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What would you do? Very long, slightly bitter. UPDATE, P. 6

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  • What would you do? Very long, slightly bitter. UPDATE, P. 6

    Say you've a horse in training. Say your trainer is prepping him to take to a big show, and he's "doing great" by all accounts from said trainer. You watch trainer school horse at show grounds for two days prior to the first class, and he's brilliant. Everything's cool, right?

    When you come out the morning of horse's first class, the first words out of trainer's mouth are, "This horse is driving me nuts!". NOT exactly what one wants to hear from one's trainer immediately prior to going into the ring with your horse. Trainer gives horse a half-assed warmup and while horse isn't spectacular, trainer isn't either. Trainer pulls you over to the rail in the warmup when she's three away and says, "I don't feel safe on him". Uh huh. This is the horse that trainer schooled beautifully and raved about so that you'd bring it to this big, expensive show, and NOW she "doesn't feel safe" on him?!?!? Fruitbats are flying. So she decides to go in and give it a shot; might as well - too late to scratch. She jumps two fences, pulls a rail on the first, circles before the second, jumps it and then retires the course. Oooohhhhh-kay.

    I have a discussion with trainer that evening. She'd like to bump him down a level, feeling sure that she can just chuck the reins at him and let him go around as he wants. I tell her it's okay to bump him down two or three levels if she'd feel more comfortable, or not ride him at all. I really don't want the horse shown by someone who "doesn't feel safe" on him, and ask trainer repeatedly if she'd just rather scratch him. She says no, that she'll ride him just one level down; horse can do it in his sleep. Oooohhhh-kay.

    So, next morning. Horse and trainer are in warm-up ring when I arrive. Horse is MUCH better than the day before, and trainer looks pleased. Trainer does another half-@$$ed warmup, jumps three or four small fences, and pulls horse over to the rail. She motions me over, and says, "I just don't think I'm the right rider for this horse." WTF?!?!? I ASKED her if she'd rather scratch him. I ASKED her what the issues were, and NOW, after two months of full training and a successful schooling show two weeks before, she's "not the right rider". Would it have been too much to ask that she tell me this BEFORE we brought him to this show? I was so mad I couldn't speak. I took the horse from her and made her walk back to the stalls (a goodish jaunt). I then untacked him (oh, BTW, I helped trainer set up and spent many hours not just setting fences and grooming and bathing MY horse, but her others as well, since she was too cheap to hire a groom ), and she started telling me how she'd "give me a break on the bill" while I was mucking his stall. I told her I couldn't talk to her at the moment. She persisted until I turned around, looked her in the eye and said, "Maybe I didn't make myself clear. I CANNOT talk to you right now. We'll have a nice conversation later and work this all out, but right now, I CANNOT talk to you." She finally got the message and left me alone. I went home, got truck and trailer and settled my horse show bill and took horse home. I haven't spoken to trainer since.

    So, when I get the bill for this expensive fiasco, what should I do? Do I go to her employer (for whom I used to work) and explain to him why I'm not paying any of it? Should I send them a bill for my time? I could have been home riding my own horses instead of playing groom for trainer, after all. And if I'd had any idea that she wasn't hiring a groom, I would have behaved differently. I mean, really, who goes to a big show with eight horses and doesn't hire a groom?

    I'm really at a loss. I've never encountered a situation like this before, ever. This trainer is (was?) a friend of mine as well, but it isn't like I tried to do anything on the cheap side or ask her for anything I didn't pay for. I paid full board, full training, full whatever the eff she wanted me to pay for, and I get treated like this? I don't get it.

    I'll be very interested to hear what you all have to say.
    "You're nothing more than a blob of mustard, or a bit of underdone potato; there's more of gravy than grave to you." Ebeneezer Scrooge, "A Christmas Carol"
  • Original Poster

    #2
    Say you've a horse in training. Say your trainer is prepping him to take to a big show, and he's "doing great" by all accounts from said trainer. You watch trainer school horse at show grounds for two days prior to the first class, and he's brilliant. Everything's cool, right?

    When you come out the morning of horse's first class, the first words out of trainer's mouth are, "This horse is driving me nuts!". NOT exactly what one wants to hear from one's trainer immediately prior to going into the ring with your horse. Trainer gives horse a half-assed warmup and while horse isn't spectacular, trainer isn't either. Trainer pulls you over to the rail in the warmup when she's three away and says, "I don't feel safe on him". Uh huh. This is the horse that trainer schooled beautifully and raved about so that you'd bring it to this big, expensive show, and NOW she "doesn't feel safe" on him?!?!? Fruitbats are flying. So she decides to go in and give it a shot; might as well - too late to scratch. She jumps two fences, pulls a rail on the first, circles before the second, jumps it and then retires the course. Oooohhhhh-kay.

    I have a discussion with trainer that evening. She'd like to bump him down a level, feeling sure that she can just chuck the reins at him and let him go around as he wants. I tell her it's okay to bump him down two or three levels if she'd feel more comfortable, or not ride him at all. I really don't want the horse shown by someone who "doesn't feel safe" on him, and ask trainer repeatedly if she'd just rather scratch him. She says no, that she'll ride him just one level down; horse can do it in his sleep. Oooohhhh-kay.

    So, next morning. Horse and trainer are in warm-up ring when I arrive. Horse is MUCH better than the day before, and trainer looks pleased. Trainer does another half-@$$ed warmup, jumps three or four small fences, and pulls horse over to the rail. She motions me over, and says, "I just don't think I'm the right rider for this horse." WTF?!?!? I ASKED her if she'd rather scratch him. I ASKED her what the issues were, and NOW, after two months of full training and a successful schooling show two weeks before, she's "not the right rider". Would it have been too much to ask that she tell me this BEFORE we brought him to this show? I was so mad I couldn't speak. I took the horse from her and made her walk back to the stalls (a goodish jaunt). I then untacked him (oh, BTW, I helped trainer set up and spent many hours not just setting fences and grooming and bathing MY horse, but her others as well, since she was too cheap to hire a groom ), and she started telling me how she'd "give me a break on the bill" while I was mucking his stall. I told her I couldn't talk to her at the moment. She persisted until I turned around, looked her in the eye and said, "Maybe I didn't make myself clear. I CANNOT talk to you right now. We'll have a nice conversation later and work this all out, but right now, I CANNOT talk to you." She finally got the message and left me alone. I went home, got truck and trailer and settled my horse show bill and took horse home. I haven't spoken to trainer since.

    So, when I get the bill for this expensive fiasco, what should I do? Do I go to her employer (for whom I used to work) and explain to him why I'm not paying any of it? Should I send them a bill for my time? I could have been home riding my own horses instead of playing groom for trainer, after all. And if I'd had any idea that she wasn't hiring a groom, I would have behaved differently. I mean, really, who goes to a big show with eight horses and doesn't hire a groom?

    I'm really at a loss. I've never encountered a situation like this before, ever. This trainer is (was?) a friend of mine as well, but it isn't like I tried to do anything on the cheap side or ask her for anything I didn't pay for. I paid full board, full training, full whatever the eff she wanted me to pay for, and I get treated like this? I don't get it.

    I'll be very interested to hear what you all have to say.
    "You're nothing more than a blob of mustard, or a bit of underdone potato; there's more of gravy than grave to you." Ebeneezer Scrooge, "A Christmas Carol"

    Comment


    • #3
      What you should do depends upon what your ultimate goal is: to stay, or to leave? Frankly, sounds like you've lost faith, and its very rare that you restore a relationship after a situation like this. Find a new place, then go.

      Comment


      • #4
        Pretty sad when 'the trainer' cannot ride your horse, who (horse) sounds like he is on his way to be a pretty decent horse.

        I would be just as mad. I think maybe from here on out you should either show the horse yourself or find another person to show him for you. For a trainer to say she does not feel 'safe' on the horse after schooling it for months, and a crappy warmup, not riding the horse to its potential .. how does that make a trainer look at a big show?? Like a "wanna be trainer" ... she totally had no thought on the $$$$ that you were shelling out just for her to f-up. Local show - ok, let the trainer 'play' with your horse, this is different and not fair to you in any way...

        Im just rambling!

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Sorry, should have been more clear. I keep my horses at home and usually school them myself with occasional help from trainers to whom I haul. So it isn't really a matter of staying or going; I'm gone. Oh, and to make matters worse, the horse is for sale. What will prospective buyers think when he's retired from one class and scratched from another with no explanation? Doesn't bode well, IMO. But maybe I'm being paranoid?

          But when the bill comes for hauling, the trainer's expenses, etc, I'm not sure that I'm not just going to return it with a note that says that when trainer reimburses me for all the money I spent taking horse to the show in the first place, then we'll talk show bill. Is that appropriate? Should I pay it and move on and chalk it up to a bad experience? Has anyone else ever encountered this sort of situation before?
          "You're nothing more than a blob of mustard, or a bit of underdone potato; there's more of gravy than grave to you." Ebeneezer Scrooge, "A Christmas Carol"

          Comment


          • #6
            Find another rider and go talk to the boss....in my mind you paid to have a job done and it didn't get done. Two months of training and she decides at the show that she is the wrong rider? Something else is going on with this trainer that is her personal issue not yours so you need not be paying full fees to accomadate her issues. Discuss this with whoever does the billing and let them know that your time at the show tending to all the horses is also worth something esp when you are not getting the job you paid for. I know this sounds a little hard line but if you are like most you are not made of money and need not being tossing out money for poor work. I commend you on your attempts to talk it out before the second class..... you gave her plenty of opportunity to tell it from her side and to make adjustments or to pull out. You might want to talk to her again and simply say you agree that she is not the rider for your horse and that you will be finding someone who is a better fit. Let her know you will also be discussing the billing and your in kind contributions with the boss person you have mentioned. I hope that you can maintain your friendship after the dust settles. Good luck.

            Comment


            • #7
              I would wait till you get your bill (don't stress over it yet) and then deduct all your "fees" then pay what remains (if anything). I can never figure out how a trainer who can't ride your horse to school it for you should be taking training fees from you. Also, very bad form on trainers part to take a sale horse to a huge show and then make a specticle of it-really does not help the pricing of the horse. For the most part (except for the trainers bill) I would chalk it up to a life lesson learned-the horse show world teaches us many such lessons-and move on to a different trainer. You might salvage the friendship later but only after the issues have been resolved. Sorry this is so long. Good luck

              Comment


              • #8
                Sorry you find yourself in this situation. Sounds like things weren't made clear before going to the show, like the lack of grooms. That is going to make this situation for you even stickier, since you did spend alot of your time and elbow grease helping out. I'm certain that if she cuts you what she feels is a break on the bill, you will probably not agree and feel slighted for not being "worth" more.

                There are probably certain items on your bill that you should just pay, like any trailering you didn't do yourself. And while the trainer did a less than adequate job riding your horse, she did get on.

                I think you should see the bill before you decide on what action to take. People can surprise you sometimes. With that said, remember that burning bridges saying. You might just want to suck up and pay the bill.

                As for potential buyers, in all likelyhood, the person who eventually buys your horse probably did not see what occurred, let alone attended the show.

                Certainly an annoying scenario, but not one to go to war over. Choose your battles wisely!

                Good luck!!!!

                Comment


                • #9
                  You agreed to take the horse to the show so in my mind I think you should pay the bill. We don't pay our horse shows bills relative to the outcome of the show.

                  Needless to say, you need to find a new trainer. If your horse is young and needs training from a professional then perhaps you should send your horse to a professional barn for a while, get it into a program under one trainer, and then get it sold.

                  Sounds like you mixed business with pleasure by having a "friend" who happens to be a trainer take care of your horse. Don't make that mistake again. We have all been there and done that.

                  Good luck.

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    You're right about not being made of money; we had to scratch pretty hard and cut other areas to justify this expense. I guess that just makes it that much harder to take, when someone's that careless of your purse. And it isn't like she didn't KNOW that that was the case; as I said, she is a friend. Or was, at this point. I don't know about anyone else, but I'm damned if I would ever do that to a friend or a client.
                    "You're nothing more than a blob of mustard, or a bit of underdone potato; there's more of gravy than grave to you." Ebeneezer Scrooge, "A Christmas Carol"

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by monalisa:
                      You agreed to take the horse to the show so in my mind I think you should pay the bill. We don't pay our horse shows bills relative to the outcome of the show.

                      <span class="ev_code_RED">I agree with this, which is why I paid the horse show bill and didn't fuss. That's been taken care of. </span>

                      Needless to say, you need to find a new trainer. If your horse is young and needs training from a professional then perhaps you should send your horse to a professional barn for a while, get it into a program under one trainer, and then get it sold.

                      <span class="ev_code_RED">Actually, the horse WAS in training with this "trainer" for two months at a professional barn prior to the show. She also took him to a schooling show two weeks before and he was brilliant, and she was delighted with him. Then she turns around and says, "I'm not the right rider for this horse."?!?!?!? So I don't think this is applicable. </span>

                      Sounds like you mixed business with pleasure by having a "friend" who happens to be a trainer take care of your horse. Don't make that mistake again. We have all been there and done that.

                      Good luck. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

                      <span class="ev_code_RED">I must disagree here. I didn't mix business with pleasure. I looked around for the person I thought would do the best job with my particular breed of horse and knew their quirks and could deal with them, and this is the person I came up with. I paid full board and full training - I didn't ask for any discounts on account of friendship and I didn't get any. The problem I have is that I don't feel that I got treated like a client - I just got treated badly. </span>
                      "You're nothing more than a blob of mustard, or a bit of underdone potato; there's more of gravy than grave to you." Ebeneezer Scrooge, "A Christmas Carol"

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I'd ahve to recommend a long hard talk about the bill. Shipping and bedding/food etc you should probably buck up and pay. Granted, if the trainer was so uncomfortable with the horse you should not have even BEEN there, but...
                        Training fees etc I would have an issue with. When you pay a trainer to take your horse to a show and she refuses to SHOW it (esp a sale horse!) I think you have a claim to not pay, or to a reduction in the rate. If your horse flipped out/acted up or really exploded and the trainer bailed, I can understand. From your posts (and we are only getting one side here) it sounds like the horse behaved "normally." The horse IS green so I wouldn't expect him to be perfect. That's why you are having a pro show him!
                        If I did all the grooming etc I wouldn't want to pay for daycare either. Especially since you groomed her horses too.
                        What would really make me mad is having the impression all along that the horse was progressing so well and was ready to go to so big a show. Once they got there, if the trainer was really thinking twice about it, she should have told you right away, and with DETAILS. If she said he was acting nervous/ill/mentally whacko you could have chosen to scratch, take him home and cut your losses. Maybe she could have found a different rider to take him in the ring. There could have been options.
                        F O.B
                        Resident racing historian ~~~ Re-riders Clique
                        Founder of the Mighty Thoroughbred Clique

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          That's kind of what I thought. I did give her the option of scratching the second day, and did it (I thought) in such a way that there would be no harm, no foul should she decide she didn't want to show him. And as I said, he was brilliant when she schooled him on the Monday, and pretty good on Tuesday. I was there the entire time that she was on him both days, and the worst thing he did was shake his head and want to get a bit quick on the approach to the jumps. He didn't buck, rear, be stupid or spooky or anything like that - he never does. He likes going new places and never even has to be longed - ever. But when she insisted on showing him the second day and said he'd be fine, and THEN bailed on me the next morning? What's up with that?
                          "You're nothing more than a blob of mustard, or a bit of underdone potato; there's more of gravy than grave to you." Ebeneezer Scrooge, "A Christmas Carol"

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            First, where do you want to go from here with the situation? Know that before deciding anything.

                            Next, what do YOU feel is fair and appropriate? You paid the show fees, which I agree was appropriate. Are there likely to be any other fees you might agree are fair? Think about it as dispassionately as you can....maybe straight feed/bedding costs?

                            Then, wait. Don't anticipate an issue -- you may not even get a bill. Give it a reasonable time frame (end of month maybe) and see if you get anything. If you do, deal with the costs as you've decided is fair -- but add a written note explaining WHY you feel those costs are or are not appropriate. Regardless of whether or not you get a bill, you might also want/need per contract to inform the boss and trainer of your decision for the future -- either in the letter with the bill or in a separate communication. No need to be nasty, but you can certainly express displeasure and document what you expected to happen, what did happen and why it's caused your decision.

                            Sorry about this -- it sounds like you got hit with the debris when something personal exploded for this trainer. Bummer.

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              I think your last sentence nailed the issue, HH. Debris, indeed.

                              Well, I do know that this "trainer" will never get another cent from me, and has no leverage to do so since I brought my horse back to my home barn from the show. Then I went up to the training barn and picked up all of his things (sheet, blanket, extra reins, girth, expensive pad) that she'd not taken to the show with her. All the shavings and my portion of her three tack/grooming/feed stalls were paid for at the show, and feed/hay shouldn't have been anything extra since the horse was already on full board at the training farm. So all I can conceivably be charged for is "my" portion of the trainer's hotel bill, hauling from the training farm to the show, and schooling/show rides, since the "trainer" informed me that my training rides had "run out" just prior to the show. How convenient.
                              "You're nothing more than a blob of mustard, or a bit of underdone potato; there's more of gravy than grave to you." Ebeneezer Scrooge, "A Christmas Carol"

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                If the the trainer was not comfortable riding your horse, she should have arranged another catch ride trainer to ride your horse (with your permission) Their fees should have been covered by her. That would have been the appropriate way to handle the situation and at least would have meant your horse got good exposure at a very expensive show.

                                As it is, I would refuse to pay the bill for training, hotel or shows rides. The only thing I may offer up is the hauling.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Putting flame suit on here, but is it possible that while he was boarded with her that she drugged him for "training"? Not because of his behavior, necessarily, but some "trainers" just do that - they don't feel safe or comfortable on a horse's back unless it has had a cocktail. *Now I'm not saying every trainer is like that, but I do know of some who fit the bill...BNT and LNT alike*

                                  Then, perhaps the schooling show had no drug testers so she still gave him a cocktail. But maybe this show did? Or she thought for some reason she'd give it a go without? And she just couldn't handle it, for whatever reason?

                                  Sounds like she has some issues.

                                  Wait until you get the bill before you decide what to do...if she does send one at all, I agree about deducting your grooming/set-up/hauling fees.

                                  Good luck.
                                  My Mustang Adventures - Mac, my mustang | Annwylid D'Lite - my Cob filly

                                  "A horse's face always conveys clearly whether it is loved by its owner or simply used." - Anja Beran

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I would not pay any soft costs (like riding/schooling fees). I would consider paying hard costs (bedding, trailering) and I would deduct not for YOUR OWN set up, but the work you did for other horses. Around here, grooms make $75-120 a day. I'd deduct that from your bill...if you did a half day's work, I'd deduct a half day's pay each day. In all reality, I wouldn't want to pay any of it...it's your trainer's job to act as an agent on your behalf and they clearly didn't do that, but I'd probably cover hard costs (minus the labor fees) just so the trainer couldn't bad mouth me up and down the zone.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I would definately NOT pay any sort of trainer fee or by no means a service fee! As for the trainer not being able to ride your horse issue, I have actually been in a similar situation.

                                      In my case-years ago, I left my not-at-all green hunter with my trainer(I had just begun riding with this person that year) for the week while in Florida one year. I had aggreed to pay for three schooling rides to keep her in shape while I was back at school for the week. He was supposed to jump her once or twice, little stuff, as I would be doing the 3'6" that weekend, no need to wear her out. I got a call Wed night that week by said trainer saying my horse had issues with stopping and he thought we should take her down a notch that weekend. This horse was not green, didn't ever stop, and was Champion the weekend before. I thought a). horse was foot soar b/c of the difference in footing, b). maybe said trainer was riding her in the wrong bit and she reacted badly(horse was very sensitive), or c). it was a freak thing that wouldn't happen again. When all three options were negated by trainer, we decided we would decide when I got there. When I got on my horse that Friday, she had spur rubs on both sides and was completely gone in the head. She stopped at every fence, no matter the size, and we ended up having to scratch the weekend and I was out a plain ticket and all the show expenses. Turns out trainer had a bad week, personal issues, and when my horse acted up a little in schooling, he went ape-$#!^ on her. I tried to stay with the trainer, but in the end had to leave when I just couldn't respect the program at all, and had to spend close to 6 months gaining confidence again and fixing my horse, who I then had to sell the horse as a 3' horse b/c it was next to impossible for her to do the big jumps. It was a horrible situation, made worse by the fact that I tried to stay and work it out. It would have been better to just cut losses and leave the trainer. I didn't wise up until later. Luckily, the trainer was not big and so I didn't see him much after I moved barns, b/c of course that bridge had been torched! Now I greatly appreciate every time I ride at my current barn(and past great barns)! Good Luck, and I hope it goes better for you than it did for me!

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                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        Good comments, all. Keep 'em coming, please.

                                        Hucklebug, the drug thing never occurred to me. I suppose it's possible. I'd hate to think that about this (or any other) trainer, but given the absolute wierdness of the situation, I can't completely discount it. She couldn't very well have given him a cocktail with me there at the show all the time, so you may very well be onto something. Hhmmmmmmm.............must ponder this further. Be pretty bogus if it were true.
                                        "You're nothing more than a blob of mustard, or a bit of underdone potato; there's more of gravy than grave to you." Ebeneezer Scrooge, "A Christmas Carol"

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