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Crazy FIL situation- horse related, I swear!

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  • Crazy FIL situation- horse related, I swear!

    Last edited by KiraSophia; Dec. 4, 2019, 11:20 AM.

  • #2
    Not sure that you can do anything to stop it and unless you have a financial stake and therefore some authority in decision making, maybe just MYOB?
    Yes, it's got to be frustrating for sure and ethically not cool BUT other than suggest FIL have great liability insurance I think
    you have to just grin and bear it.
    "There is no fundamental difference between man and animals in their ability to feel pleasure and pain, happiness, and misery." - Charles Darwin


    • #3
      Originally posted by Marla 100 View Post
      Not sure that you can do anything to stop it and unless you have a financial stake and therefore some authority in decision making, maybe just MYOB?
      Yes, it's got to be frustrating for sure and ethically not cool BUT other than suggest FIL have great liability insurance I think
      you have to just grin and bear it.
      That ^.

      Then, if you do get to say something here and there, you can enthusiastically comment how wonderful the horse world is because you never quit learning about so much.
      No matter how much we think we know, there is always so much more to learn.

      What your FIL may be experiencing is normal as a beginner.
      You become very proud of what you know, but don't have the depth of knowledge to understand how little you do know.
      As you learn more, it humbles you as you go along and your horizons expand.
      Then you realize how much more there was to learn that you even were aware of.

      He is not there yet, keep teaching him, giving him magazines and books.
      Discuss videos to educate his eyes without resenting you "butting in" on "his lessons".

      That he is teaching without real knowledge is wrong, but not sure you can do anything about it directly.
      His barn, his clients, just hope it goes well and no harm done.
      I expect his students will outgrow what he knows soon and move on once wiser.


      • #4
        If he causes a kid to get injured, and you all (who are partners) get sued...

        If you are not partners, stop your involvement? You say they asked you to help run the place. What does that look like? Why did he ask you to help?

        It's business. It's not personal. Keep reminding yourself of that.
        Also, "Never do business with family or friends" is an excellent rule to have.
        Yo/Yousolong April 23rd, 1985- April 15th, 2014


        • #5
          You say you "help him run it," right? So (IANAL), what is the insurance situation and could you and your husband be liable in the case of any accidents? Is there any question about SafeSport compliance (multiple adults in attendance is all I mean, not casting aspersions) that could affect your USEF status, assuming you show?

          I am raising these matters just in case any of them might give you a bit of leverage. If it's his facility, he gets to set the rules but you don't have to expose yourself to an unnecessary risk.

          As usual, Bluey is offering sage advice.


          • #6
            Agree to MYOB. My own kid started giving lessons at age 13-14. As a teacher (high school) myself, I suggested she write down goals for each lesson, and have some kind of method to evaluate progress that she would explain to the student at the start --"We will work toward an independent seat, trotting without stirrups, etc." "We'll know when you've achieved that when . . .' anyway --kid said, "Mom, I'm not doing it your way." and she didn't. She had ultimately 10 students, they loved her. They rode horses and (I hope) learned something. That she wasn't the best teacher ever didn't matter to delightful little girls who wanted to ride for the hour she had them at the farm.

            My own FIL was somewhat like yours. He had no horse background, but every show we ever attended, he would come and give the kids "tips" on how to win the classes they were in. It drove me nuts because I was the one working with the girls daily to achieve their goals with horses --and he'd breeze in, give his tips --then when the kids won --take all the credit ---even my husband played the game: "Good job! Glad you listened to Grandpa!" ---"Grandpa knows what he's doing!" And if they didn't win, he'd let them know that next time they should listen to him ---Tips were generic ---remember to smile! Keep your chin up! Don't forget to listen to the judge's directions!" --I suppose I should be grateful he came to watch the kids, but I dreaded his appearance.


            • #7
              he is pretending to have the qualifications to be a trainer
              sounds like most all equine trainers to me, but maybe he is pretending a little bit more than the average ... was he a used car salesman in his prior career?


              • #8
                It is your business to 'mind' if you are connected to to his farm/facility in any way or capacity. His ignorance is putting everyone at risk. Protect yourself.

                I disagree with the enabling advice: don't say anything negative to his 'clients' but don't endorse him, either.
                No matter where you go, there you are


                • #9
                  The difficulty I see here is that you are "helping run" the stable. What are the roles of you and your husband? Are you identified as being Management? Do you have other options for your horse(s)?

                  Ideally, I would want to cut business ties, perhaps by claiming that running the stable is too much work for you. Board elsewhere and enjoy your horse and riding. If that is not possible, I would evaluate the risk of his uneducated training and my association with it. Then I would make sure I am covered for liability and try to take the approach of "He runs his business separately. I do dressage. I really dont know about his program". (This is providing his instruction is ignorant but not putting clients in obvious danger)


                  • #10
                    I'm older now, and am still struck with how eager some are to teach others when they're pretty much at the bottom of the learning curve themselves.

                    In fact, watching clueless trainers risk the safety of both horses and humans makes me nuts, which is why I stay far, far away from all the accidents just waiting to happen.

                    IOW, I think "not my circus" applies here.


                    • #11
                      after listening to many teachers in the school system I would suggest just overload him, get him about fifty wild students to work with


                      • #12
                        How are you involved with the running of the barn? What does the insurance situation look like? If you are a partner in a business relationship then you are at risk of being sued if a kid gets hurt during one of his "lessons" and the parents decide to sue, due to negligence etc.

                        If you aren't involved as a partner or part of the business, or running of the farm, I would sadly look the other way. You are in a tough spot, between your husband and FIL. But if you are in anyway tied to this business, your input DOES matter, and I would either sever ties and move my horses, if possible, or have a frank sit down discussion with how he is putting you at risk financially if something were to happen. Good luck OP!


                        • Original Poster

                          Guess the consensus is MYOB and try not to strangle him, lol.

                          They have great liability insurance, everyone wears a helmet (my rule that he thankfully listens to) and I have long since minimized my involvement in the interest of picking my battles.


                          • #14
                            Does your horse live there? Do you still live close by to "help run the barn?"

                            I'd keep my horses elsewhere and move to the other side of town.


                            • Original Poster

                              Originally posted by Ruth0552 View Post
                              Does your horse live there? Do you still live close by to "help run the barn?"

                              I'd keep my horses elsewhere and move to the other side of town.
                              Sadly this is not an option. My husband refuses to move (we live on-property and so do they in separate houses) or pay board when we have free board for our horses at our boarding facility. He loves helping out his parents and built a lot of the facilities himself so feels attached to the land.


                              • #16
                                the main thing is to protect yourself from any liability. if you're there more in an attempt to be advisory vs. partnership then you're probably Ok from a liability standpoint. FWIW, years ago we had a show series at our which included an Adult Long stirrup division - w/t, wtc and wtc and jump 2 fences. The woman that was our series champion then put her shingle out as a trainer. Somehow she got clients and currently has a pretty decent business (and hired more knowledgeable trainers). Another woman I know of, fortunately didn't have her own barn, but claimed to be a teacher too. Her clients at shows - some had potential to be quite good riders. Parents didn't understand why their daughter wasn't placing because she wasn't teaching them all the basics like correct diagonals. You can have the best equitation in the world but you won't pin if that beautiful form is on the wrong diagonal the entire class. SMH
                                I could go on but...


                                • #17
                                  wow - just reading this gives me anxiety. Never-mind the fact that eventually someone will get hurt, but you have to listen to this windbag go on about how he's a great teacher when he doesn't know a hock from a stifle

                                  I don't have any words of wisdom here, but are the facilities safe and the horses well taken care of? It always baffles me when someone who has ZERO horse experience buys a horse facility. The two times I have witnessed it, it did not end well. Feedings commonly skipped, fences in poor repair etc. They just had no idea how much work it would be, and you can't always count on hiring knowledgeable help.

                                  We all know that word spreads fast in horse circles. Eventually the green bean beginners will grow up and want to progress in their riding and realize that the old man at the boarding barn taught them less than nothing and will move on and share tales of their experience. Hopefully words spreads and his pool of unwitting 'students' dries up. Hopefully this happens before anyone gets seriously hurt (including FIL).

                                  If you still have to be on friendly daily terms with him and haven't given up on trying to nudge him in the direction of knowledge entirely - maybe take him to some expos, clinics or symposiums of "cowboy" horsemen he would actually listen to? It might give him some perspective on how out of his depth he is, but it sounds like he is a fool in a world of his own making. good luck!


                                  • #18
                                    Do you teach at the same facility? If you are teaching English and he is teaching Western (or some version of it) I would just leave it be. Maybe he will get better over time. Maybe you can get him a good western type "cowboy" horse training book for Christmas. Just avoid anything where the trainer lays the horse down. That would be bad.

                                    I would definitely stay away from his lessons. He will be happier and so will you.

                                    Helmets, good insurance, and nice, steady horses. They are probably safer than on rental horses doing trail rides. The kids might not make much progress and, at some point, they might be frustrated if they try to compete. Otherwise, maybe the parents are just paying for babysitting.


                                    • #19
                                      Do you have a trainer that comes on site to give you lessons? Perhaps FIL could have a western trainer come give him some lessons. I'd suggest a man because clearly your dressage and vagina having self is not good enough.

                                      How old is FIL? This is a problem that will, erm, expire, at some point.

                                      As long as the horses are sane, they are wearing helmets and the liability insurance is good, I'd say there is a limited amount you can do. There are a ton of horsey "professionals" that hang out a shingle that have no damn clue what they are doing.


                                      • #20
                                        Have you discussed this with MIL? Sometimes they can be the reasonable ones....