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The Do's and Don't of Trainers and Other Profressionals

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  • #21
    Take good care of my horse. This is #1. Don't treat him unfairly under saddle or on the ground.

    Tell the truth. While I expect you to do what you're supposed to do, I also realize stuff happens (family emergency, someone gets launched and you need to take them to the ER, horse gets sick and you have to take it to the clinic) and maybe my horse gets a turnout instead of getting ridden one day. Or gets a hand walk when his rehab calls for a tack walk that day. But when I ask you how things went don't fabricate a ride that didn't happen. Or have your assistant tell me one thing and you tell me another because that means at least one person isn't telling the truth. Telling the truth also covers situations when you are asked if a client should do something or realistically have a goal of doing something. I think this also covers the pet peeve of the OP. If you request that other clients or someone else doesn't ride your horse, then the trainer should honor this request. If for some reason, the trainer feels it's necessary then they should talk to you about it beforehand. I have a short list of people that can ride mine and I believe it's been honored.

    Don't badmouth other clients in front of me. Because I figure if you're badmouthing me to them then the opposite is probably happening.

    Assume that I know something about horse care. Don't try to wave away what I think is a medical or other concern. Let me use the vet I want to use (and I promise, in return, to keep you apprised of what is going on). If you know something bad about said vet that you think you should share with me please let me know.

    If I contact you with something that needs an answer or other response, please get back to me. I will do the same.
    The Evil Chem Prof


    • #22
      Believe me when I tell you my budget is $X when shopping for a horse/planning show season/looking for a used saddle through your contacts. $X really is all I have, so please don't show me options for $X + $Y. I can't afford it, and it just annoys me.


      • Original Poster

        Originally posted by sammicat View Post
        Do not use my fees/board/etc. to subsidize other riders, unless you are doing so out of your pocket.

        Do not let other people ride my horse without my knowledge.

        Do realize that people have jobs and commitments outside of the barn and may not be able to always accommodate your schedule.

        Do not tell me you are schooling my horse and actually have someone else school him.

        Do not use my tack and equipment for lessons because your tack is lost, dirty, or missing.

        Do not lend out my tack to your friends.

        DO NOT LIE TO ME when I ask you a question.
        I agree with all of this.


        • Original Poster

          Originally posted by MillysGirl View Post
          Believe me when I tell you my budget is $X when shopping for a horse/planning show season/looking for a used saddle through your contacts. $X really is all I have, so please don't show me options for $X + $Y. I can't afford it, and it just annoys me.
          Yes and don't put the guilt trip on me because of my budget or tell me there is nothing out there for me.


          • #25
            Don't show TOO much favoritism for your wealthiest client.

            I've experienced this with several trainers. There's always the client in the barn with the nicest horses and biggest checkbook, and yes, they should be kept very happy. But don't make it SO obvious in front of your other clients that one of us is worth more time and attention than the others - even is he or she literally is.


            • #26
              Do treat me the way you would like me to treat you. No better and no worse.

              Do understand my horse means the world to me and is my #1 priority. If you make me choose between him and you, I will choose him every time.


              • #27
                Be honest, be consistent and be fair.

                Do not compare me to other students. I don't want to hear that you have a total beginner that rides my challenging 1/2 lease horse better than I do. I find it hard to believe and I know she's not jumping 2'9 courses and maybe he's being a brat for me because you put her on him yesterday!

                If you have something to discuss with me, chat with me. Don't send messages through "runners."

                Respect a client's knowledge. I may be an ammy and a lease client but I've been riding as long as you and have plenty of horsemanship experience. I too have dealt with injuries, tack issues, behavior issues etc.

                I'm almost 50, don't bark at me, explain how to do something and listen to me when I explain my ride. Encourage me to think for myself how to solve a problem.

                Please do me the courtesy of being there (in mind as well as body) for our appointed lesson time. Turn off the cell phone and teach. If the schedule changes let me know ASAP. I schedule barn time around family, work and other commitments.

                If you have favorite clients that's fine. We are human and some people "click." I just don't want to have it waved in my face. Don't ignore me in a lesson in favor of her, don't offer her a list of horses to ride while I'm there helping get schoolies ready and sweeping aisles. Give her the list in private and at least thank me for helping out.

                Foster a positive atmosphere by discouraging gossip, encouraging a helpful attitude and at least outwardly, treating all clients the same.
                F O.B
                Resident racing historian ~~~ Re-riders Clique
                Founder of the Mighty Thoroughbred Clique


                • #28
                  DO treat my horse with the same respect as you would one of your own.

                  DONT just assume that I don't know anything, or that I can't do anything by myself

                  DO keep me up to date on everything that has to do with my horse, especially when I'm out of town. If you feel like your annoying me with pictures and updates, then your doing it right.

                  DONT get hooked on one training method. Not every horse can be trained in the same way, some need different techniques.

                  DO give me my bill in a timely fashion. If you want it paid by the first of the month, then give me the invoice at least a week in advance so I can get everything together for you.

                  DONT play favorites. Just don't. It creates unnecessary drama.

                  DO be proactive in keeping up the property. If someone has an issue with something, granted thats its reasonable, try to listen and take their suggestions. More often then not, it can help bring in more students.

                  DONT have people who aren't familiar with horses put boots on for turnout.

                  All in all just be gracious, and be the trainer that you would want. Push when its needed, but take a step back when your rider is becoming overwhelmed. Be a trainer first, and a friend second.


                  • #29
                    Can "Profressional" please become "professionals"?
                    http://www.facebook.com/olddominionsaddlery Like us on Facebook!!


                    • #30
                      Don't put just any saddle on my horse. I spent money and time having saddles fitted to my horse. If I say to use them, then use them. I don't care that your saddle "fits everything I've ever ridden." It did not. You just weren't aware.

                      You never know-- that ride in the poorly fitting fancy name brand saddle might be the last time my horse is ever sound.
                      A helmet saved my life.

                      2017 goal: learn to ride like TheHorseProblem, er, a barn rat!


                      • #31
                        Just moved, not out of a bad situation, just from a small private barn with excellent care to a larger barn with a trainer.

                        DO understand when I show up with a horse prone to stress that he doesn't normally look like this (thanks horse, for dropping weight and making me look bad).

                        DO say you'll stuff the hay net or do "whatever" he needs to gain the weight back...and then when I come out at night, and I find the hay net still stuffed full!!

                        DO work with me on a feeding plan for what last year was an easy keeper and this year is not, feed some of your grain to see if he'll like it before I drop basically $1/pound on an expensive grain...and then let me know not only will he eat it, but you're feeding it to him until I get mine out there.

                        DO work with me while find ways to feed the horse and not feed the donkey!

                        DO send me hilarious videos via text of the donkey trying his best to get part of the food in the nose bag, and failing.

                        DO tell me you like my animals and like that I am boarding with you now.

                        I've been boarding for less than two weeks and this has all happened already. I'm in a happy place. Just wanted to put it out there since so many have bad experiences. I don't think any of the above is hard to do, but rare as hen's teeth, so...yeah.
                        COTH's official mini-donk enabler

                        "I am all for reaching out, but in some situations it needs to be done with a rolled up news paper." Alagirl


                        • #32
                          I have been thrilled with my current barn and previous barn (lucky me!) but based on past experiences....

                          DON'T gossip about other boarders/riders with me. It might be meant as friendly chitchat but it invariably makes me wonder what you say about me when I'm not there.

                          DON'T be a know it all. None of us know it all. My favorite barns/trainers have been all about education, clinics, books, seminars, etc - we are all learning about this lifelong pursuit together.

                          DON'T make promises you can't keep. You can't guarantee a horse will or won't sell in a certain time frame for a specific price - so don't promise that it will. Don't promise that my moderately talented horse will achieve any lofty goals. It makes you look inexperienced at best, dishonest at worst.

                          And from my current and previous fabulous trainers....

                          DO treat my horse like she's priceless. To me, she is. (This is not to say I don't want you to discipline her if needed.) Excellent care is my number one priority, and I need to know that I can trust you to provide it.

                          DO laugh with me. I do this for fun, I'm not all that good at it, and sometimes I ride like a coked up lemur. Sometimes laughing about it is all I've got, so please enjoy the ride with me.

                          DO encourage me when I need it, DO help me figure out reasonable goals, DO help me develop a plan to get to them. When you're young it's easy to dream big dreams. At this point I am more in touch with reality, and I want to know that what I'm doing is moving me and my horse toward realistic goals.

                          DO be honest about everything. If board is going up, tell me. If my horse didn't get her training ride this week, tell me. If we're not ready for an upcoming show, tell me. Be polite and reasonable. I am not trying to make your life hell, but we do have a business relationship and I need to know what's going on. Telling the truth - even when it may be painful - is part of the deal.

                          So many other great ones listed here - COTH should write a handbook!


                          • #33
                            Texting some guy you met in a bar while I'm introducing my greenie to jumps? huh? really?

                            after reading these posts I'm so glad I only occasionally ride at clinics...I think I'd hurt somebody who acted like most of the above posters' comments.


                            • #34
                              Originally posted by outside__line View Post
                              DO laugh with me. I do this for fun, I'm not all that good at it, and sometimes I ride like a coked up lemur. Sometimes laughing about it is all I've got, so please enjoy the ride with me.
                              This is both hysterical....and sadly true for me. In a recent lesson, trainer and I both ended up in stitches because I was "doing the hokey pokey up there"! I was trying to trot an 18" crossrail that was the in to a gymnastic, on my pretty darn broke, will jump through a ring of fire type horse.

                              This thread makes me want to take my trainer to dinner. Or buy her a gift. Or just tell her THANK YOU.


                              • #35
                                Originally posted by Chezzie View Post
                                This is both hysterical....and sadly true for me. In a recent lesson, trainer and I both ended up in stitches because I was "doing the hokey pokey up there"! I was trying to trot an 18" crossrail that was the in to a gymnastic, on my pretty darn broke, will jump through a ring of fire type horse.

                                This thread makes me want to take my trainer to dinner. Or buy her a gift. Or just tell her THANK YOU.
                                A public shout out will do! Love ya Chezzie!


                                • #36
                                  Originally posted by Chezzie View Post
                                  In a recent lesson, trainer and I both ended up in stitches because I was "doing the hokey pokey up there"!
                                  Personally, I like to pantomime jumping a 5' oxer when trotting over crossrails. My poor trainer is a very good sport about my antics!


                                  • #37
                                    Originally posted by CGolden View Post
                                    A public shout out will do! Love ya Chezzie!
                                    I'm going to remind you about this post next time I have a schooling break meltdown...

                                    In all seriousness, though, reading the shady things people have had done to them by professionals makes me feel very lucky...and very glad I have stayed in my trainer's program for the better part of a decade.


                                    • #38
                                      Do not schedule lessons with clients and then turn around and post on facebook about you trailering out to another place at the same time you were supposed to give said lessons and not notify your clients.


                                      • #39
                                        Originally posted by Linny View Post
                                        Do not compare me to other students.
                                        Unless it's in a good way. The nicest thing my trainer has ever said to me (when talking about how I get really nervous about stupid things because I came off so much in the past) "The only reason you're not right up there with P. (one of his Grand Prix jumper students) is because you were over faced back then. I'm not going to do that to you here, but there's no reason you can't jump like her one day if that's what you want to do. You are capable of that." I still get warm fuzzies from that one.


                                        • #40
                                          Originally posted by outside__line View Post
                                          [S]ometimes I ride like a coked up lemur.
                                          Good lord, were we separated at birth?

                                          Hey trainers: turn off your flippin' cell phone!

                                          Also: if your client's horse stops sweating in the middle of show season, explain why you have to take him off the schedule, even though it's gonna cost you money. Showing him in August when it's 115 in the shade and he's panting like a labradoodle at the in gate, that's abuse, honey.
                                          Dreadful Acres: the chronicle of my extraordinary unsuitability to country life