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Advice needed!

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  • Advice needed!

    Hello all, I need some unbiased opinions regarding my current horse/trainer situation. Really not trying to start any debates, I just want to hear what other people think!

    I recently found an awesome deal half-leasing an amazing horse. I pay for the full board, and obviously for any lessons/shows that I choose to partake in. This is a really nice horse, much nicer than anything I could ever afford to buy or even full-lease, but the owner wanted him to stay at this barn and to maintain control of his program. Overall, it's a great set-up! The owner has mentioned on multiple occasions how happy she is with how well he is going and how nice it is that he is ridden and shown again.

    The issue I'm having is that I don't think the trainer is experienced enough to really train me and more importantly, the horse, to our full potential. She also shows infrequently, and I would really love to show a little more often. Nothing crazy, but perhaps one big show every other month. Most of her clients are fairly novice riders, and she has lamented that she would like to do more rated shows but doesn't have enough riders who are "show-ready" to make it worthwhile for her. As a junior I rode with a more well-known person, and I would love to get at least a few lessons in with someone who has more experience coaching people in the over 3' category. The horse's ability is not really an issue here (now anyway, of course these things could change!). Is it completely out of line to ask if I can have another trainer come to the farm to give me a lesson? Or go to a show with another trainer? I certainly do NOT want to cause any hard feelings, and I'm willing to accept many concessions since, obviously, this isn't my horse. The trainer and I get along really well, but I fear she would be offended at the suggestion. But if I'm paying for the lessons and showing, I want to be learning and improving. I'd love some opinions, I've never been in a unique half-lease scenario like this one, and I clearly don't know what the proper etiquette is!

  • #2
    Maybe ask if you can take the horse to some clinics, or ask the trainer if she can arrange for you to school another trainer at shows she doesn't attend?

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      I was thinking clinics might be a good way to start. Thanks for reading through!

      Comment


      • #4
        Hmm, I don't think it would be unrealistic to talk to the trainer and let her know that you want to show at a different level than what she is currently providing.

        Comment


        • #5
          I would have a serious talk with the current trainer about what your goals are for this horse and how you can reach them. Tell her you want to do more shows, etc.. If she says she can't do more shows right now because of the number of novice riders, then bring up possibly going to shows with the other trainer. Asking to take lessons with the other trainer might be more risky, as this is a service that current trainer already provides, whereas attending more shows is not. Instead of going to other trainer, explain goals/what you want to get out of your lessons to your current trainer.

          Is the current trainer the total control freak type? Or will she be understanding of the situation?

          You may need to carefully plan out how you are going to ask her if she is in the first category (shoot me a PM if she is - I have experience dealing with this type of trainer).

          Clinics would also be a good idea.

          If all else fails, maybe have a serious discussion with the horse's owner. Flatter her by telling her how amazing and wonderful and perfect the horse is, then go on to tell her you feel that the full potential of the horse is not being utilized, his value would drastically increase if you showed more, etc.. and ask if you could move him.

          I hope this helps!
          Professional hunter princess

          Comment


          • #6
            I'd actually talk to the owner first. Praise the horse, praise the trainer, and then say just what you've said here, that you would like to do a little more with the horse if there was a reasonable (and responsible and careful) way to do so.

            The trainer is going to be a more difficult issue. I doubt that either the trainer or the owner would mind you going to clinics, so yes, that is a great place to start. I also think that it would be reasonable to tell the trainer that you want to go to X show, then if she is not going ask owner & trainer both if they would mind if you met up with Trainer B at the show.

            I also think that it would be reasonable to ask about periodically trailering out to another trainer for extra lessons here and there. Personally, I think it probably would be pushing it to ask the trainer if she would allow another trainer to come on to her farm to teach, many trainers don't allow this unless they are the one to set up a special clinic with a BNT they know.

            You can catch more flies with honey, so be liberal with your compliments. You sound like a very thoughtful person, so also understand that it might make the owner nervous to have the horse heading off to new places to work with new people who might or might not be as careful with it as the original trainer.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by BeeHoney View Post
              I'd actually talk to the owner first. Praise the horse, praise the trainer, and then say just what you've said here, that you would like to do a little more with the horse if there was a reasonable (and responsible and careful) way to do so.

              The trainer is going to be a more difficult issue. I doubt that either the trainer or the owner would mind you going to clinics, so yes, that is a great place to start. I also think that it would be reasonable to tell the trainer that you want to go to X show, then if she is not going ask owner & trainer both if they would mind if you met up with Trainer B at the show.

              I also think that it would be reasonable to ask about periodically trailering out to another trainer for extra lessons here and there. Personally, I think it probably would be pushing it to ask the trainer if she would allow another trainer to come on to her farm to teach, many trainers don't allow this unless they are the one to set up a special clinic with a BNT they know.

              You can catch more flies with honey, so be liberal with your compliments. You sound like a very thoughtful person, so also understand that it might make the owner nervous to have the horse heading off to new places to work with new people who might or might not be as careful with it as the original trainer.
              Almost verbatum to what I wanted to say!
              "IT'S NOT THE MOUNTAIN WE CONQUER, BUT OURSELVES." SIR EDMUND HILLARYMember of the "Someone Special To Me Serves In The Military" Clique

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Thank you all for the thoughtful advice! Much appreciated. I guess when you are paying someone to use their horse it's such a delicate balance between not stepping on anyone's toes and also getting value for your hard-earned money.

                Kenike, thanks, and I completely agree, a lot of my anxiety comes from worrying that the owner will be uncomfortable, although she has never expressed that before. I hope that time and patience will alleviate some of that doubt. I am always concerned with the horse's well-being above all else, so hopefully that is apparent and the trust will continue to build.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Do you have easy access to a truck and trailer so you can get off the grounds to outside lessons or shows?

                  I agree with the others; asking for outside trainers to come in may be dicey. And trying to go to shows to meet up with a trainer is a great idea, but only if you are independently mobile. (I frequently go to shows with other trainers if my trainer isn't going -- I ask my trainer to call the other trainer to set it up so there is no question of hurt feelings, though,)

                  That's what you have to avoid -- hurt feelings. And the best way to do it is to keep everything out in the open.

                  I don't think you mentioned it, but I would not suggest taking the horse away from the current barn. Isn't that important to the owner?
                  "He lives in a cocoon of solipsism"

                  Charles Krauthammer speaking about Trump

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Originally posted by Lord Helpus View Post

                    I don't think you mentioned it, but I would not suggest taking the horse away from the current barn. Isn't that important to the owner?
                    No, moving the horse is definitely nonnegotiable! That is basically why the owner is letting me have "full" lease privileges without paying a very significant lease fee that she could demand from someone else. And I LOVE the barn, btw. It's a beautiful place and they take fantastic care of the horses. They just don't focus on training/riding/showing as much as the places I'm accustomed to. Which is just crazy to me given how nice and (I presume...) expensive many of the horses are. Maybe I'm too competitive

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