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Frustrated about Showing

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  • Frustrated about Showing

    Yea... an alter.

    Anyways I ride at a small show barn (a few sale horses, a few lesson horses, a handful of show horses) and I love my trainer, she really knows her stuff, has a great program for the horses and the people. I've been with her since I was a Junior, was a WS with her back then.

    I just remember as a Junior we showed a lot, (of course the economy was better I understand.) I guess my dilemma is I want to show, I have money to show, I have the horse to show. I get the premiums, I make copies, I talk to her and the other people at the barn about the shows. I hope, I dream, I dot my I's and cross my T's, all my ducks in a row to mail in an entry with a check only to be told that no one else wants to go and she'd make more money giving lessons during the weekend then hauling me to a show. And I completely understand that point (and in the end I'm end up having more money even though its specifically horse show money to begin with)

    I don't have a truck, or a trailer, and I think my trainer would be offended if I got someone else to haul me and rode without her. Like I said I really like her program... but I want to show.

    Every year we go to less and less shows, whereas before we spent most of summer away, it dwindled down to a show a month, to one show a summer.... She's humored me (it feels that way) by hauling just me to Eq finals when I've qualified or Championship shows in smaller organizations. I just don't know if this is that point in my life where I find a trainer that better fits my desire to go to shows?


  • #2
    Sit down and have an honest talk with your trainer about your exact thoughts. Ask he or she if there is another trainer that they could arrange for you to meet at some shows since noone else really wants to go. Tell them that you feel like you would benefit a great deal by going to some shows and that you understand why he/she needs to stay home. One thing to think about is that you don't always have a horse to "show" and if you feel like you do and are able to do so financially, it's a shame not to go.

    Our trainer did that for us some and it worked well. Your trainer will feel "in control" by choosing who you show with and calling to give them "schooling tips", etc. Surely you could find someone in the area that you could work out something about trailering, etc. Please feel free to PT us if necessary. Good luck!


    • #3
      Originally posted by Alterius View Post
      ...only to be told that no one else wants to go and she'd make more money giving lessons during the weekend then hauling me to a show. And I completely understand that point (and in the end I'm end up having more money even though its specifically horse show money to begin with)

      I don't have a truck, or a trailer, and I think my trainer would be offended if I got someone else to haul me and rode without her. Like I said I really like her program... but I want to show.

      Every year we go to less and less shows, whereas before we spent most of summer away, it dwindled down to a show a month, to one show a summer.... She's humored me (it feels that way) by hauling just me to Eq finals when I've qualified or Championship shows in smaller organizations. I just don't know if this is that point in my life where I find a trainer that better fits my desire to go to shows?

      Talk to trainer about your goals. Tell trainer that you want to be showing more often, say, X times a month. Tell trainer you understand that she is not as show-focused as others, but that you really like training with her at home. Ask her about trailering yourself to shows. See what she says.

      If trainer says no, you're not "allowed" to go by yourself, find another trainer. Your goals and hers just do not match.

      If trainer says okay, sure, I can work with you at home and you can go off to shows on your own, then problem solved! And you get the rare but valuable experience of h/j trainer independence at the show grounds!

      But seriously don't just assume your trainer won't be okay with you doing something. Just ask. If the trainer flips out just because you asked, well, you probably want to find another trainer anyway.


      • #4
        A lot of trainers are more accepting of this situation than you might think. Your trainer obviously has to cover her own expenses, and you can't blame her for teaching lessons if that's where the money is coming from, but she may not realize how important showing is to you.

        Like the previous poster said, just have a chat with her and tell her everything you said here. Most (good) trainers have healthy relationships with their colleagues and aren't afraid to ask for assistance from a fellow pro if the situation calls for it.


        • #5
          Other things you might talk to your trainer about:
          • Is there a minimum number of horses to make it worth her while? What is that number? Would she be willing to take fewer than that number if it came out to the same amount of money. Say her minimum is 4 horses and she charges a $50 fee per day. That's $200 per day. So if two horses went, each client would pay $100/day.
          • Do you have a sign-up sheet at the barn? Sometimes that makes it easier to get people to commit for some reason.
          • Would it be possible to make a show plan a few months in advance, publish the list of possible shows, and then tell people that she will attend the "x" number of shows that have the most people interested.
          • Are the shows you're interested in doing in line with what other people are interested in WRT finances, level of show, days away?
          • Would she be more willing to go to one day of a two-day show if that works out otherwise?

          Based on years of observation at various barns, on average, if a person's desires WRT showing and/or level of showing are out-of-whack with everyone or nearly everyone else in the barn, said person generally ultimately leaves the barn for a better match.
          The Evil Chem Prof


          • #6
            I know you love your trainer and her program, but it might be a time where your needs and her goals have changed. I had a client and friend leave my barn last week because of a similar situation. I only go to shows twice a month because of other family obligations. They wanted to go weekly and sometimes twice a week. They were with me for 7 1/2 years. They moved onto a barn that shows more, but at the same shows I do so i will see them. There are no hard feelings and we are still friends. It can be done if everybody is mature and open about things.


            • #7
              I agree with the other posters, Tha Ridge has it dead on and summed it up well. I know many trainers who refer clients to other trainers when they can't make it to a particular show to coach.


              • #8
                Juniormom - I do own a horse and the money (my own money to boot!), and its a nice horse. I feel like not showing him is a bit of a waste. I'm hoping one of my more show inclined barn friends (whose new) buys a trailer, so maybe we can go together. Thanks for the advice!

                Cita - Thank you. I guess I should plan a conversation about showing. I always felt like my enthusiasm spoke for itself, but like in all relationships, minds cannot be expected to be read and communication is key.

                The Ridge - I wholeheartedly agree, I don't blame her for wanting to make money. I'm sure she'd prefer to go to a show with more customers rather then teach lessons because she'd make more money. Alas I am the only one who wants to go which is why we don't. I didn't know a lot of trainers had such arrangements, I should ask her about it when we talk.

                Peggy - the level of show we do is all on par with each other (minus the lesson kids) the major problem is I'm the only one who wants to show and everyone else is content with perpetual lesson taking now (I'm sure this was caused by the economic downturn, less fun money for everyone to spend). Even with signup sheets I end up being the only one of them makes me sad, which usually ends up with me taking less lessons every week because I want to do them to prep for shows, but if there are no shows then why do them? (the defeatist in me coming out sadly..)

                Cruise Control - I'm glad your friendship is still there, I really like my trainer, she's great. I just hear so many horror stories from other people about leaving barns and trainers! eek (none from my own, most people left because of school/moving/work/quitting horses, I don't know of any situations where it was something like wanting to show more and the trainer not meeting goals or expectations.

                SkipChange - Thanks for the assurance!


                • #9
                  A lot of good advice here...

                  I will say that I'm sort of going through the same thing at my barn. I do think it's the economy...most folks are choosing to stay home, or reduce the number of shows they plan on attending this year. It's hard for the trainer to justify going to a show for just a few clients out of a barn of 30 horses. We are probably attending about 1/2 the shows this year than we went to in previous years.

                  You can make arrangements to have your horse hauled by a commercial hauler. Meet up with a trainer that your trainer approves of at the shows to stable with and help you school. No big deal...I can't image it would be that big of a deal.


                  • #10
                    Can you "buy the day"? If you really don't want to go alone/with guest trainer, ask what buying her day would cost. Typically, this is the $amount she makes giving lessons that weekend. I have heard of trainers bringing in substitute teachers and only charging show clients the difference between earnings/substitue costs, but usually they charge the entire amount.

                    This can be quite expensive, depending on the program.


                    • #11
                      Well, even if you buy the day? Days, really, going to be at least 2, maybe 3 for most shows. And unless it's within 50 miles, trainer will be there most of those days, what about the feelings of the 10 or 12 clients that get left home with no trainer the whole weekend?

                      Not all about any single client either way. The majority of clients have schdualed lessons, one client wants trainer fo day or days exclusively. Finances aside, that could be a problem and create some drama nobody needs.

                      It is far easier for everybody if you just ask trainer to recommend somebody you can meet at the show and trainer can help you arrange your own transportation.

                      You might also consider that you may have outgrown their program and that is not a bad thing. Maybe it is time to work for your own goals and not hold back on them because the trainer is unavailable.

                      There are a whole lot of trainers real short on show clients these days, awful lot are just enjoying keeping the horses in work and taking lessons. 'Ya know, if you cannot afford to go to the show, you cannot afford it and you enjoy what you can-if it's just lessons? You take lessons.
                      When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                      The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.