• Welcome to the Chronicle Forums.
    Please complete your profile. The forums and the rest of www.chronofhorse.com has single sign-in, so your log in information for one will automatically work for the other. Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are the views of the individual and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of The Chronicle of the Horse.

Announcement

Collapse

Forum rules and no-advertising policy

As a participant on this forum, it is your responsibility to know and follow our rules. Please read this message in its entirety.

Board Rules

1. You’re responsible for what you say.
As outlined in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, The Chronicle of the Horse and its affiliates, as well Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd., the developers of vBulletin, are not legally responsible for statements made in the forums.

This is a public forum viewed by a wide spectrum of people, so please be mindful of what you say and who might be reading it—details of personal disputes are likely better handled privately. While posters are legally responsible for their statements, the moderators may in their discretion remove or edit posts that violate these rules. Users have the ability to modify or delete their own messages after posting, but administrators generally will not delete posts, threads or accounts upon request.

Outright inflammatory, vulgar, harassing, malicious or otherwise inappropriate statements and criminal charges unsubstantiated by a reputable news source or legal documentation will not be tolerated and will be dealt with at the discretion of the moderators.

2. Conversations in horse-related forums should be horse-related.
The forums are a wonderful source of information and support for members of the horse community. While it’s understandably tempting to share information or search for input on other topics upon which members might have a similar level of knowledge, members must maintain the focus on horses.

3. Keep conversations productive, on topic and civil.
Discussion and disagreement are inevitable and encouraged; personal insults, diatribes and sniping comments are unproductive and unacceptable. Whether a subject is light-hearted or serious, keep posts focused on the current topic and of general interest to other participants of that thread. Utilize the private message feature or personal email where appropriate to address side topics or personal issues not related to the topic at large.

4. No advertising in the discussion forums.
Posts in the discussion forums directly or indirectly advertising horses, jobs, items or services for sale or wanted will be removed at the discretion of the moderators. Use of the private messaging feature or email addresses obtained through users’ profiles for unsolicited advertising is not permitted.

Company representatives may participate in discussions and answer questions about their products or services, or suggest their products on recent threads if they fulfill the criteria of a query. False "testimonials" provided by company affiliates posing as general consumers are not appropriate, and self-promotion of sales, ad campaigns, etc. through the discussion forums is not allowed.

Paid advertising is available on our classifieds site and through the purchase of banner ads. The tightly monitored Giveaways forum permits free listings of genuinely free horses and items available or wanted (on a limited basis). Items offered for trade are not allowed.

Advertising Policy Specifics
When in doubt of whether something you want to post constitutes advertising, please contact a moderator privately in advance for further clarification. Refer to the following points for general guidelines:

Horses – Only general discussion about the buying, leasing, selling and pricing of horses is permitted. If the post contains, or links to, the type of specific information typically found in a sales or wanted ad, and it’s related to a horse for sale, regardless of who’s selling it, it doesn’t belong in the discussion forums.

Stallions – Board members may ask for suggestions on breeding stallion recommendations. Stallion owners may reply to such queries by suggesting their own stallions, only if their horse fits the specific criteria of the original poster. Excessive promotion of a stallion by its owner or related parties is not permitted and will be addressed at the discretion of the moderators.

Services – Members may use the forums to ask for general recommendations of trainers, barns, shippers, farriers, etc., and other members may answer those requests by suggesting themselves or their company, if their services fulfill the specific criteria of the original post. Members may not solicit other members for business if it is not in response to a direct, genuine query.

Products – While members may ask for general opinions and suggestions on equipment, trailers, trucks, etc., they may not list the specific attributes for which they are in the market, as such posts serve as wanted ads.

Event Announcements – Members may post one notification of an upcoming event that may be of interest to fellow members, if the original poster does not benefit financially from the event. Such threads may not be “bumped” excessively. Premium members may post their own notices in the Event Announcements forum.

Charities/Rescues – Announcements for charitable or fundraising events can only be made for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations. Special exceptions may be made, at the moderators’ discretion and direction, for board-related events or fundraising activities in extraordinary circumstances.

Occasional posts regarding horses available for adoption through IRS-registered horse rescue or placement programs are permitted in the appropriate forums, but these threads may be limited at the discretion of the moderators. Individuals may not advertise or make announcements for horses in need of rescue, placement or adoption unless the horse is available through a recognized rescue or placement agency or government-run entity or the thread fits the criteria for and is located in the Giveaways forum.

5. Do not post copyrighted photographs unless you have purchased that photo and have permission to do so.

6. Respect other members.
As members are often passionate about their beliefs and intentions can easily be misinterpreted in this type of environment, try to explore or resolve the inevitable disagreements that arise in the course of threads calmly and rationally.

If you see a post that you feel violates the rules of the board, please click the “alert” button (exclamation point inside of a triangle) in the bottom left corner of the post, which will alert ONLY the moderators to the post in question. They will then take whatever action, or no action, as deemed appropriate for the situation at their discretion. Do not air grievances regarding other posters or the moderators in the discussion forums.

Please be advised that adding another user to your “Ignore” list via your User Control Panel can be a useful tactic, which blocks posts and private messages by members whose commentary you’d rather avoid reading.

7. We have the right to reproduce statements made in the forums.
The Chronicle of the Horse may copy, quote, link to or otherwise reproduce posts, or portions of posts, in print or online for advertising or editorial purposes, if attributed to their original authors, and by posting in this forum, you hereby grant to The Chronicle of the Horse a perpetual, non-exclusive license under copyright and other rights, to do so.

8. We reserve the right to enforce and amend the rules.
The moderators may delete, edit, move or close any post or thread at any time, or refrain from doing any of the foregoing, in their discretion, and may suspend or revoke a user’s membership privileges at any time to maintain adherence to the rules and the general spirit of the forum. These rules may be amended at any time to address the current needs of the board.

Please see our full Terms of Service and Privacy Policy for more information.

Thanks for being a part of the COTH forums!

(Revised 1/26/16)
See more
See less

Professional advice for a sticky situation!! Kinda long...

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Professional advice for a sticky situation!! Kinda long...

    I am a young professional who started my own small barn and riding program 3 years ago in a VERY tough new city. I have worked very hard (as most professionals do) to form positive professional relationships with other local trainers/barns, and of course all of my clients.

    There is another young trainer in town who started a strictly "beginner" barn about a year ago. I was very supportive with her when she first started out, but she has since crossed the line of "professional competition" and I'm not sure how I should handle it.. I could use all the help I could get here....

    A few examples...

    I came up with a creative slogan to use in my barn's advertising (posters, website, business cards, etc.) she changed two words around and used it in a major advertising campaign...

    My husband is a photographer, and she asked if she could use one of his photographs to use strictly on her website. He agreed and she then used it for all sorts of printed advertising (posters, business cards, pamphlets, etc.) with out permission.

    I organized an annual Schooling Show series and wrote a special "Dear Competitor" letter to welcome participants to our show and explain our "mission" at our show. She then organized a fun show at her barn and copied and pasted my letter and inserted her name..

    She has had 3 young girls who took part in her riding program last season move on to our barn. I called her when they contacted me to be sure that she was aware that they were looking to move etc. she said that was no problem. She has since maintained awkward relationships with them by inviting them to ride her school horses at "private barn shows", or come by the barn and ride "for fun", or to take part in a fun "drill team" practice. She tells them it's no big deal as it's all for "FUN". I know there appears to be "no harm done" by them participating in all her fun activities, but I do feel it takes away from the program that I offer. I try very hard to build a good rapport with my students, but seem to struggle with the kids (between 11 and 13) that come from her as they seem to want to take "lessons" with me, but be loyal "friends" with her. I am doing my best to manage the situation and build loyalty by running a great program, but feel she doesn't respect the way of the industry (if that makes any sense...).

    I know this is a TOUGH industry where only the TOUGH survive, am I out of line by thinking these things are going to far? Should I just fight back by continuing to run a great program and just "rise above" or should this be addressed? After finally breaking in to the local industry, and starting to finally gain the support of the local BNT's I really don't want to draw negative attention to myself by seeming nit picky with my competition...

    PLEASE ANY ADVICE OR POINT OF VIEW WOULD REALLY HELP!

  • #2
    What is a strictly beginner barn?

    One that offers only lessons and in-barn showing on school horses with no sales or boarding?

    Comment


    • #3
      My first thoughts are to just continue to offer the best program you can and rise above this other person. I would also not let her use anything you have, such as photographs. If your advertising goes out first and she then copies it, everyone will realize that is what she is doing. That stuff is not copyright protected so not much you can do about it.
      If the young girls that train with you still go and ride at the other place and don't contridict your teachings, then I would let that go too. They are gaining valuable saddle time at the expense of the other trainer!

      Comment


      • #4
        Legal
        Legal
        Legal

        Invest a small amount of money, go talk with a lawyer, show him examples of what intellectual property she's stolen (slogans, use of photos etc.) and have the lawyer write her a letter demanding she destroy all the "offending" info/literature etc. she's using.

        Go after her simply and clearly. Think dealing with horses, don't natter/bother/annoy her, give her a simple and quick response. She's bad news and is already happily stabbing you in the back with students.

        Get thee to a lawyer...
        "Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc"

        Comment


        • #5
          At the bottom of each picture and page of type and ads, write "copyright 2009" and your name.
          Then if she uses your picture/print ad/type/etc., get a lawyer and sue her. People will tell you that copying you is a sincere form of flattery, but it's irritating and annoying.

          Comment


          • #6
            Rather than ignoring it and moving on or getting a lawyer involved at this point, why not call her and discuss your feelings. I would let her know that you think its fishy that she didn't keep her word about using the photo solely on the website and that you've noticed she copied your prize list letter. If she's not apologetic and continues the behavior, THEN look at legal possibilities.

            I would let her former students continue to ride with her for "fun" as long as she isn't derailing your teaching.

            Comment


            • #7
              I would go the legal route. Keep it strictly professional, and coming from business-to-business perspective. Your husband could always bill her for the additional use of the photograph, but I would consult a lawyer about whether there is any recourse for your current actions and how best to protect your creative properties in the future. I don't think there is any "Action" you can reasonably take regarding your students. They can hang out with anyone they like.
              Integrative BodyWorks Blog
              'Cause every pony deserves a good rub!

              Comment


              • #8
                Writing "copyright 2009" and her or her husband's name on each picture and page before making flyers or ads is sufficient to copyright her materials and prevent use by others without her permission and to require payment. Simple and legal. Once you allow someone to use a picture for one thing, as her husband did, it is hard to stop the use so I assume OP has learned her lesson there.

                Comment


                • #9
                  You can go after her on the legal stuff if you so choose, however THIS:

                  She has had 3 young girls who took part in her riding program last season move on to our barn. I called her when they contacted me to be sure that she was aware that they were looking to move etc. she said that was no problem. She has since maintained awkward relationships with them by inviting them to ride her school horses at "private barn shows", or come by the barn and ride "for fun", or to take part in a fun "drill team" practice. She tells them it's no big deal as it's all for "FUN". I know there appears to be "no harm done" by them participating in all her fun activities, but I do feel it takes away from the program that I offer. I try very hard to build a good rapport with my students, but seem to struggle with the kids (between 11 and 13) that come from her as they seem to want to take "lessons" with me, but be loyal "friends" with her. I am doing my best to manage the situation and build loyalty by running a great program, but feel she doesn't respect the way of the industry (if that makes any sense...).
                  there's nothing you can do, and not your problem. If you fight that fight re: "ways of the industry" - you'll probably lose because it's petty.

                  I second writing copyright on photos and outgoing materials (although photographs are automatically copyrighted, and she's violated that). If you choose to pursue it, I would have your husband, as holder of that copyright, write her a very clear letter to cease use of photographs in publication as she's in violation of the copyright. If she still continues to use the image, then you can sue her for breach of copyright.

                  Just remember that this is a very small industry and if you're too petty, that will get back to you just as much as any action she takes. If you have a good program, your results will speak for themselves.
                  ---
                  They're small hearts.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I would call her first. Something along the lines of: "Do you have a few minutes to talk? Listen, I want you to know that I'm supportive of you and your business. This town is big enough for both of us to be successful. But I need to ask you to respect what I'm doing." Then get into the specifics of the intellectual property. Hubby needs to be paid if he's going to be providing marketing materials for her. You put a lot of time and effort into your marketing ideas- she needs to come up with her own.

                    As for the students going over there- There's really nothing you can do about that. All you can do is do your job and do it well. If the students still have an attachment to their first trainer, well, that's really not such a bad thing is it? It would be to your credit to be gracious about that.
                    http://patchworkfarmga.com

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      fight back by continuing to run a great program and just "rise above"


                      Obviously you are offering something she is not or the girls would not have left her barn. Every time they go back is an opportunity for someone else to learn about the great new lessons they are getting from you. Consider her a good resource for providing new students for your program.

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Thank you guys all so much for your advice so far! The picture she is using for her advertising does have a copyright written across the bottom,however I've never thought of writing it on my own advertising, thanks I will do that for sure!

                        I wish I had the funds to speak with a lawyer, but unfortunately I don't at this time, so that might have to wait.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Regarding the new students going back to her place for "fun" stuff--you can't control that & by trying to will only end up making you look bad (controlling). They are lesson people (not horse owning boarders) & while I understand you want their business, they are going to (possibly) barn hop to where ever the best deal is for them at that moment. If she offers them free riding time, they are going to go there to take advantage (what parent wouldn't in these times?). All you can do is hope that your lesson program offers something her's doesn't (which it must if they left) & as somebody else said, they might even convince other riders to join them at your barn.
                          "I'm not crazy...my mother had me tested"

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            You know how some people say "Trainers can't poach clients, they leave because they want to..."? FALSE! There was a very local yokel trainer in my area with a grudge against me who approached a few of my (lesson, not horse owning) students and told them she would give them free lessons and pay for them to show with her if they'd come to her barn - we're not talking professional kids, we're talking crossrail/short stirrup level. It only worked on one student, and within a few weeks she was back at my barn with her tail between her legs, wondering why she'd ever left in the first place. You can't make this crap up!

                            Personally, OP, your situation doesn't sound that terrible in comparison...but I agree that it's unprofessional of the other trainer, and I get how it could be frustrating for you. The free rides thing is tacky, but it probably won't hurt you in the long run if these kids are still paying you for lessons. But the advertising thing goes beyond discrepectful, and I think you need to addess it. Agree that a phone call as JSalem suggested is in order - even if you had the money, I think involving an attorney at this point is unneccessary. However, I would draft a letter too, and make a copy of it, send it registered mail, so that if things escalate in the future, you'll have this on hand.
                            Please don't sabotash my conchess.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Jsalem View Post
                              I would call her first. Something along the lines of: "Do you have a few minutes to talk? Listen, I want you to know that I'm supportive of you and your business. This town is big enough for both of us to be successful. But I need to ask you to respect what I'm doing." Then get into the specifics of the intellectual property. Hubby needs to be paid if he's going to be providing marketing materials for her. You put a lot of time and effort into your marketing ideas- she needs to come up with her own.

                              As for the students going over there- There's really nothing you can do about that. All you can do is do your job and do it well. If the students still have an attachment to their first trainer, well, that's really not such a bad thing is it? It would be to your credit to be gracious about that.
                              I agree with all of this!

                              It doesn't sound like she's malicious... it sounds as though she's just a little unaware of social norms. No point burning a bridge with someone over that, especially in such a small business!

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I like the friendly "peer to peer" phone call first. Should you meet resistance, I think a little shaming might work.

                                As in "You need to cut-n-paste the text of my letters? Really? C'mon!"

                                Maybe this is an opportunity for you and the other pro to talk about the aims of your respective programs and the separate niches you occupy.

                                If all else fails, keep following your business plan. Never discuss the problem you are having with the other pro with your clients. You are welcome, however, to politely explain the difference between what you and she offer *if* a client asks.

                                The cream will rise to the top.
                                The armchair saddler
                                Politically Pro-Cat

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I agree with the others that picking up the phone is the best option. My mother always told me if you can't decide whether or not to call someone because you're worried about what they might think/do, pick up the phone and call. It's nothing extreme and should be easily resolved if she has much sense. As for the students, don't worry about it. I would guess that they will grow out of it and, given that you continue to give constructive instruction, they will grow to revere you.

                                  I understand it's frustrating to have someone stealing your stuff, but making the phone call and addressing the issue before taking more extreme measures will let you know if it's just something silly or if this person is really violating your rights. It will give you a sense of what you are really up against.

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Thank you guys so much! I will try to muster up the courage to give her a call...

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Giddy-up View Post
                                      Regarding the new students going back to her place for "fun" stuff--you can't control that & by trying to will only end up making you look bad (controlling). They are lesson people (not horse owning boarders) & while I understand you want their business, they are going to (possibly) barn hop to where ever the best deal is for them at that moment. If she offers them free riding time, they are going to go there to take advantage (what parent wouldn't in these times?). All you can do is hope that your lesson program offers something her's doesn't (which it must if they left) & as somebody else said, they might even convince other riders to join them at your barn.
                                      you cant control these students but you also cant help your own feelings and if the OP came to the forums and asked for advise, he/she is very upsett about the students hopping back and forth. i can understand.
                                      i know of a trainer that dealt with this in a very nice way. no yelling no fighting. he saw a student at a show with another trainer and was surprised. said nothing. when said student showed up for the weekly lesson, he left no horse assignment to the student. student went up to the trainer and asked what horse they were riding and the trainer said "oh i thought you were riding elsewhere. and basically said that at his farm he expected loyalty. that he offered the same services as the other trainer so why dont you just run along now. good bye.
                                      i think sometimes the students forget that trainers have feelings too and why should a trainer be left hoping and worrying they will lose customers. i would never tell a customer what to do. never. they are free to do what they want. but then again i dont think the trainer should be expected to put their blood sweat and tears into someone who runs back for the free bees or whatever the reason they are running back for. in that case its best for all parties to just "run along!"

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        i know of a trainer that dealt with this in a very nice way. no yelling no fighting. he saw a student at a show with another trainer and was surprised. said nothing. when said student showed up for the weekly lesson, he left no horse assignment to the student. student went up to the trainer and asked what horse they were riding and the trainer said "oh i thought you were riding elsewhere. and basically said that at his farm he expected loyalty. that he offered the same services as the other trainer so why dont you just run along now. good bye.
                                        That’s not “a very nice way” – actually, it’s one of the outright stupidest things I’ve ever heard of, from a business standpoint. The trainer is being paid to provide a service, which he then failed to provide to the client, and tremendously wasted their time.

                                        IF a trainer chooses not to continue teaching someone, they can end their contract properly. Not by allowing the client to show up for their regularly scheduled lesson and then telling them to get lost.

                                        If they “expect loyalty” they can ask their clients to sign a contract, otherwise, it’s a BUSINESS. Getting all petty, wasting people’s time, and failing to provide a regularly scheduled service as agreed is BAD business, particularly if it’s for such a silly reason. Especially in such a small industry, and such a crappy economy – you should be trying to keep your clients, not humiliating them for daring to go to another professional.

                                        i think sometimes the students forget that trainers have feelings too and why should a trainer be left hoping and worrying they will lose customers. i would never tell a customer what to do. never. they are free to do what they want. but then again i dont think the trainer should be expected to put their blood sweat and tears into someone who runs back for the free bees or whatever the reason they are running back for. in that case its best for all parties to just "run along!"
                                        I think some people forget that trainers are running a BUSINESS. They’re being paid to teach people to ride. But you’re right, if they don’t actually care to keep their clients, perhaps their clients ARE best off “running along.”
                                        ---
                                        They're small hearts.

                                        Comment

                                        Working...
                                        X