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Pushy Trainers

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  • Pushy Trainers

    This post is honestly not meant with any bitterness, but as a comment on the status quo of business relations in the industry.

    Note: This may be a generalization, but seems to be the rule, rather than the exception.

    Why are barns/trainers so controlling over client's horses? Ultimately, the horse is the owner's responsibility. The horse is both the owner's financial investment and dependent. If the horse were to get hurt, sick, or die as a result of something that was against the owner's better judgement, then the horse's welfare is ultimately in her conscience and pocketbook. Yet trainers often seem to resent when owners "meddle" with their horses programs. Yes, trainers are supposed to be the professionals, but it's not as though there is a certification program (as in education, law, or medecine) stating this person is qualified. Trainers are human and can be simply wrong, or sometimes, unfortunately, don't have the horse's best interest in mind -- instead their own glory.

    It seems difficult in most cases to sit down with a trainer and have a concerned, honest conversation regarding one's horse. Often a trainer becomes resentful -- "Well, if you don't like it, you can leave." Whatever happened to customer service? The owner is the client after all.
    Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will. - Gandhi
  • Original Poster

    #2
    This post is honestly not meant with any bitterness, but as a comment on the status quo of business relations in the industry.

    Note: This may be a generalization, but seems to be the rule, rather than the exception.

    Why are barns/trainers so controlling over client's horses? Ultimately, the horse is the owner's responsibility. The horse is both the owner's financial investment and dependent. If the horse were to get hurt, sick, or die as a result of something that was against the owner's better judgement, then the horse's welfare is ultimately in her conscience and pocketbook. Yet trainers often seem to resent when owners "meddle" with their horses programs. Yes, trainers are supposed to be the professionals, but it's not as though there is a certification program (as in education, law, or medecine) stating this person is qualified. Trainers are human and can be simply wrong, or sometimes, unfortunately, don't have the horse's best interest in mind -- instead their own glory.

    It seems difficult in most cases to sit down with a trainer and have a concerned, honest conversation regarding one's horse. Often a trainer becomes resentful -- "Well, if you don't like it, you can leave." Whatever happened to customer service? The owner is the client after all.
    Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will. - Gandhi

    Comment


    • #3
      Horse people in general seem to have a big problem remembering that they are being paid, or are paying, for a service.

      (This is why anyone considering a career with horses should get a business degree, or spend some time working for a good entrepreneur, in addition to those hours as a working student!)

      I think a lot of people who go into the horse business think it will work well for them because they don't like dealing with people. Surprise! In general there's a person attached to each horse.
      If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket

      Comment


      • #4
        I AGREE!!!!!! Unfortunately I have noticed that a common trait in many trainers is their habit of keeping you in the dark about a lot of things concerning your horse. I guess it's called job security. One trainer I knew told her customers that if they even thought of hauling their own horse to a show then they could just leave the barn right now. A family member of mine used to do the billing for a trainer and you would not believe some of the outrageous charges she put on their bills. Knowledge Is Power,and trainers know this. I am not saying all trainers are like this but unfortunately I have not come across any who are not. I think it is beneficial to the horse owner to learn everything they possibly can about their horse.

        [This message has been edited by Sadie05 (edited 07-21-2000).]

        Comment


        • #5
          It's a sad state of affairs, but it seems to be thru out the entire industry. You can not sit down and discuss what you want or are looking for with most of todays trainers. They take it as a personal attack. Most (as we have discussed in other threads) are control freaks. Don't take me wrong, there are some wonderful people who pride themselves on helping their customers. But the majority, don't want to discuss anything. My adage is "the buck stops here folks" thats my horse, and I am the one who's paying the bills. No talk, no money, thats as simple as it is. Thankfully, I have been lucky to find trainers who believe in a 50/50 relationship.

          Comment


          • #6
            One of the first things I tell my beginner students, when they are faced with a difference of opinion w/ their mount (pony wants grass, kid wants forward motion) is, "You are NOT CHOPPED LIVER! You do NOT have DOORMAT written across your forehead"

            It's what I think every time I hear (or read, in the case of this BB) "My trainer won't let me (wear taupe breeches, leave a mane natural, get a different color/type blanket)" Beyond teaching you how to ride, and assisting you in learning how to care for your horse, your trainer should NOT control your life! A GOOD trainer (IMNSHO) should teach a student to be independent, ultimately. It may be a goal several years away, but many goals are. A GOOD trainer sets up learning opportunities and lets the experience do the teaching. Even in the case of missmatching barn colors. If it is truly terrible, it won't be long before the student shops again. If they can live with it, so should everybody else.
            ~Kryswyn~ Always look on the bright side of life, de doo, de doo de doo de doo
            Check out my Kryswyn JRTs on Facebook

            "Life is merrier with a terrier!"

            Comment


            • #7
              hey wtwymn4....that is my philosophy too! It's nice to have an opinion, but sometimes trainers need to be reminded who is paying who - not that they should be ignored, but I feel as though on some issues concerning my horse and myself, my opinion is worth every bit as much (if not more) than my trainer's.

              Comment


              • #8
                J. Turner, what a brilliant topic!!! It really is an issue of some crisis, because, I see the end results all over the place as I'm sure everyone here does. Clients, who buy horses they really shouldn't because they are forced into it by their trainer, who has ulterior motives. Riders, who cannot advance because their trainer has them in such a psychological state of dependence that they cannot do anything for themselves. Whole barns with cult like mass worship of one or two "favorites "who can do no wrong and whose accomplishments warrant the most merit. It really is an issue when trainers have too much control, but you know what the riders and owners need to take back that control as well. Yes, you are paying and investing both time and money for this trainer to become an integral part of your life, but do research learn different methods, go to clinics don't be so helpless that you cannot make your own decisions. Many times you see blatant mistakes in care or charges that are outrageous on peoples bills for services that either never happened or were done so poorly the charge should be discounted. However, if the riders don't care then as sad as it is, that is their problem. I feel badly for the one's who are starting to know better and improve "outside" of their trainer's realm, but are stuck by an overbearing tyrant! If your trainer doesn't help you become a good horseperson, whether you do your own work or have grooms they are really doing you a diservice. A good trainer is never afraid to admit a mistake nor are they afraid for you to disagree or question their methods in an educated manner. Both sides win when the relationship is one of a true teacher and student and the relationship is much stronger and the rewards far greater.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Hear, hear, Northeast! If a trainer is unsettled by the fact that a customer (child or adult) reads books or talks with others and asks questions, it is usually a red flag! Truly knowledgeable trainers can have (and care to have) intelligent conversations with clients and can explain why their preferred method differs from the one in question - or who they feel theirs is correct in this situation, at this point in your riding career.... Many of the ones who fly off the handle know nothing but what they spout - and probably NOT the reason for that!
                  www.ayliprod.com
                  Equine Photography in the Northeast

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    GREAT TOPIC!! I have known some trainers to keep their "clients" so much in the dark to convince them a horse they are looking to buy doesnt need to be pre-veted and ABSOLUTELY know about really good reasons NOT to buy the horse i.e. fractured bones, navicular changes, etc. b/c the horse is high dolalr and they are planning a fat commission...and besides, that horse will go lame and then they will just have to buy another horse, right????

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Gosh where have I heard this story before. Oh yah it sounds like alot of barns in my area. You have to admit though some of the problem is with the owner of the horse. They think the trainer is "GOD" and whatever they say goes. These god like trainers are concerned about there booket book, and if they can munipulate "Sp sorry" there customers to get the old mighty buck then why not.
                      I want to be like Barbie because that bitch has everything!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>and if they can munipulate "Sp sorry" there customers to get the old mighty buck then why not.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

                        Why not?

                        Ethics and decency, to name a few compelling reasons.......

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          He who haveth the gold maketh the rules.

                          Last I knew, I was the one writing the check.

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Horse is leased to a client in an "A" show barn. Said horse loses 200 pounds and musculature due to diarhea for three weeks. Clearly a violation of proper care in the lease, the trainer will not allow the owner to bring his own vet in to the barn to check the horse. Sad, yet true.
                            Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will. - Gandhi

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              JTurner - said owner should call the cops and the ASPCA. Unless there is a "no interference" or some cuch clause in the lease.

                              Pretty depressing for a Saturday AM as I am trying to decide whether or no to listen to my trainer and go to a horse show. (I think not - it is a lovely morning for a hack.)

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Now, now people. While this is indeed an intriguing subject, you also have to ask sometime during the discussion just exactly WHY so many people are WILLING to be doormats.
                                Sportponies Unlimited
                                Athletic Thoroughbred crosses for the highly motivated, smaller rider.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Perhaps some students/clients are willing to be doormats due to insecurity in their own riding abilities/limits/knowledge. If one isn't relatively experienced with horses, lack of knowledge can lead one down the wrong path.
                                  Bethe Mounce
                                  Head Trainer, AmeriCan Romance Equestrian
                                  https://www.facebook.com/AmericanRomanceEquestrian
                                  Brentwood CA

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    P Wynn....

                                    One reason for being a doormat in Massachusetts is pretty compelling: There are so few decent barns/trainers that the current availability for stalls in H/J training facilities is zero. If I had to move my two horses, I literally have no idea where I could go. The boys are currently stabled 45 miles from my home due to the lack of more local options. Fortunately, I love my barn, but I am not kidding regarding the availability of decent stabling and trainers (especially in combination!) Do I sometimes feel like I'm walking on eggs?? You betcha!

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      What a great topic! I'll add my 2cents as both a trainer, barn owner, AND student.

                                      Trainer Control:
                                      (1) It is my job as a trainer to prepare show students to be competent on their own, so they learn to: (yes, even the 6year olds learn!)wash, clip, braid, wrap, load, set up stalls, be ON time, etc...it's my job to make sure they can be independant - ESPECIALLY when they have their own horses!
                                      2. If they do have their own horses, they may show whenever/wherever they please. HOWEVER, if they want ME to coach at a particular show, they WILL follow all my nit-picky show rules (correct dress, manners, etc.)...What they do when they show "alone" is their own business - when I am coaching, they represent ME and my farm!
                                      3. I ENCOURAGE them to take clinics (we hold them here too), explore different ideas, to try what they read in the latest magazine. A horse is not a chemical equation - what works for horse A doesn't work for horse B!

                                      BARN OWNER:
                                      (1) While your horse is in my barn, I get to make the rules. That means ALL shots and worming up to date (for us that is 8 innoculations per year), regular visits by the farrier of your choice, etc...I do feed whatever the owners want, and we do 12hour turnout, etc...
                                      (2) Haven't had this problem yet, but if I saw someone riding in what I considered an Unsafe/Abusive manner, yes, I would do something about it...other than that, I just look out every once in a while to make sure you are still in the saddle!
                                      STUDENT:
                                      I continue to take lessons and clinics from a variety of people.

                                      I have an event trainer and a hunter trainer who each give me one lesson per week, and they know about each other and respect each other's "territory"...yes, in the beginning the hunter trainer wanted to be the ONE AND ONLY, but I was kind but firm about my position - this is MY horse and this is what I want to do! It has worked out well for all involved, and I am a better rider for having the 2 of them. And, if I'm getting ready for an event or hunter show, they talk together to help me meet my goals!

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        From a stable owner and trainer...

                                        Starting the first day a new client comes to us we discuss their goals and whether we think we can be helpful in achieving them. We are available to our clients (during business hours)for consultation as well as regular lessons.

                                        We provide all of our clients with a price list and "rules of the barn". Those rules are simple ones to follow. They range from our request that all riders wear a helmet when mounted, our hours of business, our commission upon sale, purchase or lease of a horse, etc. You'd be surprised how many clients can't tell time!!

                                        We provide our clients with a choice of vets, but prefer to work with one in particular.

                                        We use only one blacksmith. If you as a client have an opinion against our blacksmith, be our guest to use your own, but be prepared to pay the consequences. Ours comes two days a month, the same two days every month, works well with our vet and is extremely reliable. Because of that schedule, our horses are shod regularly. If one throws a shoe off in between regular visits, our blacksmith will come within 24 hours. Will your "outside" blacksmith come regularly to shoe one horse? Most will have to fit one horse in when they have a free moment. And I might add, if they are any good at all, the blacksmith has very little free time.

                                        We always try to match horses and riders.

                                        When training, as soon as our riders learn to walk the course, or show their hunter, they learn the "steps" but also learn to "ride it off your eye".

                                        The more advanced the student, the more latitude we encourage. I might add, we have clients who have had a relationship with us for ten years or more.

                                        Generally, we encourage our clients to learn all the aspects of what they are trying to accomplish. We are excellent caretakers and want our clients to know how and what we do so they will have a better understanding of the cost.

                                        We encourage our riders to watch other good professionals in the hopes they will learn by observation. (You'd be surprised how many choose to go back to the hotel right after their class instead of further their education.)

                                        We have spent 24/7 for the past 30 years at this. We have probably seen whatever it is at least once and quess what? When we have a free minute at the show, it's likely you'll find us watching.

                                        So on the other side of the coin, we WILL listen to you the client, but if we think you are heading for disaster, we are going to tell you so and why. If you choose to go your own way anyway, we'll be there to pick up the pieces without an "I told you so".

                                        Clients should try to remember one fact. We want you and your horse to be successful while you are affilliated with us. The better you do, the better we look. You are free advertisement. And clients are like horses, they don't last forever.

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