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Do I Stay or Do I Go ... need advice (warning: a little whining)

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  • Do I Stay or Do I Go ... need advice (warning: a little whining)

    What follows is the story of how COTH helped me see what I had become and where I ended up (It's long but has a happy ending!)

    Okay, so I am really not sure what to do, and I'm hoping you guys can help. I've posted on here about certain issues as they have come up and got some great advice (thank you ), but I've not made any moves yet and am going a little crazy from the uncertainty. Here is my explanation ...

    First, about me and my horse. This year has, well, sucked so far! First I had mono from January through to beginning of May at which time I broke my pelvis, while getting ready for my first show of the season, and won't be riding until end of July. I've owned my current horse for just under a year and he is a super-star. He's 16 (been jumping for just under a year) is 17.2 hands and a big WB. He is my only horse and we show well in the 2'6" +/- hunter ring. I had great plans for this year, but, obviously, those plans have been put off. He is still being schooled by my trainer and is being ridden and shown by one of the college girls at the barn. Last weekend, in a "B" rated show, they were reserve champion in the low-adult hunter class.

    Anyway, my trainer is a nice woman and definitely knows her stuff. She has her "R" judge rating in the hunter ring and is generally well regarded (I think). The facility is small, nice, has trails, a great outdoor ring, but does not have an indoor ring. Further, I don't always see eye-to-eye with my trainer regarding the care and use of my horse and she can be very domineering.

    Here are some issues we've had since January:
    - I've said I don't want my horse to be used as a lesson horse, but she has pushed the issue and eventually I've agreed to let the experienced riders take lessons on him and school/hack him as she sees fit. The original compensation to me was a $15 credit for each lesson. Well, I have yet to see the credit for any lessons given to these people and, when she used him for a lesson with one of the juniors (as a one-off exception), she suggested that she should have charged me $15 for parking my truck at the barn for two weeks after I broke my pelvis and had to be taken to the hospital in an ambulance. It's only $15 so I just gave her what I had on me and have let the matter drop.

    - I've told my trainer and all the people who are allowed to ride my horse to either a) ride in my saddle and pad or b) ride in a wide-tree saddle using my saddle pad. My horse has very uneven shoulder and my pad keeps the saddles from moving and causing him back pain. My trainer refuses to do either when she schools him and, when I arrived at the show last weekend, the girl riding him was showing in her saddle, her pad, and one of those black non-slip pads under it all. (Personally, I don't like them in the summer because they can pull out some hair, and they add an extra layer.) Anyway, I haven't made a big deal about it yet because he doesn't seem to be suffering and it's only until I get back to riding.

    - A couple of months ago, when we were planning on going to our first multi-day out of town show, my trainer told me I had to ship with her - and pay more than 2x what it would cost me with my own trailer - because she needed to make money on the hauling since the other people going could not really afford to pay much. In addition, I cannot show in any over fences classes without her - at any show. Period.

    - A couple of days ago, the girl who showed my horse last weekend asked me to pay for the entry fees for her to show my horse at an upcoming A rated show. I said no, and the girl was good about it, but I'm fairly certain the idea came from my trainer. Keep in mind I am not getting paid anything for other people riding and showing him.

    - Lastly, she is notorious "thrifty". She cuts expenses wherever she can including feeding "too much" hay - as a result my horse eats the straw occasionally when he has been left inside this summer. So far nothing has happened to him.

    Anyway, I'm think I may finally be at the end of my rope. I've found another barn. It is amazing, great facilities and care, and about $400 more per month. It is primarily a jumper barn, and I would have access to excellent lessons - except those too would be more expensive. I've really become very reliant on my current trainer and am nervous about going somewhere where I am encouraged to be more independent and even go to shows without having a trainer present. Anyway, any advice. Am I being too sensitive? Should I just trust her to do what is best for my horse?
    Last edited by CrittersMom; Jun. 21, 2013, 06:25 PM.

  • #2
    Originally posted by sammicat View Post
    Okay, so I am really not sure what to do, and I'm hoping you guys can help. I've posted on here about certain issues as they have come up and got some great advice (thank you ), but I've not made any moves yet and am going a little crazy from the uncertainty. Here is my explanation ...

    First, about me and my horse. This year has, well, sucked so far! First I had mono from January through to beginning of May at which time I broke my pelvis, while getting ready for my first show of the season, and won't be riding until end of July. I've owned my current horse for just under a year and he is a super-star. He's 16 (been jumping for just under a year) is 17.2 hands and a big WB. He is my only horse and we show well in the 2'6" +/- hunter ring. I had great plans for this year, but, obviously, those plans have been put off. He is still being schooled by my trainer and is being ridden and shown by one of the college girls at the barn. Last weekend, in a "B" rated show, they were reserve champion in the low-adult hunter class.

    Anyway, my trainer is a nice woman and definitely knows her stuff. She has her "R" judge rating in the hunter ring and is generally well regarded (I think). The facility is small, nice, has trails, a great outdoor ring, but does not have an indoor ring. Further, I don't always see eye-to-eye with my trainer regarding the care and use of my horse and she can be very domineering.

    Here are some issues we've had since January:
    - I've said I don't want my horse to be used as a lesson horse, but she has pushed the issue and eventually I've agreed to let the experienced riders take lessons on him and school/hack him as she sees fit. The original compensation to me was a $15 credit for each lesson. Well, I have yet to see the credit for any lessons given to these people and, when she used him for a lesson with one of the juniors (as a one-off exception), she suggested that she should have charged me $15 for parking my truck at the barn for two weeks after I broke my pelvis and had to be taken to the hospital in an ambulance. It's only $15 so I just gave her what I had on me and have let the matter drop.

    - I've told my trainer and all the people who are allowed to ride my horse to either a) ride in my saddle and pad or b) ride in a wide-tree saddle using my saddle pad. My horse has very uneven shoulder and my pad keeps the saddles from moving and causing him back pain. My trainer refuses to do either when she schools him and, when I arrived at the show last weekend, the girl riding him was showing in her saddle, her pad, and one of those black non-slip pads under it all. (Personally, I don't like them in the summer because they can pull out some hair, and they add an extra layer.) Anyway, I haven't made a big deal about it yet because he doesn't seem to be suffering and it's only until I get back to riding.

    - A couple of months ago, when we were planning on going to our first multi-day out of town show, my trainer told me I had to ship with her - and pay more than 2x what it would cost me with my own trailer - because she needed to make money on the hauling since the other people going could not really afford to pay much. In addition, I cannot show in any over fences classes without her - at any show. Period.

    - A couple of days ago, the girl who showed my horse last weekend asked me to pay for the entry fees for her to show my horse at an upcoming A rated show. I said no, and the girl was good about it, but I'm fairly certain the idea came from my trainer. Keep in mind I am not getting paid anything for other people riding and showing him.

    - Lastly, she is notorious "thrifty". She cuts expenses wherever she can including feeding "too much" hay - as a result my horse eats the straw occasionally when he has been left inside this summer. So far nothing has happened to him.

    Anyway, I'm think I may finally be at the end of my rope. I've found another barn. It is amazing, great facilities and care, and about $400 more per month. It is primarily a jumper barn, and I would have access to excellent lessons - except those too would be more expensive. I've really become very reliant on my current trainer and am nervous about going somewhere where I am encouraged to be more independent and even go to shows without having a trainer present. Anyway, any advice. Am I being too sensitive? Should I just trust her to do what is best for my horse?
    I really wish you were trolling because none of this is acceptable and assuming it's all true you have to be the most passive individual ever, which sucks for you. Move yesterday and stop making excuses for your trainer. You are being taken advantage of big time and you know it but seem to be letting it continue.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by sammicat View Post
      Okay, so I am really not sure what to do, and I'm hoping you guys can help. I've posted on here about certain issues as they have come up and got some great advice (thank you ), but I've not made any moves yet and am going a little crazy from the uncertainty. Here is my explanation ...

      First, about me and my horse. This year has, well, sucked so far! First I had mono from January through to beginning of May at which time I broke my pelvis, while getting ready for my first show of the season, and won't be riding until end of July. I've owned my current horse for just under a year and he is a super-star. He's 16 (been jumping for just under a year) is 17.2 hands and a big WB. He is my only horse and we show well in the 2'6" +/- hunter ring. I had great plans for this year, but, obviously, those plans have been put off. He is still being schooled by my trainer and is being ridden and shown by one of the college girls at the barn. Last weekend, in a "B" rated show, they were reserve champion in the low-adult hunter class.

      Anyway, my trainer is a nice woman and definitely knows her stuff. She has her "R" judge rating in the hunter ring and is generally well regarded (I think). The facility is small, nice, has trails, a great outdoor ring, but does not have an indoor ring. Further, I don't always see eye-to-eye with my trainer regarding the care and use of my horse and she can be very domineering.

      Here are some issues we've had since January:
      - I've said I don't want my horse to be used as a lesson horse, but she has pushed the issue and eventually I've agreed to let the experienced riders take lessons on him and school/hack him as she sees fit. The original compensation to me was a $15 credit for each lesson. Well, I have yet to see the credit for any lessons given to these people and, when she used him for a lesson with one of the juniors (as a one-off exception), she suggested that she should have charged me $15 for parking my truck at the barn for two weeks after I broke my pelvis and had to be taken to the hospital in an ambulance. It's only $15 so I just gave her what I had on me and have let the matter drop.

      - I've told my trainer and all the people who are allowed to ride my horse to either a) ride in my saddle and pad or b) ride in a wide-tree saddle using my saddle pad. My horse has very uneven shoulder and my pad keeps the saddles from moving and causing him back pain. My trainer refuses to do either when she schools him and, when I arrived at the show last weekend, the girl riding him was showing in her saddle, her pad, and one of those black non-slip pads under it all. (Personally, I don't like them in the summer because they can pull out some hair, and they add an extra layer.) Anyway, I haven't made a big deal about it yet because he doesn't seem to be suffering and it's only until I get back to riding.

      - A couple of months ago, when we were planning on going to our first multi-day out of town show, my trainer told me I had to ship with her - and pay more than 2x what it would cost me with my own trailer - because she needed to make money on the hauling since the other people going could not really afford to pay much. In addition, I cannot show in any over fences classes without her - at any show. Period.

      - A couple of days ago, the girl who showed my horse last weekend asked me to pay for the entry fees for her to show my horse at an upcoming A rated show. I said no, and the girl was good about it, but I'm fairly certain the idea came from my trainer. Keep in mind I am not getting paid anything for other people riding and showing him.

      - Lastly, she is notorious "thrifty". She cuts expenses wherever she can including feeding "too much" hay - as a result my horse eats the straw occasionally when he has been left inside this summer. So far nothing has happened to him.

      Anyway, I'm think I may finally be at the end of my rope. I've found another barn. It is amazing, great facilities and care, and about $400 more per month. It is primarily a jumper barn, and I would have access to excellent lessons - except those too would be more expensive. I've really become very reliant on my current trainer and am nervous about going somewhere where I am encouraged to be more independent and even go to shows without having a trainer present. Anyway, any advice. Am I being too sensitive? Should I just trust her to do what is best for my horse?
      I would have been gone after I found out my instructions re lessons and saddle were being ignored. Sounds like your trainer has figured out that you'll pay for the privilege of keeping the peace. Time to find someone with more respect for you as the horse's owner.
      Lowly Farm Hand with Delusions of Barn Biddieom.
      Witherun Farm
      http://witherun-farm.blogspot.com/

      Comment


      • #4
        I would say that you are definitely being taken for a ride by your trainer. She is taking advantage of you and your situation of not being able to ride right now by using your horse as a lesson horse, giving you no benefit from it after first having ultimately twisted your arm into allowing her to use your horse, and now she is trying to wring some more money out of you. I honestly would have left her barn as soon as she had started trying to manipulate me into letting her use my horse in a way that I didn't want it used.

        You need to stand up for yourself and your horse and leave her barn because she isn't doing you any favors. I don't get the sense, from your post, that you're being over-sensitive; if it was just one or two things that had happened that you listed above, then I would be more inclined to say give her a chance but all of those occurrences together? Definitely find another barn and a trainer that respects you as a horse owner.

        Comment


        • #5
          I would. Your trainer has already proven she has little regard for your opinions on the care and use of YOUR horse. Her behavior might be acceptable if you were half-leasing or leasing an animal from her, but I would have a problem with anybody using a horse I OWN in a manner that did not meet my approval.
          Last edited by sweetiemcdee; Jun. 13, 2013, 06:18 PM. Reason: typo

          Comment


          • #6
            People can only take advantage of you if you let them. In this case, it is your horse suffering for your inability to stand up for yourself and for him. Why are you still there?
            "Can you imagine what I would do if I could do all I can?" Sun Tzu, The Art of War
            Rainy
            Stash

            Comment


            • #7
              I have little/no experience with horse ownership, but even I can tell she's being completely disrespectful to the point of potentially harming your horse's health, or causing him soreness. She's stealing your money, and if you're already questioning it and looking around, you probably already know it's time to move on.
              Of the heart-aching, hard-working, hope-having, horse-loving and horse-less variety. We are a sad species indeed.

              Comment


              • #8
                Meh, your trainer might have one way of making her money and the other barn (for $400 more) has a different way. Pick which one you like.

                It really does sound like your trainer is having a hard time covering her nut *and* has a view of clients that's not attractive. You guys are wallets and can be bossed around, if necessary. Tell me if I have inferred something wrong in that assessment. It's pretty blunt.

                I wouldn't stay with a pro because I had some kind of Stockholm Syndrome thing going on with her. I would stay if I liked the training and care or if I could not afford to go elsewhere.

                I think you are right to pick your battles. Yes, let go of the saddle issue if the horse isn't suffering. But stand your ground if you think the horse isn't getting good care or you think you are actually being financially exploited.
                The armchair saddler
                Politically Pro-Cat

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Thank you everyone for your replies. It makes me feel MUCH better to hear from other people that I'm not being a princess and making a mountain out of a mole-hill, so to speak.

                  NCRider, you are absolutely right, I am very passive when it comes to riding. I'm an adult who is really just learning to ride and, for some reason, am terrified of becoming one of those people who just spout off without knowing what they are talking about. Thus, I am able to be intimidated into agreeing. I can see when I'm being taken advantage of, but then I ask myself if my expectations are too high, or am I making unrealistic demands? It's really reassuring to hear that maybe I'm not.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Did you bring up the saddle situation with her? Did you remind her you requested that no JRs and only experienced riders ride your horse in lessons, and you get credit for it? None of these are unreasonable demands. You are providing a great asset for your trainer (use of your horse), still paying full board, and she needs to respect that, and you. If she is not respecting and listening to you, then you need to find a new barn.

                    HOWEVER, if you have not even brought any of these issues up with your trainer I would have a sit down and do so. You'll probably still end up moving, but this trainer knows she can get away with this because she's done it before. Its like a never ending circle in the horse world. If we, as boarders/students, start demanding respect then trainers will have to listen, or suffer the consequences.

                    Good luck!
                    "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

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I voted for you to leave after the trailer issue! Get out!
                      Come to the dark side, we have cookies

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        As far as being worried about going to shows alone - there are several things you can do to be more comfortable.

                        1. Make sure you go with some other barn friends. Eyes on the ground/extra sets of hands will make you more comfortable.

                        2. You can set up (beforehand) to pay another trainer to warm you up before your classes.

                        3. You can start small and go from there. You can even enter as a non-competing horse and just school in the warm-up rings or do the warm-up day.
                        Blugal

                        You never know what kind of obsessive compulsive crazy person you are until another person imitates your behaviour at a three-day. --Gry2Yng

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          I don't think my horse is suffering, at least in the short term, so I've let the saddle issue go. He does not move as well as when he is in a better fitting saddle and pad, but I don't think there is going to be any lasting issue and he does not show up obviously lame.

                          As far as the money goes, the new facility is heads-and-shoulders much better than where I am at. And, MVP, you are right when you say I currently feel like a wallet. My trainer is nice, but, when it comes down to it, she will nickle and dime for every last penny.

                          There was one other thing I forgot to mention because it hasn't come up yet. Part of the agreement with my current board is that I am required to take at least one lesson/schooling each week. In the fall, when the days get shorter, this becomes a problem because I work full time and I'm about 1.5 hours from the barn. I have to work in order to afford my horse, house, etc.., and, last fall, it was an ongoing issue with her wanting me to take my lesson during the week and me saying that I have to work to at least 4:30 - usually 5:00 or 5:30 - so there is nothing I can do about not making it to the barn in the daylight. In the summer, the barn rule is you have to be on by 7:00 but at least it's light out. The new barn is 24x7.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Yeah, I have a bias towards BO's (being one :-) ) but I agree, leave and go to the new barn.
                            https://www.facebook.com/SugarMapleFarm
                            Follow us on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/peonyvodka/
                            www.PeonyVodka.com

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Event - I have talked to her about the saddle and she agrees she will do as I ask. Then I show up and ... she doesn't. She has made comments about her saddle vs. mine saying that she has a Devacoux and it's great. I also think she doesn't really worry too much about saddle fit because it's not one of her strong points and figures any back issues can always be fixed.

                              Blugal - thanks for the advice. If I move (which I probably will), I will definitely use it to get myself acclimatized to showing on my own.

                              Penny - You and everyone else! I totally wimped out and came up with a lame excuse to not go to the show and therefore not have to deal with it.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I thought reading your post you were a Junior

                                Sounds like you have a really nice horse. If you want to keep him that way, get him out of the barn, and away from your current trainer.

                                Honey, you aren't just being passive, you're being a doormat.

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  I have worked as a groom at a Spruce Meadows for a year, and had the honor of doing everything from getting hay/straw to mucking stalls to walking the brood mares and babies to the fields. Oh yeah, and, exercising the horses of course. I can appreciate all the work it takes to run a barn so I really do sympathize with you and my trainer, and I think that's part of what is making me take so long to jump ship.

                                  Plus I've been at her barn for two years ... and yes this has been the behavior since I arrive with my first horse.

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Originally posted by 2ndyrgal View Post
                                    Sounds like you have a really nice horse. If you want to keep him that way, get him out of the barn, and away from your current trainer.

                                    Honey, you aren't just being passive, you're being a doormat.
                                    I re-read my original post and the writing is awful!!! Believe it or not, in my job I am a very dominant personality. In the horse world, I feel like a child. - argh!

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      GO! Remember you get what you pay for (within reason). A professional facility that is covering their costs with a reasonable rate is great, and a lot less stress. And an indoor arena, I hope!

                                      The using your horse as a lesson horse against your wishes got me, and the bit about you hauling with her because her other clients couldn't afford it without you.

                                      Move. Yesterday.
                                      The truth is always in the middle.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Pennywell Bay View Post
                                        I voted for you to leave after the trailer issue! Get out!
                                        Yep, I seem to recall that thread and thinking 'leave' over that one. Any ONE of those things alone might not be a big deal, but she badgered you into letting him be a school horse, she clearly wants to use him for stuff like shows for juniors, she's using you as a cash cow for trailering, while I know that some trainers are like that about jumping at shows to me that's far too control-freaky--mvp said it, she treats you like a wallet and a wimpy wallet at that. You want a trainer you can feel good with because you have confidence in them, not because they beat you into feeling like you need THEM SPECIFICALLY (because really they need YOU and YOUR MONEY.) Leave.
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