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Is this acceptable trainer behavior?

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  • #61
    Originally posted by xxWarmbloodHunterxx View Post

    Yes, it actually happened. I know no one wants to believe it, because it's so out there, but it did happen.
    Isn't this covered by Safesport? My recollection is it covers bullying. Perhaps it should be reported.

    Comment


    • #62
      I am not in your area, and I have no idea what is available, but what I can say is that choosing a barn and a trainer is difficult. To avoid trainer mismatch, I have a couple suggestions.

      One option is, if you plan to show, start by stalking the warmup ring during the division that you would like to show in. Watch how trainers interact with their clients. Look at what the focus is and look for what matches with you. Sounds to me like you'd want to keep an eye out for the trainer with some adult clients on more modest horses who seem to be having a good time and demonstrating respectable, safe, riding.

      When you visit the barn, ask a lot of questions about pricing and what the focus of the barn is. A high priced barn that caters to clients with gigantic budgets is probably not going to be a good fit for you. Look for a barn that specifically has other people in your demographic, whatever that is.

      Consider your own financial expectations. Your expectations re: what you should be able to accomplish within your budget may not be realistic. I'll be honest--no trainer wants to deal with the client that is not realistic about costs. They don't want to waste their time shopping for a unicorn that is unlikely to exist or waste time negotiating charges on monthly bills. (For clarification, a trainer is 100% responsible for correct billing--but OTOH board, training, and show bills can be very complex.) It is incredibly frustrating, but oftentimes trainers don't even know what things like transportation are going to end up costing--sometimes you do just have to do your own due diligence, which you did. I'm a BO, not a trainer, but even I am leery of clients that seem overly cost conscious because horses always involve a lot of hidden costs--Dobbin suddenly needs special shoes, or a bunch of training rides to correct a problem, or special medication, or an expensive layup--and I don't want to be dealing with clients that are wringing their hands when things like that come up. In sum, carefully consider your finances, and choose a barn/trainer/horse that is within your finances to where you have a cushion.

      Consider the expectations for your own riding. Maybe you are subconsciously choosing more competitive barns because you subconsciously want that, but maybe you'd be more happy IRL at a more laid back, less competitive barn. Maybe you need a barn that will help you get back your mojo via a lower pressure program that will take you back to basics for a period of time. Maybe you've sort of had a stressful run of barns and it would be worth considering taking a break from H/J world and hanging out with some eventing folks or dressage folks for a while.

      Consider starting small at whatever barn you go to. You've had an injury and a concussion, and you also have unfortunately had to deal with some shady people. Start with lessons, increase the number of lessons, try a 1/2 lease, consider a full lease, then consider buying when you are really comfortable with the lay of the land.

      Comment


      • #63
        Here's another idea for evaluating barns. Ask how long the clients have been with the trainer. Then talk with the clients...both the long-term clients and newer clients.

        Try to assess how similar you are to the other clients in terms of hands on/off, riding ability, and if you can, some general assessment of budget (e.g. if a client has 10 horses, they probably have a bigger budget).

        Wishing you good luck in search of your dream barn.
        ~ Citizens for a Kinder, Gentler COTH...our mantra: Be nice. ~

        Comment


        • #64
          There's already lots of replies on here so I will keep mine short.

          If you are having trouble with a particular equine sport ten I recommend trying a barn that specializes in another. I've had greatly luck at barns that specialize in eventing. I am interested in learning dressage. My current barn has a trainer who does eventing sometimes but she focuses a mostly on dressage. She is great! Down to earth and emphasizes communication from the rider about what we are ready for.

          So, if H/J isn't working out for you then try a different discipline. You just might find you like the culture better.

          Comment


          • #65
            Originally posted by findeight View Post

            Maybe trying to see things from the trainers point of view might help in finding the right place as well. Some of these incidents related are clearly wrong choices while others are in more of a grey area. For example, if the barn and their horses are out of your price range, it doesn’t mean they are snobs. It means you can’t afford the product they offer. It’s not personal. They go to Thermal, the AA circuit maybe go to Indoors. All their clients need horses on that level and to participate on that level. That’s their business model. Others serve a different segment of clients, find a barn that matches your current budget. Be honest about that with yourself as well as trainer.
            .
            Then they should effectively communicate that, instead of ignoring someone's attempt at seeking help. That's what makes them snobs, the ignoring/brushing off, which comes off as "looking down their noses".
            Last edited by mmeqcenter; Jan. 16, 2020, 03:50 PM.
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            • #66
              Originally posted by sifu_rhi View Post
              There's already lots of replies on here so I will keep mine short.

              If you are having trouble with a particular equine sport ten I recommend trying a barn that specializes in another. I've had greatly luck at barns that specialize in eventing. I am interested in learning dressage. My current barn has a trainer who does eventing sometimes but she focuses a mostly on dressage. She is great! Down to earth and emphasizes communication from the rider about what we are ready for.

              So, if H/J isn't working out for you then try a different discipline. You just might find you like the culture better.
              Us eventers are fun! And you will still be jumping!
              "Punch him in the wiener. Then leave." AffirmedHope

              Comment


              • #67
                OP, you’ve gotten lots of helpful responses. One thing I will add is, when evaluating a program, don’t just ask how long the clients have been there. Ask how long the help has been there. A barn that knows how to find and keep good employees is doing something right.

                Comment


                • #68
                  Originally posted by Equkelly View Post


                  Ok for the last time nobody here is advocating for trainers physically assaulting unsuspecting clients with a crop. Im kind of shocked that’s how so many people are reading the situation......

                  ..... I also really REALLY doubt that’s what OP’s trainer was doing. I think the trainer was probably just being playful and giving OP a hard time for not completing the exercise.
                  One person's joke is another person's bullying.

                  That, surely, is why Safe Sport training is so important, to improve everyone's experience of learning to ride.
                  "Good young horses are bred, but good advanced horses are trained" Sam Griffiths

                  Comment


                  • #69
                    Originally posted by Equkelly View Post

                    Ok come on obviously I don’t mean it’s ok for a trainer to literally physically beat someone with a crop. It’s kind of just a figure of speech. Pretty sure OP’s trainer was just messing around and being playful. If OP was seriously beat with a crop I’m sure she would’ve called the authorities. I’m also an adult ammy but just because it’s my dime doesn’t mean I get to do whatever I want in a lesson. I don’t just get to take walk breaks because I feel like it (believe me I could if I would). Yes it’s your money, but if you’re not going to stick to the trainer’s program then you’re just wasting everyone’s time. I mean if you hired a personal trainer and they told you to do 15 burpees and you were just like “nah” that personal trainer isn’t going to waste their time and their name on you if you won’t stick to the program.
                    Even though I totally disagree with this poster, I think this is a super illustrative example that really highlights how poor customer service can be in our sport.

                    If I was working out with a personal trainer who forced me to do something that I didn't want to do and thought would be dangerous, I would never hire that person again. And if I said no to something, and a personal trainer tried to hit or belittle me, I would walk away super fast. Obviously, the more trust and professionalism there is in the relationship, the more likely I'd be to push myself further outside my comfort zone. But that trust has to be earned. It's my body, my money, and my safety. Why would I pay to be bullied? And that's just exercise. Riding is a way more dangerous endeavor than a burpee!

                    Obviously, the trainer has goals, and a customer who is scared or unambitious can sometimes be frustrating, and sometimes turns out not to be a suitable long-term customer. But the trainer is also being paid to help the student, and should be willing to meet the student where she is in her confidence, experience, and physical strength.

                    Comment


                    • #70
                      For those who are saying that the trainer was "just messing around and being playful:"

                      It's not playful if you say you don't like it, and yet it continues.

                      I believe that it happened, with malicious intent, because something very similar happened to two separate friends of mine, on two different coasts.

                      Good luck in your search for a good barn. They're out there!

                      Comment


                      • #71
                        Originally posted by pds View Post
                        For this part :
                        Barn 6: It’s more a lesson program than a training program, but my trainer friend is working there. They sell me a horse that I like, but then leave and move 4 hours away. I let the school use my horse for lessons in exchange for reduced board. The owner of the school program proceeds to use my horse 2-3x a day for lessons without telling me. Then accuses me of not paying my board and bills even though I provide itemized receipts for everything. This happens EVERY MONTH. So once again... I leave and sell my horse because at this point I have anxiety surrounding anything horse related.

                        Good that you documented everything each month, but did you have in writing an agreement that spelled out details of use and compensation (reduced board)? Sound like "no"

                        What was the actual agreement and what was the agreement in your mind? If I was your barn owner I would be *pissed* that you were buying random stuff and trying to write it off your board bill. Now it's also very wrong of the barn tonuse your horse in more than one lesson per day IMO, but stil . I once had a boarder that had a leather halter. I didn't buckle the throatlatch when I went to walk him to turnou . He lowered his head to grab a wisp of hay and stepped on it, freaked out, and the halter broke. I immediately told the owner, apologized, and said *I* would replace it. She said ok. I buy one online for $50. The next week she presents me with a receipt for a top of the line $120+ halter from the local shop and informs me she will take it off her board next month. I was furious but chose not to make it an issue. So I was out $170+ over a damn halter, AND the one I bought was too small for my own horse. Entitled people suck. Make sure you aren't on .
                        http://www.facebook.com/pages/Fentre...24774504235082

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                        Comment


                        • #72
                          Originally posted by Salty View Post
                          For those who are saying that the trainer was "just messing around and being playful:"

                          It's not playful if you say you don't like it, and yet it continues.
                          But we have no evidence that the OP said she didn't like it and it continued. In the OP's recounting, she just packed up and left after that incident.

                          I think that's the point I and some others have been trying to make: you have got to speak up and tell people what you expect and what you find acceptable. You have to stand up for yourself. You can't be a passive doormat and just accept what you get because that's a sure-fire recipe for disappointment.

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

                          Homer Simpson

                          Comment


                          • #73
                            Originally posted by NoSuchPerson View Post

                            But we have no evidence that the OP said she didn't like it and it continued. In the OP's recounting, she just packed up and left after that incident.
                            I prefer to make sure people like it before I start whipping them. It seems to cut down on misunderstandings.
                            Proud Member Of The Lady Mafia

                            Comment


                            • #74
                              I'm with those who are suggesting that you try a different discipline. That's not to say that there aren't bad trainers in other disciplines or that there aren't good trainers in H-J, but you haven't found them.

                              I'd also say that you should not look to lease or buy a horse for a while. Take lessons. On lesson horses. At barns whose business model isn't about making money on selling higher-end horses to people with lots of money and then charging a lot of money to train horse and rider, do the top shows, etc.

                              Go for a lower-key barn. The trainer will not necessarily have the same kind of credentials, but for the moment, maybe just some positive experiences in riding and becoming gradually a more confident rider might be just the thing.

                              But just as a caveat, you might find yourself at a barn where the facilities are not as shiny, spotless and awe-inspiring, and you have to groom and tack your lesson mount.

                              ETA: and just as an aside, if anyone ever hit me with a crop, I'd go ballistic. I don't care what they thought they were doing. And they wouldn't get a second chance either.
                              Last edited by Posting Trot; Jan. 16, 2020, 04:27 PM.
                              "The formula 'Two and two make five' is not without its attractions." --Dostoevsky

                              Comment


                              • #75
                                Originally posted by Coanteen View Post

                                I prefer to make sure people like it before I start whipping them. It seems to cut down on misunderstandings.
                                A wise course of action. And perhaps the selection of a safe word in advance?

                                But, given the shocking percentage of crazy people in the horse world, you can't count on everyone making those wise choices. Hence the necessity of being proactive and clearly establishing yourself as a person with a firm backbone and expectations. Those crazy people will often have second thoughts about unleashing the crazy on someone they don't think will stand for it and from whom there will be repercussions.

                                Look, I'm speaking here as a former doormat, so perhaps my views are skewed by those experiences. As a friend once said, "If the teacher said, 'Lie down there and be a doormat,' we would lie down and strive to be the best darn doormat she had ever had." Over time, I have come to believe that the best way for me to keep from being taken advantage of and treated with disrespect is to have standards and expectations for my interactions with other people and speak up immediately and firmly if those boundaries are crossed.

                                Converting that into a soundbite, if you don't want to be treated badly, you must establish the fact that you will not tolerate being treated badly.

                                Circling back around, again, to the OP, it was that sort of resolve that I perceived as being missing from the OP's story. That doesn't mean I'm condoning the bad behavior described in the OP.
                                Last edited by NoSuchPerson; Jan. 16, 2020, 11:51 AM.
                                "Facts are meaningless. You can use facts to prove anything
                                that's even remotely true."

                                Homer Simpson

                                Comment


                                • #76
                                  Theres a few hints OP may have some anxiety issues. A lower key approach might help avoid some of these experiences.. Not taking on ownership might relieve some of the stress both emotionally and financially, and it does sound like finances do play in to at least some of these bad experiences. I know, BTDT, you are not alone.

                                  Person can take more lessons on a schoolie or part lease horse then one they own and still spend less. At least temporarily removing the pressure to advance to showing would also make the sport more enjoyable.

                                  And, seriously, look into Western. Its not just dinking around on the rail, lots of pattern classes to work toward mastering. Easier on nerves, pocket book and your body and not at all easy to master. If you do want to start showing a bit, there’s lots of Open Western shows out there, often much less expensive then H/J, one day show out of trailer, friendly. It’s not a cop out to switch.
                                  When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                                  The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                                  Comment


                                  • #77
                                    Originally posted by NoSuchPerson View Post

                                    But we have no evidence that the OP said she didn't like it and it continued. In the OP's recounting, she just packed up and left after that incident.

                                    I think that's the point I and some others have been trying to make: you have got to speak up and tell people what you expect and what you find acceptable. You have to stand up for yourself. You can't be a passive doormat and just accept what you get because that's a sure-fire recipe for disappointment.
                                    The evidence that the OP didn't like it is in her first post:

                                    "Barn 3: Trainers are starting up their new business. I’m recovering from my previous back injuries and tell them repeatedly that I need to take it easy. They roll their eyes. During Lesson 8 or 9, after awhile I walk due to muscles giving out/exhaustion. Trainer gets mad and asks for my crop. I hand it to them. They proceed to HIT ME with it, on my butt, while on top of the horse. Humiliated, I leave the barn (but not before emailing them exactly why that was unacceptable)."

                                    I don't know about you but being humiliated is right up there with No, I do not like this. Plus, she reiterated in another post that she was serious that the trainer did take her crop and whacked her with it.

                                    Comment


                                    • #78
                                      Originally posted by 16 Hands View Post

                                      The evidence that the OP didn't like it is in her first post:

                                      "Barn 3: Trainers are starting up their new business. I’m recovering from my previous back injuries and tell them repeatedly that I need to take it easy. They roll their eyes. During Lesson 8 or 9, after awhile I walk due to muscles giving out/exhaustion. Trainer gets mad and asks for my crop. I hand it to them. They proceed to HIT ME with it, on my butt, while on top of the horse. Humiliated, I leave the barn (but not before emailing them exactly why that was unacceptable)."
                                      No. You are misrepresenting the conversation.

                                      The post by Salty to which I replied said:

                                      "It's not playful if you say you don't like it, and yet it continues."

                                      My response was that this statement misrepresented what happened, as the OP did not stick around to see if it continued after she said she didn't like it.

                                      Your quote of the OP simply confirms what I said. The OP left the barn after sending an email of complaint. She did not, as far as she indicated, give the barn any opportunity to make amends (if they were inclined to do so) and the actions certainly did not continue after the OP complained, as Salty implied, since the OP left immediately after the initial incident.
                                      "Facts are meaningless. You can use facts to prove anything
                                      that's even remotely true."

                                      Homer Simpson

                                      Comment


                                      • #79
                                        It's one thing to use the whip as an extension of your arm to, say, point to a spot on the rider's back (i.e. between the shoulder blades) that they don't realize they are holding tension. To just smack someone on the bum because they needed a walk break provides zero instruction or information. That kind of "playfulness" is only "playful" with long-time friends. It is wildly inappropriate to treat any client in such a manner, much less a new(er) client. It really doesn't matter if OP never said she didn't like it in person, it should never have happened in the first place. I would not have given that trainer a chance to make amends, either. I prefer my professionals to actually be professional.
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                                        • #80
                                          No, the crop thing is black and white, not acceptable, and OP dealt with that one appropriately enough by leaving. Some of the other incidents have a good bit of grey and think most are responding to those with suggestions,
                                          When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                                          The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

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