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Trainers, make-up lessons?

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  • Trainers, make-up lessons?

    Do you allow them? What's the alternative?

  • #2
    I allow them if it fits into my schedule. Harder to do if they are on one of my lesson horses, as I won't expect a horse of mine to put in an extra shift during the week to accomodate someone, and also hard to do if they are beginners as they are less likely to be able to fit in with someone else.

    I have two empty time slots that I leave for make up lessons, and my "group" lessons usually only have 2-3 riders, so not hard to fit in an extra person once and a while, but I don't bend over backwards to accomodate them.
    Freeing worms from cans everywhere!


    • #3
      We have a training farm. My clients have their own horses. We have a covered arena.

      Our minimum training package is for 8 lessons or training rides per month. (Any combination). We try to be fairly flexible in the event the student has a test/appointment/whatever. I'm not so flexible that lessons become the least important appointment because I expect for lessons and riding to be a priority. I will allow a student to ride in an appropriate group on a different day, but I don't allow a short stirrup kid to add into a 3' horse group, say.

      Any "makeups" have to be accomplished within the month. We don't "carry-over" lessons. "No-shows" are counted as lesson. Clients that are good communicators can easily work it out with us to substitute an extra training ride for lesson- we just need to know the day before to plan the rides in the morning. We usually have an extra horse/pony to use if the student's horse is missing a shoe or something.

      We keep very accurate records and bill for rides or lessons that go over the package of 8. If a client is under 1 for a month and goes one over the following month, we don't bill for the additional lesson. If a client is a real stickler and hounds us for makeups in order to never miss out- (we call them "counters"), then we always charge for the extras.

      We try to be very professional- on time, very reliable. Our "package" rates are pretty cheap for this area. Our goal is to provide a good value. We add extra makeup days/times ONLY if we've missed a day of work (gone for a show or a vacation). What I've found works well is to have definite guidelines and limits to your makeups. If you don't, then the clients tend to drive you crazy- you're at their beck and call for "makeups" that are necessary only because they don't make their lessons a priority.


      • #4
        My trainer allows them. Since there are group(2+ people) lessons 4 days a week, if you give her a heads up, you can join one of those. Private lessons are harder to make up since she doesn't have a lot of time.


        • #5
          Assume you mean when the lessons are prepaid in advance??? And they use school horses? Private horse owners or leasors are usually alot easier to slide into another spot if they miss.

          Barns I have been in had a couple of days a month-one weekday and one weekend day set aside, or blank, on the schedual. These were for makeups and anything else that didn't fit the routine. None have carried the make up over past that month as they just didn't have enough school horses.

          One exception would be a bad weather month, then they set up another couple of days the following month. There has to be a little bit of flexibility but time and school horses are limited.
          Last edited by findeight; Feb. 15, 2011, 11:20 AM.
          When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

          The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


          • #6
            My instructor allows us to reschedule lessons provided 1)24hrs in advance, 2)if you are in a group lesson, the group can change days, 3)there is another group lesson whose level is compatible to yours and you can join them, 4) the lesson must be rescheduled before the end of that month's pre-paid group of lessons.


            • #7
              I am very fortunate to have an amazing trainer who allows us to do make ups in a lot of different situations. She also lets me carry over...technically they are not supposed to, but I end up missing quite a few due to meetings at work. As much as horses and riding are a priority...i wont be riding without a paycheck so obviously that has to come first. my instructor also only teaches one day a week with a permenent schedule so its not like I can switch days. She also has a make up lesson spot, but it is when I am also teaching lessons in the ring. I am usually able to fit in my lessons...but sometimes she lets me just pay by the lesson since I am so busy and I work there.
              I WAS a proud member of the *I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday* clique..but now I am 30!!!!!!!!!!!
              My new blog about my Finger Lakes Finest:
              She Ain't No Small Potato!


              • #8
                Originally posted by Jsalem View Post
                We keep very accurate records and bill for rides or lessons that go over the package of 8. If a client is under 1 for a month and goes one over the following month, we don't bill for the additional lesson. If a client is a real stickler and hounds us for makeups in order to never miss out- (we call them "counters"), then we always charge for the extras.
                Wow. So you have different rules for different clients?


                • #9
                  [QUOTEWe keep very accurate records and bill for rides or lessons that go over the package of 8. If a client is under 1 for a month and goes one over the following month, we don't bill for the additional lesson. If a client is a real stickler and hounds us for makeups in order to never miss out- (we call them "counters"), then we always charge for the extras.)[/QUOTE]

                  Agree w/ hoonsie there - so its okay for you to keep very accurate records to bill but if your client does the same you call them out for being sticklers... and because they want what they've paid for - you charge them for the "extras" whatever that might be?

                  It can be hard in large lesson programs to fit in make-up lessons but I also think people need to be reasonable about make-up lessons - and the reasons they were canceled. It's one thing if you have a client that seems to be always needing to make-up lessons - then it's certainly reasonable to be less accommodating. However, in cases of weather, unforseen traffic delay (here in Washington DC area a normal 20 minute commute to barn can easily become 2 hours) or becoming ill. My niece had signed up for a winter session at a lesson barn and their make-up policy was virtually nonexistent.. What is the point of taking your life into your hands to drive your kid to a lesson in an ice storm - when they are really not going to have a lesson anyway. It was too bad if you didn't make - Ice storm or not. Needless to say that was the last session they signed up for.


                  • #10
                    "Wow. So you have different rules for different clients"

                    No, I wouldn't say that's the case. We're flexible enough to look at the individual case so that we're fair to the client, but also fair to ourselves. We want for all of our clients to get a good value for their training dollar. If a client misses a lesson in January, but takes an extra in February, we don't feel that it's fair to charge them for that extra in February when they're the type of client that happily pays us whether they're here or not. We're flexible enough to look at the "big picture." The "counters" are never under a lessson- they make sure they get every lesson, every month. And that's fine. But those we'll charge for that extra lesson as per our published rates.

                    Doing the package thing can be a win-win situation. When our clients take all 8 lessons/rides, they get a way good deal. In fact, we're under the area norm for lesson prices. At our package rate, our lessons and rides cost $31.25. Now that's cheap for our level of quality. We give excellent instruction. Our training rides are never given by "kids", only by first rate professionals. Even if they miss one lesson and take 7, the rate is $35.71- still cheap.


                    • #11
                      When I rode at a lesson barn, we prepaid by the month. If you missed a lesson with adequate notice, you could either make it up during the month (time and horse availability permitting) or it would carry forward into the next month and the bill for that month was adjusted accordingly. IIRC,they had a discount for prepaying as well. Obviously,if you paid by the lesson, there was no adjustment to billing-you either came or not.

                      Personally, I would not ride at a barn that required prepayment but did not allow make-ups OR adjust the next month's bill. On occasion, stuff happens. I make every effort for riding to be a priority, but sometimes it just can't be. Now my trainer comes to me, and I pay per lesson, so make-ups are a nonissue.


                      • #12
                        Jsalem -- how do you handle the packages when you're gone for two weeks out of the month to horse shows?


                        • #13
                          Good question, lisa, and one that many barns have a hard time managing to the satisfaction of those clients at home. And we show a lot. What works for us? Our teaching schedule is Mon- Thur. Lauren (our rider) leaves early in the week if necessary. I stay home to stay on schedule with lessons and leave with the last load on Friday am if we're showing not too far away.

                          We're almost never gone for 2 weeks without coming home in between. If we are gone and we miss lessons, I use weekend lessons to catch up. I try to make sure that I offer the same number of lesson days. If I miss Thur, I teach Sat. If I miss Wed/Thur, I teach Sat/Sun.

                          So I'm not one of these trainers that regularly teaches on Saturday. We show too much. I like to stay on schedule with lessons during the week so that I can have an occassional weekend off. We have an assistant that runs a lesson program on Saturday and a therapist that does hippotherapy on Sun. That way, our barn is generating income while we're off showing. I only use those Saturday lessons if I've missed lesson days.

                          I screen new clients very carefully and lay out our schedule up front. Mon- Thur for lessons. If you want to see me on weekends, you need to be horseshowing. I have fantastic clients. I try to respect them and give them what they pay for- excellent instruction/ excellent quality training for the horse. In return, they show me a lot of respect by not calling me after hours for silly things and by respecting my occassional weekend off. Works well for me.