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Approaching trainer about horse care issue

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  • Approaching trainer about horse care issue

    Thank you everyone for your responses. Your insight and feedback is helpful and appreciated. I've removed my initial post due to concerns about keeping this matter private, as brought up by Meredith Ellis.
    Last edited by Minicoupe; Mar. 2, 2013, 03:42 PM.

  • #2
    If your horse's staples were to be removed at "about one month" and you were told by your "BNT" that this would be seen to, and it was left for 3 months, then this would be a HUGE problem for me.

    The assurance from the vet that this neglect will not cause any problems (which remains to be seen) does in no way excuse your "BNT" or "BN" barn management from neglecting your horse's post OP care.
    It sounds as if they forgot about it ,or didn't care, or they would have consulted with you.

    I'd be out of there in a New York minute.

    You need give no explanations if you decide to leave. Just tell them you've found a better "fit" elsewhere and keep it civil. You are paying for their services and owe no explanations if you prefer to relocate your horses.


    • #3
      Did the vet tell you why they hadn't been out to remove the stables? Did the trainer tell them not to come out?

      If it was the agreement between you and the vet that the staples would be removed after x amount of time after surgery, why didn't they do it?

      I'd also be careful.. your situation seems pretty unique and someone is probably reading this and telling your BNT.
      http://www.clarkdesigngrouparchitects.com/index.html - Lets build your dream barn


      • #4
        Yep. You need to leave. Staples still in is RIDICULOUS. And I'd call up the vet and rip them a new one while you are at it. I've kicked a few vet's backsides up and down the road. It's very therapeutic.

        And take this as a lesson learned. BNT are not vet care or rehab specialists. They often have a rotating cadre of hot little 'honeys' running the barn.

        And don't you dare let the BNT give you some load of white wash BS excuse baloney. As a matter of fact. If you can afford it. I would remove horses, then have a lawyer draft a letter saying that since they are total morons and did not care for your horse properly, you want board reimbursed during the rehab period.
        "Friend" me !



        • #5
          I do not understand why you left your horse for 3mths. without seeing it. But I do not know the situation perhaps you where away at school or something.

          First thing I would do is pop out the staples they should just pop out (unless they are embedded in the skin then call vet out), with a pair of tweezers or something. Then I would take them to trainer and put them under her/his nose and say do not ask me why I am leaving these should give you an idea. And hand them to him/her. And walk out.
          Don't let the trainer get a word in and try to talk you into staying because you know he will with excuses as to why and who's fault it really is ( like grooms, BM's etc even yours). And just walk away if asked in the future why you left just say that is between me and trained and leave it at that. Even if trainer is bad mouthing you YOU be the bigger person and just say that over and over eventually you will become yesterdays news.

          But this should be a lesson to all for us. Don't leave our horses in the care of someone else for what ever reason for an extended period of time either healthy or other wise go see your horse at least 1x a month. Our horses are our responsibility not someone elses and ultimately their health and well being falls on us not someone else.
          Even if we are in the "program" or what ever. It is time to take back our responsibility and tell our trainers to train us to ride and become better horsemen, and not to handle every moment of our horses lives because they as humans can not handle it.
          Friend of bar .ka


          • #6
            Blimey. I'd be gone in a NY minute and in the *next* NY minute I'd be suing BNT for negligence. Vet too.
            "The standard you walk by is the standard you accept."--Lt. Gen. David Morrison, Austalian Army Chief


            • #7
              Originally posted by bumknees View Post

              First thing I would do is pop out the staples they should just pop out (unless they are embedded in the skin then call vet out), with a pair of tweezers or something.
              Do NOT do this. You need a special tool to remove surgical staples without causing trauma to the area. And the skin has likely partially grown over some of them. I took out a lot of grown-over staples in my vet tech days.

              Who normally arranges for vet appointments in your barn, the owner or the BM? If it's normally the owner and you didn't discuss this directly with the BM, then you are partially at fault.

              As far as kicking the vet's backside, it sounds like it was a major enough surgery that it was probably done by a referral center rather than the ambulatory vet? In that case, the surgeon does not do staple removal, the regular vet does. If that's the case, the regular vet probably assumed that it was being handled by someone else. Even if it were done by the regular vet, I wouldn't blame him/her for the inability of the person in charge of the horse's care to fail to make an appointment.

              While the staples still in aren't a health hazard, they do make you wonder if there are other shortfalls in your horse's care that you haven't noticed. I hope your BM and trainer are appropriately horrified and do what they need to do to make this right.
              Life would be infinitely better if pinatas suddenly appeared throughout the day.


              • #8
                I wouldn't worry too much about "how to approach it". Trainer screwed up by not properly supervising those entrusted with the actual hands on management of the horses including schedualing vetwork. Good barn managers are worth their weight in gold and, apparently, trainer does not have one of those.

                Far as the vet? If nobody made the appointment, they are not going to just show up for aftercare a month later on one of hundreds of client horses they barely remember. I would imagine if they even did remember, they would assume somebody else removed them and the horse was fine since nobody called to schedual anything or brought the horse out on a regularly schedualed barn visit. I can't see the vet is at fault at all here.

                If somebody had schedualed it with the vet and s/he just did not do it? That would be different. OP? Do you get itemized billing from the vet so you can backcheck and see when the procedure was authorized and performed (and paid for)? Or is it lumped into your board bill and unspecified under "vet/ meds"?

                Just me but I would not care to take tweezers and crawl under a horse to remove the staples from it's belly...I would get with the vet on that one-personally, not thru the barn "manager". That would give you the opportunity to see what happened from the vets perspective. Like nobody at the barn bothered to schedual and authorize it and they figured, if they even remembered, somebody else removed them or somebody would have called to schedual it.

                Far as the trainer and barn management? You may have a problem but with them in Florida? There is really no way to have a decent discussion about their barn management practices, or lack thereof, and the help responsible for it. Frankly they are not going to have time for you any more then they had time to properly supervise your post surgical lay up.

                Apparently they don't have time to properly groom your horse for months either.

                Do you have a plan B lined up? Maybe a smaller barn that actually cares about the horse care and hires responsible people to schedual vet care and, actually touch the horse from time to time?

                Trainer may be fantastic but their barn management is....not. I would just very calmly point out no way your horse on "full care" had anything remotely meeting that standard if it had staples in it's belly for 3 months. I wonder how long it would take them to notice a horse in real trouble??????

                And I wonder how long it's going to take trainer to return your call from Florida where they are oh so busy with all the show charge and commission creating activity??????????

                No training ability is going to take the place of good management-you can't win on a sick horse or one left home with staples in it's belly for 3 months. But you can keep dinging the owner for "full care".

                Time to look elsewhere for trainer and, more important, a barn with proper horse management practices and the abilty to supervise it.
                When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


                • #9
                  Oh for goodness sakes. It was an oversight! Who knows what happened - maybe the vet said they'd stop by and forgot. Staples left in for 3 months are not any kind of big deal. I once took a few staples out of a horse who had had colic surgery 5 years earlier. A couple got skipped and some were abaxial to the incision because they were holding the drapes in place. Totally not a big deal for your horse, the vet isn't in collusion with your trainer, it's just not a big deal. You must have humpty billion barns in your area if you can afford to leave one for something like this, assuming all other things are fine.


                  • #10
                    OP - I don't envy your position! I hope you find the courage to speak up and make a difficult change. I absolutely would not be calling this an "oversight" - to me that's just laughable. An oversight is "oops, we got busy and the staples were in for an extra week", not, we forgot there were staples ... and good thing you noticed - albeit 3 months later.

                    I'm all about giving BM and BNT a second chance - in most cases - but the well-being of your horse is just too important. This time it wasn't a life-or-death matter, but what if they failed to notice something more vital - allergic reaction, colic, respiratory distress, etc. I'm sorry, but this is just too big of an issue to let go or call an "oversight" (still makes me laugh)


                    • #11
                      I would consider staples being left in more of an oversight than a sign of negligent care. The staples should come out just fine at three months, I doubt any harm will come from it. I would be more concerned about whether the horse received the medications he was prescribed, adhered to a proper feeding program for his condition, and also had a proper confinement/handwalking/turnout schedule that was adhered to carefully. Currently has your horse recovered well? Does he look healthy and happy? Is he at an appropriate weight? Does he show signs of having been groomed and attended to? Do they have a written record of his layup schedule?

                      Yes, it's absolutely possible that forgetting to have the staples taken out is a sign of poor or sloppy care, but it is also entirely possible that the barn did a great job with every other aspect of your horse's layup. It's also possible that the vet was scheduled to come out and take the staples out, but then during the visit got caught up with another issue and forgot. I have had vets come out to work on several horses and had them forget minor things like that--that definitely happens! I'd get ALL the facts about other aspects of your horse's care before I'd make a judgement.

                      I think it is also worthwhile to consider that the barn might still be a great training barn even if they weren't that great with a layup. Training barns are often more focused on the horses that are training, not the ones that are laid up. It depends on the barn.

                      My advice: I would thoroughly check on other aspects of my horse's care and then calmly discuss the issue with the trainer. If it was a simple mistake on the part of the trainer and the rest of the care seemed good, I wouldn't worry about it further. If it was a mistake on the part of a vet, I'd be mildly annoyed and I'd mention it to them, but I would probably treat it like a simple human error unless there were other signs of substandard care.

                      For some perspective, getting the staples out on time was probably the LEAST important part of your horse's recovery.


                      • #12
                        I would be pissed at myself for not checking sooner, because I don't depend on anyone for everything. The horse's daily needs were met. Trainer is off making a living at the shows. If you want top service, go to the shows with the trainer. It is not a high paying position- It is a lot of sweat equity to be a trainer. I, for one, love that I can (barely) afford to be an Ammy. My horse is on lay up, and I can't help but micro-manage here and there. I am one of those pain in the ass owners who does a lot of the stuff myself. The barn mgr would probably prefer I go on a long vacation and leave her and my horse alone. I pay a lot, I know my horse is safe. Will she get the TLC I think she "needs" on a daily basis if I don't intervene (e.g.: interfere)? No, but so what. My 4 kids went to daycare and nursery school when they were little while I worked to support them. They are through college and doing just fine. Ya, it was a screw up that the staples were still in, but I would not be shocked it it happened to me. No harm, no foul. Enlist a friend to check on your horse if you are unable to be there, and do the same for them.


                        • #13
                          I would be more mad at myself for not checking on the horse for three months than at what is quite possibly an oversight. But - I did all over the aftercare from my mare's colic surgery and various other medical issues myself, and wanted to be absolutely sure she was getting top notch care.


                          • #14
                            1. Take a breath.

                            2. Make an appointment with the vet to have the staples removed that you can attend.

                            3. Tell the BM or whoever is home and in charge that you aren't happy and want to have a sit-down with BNT and whatever other staff he'd like to be there to figure out what happened.

                            Give those guys a chance to explain. But assume that going forward, you'll get the same treatment unless *you* step up and demand transparency, being informed and the rest.

                            I dunno. I have never liked turning over care that I could do to a trainer, no matter how trustworthy. That's not because they are bad people, but because I stand to lose more than anyone else when things fall through the cracks. What would make me leave and be pissed? A trainer refusing to allow me whatever level of involvement I wanted.

                            Oh, and have your vet bill you directly. That might have let you know earlier that the staples had not yet been removed.

                            Good luck to you, OP. I believe we can get the reasonable things we want without blowing up relationships.
                            The armchair saddler
                            Politically Pro-Cat


                            • #15
                              Didnt read the whole thread - agree trainer negligent. however, leaving staples in very likely isnt going to affect your horse at all. We see animals come in for random things have have old staples left in from 5+ years ago. Obviously as soon as its noticed we take them out,but its very unlikely to cause any issues so I wouldnt feel guilty or worry about your horses health. I would be upset with the trainer however as they told you it wouldbe attended to.


                              • #16
                                "The eye of the master maketh the horse fat"-old proverb

                                You cannot count on some one else to see to your horse's welfare as well as you.

                                Someone should have called to barn bet and scheduled staple removal. Get it done.
                                You are still the owner and obviously cannot safely delegate everything in that barn. Absent trainers are just that, absent.
                                Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

                                Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.


                                • #17
                                  I still have a problem with trainer reassuring OP they would take care of everything. OP may have been naive in trusting the trainer would do as they said and were charging OP for. But I can't really blame her for their failure.

                                  Full care is not cheap and is supposed to include a daily check over and regular grooming in any decent show barn. Any Pony Club kid knows the belly is part of the horse that gets groomed or at least checked every time the horse is handled.

                                  If trainer is too busy with the show string, they should never have told their client with a sick horse they had the time and staff to properly supervise the rehab and suggested a lay up facility.

                                  Yeah, the staples won't kill it but there is really no excuse for nobody handling the horse enough to realize they were still there when OP was promised and charged for full care.
                                  When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                                  The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by findeight View Post
                                    I still have a problem with trainer reassuring OP they would take care of everything. OP may have been naive in trusting the trainer would do as they said and were charging OP for. But I can't really blame her for their failure.

                                    Full care is not cheap and is supposed to include a daily check over and regular grooming in any decent show barn. Any Pony Club kid knows the belly is part of the horse that gets groomed or at least checked every time the horse is handled.

                                    If trainer is too busy with the show string, they should never have told their client with a sick horse they had the time and staff to properly supervise the rehab and suggested a lay up facility.

                                    Yeah, the staples won't kill it but there is really no excuse for nobody handling the horse enough to realize they were still there when OP was promised and charged for full care.
                                    @FINDEIGHT Always the voice of reason. Every. Single. Post.



                                    • #19
                                      I also agree w/ Findeight's points. My horse had surgery this fall as well and I know my trainer took extra-ordinary care in looking after him BUT she had the time to do it. Some barns don't have the time or the facilities to rehab - and it's up the the trainer or BM to advise a client if they cannot do appropriate rehab. If the horse had surgery at a referral center, chances are the center sent all the records to the owner and the referring vet. If the place told the OP they would be caring for the horse appropriately that means follow-up appointments by the vet = I'm not sure why the OP didn't follow-up sooner either but don't know the arrangement between the 2 parties.. So while I'd be ticked at the trainer/BM it took 3 months for OP to figure out that she'd never been charged the vet call. I'd still call the trainer and ask for an explanation as to the lack of follow-up care =- then based on their explanation I'd either be satisfied or even more annoyed.


                                      • #20
                                        I would probably be most disturbed wondering what else they missed in that 3 month period. I don't consider leaving the staples in just an "oversight" as they should have been keeping an eye on that incision and noticed a long time before this. After colic surgery, my mare ended up with an incision infection and later a hernia...I was on top of things all along and hate to think how bad that might have ended up if I had trusted someone else to do the care and they'd dropped the ball.

                                        Someone also blamed the vet, but that's just silly. If the trainer never asked to get the staples removed, vet probably never saw the horse. It is likely the barn vet and not the surgeon. Unless someone calls him/her up and makes appointment, etc., it isn't like the vet will magically show up to pull them, like some kind of staple fairy (and leave a quarter behind...).

                                        I won't suggest leaving, as I don't know OP's situation, but I sure would be more diligent bout making sure the right thing is being done for my horse. But this is also one more example of why I do not board or trust others to take care of my horses properly. I was tired of paying for things and then doing them all myself!