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Help!Advice,Inappropriate Trainer Issue

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  • Help!Advice,Inappropriate Trainer Issue

    My daughter, who lives in a different state, began training with a male trainer several months ago. She really has enjoyed training with him and has learned alot, especially about jumpers. She has spent alot of time at the barn riding his horses & his clients horses to help him out. She considered him a friend and has also made many new friends at this barn.
    He began taking her out to dinner after the barn a few weeks ago but my daughter said they never talked about anything but horses. He also began "texting" her several times a day on her phone.
    This week his "friends only" attitude has changed into something else. He is married and quite older. My daughter is so upset. She totally respected this person as a trainer and a horseperson but now doesn't know what to do. She feels totally responsible (she's not!) and that she has no choice but to leave this trainer and this barn and all that she has worked for. Can their student/trainer relationship be salvaged? Or is her only choice to leave? She is, to say the least, confused, scared, sad, you name it. She is not sure how he started to think of her this way but I reminded her that men don't always think with their "upper" brain.
    I know there are other people who have been in this situation. What did you do? How did it turn out? Desperate for advice!
  • Original Poster

    #2
    My daughter, who lives in a different state, began training with a male trainer several months ago. She really has enjoyed training with him and has learned alot, especially about jumpers. She has spent alot of time at the barn riding his horses & his clients horses to help him out. She considered him a friend and has also made many new friends at this barn.
    He began taking her out to dinner after the barn a few weeks ago but my daughter said they never talked about anything but horses. He also began "texting" her several times a day on her phone.
    This week his "friends only" attitude has changed into something else. He is married and quite older. My daughter is so upset. She totally respected this person as a trainer and a horseperson but now doesn't know what to do. She feels totally responsible (she's not!) and that she has no choice but to leave this trainer and this barn and all that she has worked for. Can their student/trainer relationship be salvaged? Or is her only choice to leave? She is, to say the least, confused, scared, sad, you name it. She is not sure how he started to think of her this way but I reminded her that men don't always think with their "upper" brain.
    I know there are other people who have been in this situation. What did you do? How did it turn out? Desperate for advice!

    Comment


    • #3
      This might be a conservative opinion, but I think your daughter should absolutely leave. If she's uncomfortable at this barn, she won't enjoy the riding or her friends. It could even become a dangerous situation on horseback if the horses sense that she's become tense, nervous, or insecure. If this is a reputable trainer, I'd doubt he's turning into a sexual predator, but there's always that remote possibility too. At the very least, her self-esteem and love for horses is at risk. At worst, it could be her body and life. There are plenty of other good trainers and good friends and good horses in the world.

      If she's over 18 and can make her own decision, she might choose to get brave and confront him, insisting on a professional relationship only. But speaking as an attractive girl in my twenties, I wouldn't want to find myself alone working or riding in that barn knowing that a trainer with "romantic" ideas about me could be lurking around. If he's capable of making inappropriate advances to one of his students despite being married, he could be capable of even more.
      Head Geek at The Saddle Geek Blog http://www.thesaddlegeek.com/

      Comment


      • #4
        Yikes! You didn't say how old your daughter is. Is she underage? Then you could politely call him and tell him that if he doesn't knock it off that you would report him to the authorities for statutory rape. If not, she needs to confront him about her disinterest in him in this manner and ask him to quit his behavior. She can also throw in there that if he doesn't she'll go to his wife and let her know what is going on. That is of course if she wants to/can continue to feel comfortable in his barn.

        Personally, I would be torn, but ultimately know that I would end up leaving. That's a dangerous situation. There are way too many opportunities in the horse world to be alone with someone. Who's to say he's not going to take no for an answer. I don't want to alarm you or your daughter, but she needs to take that into consideration as well. Will she feel safe when she is alone with him, or will she always be questioning his motives? She can learn to ride with someone else. Heaven knows there are enough trainers out there that will keep an appropriate relationship.

        Good luck and keep us posted!
        Life is hard. After all, it kills you. - K. Hepburn

        Comment


        • #5
          Uh, have you ever said to a guy, let's be just friends....or has a guy ever said to you, let's just be friends...Doesn't turn out too well, does it? The two usually end up avoiding, maybe even hating each other...

          Better to just leave. Life goes on. In a way, it's a bizarre kind of compliment to your daughter. She has great ethics or morals or whatever you want to call them. She and you and her father should be commended.

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            I agree with all that you have said. There are many good trainers out there. But she clicked with him at once as far as a trainer. She said they think so much alike about horses and riding. She is devastated at finding a new trainer and starting over. She says this is a sign that she should quit riding. I tried to remind her about all the horses she is riding and helping and that should be her sign to keep riding now matter what. As she says, it is a no win situation.

            Comment


            • #7
              I feel bad for your daughter -- tough situation.

              But she should leave. I can't imagine this situation being healthy for her long-term. This man has shown what he thinks of "friendship," and she's better off cutting her losses before he makes your daughter's life totally miserable. Keeping in touch with her new friends at the barn is a good idea, but this man isn't a "friend" I would keep in touch with. Staying "friends" could lead to your daughter being the subject of some vicious rumors and barn drama...all stuff your poor daughter won't want to deal with.

              How old is your daughter? I don't know how worldly-wise she is, but it might be good to have a talk with her about warning signs that someone might be "too interested" in her. It seems like several of trainer's actions that you've mentioned are classics, so his interest level should not be too much of a surprise. If it was, perhaps your daughter can think next time about what message her innocent actions might be sending to the other male brain. I hate typing this! It so should not be that way! But it is, and for your daughter's safety she needs to be aware of it.

              For example, encourage her to avoid repeated dinners with married men in a short time frame in the future. I don't think your daughter "encouraged" him or anything like that -- far from it, I think he sounds like a total scumbag and your daughter sounds like a sweet, hardworking girl. I'm not saying you can't have dinner with a trainer every now and then, but repeatedly in the space of a couple weeks just might give him a wrong, even if totally unintended, idea. Ditto with the text messaging...if your daughter was replying to his messages, she could have been unknowingly encouraging him.

              Sigh. Sorry to sound like such a prude, but working at legal clinics really brings out the paranoia. One can never be too careful.

              Comment


              • #8
                Geez, she doesn't live in SoCal does she? Been there, done that with a male trainer. Talk about making your students feel uncomfortable.
                ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                *Phenix* 1990 Trakehner Mare
                *Vanderbilt* 2001 OTTB Gelding

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  So 2Traks.. Did you leave or did you stay?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Mom here too...time for a road trip/Surprise honey I'm here for the weekend...give her a hug, she needs it bad....Then go back Over the "Just say"NO,THANK YOU,A$$H@^#" speech. She must Stand for Herself and stop this jerk cold in his tracks, publicly if at all possible.For her safety and that of the next one behind her,etc. In the meantime, she should tuck her hair up in her helmet, wear her spurs and tuck a crop into her boots/chaps/back pocket at all times. Totally avoid being alone with him; speak to a trusted adult and learn to scream "Endangering the morals of a Minor" at the top of her God-Given lungs...get out there ASAP, Mom....and be prepared to take her home with you....
                    *************************
                    Go, Baby, Go......
                    Aefvue Farms Footing Inspector

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I staeyed because I was too stupid to know better. It should have rang a bell when he married his top junior rider the day she turned 18 -- she'd been his student for 10 years. He was wellll into his 30s. I guess I saw that he acted the same way with all of his female students. I think that if it had been just me I would have left. I was his student from the time I was 12 until I turned 19.
                      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                      *Phenix* 1990 Trakehner Mare
                      *Vanderbilt* 2001 OTTB Gelding

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I don't think that she definately has to leave, but she has to draw the line right now. She needs to not be embarrassed to address the issue. A simple, "Look, you are married and much to old for me and I'm really not interested in a relationship with you of "that" sort, I certainly hope that I didn't do anything to lead you on (gives him a way to save face). I'm also not interested in becoming the butt of barn gosip" (though, to be honest she probably already is). If the trainer can't take no for an answer, or she isn't willing to keep saying no until he gets the idea, than she needs to leave.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          She should leave. Once that line is crossed, even if you set someone "straight" it will always be uncomfortable.
                          ________________________
                          *Hannah Bay*Tatabra Kirsche*
                          *Gryphon Bay & Amethyst Bay*

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Unfortunately, this may not be the only time in her life that she will need to make clear to someone that she will not put a romantic relationship before a professional one. It can be done diplomatically while she is very clear about her intentions, and she will need to be especially careful about not finding herself in questionable situations.

                            I would have my daughter try to make it clear what will not be happening without destroying the professional relationship. If he can then behave himself, she should stay. If he can't, then she should go ASAP.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              how old is she? if she is younger, i wouldn't put her in the position of having to confront an esteemed authority figure all by herself. Give her some help! that kind of thing can be really scary! Maybe take her to a counselor for a few sessions, not much, maybe a school counselor, so that someone else can reiterate that it's not her fault. Then, I'd go with other posters' advice and help her learn about standing up for herself. I just worry that left to her own devices, she might let it go too far before realizing how to stop this guy. He sounds like a respected figure in her life, and sometimes that can really sway judgement when telling him to back off.
                              Somewhere in the world, Jason Miraz is Goodling himself and wondering why "the chronicle of the horse" is a top hit. CaitlinAndTheBay

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Under 16, parents need to get legal on him.

                                16 - 18, parents need to have a serious discussion with him and change trainers. Consider contacting parents of other students.

                                Over 18, deal with it. Leaving out the age difference and the potential abuse of a position of some authority, it sounds as if he's been well-behaved. He's gone from a completely professional relationship to a slightly social one, and has expressed an interest in taking the social one further. If the daughter can calmly express a disinterest in the social one and the professional one can be regained, fine. It sounds pretty mild to me.

                                Is she upset because he is married and hitting on her? Welcome to real life.

                                Is she upset because he wants to turn a 'friends only' relationship into something more? Again, welcome to real life. If he accepts the no, then I'd just deal.

                                Or is she upset because he is using a position of some authority (i.e. trainer) to make her feel compelled to date him? Still real life, but I'd get out as the trainer/student relationship can't then be salvaged.

                                But, honestly, do we really have to buy into the old garbage that says men are incapable of controlling their baser urges? To the point of fearing to be alone with them once they have sullied our pure white minds with their horrid filthy thoughts? If he's pinning her in the corner of the tack room, that's one thing, but I fail to see the threat in dinner and a few text messages.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I agree with fourmares and kestrel, as long as your dtr is 18 or over. Your dtr needs to draw the line now, and stand firm. Give him an out so he saves face. She has to learn to stand up for herself. This will not be the only man who tries to cross that line in her life. You, as her mom, can be the one to give her the support she needs, but if she is ever to be able to stand on her own, do it without rushing to her side.

                                  If he attempts to cross the line again, then she needs to leave. At this point, she needs to tell him she cannot have the professional relationship she desires with him since he continues to cross the line.

                                  Give your dtr some cyber hugs from all of us, let her know we are all behind her. And let us know how it turns out.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    JE has the right idea. If your daughter is a minor, jump to her defense and confront the trainer yourself. If she isn't, she needs to learn how to deal with this situation, as it will crop up again in her life. L

                                    I think it's a mistake to be too quick to go jumping to a child's defense when they're not in physical danger and there's an important life lesson to be learned. If she were in a corporate position rather than a riding stable and this happened, would you advise her to leave a good paying job because someone has an inappropriate interest in her? I doubt it. You'd tell her to make her position clear that she's not interested and would appreciate the cessation of his unprofessional advances. If you run interference for her on every unpleasant situation that crops up in her life, when will she learn to deal with them when you're not around? The answer is "never", and then you'll have an overly dependant, very unhappy, perennial child on your hands.

                                    JMO..................................
                                    In loving memory of Laura Jahnke.
                                    A life lived by example, done too soon.
                                    www.caringbridge.org/page/laurajahnke/

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      deleted

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Being a mom, my first response is to tell her to bolt.

                                        But...I'm not sure we have the full story. And, I'm not sure if the trainer/student relationship is as sacred as say a doctor/patient relationship. Think about how many student/trainers are now couples.

                                        How did this occur? Did he make a physical advance or did he suggest politely that they might start dating? There is a huge difference. While embarassing perhaps, the later can be dealt with with a firm "NO THANKS, I SEE YOU AS A TRAINER ONLY...". If he is respectable, he will move on and respect her. If not, clearly she needs to find a new situation. And of course if she is a minor, you as a parent need to intervene.

                                        Comment

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