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Horse World and Unprofessional Behavior

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  • #21
    It takes quite a diverse range of skills to be a good business/businessperson. Communication, organization, marketing, planning, technology use, physical plant maintenance, plus the actual skill/service of the business.

    Corporations get to divide a lot of those skills between departments, and hire & train individuals to increase their specific skills.

    IT would be interesting to look at a lot of small businesses and see how different fields pull off that division of labor or covering all bases. Also interesting to see which small businesses are most like horse businesses in the capital/cash flow/# of employees columns, and how those businesses do at covering the skills needed.

    I've been really lucky in that my people skills are pretty good, and my teaching/training skills are pretty good, so my students end up doing a lot of my marketing for me, and a dear friend did a fabulous website for me several years ago - but still, I know there is plenty of room for improvement in my business skills. An office person to do scheduling, order hay, umm, pull manes (that's an office skill, isn't it? ) would sure come in handy - but would probably want to be paid....

    I try to watch and ask how successful people around me handle the business elements, but boy, it sure isn't as easy as wanting to be good makes it so!
    http://wildwoodfarmnc.com

    http://cantersgutenberg.wordpress.co...g-quiet-goose/

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    • #22
      I do have to say that out of all my experiences with horse pros, only ONE left a very bad taste in my mouth. It was a farrier.

      Farrier had zero couth. He was rude, know it all, rough with my horses. When I fired him he said "ok" then turned around and told another person whose horse he does @ my barn that he "told me that horse could not go past 6 weeks" and some other bits of a conversation that never happened.

      Comment


      • #23
        Originally posted by shawneeAcres View Post
        I agree SO much with this statement! I am a horse professional, I like to have EVERYTHING handled professionally with contracts, things SPELLED OUT and planned well in advance. Hwoever, it astounds me at how unprofessional horse related services can be! I have need to have a LOT of horses shipped each year. It seems IMPOSSIBLE to find a truly PROFESSIONAL horse transporter. I have been dealing with one who shipped my last horse and is shipping one for me today. I REPEATEDLY tried to contact them yesterday with NO REPSONSE to see when they would pick said horse up as they ahd said it would be today. The person on the pickup end NEEDED to know if it was indeed going to be that day, and if so an approxiamte time. I realize that in shipping things can and do cause problems but COMMUNICATION is all I ask for. FINALLY got a reply this AM. There was no reason why they couldn't reply, the girl that handles this has a phone with email (as do I) and can easily say "I will get back to you or SOMETHING, but didn't. When people contact me I always contact them back asap. Just yesterday had someone call about a horse I had for sale. I called them within 10 minutes (was driving and couldn't answer the phone). They were amazed at how quickly I got back to them. You don't need 'training" to have good business practices.
        This. I understand that with horses things can happen but there is no reason that you cant get in touch with me.
        Ann
        ~\"Think today so you will be here to think tomorrow\" Burma Shave~

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        • Original Poster

          #24
          So, maybe we should post a list out here of what we think is professional behavior expected by those of us in the corporate world, that also fit in the horse world.

          Maybe someone will read it and learn.

          1. Call me back within 24 hours if possible. 48 at the latest when it's not urgent.

          2. Have contracts ready for situations that will apply to your business.

          3. Listen and respond to our questions. Do not just dictate and do not assume we know nothing. Do not talk down to us. Speak to us as equals and let us ask clarifying questions.

          4. Do not assume you know more about our horses and just do what you think is best. ASK us or explain to us the situation and what you want to do and why.

          5. Call, don't just text one word replies. It's annoying and doesn't always provide the full answer to our question.

          6. If we're paying for your time, give us your attention. Especially true for trainers and instructors who gab with other people during lessons or ride and don't pay attention to the lesson they're supposed to be teaching.

          7. For heaven's sake, do NOT whisper or talk softly on the rail when you have people who plop down next to you. It's our lesson time, and we've paid for it and don't need to wonder if you're being snarky towards us or just talking about someone's boyfriend when you should be teaching. (See #6.)

          8. Think before you email. Reread your message, don't just hit send in the heat of the moment. (I'm thinking back to the photo topic on the Dressage board. But there are other situations that fit this as well.)

          Others?
          "And I'm thinking you weren't burdened with an overabundance of schooling." - Capt Reynolds "Firefly"

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          • #25
            Surprisingly, my trainer now is probably one of the more professional pros I've worked with. Things are spelled out pretty clearly, billing is timely with no "weird" issues, and she is SUPER prompt about getting back to people. Plus, she's great with the horses. So no complaints there.

            Farrier is decent-but some of the same issues others have run into re:communication.

            Vet is the hard one to deal with-was trying to arrange to get my horse's teeth done. Called, his VM says he'll take 48 hours to get back to you. Fine with me, this is not a life or death issue. 48 hours pass, nothing. I mention it to my trainer next time I see her, she calls vet as well. Nothing. Calls him again, he says he'll be out so and so day to do it. Day comes and goes, nothing. I call him again, he finally calls me and tells me another day. Service finally gets performed, two weeks after initial contact. Others in my barn have had the same issue. However, trainer is thinking about finding a new vet as she also finds this behavior unacceptable!

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            • #26
              Originally posted by Velvet View Post
              So, maybe we should post a list out here of what we think is professional behavior expected by those of us in the corporate world, that also fit in the horse world.

              Maybe someone will read it and learn.

              1. Call me back within 24 hours if possible. 48 at the latest when it's not urgent.

              2. Have contracts ready for situations that will apply to your business.

              3. Listen and respond to our questions. Do not just dictate and do not assume we know nothing. Do not talk down to us. Speak to us as equals and let us ask clarifying questions.

              4. Do not assume you know more about our horses and just do what you think is best. ASK us or explain to us the situation and what you want to do and why.

              5. Call, don't just text one word replies. It's annoying and doesn't always provide the full answer to our question.

              6. If we're paying for your time, give us your attention. Especially true for trainers and instructors who gab with other people during lessons or ride and don't pay attention to the lesson they're supposed to be teaching.

              7. For heaven's sake, do NOT whisper or talk softly on the rail when you have people who plop down next to you. It's our lesson time, and we've paid for it and don't need to wonder if you're being snarky towards us or just talking about someone's boyfriend when you should be teaching. (See #6.)

              8. Think before you email. Reread your message, don't just hit send in the heat of the moment. (I'm thinking back to the photo topic on the Dressage board. But there are other situations that fit this as well.)

              Others?
              This is a good list, and the advice goes well beyond horse people. Many small businesses could take the hint, too.

              And I'd like to add,

              9. Don't complain to me, a paying customer, about how bad business is. It makes me wonder why I should do business with you.

              10. Under no circumstances should you complain about other customers. It makes me wonder what you say about me behind my back, too.
              Last edited by stryder; Feb. 23, 2011, 01:46 PM.

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              • #27
                I think with trainers a lot of it happens over time, as clients let them get away with things. I had one bad trainer, my very first, and it was bad in the sense of not teaching basics/pushing to jump before I could canter, etc. I didn't know any better. But no rudeness or ignoring phone calls.

                I'm still flabbergasted when other people I know say that their trainer doesn't "let them" take occasional lessons with other trainers, even if it's a different discipline. To me that's crazy. None of my trainers have ever had an issue if I wanted a lesson with someone else, a new/different set of eyes can be so helpful.

                Thankfully I haven't run into bad farriers or vets *knock on wood*
                Proud Member Of The Lady Mafia

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                • Original Poster

                  #28
                  Originally posted by stryder View Post
                  This is a good list, and the advice goes well beyond horse people. Many small business could take the hint, too.

                  And I'd like to add,

                  9. Don't complain to me, a paying customer, about how bad business is. It makes me wonder why I should do business with you.

                  10. Under no circumstances should you complain about other customers. It makes me wonder what you say about me behind my back, too.
                  How could I have forgotten those? Great additions!
                  "And I'm thinking you weren't burdened with an overabundance of schooling." - Capt Reynolds "Firefly"

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                  • #29
                    Originally posted by Velvet View Post
                    How could I have forgotten those? Great additions!


                    I think I would like to print those off and email them to Verizon Wireless. I just got off the phone after 52 minutes. I have never dealt with a more stupid person in my life. It makes the farriers and trainers in my life look like mensa candidates!
                    www.Somermistfarm.com
                    Quality Hunter Ponies

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                    • #30
                      My take is that a lot (not all) of the people who "go into horses" as a profession do so because they lack the social skills to get on with people in the first place, and would rather spend their time with animals (a view for which I have quite a bit of sympathy.)

                      Then they discover that in order to spend their time with animals, they actually do have to deal with people too, and if they are poorly socialized, this can be quite difficult--apparently impossible--for some people to do.

                      Add to that the healthy ego you need to have to set your self up as a trainer or whatever, and the mix gets problematic.

                      Comment


                      • #31
                        Originally posted by Somermist View Post
                        I think I would like to print those off and email them to Verizon Wireless. I just got off the phone after 52 minutes. I have never dealt with a more stupid person in my life. It makes the farriers and trainers in my life look like mensa candidates!
                        Try dealing with DirecTV. 45 minutes, later, felt like I was tech support helping the clueless CSR...my head was ready to explode.
                        Is it me or do 99.9% of cowboys just look better with their hats on?
                        <><

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                        • #32
                          Originally posted by KSAQHA View Post
                          Try dealing with DirecTV. 45 minutes, later, felt like I was tech support helping the clueless CSR...my head was ready to explode.
                          I really do feel your pain. The Verizon girl asked me if I found out the answer, would I call her back and tell her so she would know the next time.

                          I'm serious.
                          www.Somermistfarm.com
                          Quality Hunter Ponies

                          Comment


                          • #33
                            Originally posted by atr View Post
                            Then they discover that in order to spend their time with animals, they actually do have to deal with people too, and if they are poorly socialized, this can be quite difficult--apparently impossible--for some people to do.

                            Add to that the healthy ego you need to have to set your self up as a trainer or whatever, and the mix gets problematic.
                            Of course, there's the flip side. In the past 10 years, I am aware of at least 3 relatively well-known trainers (in this area, anyway) who were complete womanizers...focusing on their young(er) female clients, some young enough to be their daughters, and in a couple of cases, breaking up marriages. When things got too hot, they just moved on down the road...to start their escapades all over again with a new and adoring crowd.

                            I am simply amazed at the power of the 'cowboy mystique'...because trust me, a couple of these cads wouldn't generate a second glance in the rest of the private sector.
                            Last edited by KSAQHA; Feb. 25, 2011, 09:06 AM.
                            Is it me or do 99.9% of cowboys just look better with their hats on?
                            <><

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                            • #34
                              TOTAL HIJACK!!!

                              Since we seem to be in agreement that some horse "pros" need the XL can of Whupass opened....

                              May I say that the trend to outsourcing customer service/tech support to 3rd world countries is the bane of existence?

                              WTFruitbat were the huge corporations thinking?

                              Not only are they poorly-trained phone answerers at best, but the language barrier is frustrating.
                              Yes, I agree they speak better English than my Tagalog or Hindi or whatever, but honestly they are about as helpful as teats on a bull.

                              I never laugh harder than when I see the commercial with the bearded "Peggy" answering the call
                              *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                              Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                              Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                              Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

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                              • #35
                                And, to be entirely fair, the clientele in the horse world contains it's own unique selection of fruitbats, which might drive a trainer to a degree of unprofessionalism.

                                Comment


                                • #36
                                  Originally posted by stryder View Post
                                  10. Under no circumstances should you complain about other customers. It makes me wonder what you say about me behind my back, too.
                                  I'd modify this one to simply "talk" rather than "complain". Too many trainers/instructors/etc. say far too much about their clients personal business.

                                  Unless you have my permission to tell them, nobody else needs to know how my last lesson went or details about my horse's health and soundness or my payment history.

                                  I actually just fired a hairdresser for this -- the amount of gossip she freely shared about everyone else in town assured me that *anything* I said would be similarly repeated.
                                  --
                                  Wendy
                                  ... and Patrick

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                                  • #37
                                    Ain't that the truth

                                    Originally posted by atr View Post
                                    And, to be entirely fair, the clientele in the horse world contains it's own unique selection of fruitbats, which might drive a trainer to a degree of unprofessionalism.
                                    As an ex professional, I could easily reward you with plenty of stories about the fruitbat clients and customers who were completely out to sea. Plus all the ethically challenged ones.

                                    Fact is, trainers/horsefolk are humans, and humans are rarely rational, usually egotistical, sometimes immoral, unethical and often really stupid. As someone way more succinct than I once said, "You cain't fix stupid".

                                    But if you think that horse folk are bad, try dog people, theater arts, the film world or just about any group of humans with specialist skills.

                                    MW
                                    Melyni (PhD) PAS, Dipl. ACAN.
                                    Sign up for the Equine nutrition enewsletter on www.foxdenequine.com
                                    New edition of book is out:
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                                    • #38
                                      Another practice I'd like to see is MUCH more transparency on costs from professionals.

                                      When you provide a service (vet care, shoeing, lessons, trailering, sales or purchase assistance, etc.) you, the professional should inform me of your estimated cost or at least a ballpark BEFORE the service, not send me a bill with all sorts of add ons afterwards.

                                      How can I make an informed choice on whether I want to take advantage of your services if I have no idea what it will cost.

                                      Yes, I can ask too, but according to several recent threads, it IS too much to ask - can't possibly give you an idea on cost - just pay the bill... you wouldn't want to stiff the pro would you?

                                      For heavens sake figure out what you charge and let me know up front.

                                      Comment


                                      • #39
                                        I'm lucky in that my Farrier is probably the most professional "horse service" person I deal with. Always contacts me back promptly if I have a question or my horse has tossed a shoe (which unless it's the weekend, will come out the next day and re-tack it back on), has a great working relationship w/ my Vet if changes need to be made, always shows up on the scheduled day (minus one exception when he had a major emergency plumbing issue at home that day but came out the next day instead... that was the first time that happened in the 4 years I've used him). He doesn't have a specific time he comes usually (just mornings) but my horse is in when he arrives as the barn staff make sure of that and he works directly with them on arrival times, etc. My horse doesn't need to be "held" as he's fine being worked on in the crossties.

                                        My Vet is a close second. Very prompt in calling me back (same day if not next morning). Easy to make an appt with. 90% of the time is on time for said appt (heck, he's a Vet... emergencies happen and if that's the case, he'll call me to tell me he's running late, the approx. time of his arrival, and do I want to still keep the appt or re-schedule so I don't have to wait around). I can call and just ask questions, etc. Very good with billing and also explaining what he's doing or is thinking. Just a pleasure to work with, funny and friendly, and knowledgeable.

                                        And both of these professionals are VERY busy people. My Farrier is very highly regarded in my area and probably has the highest number of clients. He can't take on anybody new and is trying to decrease his client base. But I won't let him drop us. He knows what customer service is ALL about.

                                        My MT/Body work person I work w/ is also very good for a lot of the same reasons.

                                        Now the other "horse service" people I have been in contact with??? Not so much. I agree with the individuals who posted that it's about not knowing how to be a "business person". I just figure out what I can deal with... and what I can't. In all my different experiences at different barns, they are all pretty much the same. And I know I won't be 100% happy unless I do it myself and have my own farm. Which I can't do... so I do have to put up with certain things. Now none are major "deal" breakers and if they were, I would leave. Which I've done. But coming from the corporate world (and I work for a very large and globally known company), sometimes it really just baffles me on their lack of business sense.

                                        Comment


                                        • #40
                                          Originally posted by Trakehner View Post

                                          Too many of their customers become children worshipping at their feet and somehow becoming incapable of saying, "Are you nuts?" when their "pro-horseman" makes an idiotic pronouncement. .
                                          I can certainly testify to this!!

                                          I know of one horse "professional" who has a group of families convinced that she walks on water. We used to be one of them, but as time went on and I educated myself on horse care, I eventually realized that things weren't right.

                                          When we left, she spread all sorts of crazy stories about us. But the truth is simply that we were unhappy customers. If your customers are unhappy enough, they will leave.

                                          Funny thing is, I am finding that a large percentage of the horse people I have met since then know her and do not have a high opinion of her or her operation. It's a shame, since she has many talents and could do a lot of good.

                                          I have often tried to understand why she does the things she does, but I think I would need a degree in psychology to really figure it out. What I REALLY don't get is why the families who are still there don't see through the BS.

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