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What would you do? The student who ignores you...

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  • What would you do? The student who ignores you...

    I'm the trainer at a small barn. One of my students and her parents are driving me crazy. My student's pony is a hard ride. He's stops, he runs out, he takes off with her- she has no control. Pony is dangerous for her to ride, much less jump without my supervision. The parents won't get her a new pony, so we are making due with what we have to work with. I have told student and the parents time and time again NO JUMPING without me there. I've explained that it's dangerous, and I don't feel comfortable, and the BO doesn't feel comfortable having them jump their pony without my supervision. They continuously ignore me. They will lie to me and tell me they haven't been jumping pony, but I will find out from other boarders that they have been jumping or my jumps will be changed. When the BO or other boarders question them about jumping pony they will tell the person that I have given them permission, or they will get angry at that person. Like I said- it is DANGEROUS for the student to be jumping this pony- pony is notorious for running out and then taking off. I and the BO are to the point where we may have to ask them to leave, we don't want to do that because honestly times are tough and we both have a business to uphold. I just don't know what to do... The BO doesn't want anyone getting injured on the farm, and I'm afraid that it's going to come down to that before they listen to me. HELP PLEASE!

  • #2
    If you don't ask them to leave, and the situation is really that dangerous, what are your other boarders/students going to think? Do you think they will want to stick around in a barn where some kid is running around on a crazy pony? Whose business do you value more - your crazy pony family, or your other boarders/students?


    • #3
      Kick them out. You may have a business but you're going to be out-of-business when the kid gets tossed, ends up in the hospital and you get sued. Seriously, good riddance to bad rubbish.


      • #4
        remove all jumps from ring at the end of the day if you will not be there the next day.

        make them sign a contract saying there is to be NO jumping without any supervision, and as a legal document, they can get in serious trouble from it. say your brother is a lawyer. just scare them a little bit.

        Blitz <3 & Leap of Faith <3


        • #5
          I think your best option is to ask them to leave. The only other thing I can think of that you could do is to make all jumps unusable when you are not there, for example remove and lock-up all jump cup but that would seem to me to be an awful lot of work.
          Auventera Two:Some women would eat their own offspring if they had some dipping sauce.
          Serious Leigh: it sounds like her drama llama should be an old schoolmaster by now.


          • #6
            Since she's a kid and a lot of them seem to like to do things that they're told they're not allowed - what about giving her some interesting suggestions for things to do that will help her with her jumping, but aren't actually jumping? For example: "Why don't I show you how to set up some cavaletti poles? You can work on them when you ride this week; they're really good at helping your pony maintain a rhythm and know where his feet are, and I bet that would be a good thing for his jumping! I know how much you/pony like to jump, so you could try this during the week and then in your lesson this weekend we'll try putting it together with some jumps and see if it has improved things."

            Distract her attention away from telling her what she's NOT allowed to do by giving her some new and hopefully interesting ideas for what she CAN do with the pony that aren't just w/t/c around. Hopefully it will also give her a bit of a challenge - to actually do what you suggest so that she has something to "show off" to you in her lessons - and spark her interest that way.

            Cavaletti, steering exercises, bending poles, etc. - anything that you can think of that would (a) interest the kid and (b) require the pony to listen to the kid about steering and stopping.

            Don't know if it will work, but it's probably at least worth a try. And I do agree with those above me - if you truly can't get the kid's parents to listen to you when you're worried about their daughter's SAFETY, it's probably time to lose them as clients.


            • #7
              Originally posted by superpony123 View Post
              remove all jumps from ring at the end of the day if you will not be there the next day.
              make them sign a contract saying there is to be NO jumping without any supervision, and as a legal document, they can get in serious trouble from it. say your brother is a lawyer. just scare them a little bit.
              I agree. Some of the trainers at my barn have their own jumps and they will pile them up and put a chain and a lock on their jumps when they are not there. If you don't want to kick them out, that is what I would do.
              Owned by an Oldenburg


              • #8
                Originally posted by superpony123 View Post
                make them sign a contract saying there is to be NO jumping without any supervision, and as a legal document, they can get in serious trouble from it. say your brother is a lawyer. just scare them a little bit.
                This is kind of funny...but not such a good idea.

                Unless the parents are total toolbags (which, hey, the might be! ) they'll know that a "contract" that they sign that says nothing more than "NO JUMPING" is totally worthless. No matter how annoying they are, you don't want to get a repuation as "the crazy trainer who forces people to sign worthless contracts about what they can do with their own horse."


                • #9
                  Um, send them to a trainer who doesn't listen to their students?

                  Seriously though, send them or hand them a note that says the next time you find out they are jumping without you there they will be asked to leave. Right now, they just don't believe you are serious. If they still don't believe you and comply after a specific written communication, then they gotta go. Now.

                  The above post is an opinion, just an opinion. If it were a real live fact it would include supporting links to websites full of people who already agreed with me.



                  • #10
                    This post seems trollish to me. I have never seen parents that are not safety aware. Most parents have heart attacks watching their kids jump, especially if the pony runs out, stops, is naughty ect. On the other hand, kids will sneak over jumps from time to time. If this post is real, I agree with other posters, either lock up the jumps, or allow the kid to practice over poles on the ground or caveletti. No harm there.


                    • #11
                      Really? You've never come across this before? Boy, I've seen so many parents that think their kid is heading for the Olympics (those exact words) and can do no wrong on horse back. There was a girl in my area a while ago that was so frightening everyone held their breath when she went in the ring (we're talking bouncing one strides, having a refusal then whipping the horse around and kicking it off the ground from a stand still at 3'9" scary). Her parents would stand outside the ring and whoop/hollar then tell anyone in hearing range that their daughter had never had a lesson in her life! Can you believe it?! She's going to the Olympics in 2012!

                      Ummm...yea I can believe she's never had a lesson before!

                      Honestly, I don't think that type of parent knows it's scary or their kids life is in danger. They think they're perfect and amazing riders so why shouldn't they jump what they want and when they want? It begs the question as to WHY they're paying for a trainers expertise in the first place. I've never figured that one out.


                      • #12
                        I personally had a student whose mother was NOT safety aware. Argued with me that her kid should not have to wear a helmet, bitched at me that her kid should be able to jump higher, free leased a horse for the kid WAY out in the country and used to leave her there for HOURS unsupervised (without a helmet). Believe me, those parents do exist and they make life hell. I sent them down the road and they went through 3 trainers in the next year.

                        OP, I would dump yours and let them be someone else's problem.


                        • #13
                          This drives me nuts also. I just had to get rid of a student myself who was ignoring my rules and just being a downright PITA. The horse/rider combo was the *last* one you'd want attempting to jump without supervision! It was beyond frustrating. Both of us are much happier now that she doesn't board here.

                          If you cannot throw them out or do not want to do so, then maybe try once again to talk to them about the problem. Explain WHY you feel the way you do, and inform them that it is a violation of the BO's insurance policy to have the child jumping without trainer supervision (even if it's not true!). I also think it's a great idea to give the child exercises to work on while away from you. My students are not allowed to jump outside of a lesson unless given instruction by myself, so I often give them ideas of things to work on by themselves. Many of my girls like to practice finding distances to poles on the ground and setting up poles as a "line" and working on varying strides between them. I hope things work out for you. It's hard to have customers who do not value your advice and opinions.
                          ...for there are wings on these hooves, the speed and power of foam-capped waves...
                          Proud member of the artists clique


                          • #14
                            What would I do? I would have a conversation that goes something like this:

                            "Hey listen, we need to talk. We have a policy in this barn (this program, whatever) that riders are not allowed to jump outside of lessons. This is for safety and liability reasons. If this is not a policy that you can live with, I'm going to have to ask you to leave."

                            There you go.


                            • #15
                              Did the kid ever fall off?
                              Most parents will try and protect their kids. If they don't, I don't get it. What happened to the protective parent instinct? I guess some parents don't have it? Or else, they just do not recognize a dangerous situation. I suppose this is possible. They just do not have the experience to prevent a crash. If this is the case, then I feel sorry for the OP and apologize.


                              • #16
                                Have you ever asked them (parents and/or student) why they choose to ignore your instructions?

                                Just curious.

                                There are always at least two or three sides to every situation, and often many more. If you understand the other parties' objections to your rules, you can often come up with an agreement that everyone can live with.

                                Or maybe these people are just yahoos, and are going to continue to behave any way they please, in which case you either have to decide to enforce your rules (and if necessary, ask them to leave) or suck it up and let them do what they want in exchange for $$$$.

                                If it is a BARN rule that no one can jump without an instructor present, I think that you really have very little choice but to enforce the rule or risk alienating the other customers who ARE abiding by it. If the other (potentially more advanced) are jumping only in lessons and see little miss trainwreck "getting away" with it... they are not going to be happy.

                                If this is a rule that is specific to this one customer... frankly it's a lot harder. "But the other girls get to jump (=enjoy their ponies, have fun etc) so MY kid should be able to also!" The parents may simply not grasp that the situation is dangerous.

                                The flip side of this is that many instructors choose to adopt this rule as way of generating more lesson income - ie, if you want to jump (=enjoy your pony, have fun) then you have to PAY me to supervise you. I'm not saying this is the case here, but it's a reality in many places, and if people (customers) believe that is the reason the rule is in place, they are frankly more inclined to ignore it. Not saying it's right, mind you... but it IS reality.

                                Anyway, that is a long way of suggesting that you sit down with these folks and nicely and respectfully have a conversation about how to move forward. You can say that you understand little Suzy loves to jump and ask the parents how they suggest the situation be handled. LISTEN to their answer and then politely explain your view of the situation, and then deliver whatever "bottom line" you have decided upon.

                                If you are going to tolerate the continued jumping out of economic necessity, then perhaps you say something like, "As you know, I am very uncomfortable with Suzy jumping Trigger when I am not around to assist her. I am really very concerned that she could be seriously hurt if Trigger continues to stop/run out/whatever. However, I would like to accommodate you as customers and I understand you feel differently about the situation. I am willing to allow this on the condition that you agree to personally supervise those rides and sign this waiver/hold harmless agreement that acknowledges that we've advised you of the potential dangers and releases us from responsibility in the event that there is an accident. Here are two copies; please sign and date them both and return a copy to me. You can keep the other one for your files so we both are clear on what we've agreed to."
                                We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Jsalem View Post
                                  What would I do? I would have a conversation that goes something like this:

                                  "Hey listen, we need to talk. We have a policy in this barn (this program, whatever) that riders are not allowed to jump outside of lessons. This is for safety and liability reasons. If this is not a policy that you can live with, I'm going to have to ask you to leave."

                                  There you go.
                                  That is perfect, I'm so bold that I would mount two painted black boxes with some old camera lens exposed through an opening. As I was giving them the reminder I'd love to point up to the new security cameras installed in the arena. Seriously those people sound like they do not respect boundaries. Do you really want them there?


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Jsalem View Post
                                    What would I do? I would have a conversation that goes something like this:

                                    "Hey listen, we need to talk. We have a policy in this barn (this program, whatever) that riders are not allowed to jump outside of lessons. This is for safety and liability reasons. If this is not a policy that you can live with, I'm going to have to ask you to leave."

                                    There you go.
                                    ding ding! Very simple: These are the rules, break the rules and you are going to have to leave.


                                    • #19
                                      If they own the pony what is the issue? Isn't riding an 'at your own risk' sport? If she's not afraid she couldn't have had any nasty falls from the pony. I wouldn't be very happy if someone told me I couldn't jump my own horse, that I own.


                                      • #20
                                        You know what? You can't protect everyone. There is no ultimatum necessary. They aren't going to quit. Get rid of them. When that kid comes off and gets hurt, you and the barn owner are then in the line of fire if the parents want to pursue it because it will happen on the BO's property. The barn owner has liability insurance that they could pursue legally. It would say something ridiculous like
                                        "while we heard that we weren't supposed to be jumping without supervision, the jumps were there and the pony just ran at them and then the accident happened. So why didn't they remove the jumps if they were serious about not jumping?" Obviously these parents are of the warped twisted variety, but in a situation like this you must not let the almighty dollar get in your way. Things could potentially go so badly for you that it ruins your entire business. These people are poison for you and the BO.
                                        Things get so twisted when lawyers get involved, and frankly you sound a little naive. Sometimes you have to bleed to heal. Get rid of these people ASAP. Someone will fill their place.