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Leaving my trainer- how do I tell her?

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  • Leaving my trainer- how do I tell her?

    For a few months now, I've been dealing with the fact that I'm going to have to leave my trainer. I love her, but her barn is almost an hour away, the facility is too small, she strictly does local shows, and I'm just not progressing there.

    However, I have absolutely no idea how to tell her that I'm leaving. I've been with her for four years and we're super close- I spend almost every school break with her, helping her train. Her son calls me "Aunt Bailey" and I'm practically part of the family. In addition to that, she's currently going well out of her way to help me get a horse that my parents are pretty against. She's not taking a commission, she's negotiating with the owner as much as possible, and she's talking my parents into it. My parents and I are in agreement that we don't want her to put so much into this without her knowing that I won't be staying with her after I buy the horse. So my question is, how can I tell her that I'm leaving without causing bad blood?

  • #2
    It will be tough but honesty is always the best way to go.

    Your reasons are valid, time, distance and desire to do bigger things; however, you can't control how the other person will react.

    You seem to have an excellent relationship and hopefully she will see what is best for you and show how a true friend responds to changes.

    I ended a 20 year relationship with my trainer when we didn't agree on my new horse. We were (and still are) great friends which I am extremely happy about. I worried for weeks about severing 20 year old ties with his barn and all my friends. Nice to find out they really were my friends and still are to this day.

    Good luck, I hope she does not disappoint you.
    "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." --Ghandi

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    • #3
      Is this really a good time to leave? She's putting a lot into you, and I think a trainer who is familiar with you and your riding strengths and weaknesses is likely to be much more helpful with a new horse. If you have the new horse within a month or two, why not stay for the winter and maybe do a couple of those local shows with her before moving on? At that point, if the horse is doing well and you want to do bigger shows, I think any reasonable "local" trainer would understand why you're moving on.
      You have to have experiences to gain experience.

      1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"

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      • Original Poster

        #4
        The move would likely happen after the first of the year. She leaves for England for a month on December 10th, and this horse is currently boarded at our barn but may be leaving for Louisiana on January 4th. I'm really hoping to get at least purchase details worked out before she leaves and tell her that I will be moving, even if I don't move until February.

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        • #5
          It is not a good idea to buy a horse with a trainer you are planning to leave. Your new trainer will not have a vested interest in a horse they did not help select and may not even like. It's going to be very important to your goals to have your new trainer 100% behind you and the horse.

          I like quietann's advice to stay where you are as you get to know your new one. If you need to move sooner, wait and purchase with your new trainer.

          If your current trainer is forgoing her commission because she believes you will be staying in her program, you need to let her know asap this is not the case. I would feel the ethical solution would be to pay her a standard commission if you decide to buy now and leave.

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          • Original Poster

            #6
            I don't know why she's forgoing her commission other than that she thinks this horse and I are a perfect match and wants to help me get him because he's more than a little over the original budget. I plan on talking to her this weekend about everything, but I just wanted a little advice on how to tell her that I won't be staying with her much longer.

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            • #7
              Why are your parents against this horse and your trainer has to talk them into it? How do you define progress? Do you and your parents know all the costs of moving beyond local shows?

              Tough questions but something to think about before you leave what sounds like a very enthusiastic and dedicated trainer.

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                My parents are against him for simply budgetary reasons. He's more than we were looking to pay but not to a number that we can't afford. I have discussed with my parents the cost of moving beyond local shows and we're all aware that it is far more expensive. I define progress as moving up in height after a period of time in which I have gotten comfortable with the height and have mastered jumping it. I'm extremely comfortable and succeeding at 2'6 right now, and the horse I'm looking at I've been riding for a few months could easily do 3'6+. My trainer just isn't moving me up and hasn't explained why she isn't either.

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                • #9
                  I would most certainly offer to pay a standard commission to your trainer if you are planning to move.

                  Or, wait and purchase the horse after as suggested. Keep in mind that when you move, your new trainer may not like your new horse. if you are moving to a new program it might be best to let them help you or at least evaluate the horse you are considering. If that's the case i'd pay your old trainer a finder's fee.

                  If you were just leaving your barn, that would be one thing. Leaving your barn right after your trainer helps you purchase a horse for which she is not getting a commission? That is bound to cause some hurt feelings at the very least and may leave your trainer feeling as though you used her.



                  Originally posted by tuckawayfarm View Post
                  It is not a good idea to buy a horse with a trainer you are planning to leave. Your new trainer will not have a vested interest in a horse they did not help select and may not even like. It's going to be very important to your goals to have your new trainer 100% behind you and the horse.

                  I like quietann's advice to stay where you are as you get to know your new one. If you need to move sooner, wait and purchase with your new trainer.

                  If your current trainer is forgoing her commission because she believes you will be staying in her program, you need to let her know asap this is not the case. I would feel the ethical solution would be to pay her a standard commission if you decide to buy now and leave.
                  Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                  EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by baileyanne View Post
                    I don't know why she's forgoing her commission other than that she thinks this horse and I are a perfect match and wants to help me get him because he's more than a little over the original budget. I plan on talking to her this weekend about everything, but I just wanted a little advice on how to tell her that I won't be staying with her much longer.
                    She's probably forgoing her commission for the steady monthly income said horse will provide in board & training. If it stays with her. If it's a horse she's particularly fond of, then she probably also foresees success in the show ring and more credit to her name.

                    There is no way around it, she is investing in you right now. I promise she believes this will benefit her in the long run. If you do not plan to stick around for the long run the respectful thing to do would be pay her back now for this investment, in the form of a standard commission.

                    Or wait, I like that idea too.
                    EHJ | FB | #140 | watch | #insta

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by baileyanne View Post
                      My parents are against him for simply budgetary reasons. He's more than we were looking to pay but not to a number that we can't afford. I have discussed with my parents the cost of moving beyond local shows and we're all aware that it is far more expensive. I define progress as moving up in height after a period of time in which I have gotten comfortable with the height and have mastered jumping it. I'm extremely comfortable and succeeding at 2'6 right now, and the horse I'm looking at I've been riding for a few months could easily do 3'6+. My trainer just isn't moving me up and hasn't explained why she isn't either.
                      Why don't you ask her then? I would not jump straight to leaving for reasons others have already mentioned. It doesn't seem honest to me to accept the trainers offer of no commission then move to a different trainer. That coupled with, as others have said, new rider + new horse + new trainer does not seem like the best way for you to start out with a new horse.

                      If you do go through with the purchase I would stick with this trainer until you are comfortable with your new horse (i.e have been to a few shows); after discussing the height issue with her. If you don't go through with the purchase and the height issue is not resolved then think about moving.
                      "Choose to chance the rapids, and dare to dance the tides" - Garth Brooks
                      "With your permission, dear, I'll take my fences one at a time" - Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey

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                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        That's what I'm worried about, Bogie. I'm going to talk through everything with her this weekend to make sure we're completely transparent with her throughout the entire thing. I feel awful about leaving her so soon after she does so much to help me get this horse, but the lack of progression and everything means that I have to leave. Hopefully in the conversation she'll realize that I'm ready to move up and then maybe we won't even have an issue and I won't have to move.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Feels like you may be jumping the gun a bit? Have you ever asked your trainer why she isn't moving you up? It's not clear from your post, but do you even have a horse to move up with? I see that is why you want to buy this one. What have you been riding and how often? If you are a sporadic rider on a horse you do not own then that right there may be why she is keeping you at the sure-fire success level.
                          EHJ | FB | #140 | watch | #insta

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by tuckawayfarm View Post
                            It is not a good idea to buy a horse with a trainer you are planning to leave. Your new trainer will not have a vested interest in a horse they did not help select and may not even like. It's going to be very important to your goals to have your new trainer 100% behind you and the horse.
                            The trainer's job is to train their client and their client's horse. Your first paragraph implies you should never move to a trainer without selling the old horse first or not buying a horse because unless the trainer has "input" (ie receives a commission) they don't have a 'vested interest'. That's ridiculous. Their vested interest is the check for lessons, board, training, shows, etc. no matter where the horse came from. Should the OP completely pass on the horse if they're moving, no matter how well-suited, so the new trainer can charge them a commission to "find" a horse for them?

                            I do agree the OP needs to be up front with this trainer, but the OP's last post about "maybe I won't have to move" makes me a little confused--if this trainer only does local shows, OP, are you saying this might change if she finds out you're thinking of moving? Is the issue really she DOESN'T do bigger shows, or you feel like she doesn't want you to?
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                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              I've been riding for 8 years, three times a week. Two years ago I bought a green, off the track QH and with the help of my trainer I trained him into a really nice pre-green hunter, and we're now selling him. I've had some minor confidence issues for my entire riding career, but through riding this horse and a few others I've gained all my confidence back and then some. I understand that she doesn't want to push me too hard too fast and cause me to lose all my confidence, but I'm ready to move up. I've tried to talk to her about it before and she always just brushes me off, but this weekend I'll be sitting down and talking to her about it.

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                danceonrice, I think that one of the main reasons we don't go to bigger shows or anything is because the barn is mostly kids that ride for pleasure and the occasional adult ammy that is perfectly happy at local shows. Again, I'm going to discuss everything with her. If I can avoid it, I don't WANT to move, but I think I might have to in order to progress and reach my goals.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I think you are getting a lot of really good advice here. I don't see how she can feel anything but bad and taken advatage of in this situation. I'm sure that's not what you want to hear. At the least, you should pay the commission if you go, imo. I'm sure she is waiving it because of your special relationship and because of the assumption it is going to continue in the future.

                                  I would also just ask her WHY she isn't moving you up. There could be a valid reason.

                                  I would stick with the trainer who knows you if you get the new horse--at least for awhile. I also agree your new trainer may not like your new horse, but personally, I wouldn't care. Would that bother you though? I think the other posters all raised really good things to think about.
                                  DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/

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                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by danceronice View Post
                                    The trainer's job is to train their client and their client's horse. Your first paragraph implies you should never move to a trainer without selling the old horse first or not buying a horse because unless the trainer has "input" (ie receives a commission) they don't have a 'vested interest'. That's ridiculous. Their vested interest is the check for lessons, board, training, shows, etc. no matter where the horse came from. Should the OP completely pass on the horse if they're moving, no matter how well-suited, so the new trainer can charge them a commission to "find" a horse for them?
                                    Trainers have horses they get along with and horses they don't get along with, just like everyone else. An established trainer knows what types work well in their program and prefer to seek out that type. Starving trainers take whatever walks in the door and are typically stuck with a few they can't stand. And usually a few that routinely try to kill them. It's a standard of success when you can finally pick and choose your clients.

                                    Not saying there are no scumbags out there looking only for another commission, but there is a logical reason behind the trainer that will be training the horse and rider wanting to be involved in the purchase decision.
                                    EHJ | FB | #140 | watch | #insta

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                                    • #19
                                      Perhaps you can ask her directly why she doesn't want you to move up (is it only your confidence issue? or it is something else?) and let her know you want to do bigger shows with the new horse. Her answer may tell you everything you need to know about what to do next.

                                      You said the facility is too small - couldn't that be another reason she hasn't helped you move up? Not enough space, or inadequate footing?

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                                      • #20
                                        Maybe she is waiting to move you up until you purchase a new horse? If you have been riding this horse that is not yours, perhaps she doesn't want to risk ruining the horse or your confidence when it is not even clear that you will be riding this horse long term?

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