situation.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Were you very clear with the trainer that the full training arrangement was temporary and just meant to address whatever problem has now been resolved? If so, this conversation is cake - and you've already had good advice on navigating it.

                    If you think there is ANY chance that the trainer believed that you were up for longer term full training, then I think it is doubly important to make sure she knows you were super happy with the resolution of X issue and that you will speak highly of her going forward. ( And your comment about her coming "from a breed background where micromanagement of the gaits is desired and no self-carriage is ever expected," doesn't actually sound like you think she is all that good, TBH.)

                    Are you going to stay in any training at all or completely discontinue working with this trainer? I have seen situations where the "just boarding" clients were slowly weeded out in favor of full training horses when they opportunity arose. Most trainers only have so many stalls and understandably want to maximize the income from each occupant. They are often happy to have people who "only" pay board ... right up until they have the opportunity to put a training horse in that stall and make more money, at which point the board-only client is given notice. Something to think about.
                    **********
                    We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
                    -PaulaEdwina

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                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Originally posted by Lucassb View Post
                      Were you very clear with the trainer that the full training arrangement was temporary and just meant to address whatever problem has now been resolved? If so, this conversation is cake - and you've already had good advice on navigating it.
                      Probably not as clear as I should have been. I think the advice has been really good, I just want to be sure I'm clear now and can express how grateful I am.

                      Originally posted by Lucassb View Post
                      If you think there is ANY chance that the trainer believed that you were up for longer term full training, then I think it is doubly important to make sure she knows you were super happy with the resolution of X issue and that you will speak highly of her going forward. ( And your comment about her coming "from a breed background where micromanagement of the gaits is desired and no self-carriage is ever expected," doesn't actually sound like you think she is all that good, TBH.)
                      I do think she's good - in that breed and for that discipline. My horse is of that breed, but I am not riding in that discipline. For her, it's about getting the most brilliant performance out of the horse, coming from that background that means really riding every stride, managing and adjusting. For me, and my background, it means having a horse that can accept the riders aids, but will happily clock around in self-carriage, being fiddled with only when necessary.

                      Neither is wrong - just different philosophies coming from different backgrounds. If someone wants to show in her discipline with that breed I would very much recommend her. I would also recommend her for troubleshooting specific issues.

                      Originally posted by Lucassb View Post
                      Are you going to stay in any training at all or completely discontinue working with this trainer? I have seen situations where the "just boarding" clients were slowly weeded out in favor of full training horses when they opportunity arose. Most trainers only have so many stalls and understandably want to maximize the income from each occupant. They are often happy to have people who "only" pay board ... right up until they have the opportunity to put a training horse in that stall and make more money, at which point the board-only client is given notice. Something to think about.
                      No, my intent is to take over the reins myself, as it always was when I got this horse to begin with. I don't think this trainer would be like that for various reasons including her bending over backward to build more stalls even for the lesson horses and retirees. If that were the case, however, I'd certainly understand, and move him to a more appropriate facility. Definitely no hard feelings on my part.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Why does everyone make simple things so hard? Have a brief, polite conversation in which you say thanks and state your intentions.

                        Thank you so much for working with Horsie. I feel like we've made great progress on our problem with X thanks to your help. But we're going to take a break from the training rides for now, so effective the end of the month, I'd like to switch to just straight board instead of training board.

                        "Facts are meaningless. You can use facts to prove anything
                        that's even remotely true."

                        Homer Simpson

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