• Welcome to the Chronicle Forums.
    Please complete your profile. The forums and the rest of www.chronofhorse.com has single sign-in, so your log in information for one will automatically work for the other. Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are the views of the individual and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of The Chronicle of the Horse.

Announcement

Collapse

Forum rules and no-advertising policy

As a participant on this forum, it is your responsibility to know and follow our rules. Please read this message in its entirety.

Board Rules

1. You’re responsible for what you say.
As outlined in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, The Chronicle of the Horse and its affiliates, as well Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd., the developers of vBulletin, are not legally responsible for statements made in the forums.

This is a public forum viewed by a wide spectrum of people, so please be mindful of what you say and who might be reading it—details of personal disputes are likely better handled privately. While posters are legally responsible for their statements, the moderators may in their discretion remove or edit posts that violate these rules. Users have the ability to modify or delete their own messages after posting, but administrators generally will not delete posts, threads or accounts upon request.

Outright inflammatory, vulgar, harassing, malicious or otherwise inappropriate statements and criminal charges unsubstantiated by a reputable news source or legal documentation will not be tolerated and will be dealt with at the discretion of the moderators.

2. Conversations in horse-related forums should be horse-related.
The forums are a wonderful source of information and support for members of the horse community. While it’s understandably tempting to share information or search for input on other topics upon which members might have a similar level of knowledge, members must maintain the focus on horses.

3. Keep conversations productive, on topic and civil.
Discussion and disagreement are inevitable and encouraged; personal insults, diatribes and sniping comments are unproductive and unacceptable. Whether a subject is light-hearted or serious, keep posts focused on the current topic and of general interest to other participants of that thread. Utilize the private message feature or personal email where appropriate to address side topics or personal issues not related to the topic at large.

4. No advertising in the discussion forums.
Posts in the discussion forums directly or indirectly advertising horses, jobs, items or services for sale or wanted will be removed at the discretion of the moderators. Use of the private messaging feature or email addresses obtained through users’ profiles for unsolicited advertising is not permitted.

Company representatives may participate in discussions and answer questions about their products or services, or suggest their products on recent threads if they fulfill the criteria of a query. False "testimonials" provided by company affiliates posing as general consumers are not appropriate, and self-promotion of sales, ad campaigns, etc. through the discussion forums is not allowed.

Paid advertising is available on our classifieds site and through the purchase of banner ads. The tightly monitored Giveaways forum permits free listings of genuinely free horses and items available or wanted (on a limited basis). Items offered for trade are not allowed.

Advertising Policy Specifics
When in doubt of whether something you want to post constitutes advertising, please contact a moderator privately in advance for further clarification. Refer to the following points for general guidelines:

Horses – Only general discussion about the buying, leasing, selling and pricing of horses is permitted. If the post contains, or links to, the type of specific information typically found in a sales or wanted ad, and it’s related to a horse for sale, regardless of who’s selling it, it doesn’t belong in the discussion forums.

Stallions – Board members may ask for suggestions on breeding stallion recommendations. Stallion owners may reply to such queries by suggesting their own stallions, only if their horse fits the specific criteria of the original poster. Excessive promotion of a stallion by its owner or related parties is not permitted and will be addressed at the discretion of the moderators.

Services – Members may use the forums to ask for general recommendations of trainers, barns, shippers, farriers, etc., and other members may answer those requests by suggesting themselves or their company, if their services fulfill the specific criteria of the original post. Members may not solicit other members for business if it is not in response to a direct, genuine query.

Products – While members may ask for general opinions and suggestions on equipment, trailers, trucks, etc., they may not list the specific attributes for which they are in the market, as such posts serve as wanted ads.

Event Announcements – Members may post one notification of an upcoming event that may be of interest to fellow members, if the original poster does not benefit financially from the event. Such threads may not be “bumped” excessively. Premium members may post their own notices in the Event Announcements forum.

Charities/Rescues – Announcements for charitable or fundraising events can only be made for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations. Special exceptions may be made, at the moderators’ discretion and direction, for board-related events or fundraising activities in extraordinary circumstances.

Occasional posts regarding horses available for adoption through IRS-registered horse rescue or placement programs are permitted in the appropriate forums, but these threads may be limited at the discretion of the moderators. Individuals may not advertise or make announcements for horses in need of rescue, placement or adoption unless the horse is available through a recognized rescue or placement agency or government-run entity or the thread fits the criteria for and is located in the Giveaways forum.

5. Do not post copyrighted photographs unless you have purchased that photo and have permission to do so.

6. Respect other members.
As members are often passionate about their beliefs and intentions can easily be misinterpreted in this type of environment, try to explore or resolve the inevitable disagreements that arise in the course of threads calmly and rationally.

If you see a post that you feel violates the rules of the board, please click the “alert” button (exclamation point inside of a triangle) in the bottom left corner of the post, which will alert ONLY the moderators to the post in question. They will then take whatever action, or no action, as deemed appropriate for the situation at their discretion. Do not air grievances regarding other posters or the moderators in the discussion forums.

Please be advised that adding another user to your “Ignore” list via your User Control Panel can be a useful tactic, which blocks posts and private messages by members whose commentary you’d rather avoid reading.

7. We have the right to reproduce statements made in the forums.
The Chronicle of the Horse may copy, quote, link to or otherwise reproduce posts, or portions of posts, in print or online for advertising or editorial purposes, if attributed to their original authors, and by posting in this forum, you hereby grant to The Chronicle of the Horse a perpetual, non-exclusive license under copyright and other rights, to do so.

8. We reserve the right to enforce and amend the rules.
The moderators may delete, edit, move or close any post or thread at any time, or refrain from doing any of the foregoing, in their discretion, and may suspend or revoke a user’s membership privileges at any time to maintain adherence to the rules and the general spirit of the forum. These rules may be amended at any time to address the current needs of the board.

Please see our full Terms of Service and Privacy Policy for more information.

Thanks for being a part of the COTH forums!

(Revised 1/26/16)
See more
See less

Barn Drama - Poached Clients

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Barn Drama - Poached Clients

    The barn just went through a major shakedown.

    Started with the once-a-week riding instructor getting too big for her britches. BO knew she was talking and politely told her it was fine if she needed to talk herself up but talking anyone else down would not be tolerated.

    First of the month comes, 2 show clients leave with once-a-week riding instructor. One of the clients were wealthy family who had just gotten into horses and wanted to start their own business. No biggie accept that they didn't give any notice and were just kind of sneaky about it.

    Anyway, slowly but surely, clients start leaving to go to this new farm bought by wealthy family. Lost about 4 in total - all of whom were friends and whose kids were friends so really, it makes sense.

    Thing is, once a week riding instructor wants to be chatty at the horseshows.

    In this business, people come & go but once a week riding instructor definitely had her hand in this and got the ball rolling. Hard not to have hard feelings.

    BO & her daughter, who is the assistant trainer/rider, want to be professional but understandably, don't want to have anything to do with once a week instructor. It doesn't help that BO kind of took the instructor under her wing and she lived with them for a while and whatnot.

    So what would you do? Ignore riding instructor? Tell her off?

  • #2
    Take the high road. As you said, it is a small world, and if she's flaky and does the same thing to these people when it all goes wrong, then you'll be justified. If, though, she goes on to be a success, you'll run into her again and again.

    Be polite, if not overly friendly. Clients come, clients go, don't take it personally. Karma gets everyone in the end
    Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!

    Comment


    • #3
      Seems to go on all the time unfortunately.

      I would go by the motto "hold your friends close and your enemy closer"
      Adriane
      Happily retired but used to be:
      www.ParrotNutz.com

      Comment


      • #4
        Take the high road... there's nothing the BO and daughter trainer can do. Clients are gone but they might decide the once a week trainer isn't all that -and want to come back - don't close the door on them. This kind of thing happens all the time. BO has to remember she doesn't own the clients so it's in the BO/Trainer daughter's best interest to be as gracious and kind about the situation as possible.. Sure chat up the once a weeker at shows or whatever - you never know what kind of stuff you'll hear

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Don't think it's the clients - more the instructor.

          All 4 clients that left had started at this barn so BO/daughter chalked it up to the grass is greener...no hard feelings (sad, but not angry).

          I am a family member of BO/daughter and it's been very hard on them. BO has been in the business for over 30 years and never had anything like this (multiple clients leaving at the same time) happen...mind you, she's also never had any outside help until now, when the business was too big for just family to handle. Don't think she'll be hiring outside of family again

          Comment


          • #6
            You cannot control what clients do . . . only how you respond.

            I agree about taking the high road. Those clients may want to come back and it's important for them to feel welcome.

            If one of them did want to start their own barn and invited the instructor to come teach there, then they really instigated the move.

            However, it's always best to be up front with where you are as it's a small world.
            Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
            EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.

            Comment


            • #7
              Sounds like the barn owner feels betrayed and/or that the instructor/client is ungrateful.

              I am guessing though, it is just that the one owner wanted their own facility and offered the instructor a position there, that would be more beneficial to her than the once a week instructor position she had.

              It is a business decision and not a personal slight.

              But I get that it still sucks/hurts. But holding a grudge against any of the ones that left just makes you seem petty and insecure. Wishing them luck comes across much better.
              Freeing worms from cans everywhere!

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Originally posted by CHT View Post
                It is a business decision and not a personal slight.

                But I get that it still sucks/hurts. But holding a grudge against any of the ones that left just makes you seem petty and insecure. Wishing them luck comes across much better.
                You're exactly right and I'm sure it does still hurt.

                I think the hardest part especially for the daughter who is obviously younger, is that there was obviously a lot of talking going on and she feels like she never had a chance to defend/say their side.

                Such is life.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I will agree with what others have said. People forget that bottom line this is no different than any other buisness. You do not have clients because of friendships you have clients because of services and goods you offer. If some people have left ask yourself or them why they chose to change barns? There maybe somethings you could change or not. They may just want a change or think they do, as you said grass may seem greener. DON"T BURN THE BRIDGE you maybe surprised at who returns or wants to at some point but you may not have space
                  All one can do is do their best, as others have said you can't control them only yourself.
                  Glass is always half full or empty. Who knows they may have done you a favor.
                  M
                  Never approach a bull from the front, a horse from behind, or a fool from any direction

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Well....everyone-- the once-a-week instructor in this case-- has to start somewhere. And they have to move on if they want to make a living at training horses. What would your BO have done if the shoe were on the other foot?

                    I know it "stings" but I don't see the room for being angry or being anything but professional to the instructor who has moved on.

                    We don't here the other side in the OP's post, of course, but it sounds like the OP and/or the BO and family don't see this as "just business." It is.

                    I also know there are better and worse ways to leave a job. But don't confuse the instructor with the clients. And please don't ever think of clients as people you own or who can be "poached." It's really consdescending.
                    The armchair saddler
                    Politically Pro-Cat

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I can well imagine that having clients leave - especially a group of clients - is not a fun experience.

                      However, as CHT correctly pointed out, this was a business decision, not a personal slight. It goes without saying that BO and the daughter/assistant trainer should continue to be polite, and to wish the departing group well. The horse world is small and there is no point in burning bridges.

                      The question to ask is not whether everyone should continue to be civil (the answer to that one is ALWAYS yes.) The REAL question to ask in this circumstance is, "why did the customers choose to leave, and what could we have done/done better to prevent that?"

                      HINT: The answer is not, "Never hire another outside instructor."

                      The bottom line is, perfectly happy clients don't leave. Clients leave when they do, in fact, think the grass is greener in someone else's pasture. So the better exercise is to understand what it was about the new situation that was more attractive to these customers, and deciding whether or not your facility can offer that (or wants to.)

                      It is easy to blame the loss of customers on the inducement of the assistant trainer (see the title of this thread - "Poaching" is a strong word, and frankly, IMO, is fairly inappropriate when talking about customers, who are entitled to make the decisions that best suit themselves and their pocketbooks.)

                      So what was it about the new situation that attracted these customers? Certainly for the one customer who owns the new facility, it may simply that they wanted to have a place of their own/call the shots etc. It is worth asking why that is the case - though you may not get a straight answer, of course. (There is really nothing wrong with wanting to own your own place, right?) Maybe that owner's kid aspires to be a pro and the Dad figures he might as well buy the place now, while prices are down. But maybe... just maybe... they didn't get something at your place that they really wanted. And if that's the case, knowing what it is might help you retain the rest of your clients (and/or attract replacements for the ones that left.)

                      It is worth asking the others, too. Maybe it is just a case of friends all wanting to stay together. But maybe there are things that they wanted, too, which they didn't get at your place. Again, worth asking. You will get the most useful answers by being genuinely nice when you inquire. You respect their decision, wish them the best, but would certainly appreciate any suggestions they might have about what you could have done to retain their business and/or made them happier at your place.
                      **********
                      We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
                      -PaulaEdwina

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Back to the original question - I would neither tell the (former) trainer off nor ignore her at shows. A conversation should take place between BO and (former) trainer. I don't understand the aversion to communicating with people when there is a problem (not you, OP, it's just a tangential statement in general). The BO should let (former) trainer know what her thoughts are about (former) trainer leaving with BO's clients and whether or not she suggested that the clients give BO the standard 30 day notice before moving, etc etc. They should have a civil conversation about what happened and then move on. The conversation won't change what happened but it will make it a little easier to smile and take the high road when BO and (former) trainer cross paths. Karma will take care of (former) trainer. Hopefully she'll learn from it.

                        Years ago, I was at a barn where this happened. Asst trainer came on board, taught well, bad mouthed every decision/lesson/etc Head Trainer/BO made, and after a year or so plotted a move with more than 1/2 the 50+ clientele. Some told Head Trainer/BO but there wasn't much that could be done. Asst trainer was moving and clients decided to follow. There was high drama the two weeks before the move (and after). BO was devastated but knew that client's need to do what's best for them and actually helped clients pack and load up their horses. BO was furious with asst. trainer who was on contract not to take clients (for x period of time) after leaving BO's facility. I'm sure there were threats of lawsuits initially. But, BO knew that the community is too small and having tension with another trainer would only make life more stressful than it needs to be. BO met with former asst trainer where they talked it out for a loooong time after which BO let it go - never bad-mouthing or even talking about it again. BO and former asst trainer (who went through hell trying unsuccessfully to earn a name back after all of this) are civil and even joke at the shows. By the way, some of the clients came back. So, the moral of the story is always take the high road. People will remember you for it and you will feel better because of it.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Success is the best revenge.
                          The BO and her daughter/trainer need to keep doing what they're doing, and do it better than the new, young chickadee who thinks she's all that. The clients who left will see that the "tortoise" is continuing with their successes as they plod steadily along on their unswerving course, while the "hare" speeds ahead to territory she has very little experience negotiating.
                          .... Or Not.....
                          As was already said, perfectly contented boarders do not leave a barn where they are happy.
                          However..... Sometimes that green grass on the other side of that proverbial fence dies more quickly than the slightly-browned-around-the-edges variety.
                          Be courteous at shows when the other trainer is near. Otherwise, don't interact.
                          DO be kind and curious and supportive of the former clients and their exploits in the show arena! Let them know you're still around and always interested in the well being of them and their horses.
                          As a very very dear friend of mine advised me some years ago when I was going through this very thing.... "Smile and Wave, honey!! Smile..... and Wave!"

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            It sort of sounds like this trainer got an amazing opportunity to work at a farm purchased by a wealthy family She wants to remain friendly and you want to be mad If you don't want to be friendly then ignore her you have no right to be telling her off in my opinion

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Didn't mean anything condescending by "poached".

                              Should mention that instructor goes to school full time for non-horse related work & was also starting on a placement which was why she was only teaching once-a-week at this facility. She was doing a lot more (riding, coaching) but wanted to step down to concentrate on her schooling.

                              Again, don't think it was the leaving...more the way it was done.

                              Perhaps it was missed in the original post..instructor was talking - a lot. Other boarders started to mention what was being said and it wasn't nice. If you're going to move on..fine...but why trash your employer unless you were trying to lessen their value in the eyes of others?

                              None of these were "horse people". They were families from the city who rode as hobby and they had never been anywhere else. I do believe some thought they could do it cheaper (which is definitely possible but possibly not with as much success) and the original family just didn't like to be in a program. They were quite wealthy and I think they were used to calling the shots but they were completely new to horses and didn't know anything yet.

                              The wealthy family would have moved on eventually - that was obvious right from the beginning. But if the instructor hadn't started the talking; I don't think the others would have gone. Maybe that's just the way I see it; I could be completely wrong. The instructor seemed nice but was very insecure and often resorted to talking trash about others I guess to make herself feel better.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                What Lucassb said.

                                Honestly, I hear stories like this and always wonder how a client can be 'stolen' from a previous trainer. Clients have free will, and if they can find a product that's superior in their mind, for a competitive price elsewhere... then where's the theft?

                                If the once-a-week trainer was truly badmouthing her employers, then she should have been reprimanded once, then fired if it happened again. Any employer who keeps someone on who's opinions are polar opposites of their own really isn't thinking.

                                Be nice at the shows. If your clients are happy with the new trainer they'll appreciate your professionalism and working toward alleviating any tension. And if they become unhappy one day, they WILL return.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  As someone posted above, you cannot control what the clients do.

                                  Should you tell her off? No.

                                  Your response should center on what you can do for your remaining clients and address any problems that may have contributed to the departure of the other clients.

                                  It may not be just the fast talk of a once a week trainer that caused the other clients to leave.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    My philosophy on horse world/barn drama--Life is too short and the horse world is TOO SMALL for any petty trash talking or bad mouthing.

                                    The BO should learn from the experience (as Lucassb said, try to get to the root of WHY these folks left and use that to constructively improve their program and business) and move on with her life. Don't let the other person's pettiness or trash talk suck you down to their level. Be a professional.

                                    I read things like this and am reminded of the reasons I want my own place with my own horses and nothing more.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I agree with MVP and Lucassb, particularly as to the poor word choice on "poached." In response to your question - you should neither ignore nor "tell off" the once-a-week riding instructor. You should behave as a rational business person, which means treating other professionals (which is what this once-a-week instructor is, despite what you may think of her) with respect and courtesy.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        It is called "free market competition" and it happens all the time in all businesses.

                                        Best advice is to take the high road as others have said. You never know, once the "bloom is off the rose" at this new place you may see some clients return. Much easier for them to do that if you don't make a big deal over this.

                                        This is also a perfect time for BO to take an inventory of how they are running the current business and make changes/adjustments.

                                        Comment

                                        Working...
                                        X