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Looking for tactful advice for clueless parents :-(

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  • Looking for tactful advice for clueless parents :-(

    I have a student whose older horse has arthritis in the hock and is lame. The girl still rides him just to keep him moving and to keep him in a little bit of shape. The problem is a friend of hers just moved to the barn and now they want to go to shows together. I told the mother that you can't show a lame horse and any judge would dismiss the horse from the ring. The horse is on medication for pain but is certainly not show sound. The mother (clueless) said that she does not want to tell the daughter that she can't show and she will let the judge tell her. I don't want to be even put in the position of taking the horse to a show and having a lame horse be associated with the barn. How do I tactfully tell the mother that I will not take the horse to the show or even coach the daughter at the show?

  • #2
    It sounds like the daughter is aware of the horses lameness due to the light riding you described?
    Perhaps sit them down together and explain it to them together? I'd be honest about the reasons why this horse can't compete and that it would be damaging to your barns rep. How old is the daughter? She may take it well if she is a little bit older. I definitely think it would be better coming from you since you have an established relationship with the daughter. I think hearing it from the judge would be embarrassing for her. When I was teaching I found that the kids were usually pretty quick to clue their parents in about these types of things. I can also remember plenty of times that I'd explain things to my own parents (like telling my mother that you don't walk up to random people in the warm up ring and tell them their horse looks lame) with out my trainer having to say anything at all.
    "As one of those weirdos that always enjoyed the grooming tasks that most others didn't, Kirsten decided it was time to make the most of it and create Shear Convenience Grooming"

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    • #3
      I think another way of phrasing it would be pointing out the fairness of it to the horse; that the demands of the show ring are more than that of the lighter riding done at the farm.
      Is there any way for the young rider to get catch rides or work off the ability to use another horse in the barn for shows?
      Dee
      Founder of the I LOFF my worrywart TB clique!
      Official member of the "I Sing Silly Songs to My Animals!" Clique
      http://wilddiamondintherough.blogspot.ca/

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      • #4
        You can start with the soft approach, explaining to the daughter. If they push you, you have every right to refuse as your reputation would be the one taking the hit at a show. Hopefully the daughter clears it up.

        If they can afford it, she can show a different horse.
        Born under a rock and owned by beasts!

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by unalteralter79 View Post
          How do I tactfully tell the mother that I will not take the horse to the show or even coach the daughter at the show?
          "Because Dobbin is lame, and I will not take him to a show nor coach your daughter at a show on Dobbin. I will be glad to transport a sound mount and coach your daughter on a sound mount."

          Good luck!

          ETA: you have already tried to be tactful. Now you probably just need to be forthright and matter-of-fact.
          "We need a pinned ears icon." -MysticOakRanch

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          • #6
            The parent isn't clueless...she just doesn't want to be the one to give princess the bad news. But for some reason it will make mom feel better if the child goes to the show and gets publically embarrassed by being excused by the mean ol' judge. That way mom doesn't have to be the bad guy. Way to go mom.
            "My biggest fear is that when I die my husband is going to try to sell all my horses and tack for what I told him they cost."

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            • #7
              Originally posted by unalteralter79 View Post
              I have a student whose older horse has arthritis in the hock and is lame. The girl still rides him just to keep him moving and to keep him in a little bit of shape. The problem is a friend of hers just moved to the barn and now they want to go to shows together. I told the mother that you can't show a lame horse and any judge would dismiss the horse from the ring. The horse is on medication for pain but is certainly not show sound. The mother (clueless) said that she does not want to tell the daughter that she can't show and she will let the judge tell her. I don't want to be even put in the position of taking the horse to a show and having a lame horse be associated with the barn. How do I tactfully tell the mother that I will not take the horse to the show or even coach the daughter at the show?
              Print out a copy of the portion of the rules that addresses soundness for her. Tell her - possibly with the daughter present, depending on her age - that as they can see, it is against the rules to show a lame horse. I would assume that the meds the horse is on would also contravene the drug rules, and would potentially represent another infraction as well.

              If necessary, explain to the mother that you cannot put yourself in a position to suffer a penalty that would result from being caught medicating a lame horse and although you understand the desire to show, you have to run your program in a way that abides by the rules at all times.

              (That said, I assume from your description that the horse could not be made sound with hock injections or legal meds like Adequan/Legend, etc?)
              **********
              We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
              -PaulaEdwina

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              • #8
                Assuming the horse cannot be made show-sound with hock injections or some other legal medication like Legend, then I would simply tell the mother that you will not take the lame horse to a show in his current condition because he is lame. Maybe you could offer them a different horse to show for the summer (if you have school horses or something?), or perhaps a suitable horse to lease could be found.

                Understand that you may lose a customer over this, but it is still the right thing to do.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by seabreeze View Post
                  "Because Dobbin is lame, and I will not take him to a show nor coach your daughter at a show on Dobbin. I will be glad to transport a sound mount and coach your daughter on a sound mount."

                  Good luck!

                  ETA: you have already tried to be tactful. Now you probably just need to be forthright and matter-of-fact.
                  ^^This.^^

                  Mumsie clearly isn't interested in the horse's welfare, or the potential embarassment her daughter will feel by being gated at the show; she's only concerned about not being "the bad guy". Bet her other parenting choices are equally as bad. What a twit.
                  In loving memory of Laura Jahnke.
                  A life lived by example, done too soon.
                  www.caringbridge.org/page/laurajahnke/

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                  • #10
                    Somehow ethics and what's right for the horse are way on a back burner these days.

                    Just say NO. Somebody has to speak up in defense of that horse and what is right.

                    Point out to the little princess that the horse is lame because he is in pain and you will not continue to teach or show with him when he is in pain.
                    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Like others have said on here before - No is a full and complete sentence.

                      There is nothing wrong with being blunt and direct. "I am not willing to have your daughter embarrassed by being publicly shamed nor willing to risk my reputation as a trainer to take Dobbin to a show. He is lame and is not a show prospect. It is in everyone's best interest that your daughter refrain from showing this horse. Should you choose to invest in a sound show mount, I will be happy to train/coach/haul that horse for you."

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I agree with Snowflake, but I would add something about it being cruel to subject a horse to extra pain because little poopsie's mommy doesn't care enough about a living creature to tell the kid 'no' for once.
                        You can't fix stupid-Ron White

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by ESG View Post
                          ^^This.^^

                          Mumsie clearly isn't interested in the horse's welfare, or the potential embarassment her daughter will feel by being gated at the show; she's only concerned about not being "the bad guy". Bet her other parenting choices are equally as bad. What a twit.
                          This
                          I wasn't always a Smurf
                          Penmerryl Sophie RIDSH
                          "I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
                          The ignore list is my friend. It takes 2 to argue.

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                          • #14
                            I would disagree with you that a judge will dismiss her for her horse being unsound. I have seen unsound horses stay in the class, and even pin.

                            The reason I brought that up is; if you don't tell her NO, then she could go to the show and judge may just not kick her out...

                            IMHO - this is YOUR reputation as a trainer! Do you want all the rail birds squawking YOU brought a lame horse to the show?

                            You must be professional, since you are the professional and say to the mother:

                            If you can get said pony sound and get his hocks injected I would be more than glad to have your daughter attend the show on the schedule... This is for the animal and your daughters safety. Unsound horses can be a danger.
                            Live in the sunshine.
                            Swim in the sea.
                            Drink the wild air.

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                            • #15
                              Try, "as your trainer and your daughter's coach, I can't take a lame horse to a show, as it would reflect badly on me and it's unlikely she would place in a class on this horse, which would be disappointing to both of us. The judge might ask your daughter to leave, but they also know she is being coached by me. I hope you can understand. Your horse is in pain and his show days are over, I am sorry."

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by JanM View Post
                                I agree with Snowflake, but I would add something about it being cruel to subject a horse to extra pain because little poopsie's mommy doesn't care enough about a living creature to tell the kid 'no' for once.
                                Agreed.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by findeight View Post
                                  Somehow ethics and what's right for the horse are way on a back burner these days.

                                  Just say NO. Somebody has to speak up in defense of that horse and what is right.

                                  Point out to the little princess that the horse is lame because he is in pain and you will not continue to teach or show with him when he is in pain.
                                  Good answer too.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    If a horse is too unsound to show, how on earth is he sound enough for show prep? All the pain meds in the world don't mean that the job is fair or appropriate for the horse. I think it's time to have a bit more comprehensive conversation with mom and kiddo. If their only concern is for show and not the daily situation, you have a MAJOR horsemanship fail type of situation.

                                    (From the owner of a horse with arthritis.)
                                    Flip a coin. It's not what side lands that matters, but what side you were hoping for when the coin was still in the air.

                                    You call it boxed wine. I call it carboardeaux.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Lucassb View Post
                                      Print out a copy of the portion of the rules that addresses soundness for her. Tell her - possibly with the daughter present, depending on her age - that as they can see, it is against the rules to show a lame horse. I would assume that the meds the horse is on would also contravene the drug rules, and would potentially represent another infraction as well.

                                      If necessary, explain to the mother that you cannot put yourself in a position to suffer a penalty that would result from being caught medicating a lame horse and although you understand the desire to show, you have to run your program in a way that abides by the rules at all times.

                                      (That said, I assume from your description that the horse could not be made sound with hock injections or legal meds like Adequan/Legend, etc?)
                                      If mom is really clueless then she probably doesn't know that meds are not allowed and a lame horse will be excused. She needs to see the regs in order to get it I think.
                                      Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
                                      Incredible Invisible

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        What does she want to show in, anyway? On the flat, or over fences? A walk trot class probably wouldn't be the end of the world, but anything else would be terrible for the poor guy if he's that sore.

                                        Maybe the friend could let her use the friend's horse for one class, if it's an open show with lots of classes.

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