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ANOTHER UPDATE PAGE 10 Client won't heed trainer's advice re horse purchase...

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  • ANOTHER UPDATE PAGE 10 Client won't heed trainer's advice re horse purchase...

    I am a local professional and have been working with a particular client for over five years. The student just turned sixteen and I have trained her since short stirrup and through two green ponies at the local level. We are now shopping for a children's hunter, or at least I thought we were. My criteria for a suitable horse for this client is an experienced 2'6" horse, fancy and capable enough to move up to 3' at the smaller A shows. Price range up to 15K. We have looked at several videos of 12ish year old horses that could have fit the bill but had one thing or another that knocked them out of contention (cribber,soundness questions,etc).

    Well, the clients (mother is HIGHLY involved in the process, but with very limited knowledge) have found a horse on their own which is completely unsuitable. A 7 yo WB/TB which was not gelded until the age of 3 or 4, has never been to a horse show, doesn't have its lead changes, and is schooling 2'-2'6" at home. It is being sold by the breeder who has somehow completely convinced these clients that this is the horse of a lifetime and will be ready to go to Upperville in June. The rider has never shown over a 2'6" course in her life. The breeder has also convinced them that the horse will need to stay in training with her for 60 days so the child can "learn how to ride him properly."

    I have seen video of the child's two rides on this animal, and yes the horse is cute and fancy, but he is certainly no world-beater. He is as green as most of my 3 y olds, his movement is good but not great, cute jump but knows nothing about it, and the lack of lead change is a HUGE issue, especially at this stage. I have communicated all of these reservations to the clients, but they will not hear of a thing against this horse. I am going this weekend to see the wonder horse in person, but I know it will be a waste of time. I think they have lost their minds and will buy him anyway, and I am close to throwing up my hands and saying "good luck, let me give you some phone numbers of trainers who just LOVE horses like this."

    Any thoughts?
    ------------------------------
    \"I ride because the partnership with horses fills my mind with perfections of cadence and rhythmic excitement and intensities of communion.\" Dick Francis
  • Original Poster

    #2
    I am a local professional and have been working with a particular client for over five years. The student just turned sixteen and I have trained her since short stirrup and through two green ponies at the local level. We are now shopping for a children's hunter, or at least I thought we were. My criteria for a suitable horse for this client is an experienced 2'6" horse, fancy and capable enough to move up to 3' at the smaller A shows. Price range up to 15K. We have looked at several videos of 12ish year old horses that could have fit the bill but had one thing or another that knocked them out of contention (cribber,soundness questions,etc).

    Well, the clients (mother is HIGHLY involved in the process, but with very limited knowledge) have found a horse on their own which is completely unsuitable. A 7 yo WB/TB which was not gelded until the age of 3 or 4, has never been to a horse show, doesn't have its lead changes, and is schooling 2'-2'6" at home. It is being sold by the breeder who has somehow completely convinced these clients that this is the horse of a lifetime and will be ready to go to Upperville in June. The rider has never shown over a 2'6" course in her life. The breeder has also convinced them that the horse will need to stay in training with her for 60 days so the child can "learn how to ride him properly."

    I have seen video of the child's two rides on this animal, and yes the horse is cute and fancy, but he is certainly no world-beater. He is as green as most of my 3 y olds, his movement is good but not great, cute jump but knows nothing about it, and the lack of lead change is a HUGE issue, especially at this stage. I have communicated all of these reservations to the clients, but they will not hear of a thing against this horse. I am going this weekend to see the wonder horse in person, but I know it will be a waste of time. I think they have lost their minds and will buy him anyway, and I am close to throwing up my hands and saying "good luck, let me give you some phone numbers of trainers who just LOVE horses like this."

    Any thoughts?
    ------------------------------
    \"I ride because the partnership with horses fills my mind with perfections of cadence and rhythmic excitement and intensities of communion.\" Dick Francis

    Comment


    • #3
      Maybe you're right and maybe you're wrong. And if you're right, then you'll be able to say, "I told you so..." And if you're that dead set against it.....give em the numbers...I'm sure there are lots of folks who want to earn money and can teach a horse a lead change...

      And if you're wrong...well, you know the answer to that already.

      Be polite. That's the most important thing.

      Comment


      • #4
        Dont be so against it just yet, some horses can prove a thing or two, and it is actually quite easy to teach lead changes...

        If they are dead set on this horse.. Some people need to learn themselves before they realize that they made a mistake..

        If they dont trust your judgement then I think they dont believe in you as their trainer.. Not trying to be nasty but maybe you should have a heart to heart w/ the mom about this horse ...
        Let the horse go, get out of its way, it knows what to do...Stop pulling and keep kicking!!!!!!

        Comment


        • #5
          It is not always that easy to teach lead changes, as you know. Anyway it is a horse that probably needs to be shown by you first for a year or two, so if they don't mind shelling out 20k plus till the daughter can show it then they should be happy! Otherwise tell them adios if you think this can't work and they insist. I'm not a trainer but a businesswoman and when I can't agree with a client in the beginning it nevers works out well.

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            I'm not concerned about teaching the horse a lead change, I'm concerned about the expectations for this horse vs. the supposed stated goals for this particular rider. I have always had a decent relationship with these people, and I am always polite.

            Perhaps I am just venting, but I have given this student my best for many years and I feel I deserve at least a small measure of respect for good advice given in the past. In my mind there is a huge disparity between showing 3' by the end of the season and a horse that has not so much as shown over a 2' baby green little course. The clients presumably still want to reach their goals within a set amount of time and my professional opinion is that this horse will not accomplish that. So now what?
            ------------------------------
            \"I ride because the partnership with horses fills my mind with perfections of cadence and rhythmic excitement and intensities of communion.\" Dick Francis

            Comment


            • #7
              Take them with you and You ride him..in front of them and the seller. He may very well have something the student can't bring out in him that a more knowledgeable rider can...them pop her up on him and give a short lesson. Hopefully, you will be happily surprised. What's the pricetag on this one? Less, More or right on the mark???
              *************************
              Go, Baby, Go......
              Aefvue Farms Footing Inspector

              Comment


              • #8
                I am pretty much against the green horse/ green rider situation- especially children- so if it is any help, I think you are right to recommend against this horse. If they go through with the purchase anyway, I think you should spell out to them that the horse will require X amount of riding and training by a professional to be appropriate for child, and they may not be able to show for some time. Tell them outright that if child wants to ride this horse, children's hunters may not be a realistic goal for this year. If they are not willing to stick to your program with the horse, I would give them those other numbers.

                Comment


                • #9
                  May I ask a personal question? Do you charge commission if the client finds a horse on his/her own? Maybe that's what they are trying to avoid? Just a thought - I've seen it happen at my barn.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I agree on making sure the commission question is clarified if there is any doubt.

                    If I were you, I'd hold my tongue and keep an open mind to a degree until I went to see the "wonder horse" and ride him yourself. Right now they probably feel like you aren't giving this horse a chance (regardless of whether it is for good reason!). once you've been on him, you will be able to better explain why he's not suitable for their goals, and how much work it would mean (ie, not ready for her to show for x amount of time, etc . . . ). Then, you've got a better basis in their minds for offering that kind of opinion and they might listen to it more than they are now. If you've warned them of the mismatch after seeing the horse, and they still want to proceed, then you can decide whether that's a project you want to take on.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by zedcadjna:
                      If they dont trust your judgement then I think they dont believe in you as their trainer... </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

                      I don't necessarily agree with that statement. They very well may respect your judgement, but in the end, it's only your opinion. Yes, the opinion of the trainer, but still, only an opinion. It's their money and bottom line, their decision. I think you should be honest with them in your assessment of this horse but then you also need to respect what they decide to do.
                      Amwrider: May the fleas of a thousand camels infest their genitalia and may their arms be too short to scratch.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        From my experience, there are sometimes kids that are more interested in the training process than in the showing process, and perhaps, if she has been through 2 green ponies, she likes the idea of bringing up baby. I have had a couple of these kids do this, but there are some caveats. One of these may be enough to change their minds, but if they still are in love with the idea, let them do it. With this in mind:

                        The horse will have to be in training with you, which is a significantly larger output of money over a made 2'6" horse that you'd probably only have to school right before shows. You will have to teach it leads, jump it around at the shows, etc. Lay out what the cost of full training would be for a year and compare that with what they would be spending on made horsey.

                        The time it takes for a greenie to finish up with a young rider on it is twice as long. Literally, no matter what. Does this girl (and her mom) have the patience to weather occasional training setbacks? Because they will happen.

                        The horse will weave down to it's lines at the first few shows, provoking some scary distances. Is the kid both a good enough rider to stay on no matter what, and does she have the type of personality to come out of the ring with a smile and just be happy to have gotten around? It may buck, spook, race around with it's head up in the air and/or pick up the wrong lead in the kid's flat eq class. How will she handle that?

                        There is no guarantee when you buy green. What they think it could turn out to be (a great lg junior hunter, for example) may not be what the horse has in mind. This happens to even the most experienced of trainers, let alone amateurs. Will they be able to let it go if it doesn't work for it's intended purpose? And will they be able to recoup their investment if the horse ends up being a respectable event horse rather than making it to Devon?

                        You have to be very honest about what a green horse entails without being too discouraging. Re: the lead change- you should ride the horse and decide afterwards whether or not it will be an issue. It sounds like this horse is at a dressage/sporthorse breeder. Typically, they do not teach changes early as we do. In regards to the 60 day thing- don't cross that bridge till you get to it. If it is the right horse, you'll be able to take it home.

                        Good luck this weekend. Go with an open mind, but of course, charge them for your time.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          As a trainer expected to get them to Upperville in a few months on this one, you are in a bad place.

                          If the thing doesn't get there it'll be YOUR FAULT in the eyes of the breeder who will share with the clients how you "ruined" the horse.
                          Happens all the time.

                          Go look with an open mind, maybe it will be ok BUT you must be honest and up front with your clients.

                          YOU have to tell them how much work this one will need before it is suitable and what that work will cost them. You have every right to decline to accept it if you think you can't get it where they want it and when on the budget they give you regarding training rides.

                          Some clients seem to think a trainer is a miracle worker and just about all of them think their kid is a better rider then they are.

                          Be honest with the client as well as with the seller about just where this one stacks up.

                          Have to add that the age and lack of experience doing anything may mean there have been some problems.
                          When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                          The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I can't tell you how many times I've seen people go off and buy a horse that they found on their own, falling in love with something at a time when their trainer wasn't available to see it.

                            Some worked out, a lot didn't. In these cases I think they are buying into the romance of that particular horse; what it looks like, what the seller tells them, etc. It may not be possible to change their minds without alienating them. If you like this family, keep in mind that once they figure out it's not the right horse, they will probably be more willing to take your advice the next time.

                            On the flip side, I've seen a lot of trainers who never like the horses that students bring to them if they weren't involved with the purchase. Not just from a commission perspective (and I am not trying to say that is your motivation), but also because trainers tend to like a certain type of horse, or have an idea about what that student should have.

                            I think you've laid out a compelling argument against buying a green horse (which I personally buy into). But I think once you've laid this out, you have to go look at the horse with an open mind and see if it's reasonably suitable. I know of one girl who insisted on buying a specific green horse and later had to be airlifted to the local hospital after a really nasty fall. But not all green horses are dangerous and some are relatively easy to train.
                            Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                            EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              As the client, I would want you to sit down with me and make a list of my goals & priorities, what was negotiable & not, and what the budget was. Then for this (and whatever other horses under consideration) make a list TOGETHER of what are the positives and challenges (don't call them 'negatives' ) of this horse.

                              Ride it fairly, evaluating it for itself, not necessarily what you think this client's goals are. Then go over what you see fairly & honestly with the client. Let them know it's their money & their choice but their goals will have to be modified if they decide they want to go with this horse, based on the paper list you made together.

                              They may very well simply have really, really liked the horse & be more interested in the personality & having fun than in competing.

                              There's a student at my barn the JUST got her mare FINALLY cantering and going well to the point she could finally start showing her seriously. She got an offer out of the blue to trade her for a spoilt, completely unstarted young gelding. She traded. Go figure. Most of us think she's nuts, but it's what she wanted to do & she's happy with her decision still.
                              My Photo Albums

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                You are offering your advice/opinion & I assume that is what they are paying you for. The final choice will be theirs to buy or not. I would make sure they are aware they will need to change their goals with a green horse, realize it will cost more for additional training, and that they may not be showing right away if that was their intention. Some people need to experience it firsthand in order to learn they may not know it all. I think staying polite, keeping an open mind & being upfront is your best bet. And who knows, maybe this could turn out to be a nice horse.
                                "I'm not crazy...my mother had me tested"

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Just thought of something else here..the kids age.

                                  At 16 she is down to just a couple of years left as a Child/Junior.

                                  Are they willing to spend the year it will take to get this one going as well as it needs to to pin even in most smaller shows???
                                  Then get only a year out of it before she's off to college and an Adult/Ammie Owner???

                                  Greenies are a huge risk when the clock is ticking and they want to show as a Junior NOW.
                                  When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                                  The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content"> The breeder has also convinced them that the horse will need to stay in training with her for 60 days so the child can "learn how to ride him properly."
                                    </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

                                    This is what I am concerned about. Are the clients set on this as well and does the breeder have the qualifications to train horse and rider? As their trainer, I think you have a right to insist that the horse (if they buy) is put into your training system upon purchase.

                                    I also agree that you need to be very honest with them, after seeing the horse, about the limitations of the horse and the length of time and commitment it will take to get this horse to where they want to be. She's 16, right? Which means she is off to college in two years. Is she looking for a horse to show for her last two junior years in the children's and possibly the juniors? Then this isn't probably the horse for her.

                                    Good luck.
                                    http://community.webshots.com/user/Diva1998

                                    "Reality has a liberal bias" - Jon Stewart

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">As their trainer, I think you have a right to insist that the horse (if they buy) is put into your training system upon purchase. </div></BLOCKQUOTE> I don't think so. You CAN say that if the horse doesn't come to your barn now, it can't come to your barn after 60 days. But you can't stop them from leaving and switching to another trainer if that is what they want.
                                      Janet

                                      chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Sorry, that's what I meant. I didn't mean you could force them to do what you want - just that you had a right as a professional to insist on certain training standards in your barn.
                                        http://community.webshots.com/user/Diva1998

                                        "Reality has a liberal bias" - Jon Stewart

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