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Handling former strained trainer/friend equine relationships at the shows...

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  • Handling former strained trainer/friend equine relationships at the shows...

    Just curious if any of you have had a falling out with a trainer, employer, friend and then subsequently see them at horse shows or clinics etc... how does that go over with you? How do you handle it? Any suggestions? I'm sure I will see a former trainer / friend whom I had a falling out with over one of my horses... tmi .... but she's super critical of people and now that we aren't "in" together, I know I'll be on the chopping block and I really don't want to deal with her.

    That said, she's not been training much lately and I'll only run into her if she takes one or two of her green prospects out and about... but not looking forward to that possibility...

    So, how do you handle these situations? Do you not go to certain things? do you just avoid them and ignore? I know this is a common occurrence, but not for me and I hate conflict...thanks!

  • #2
    Its easy. Act like an adult, be polite and civil and go about your day. This is true whether its a trainer or any other person on earth you may have had an issue with. Never be that person who isn't polite and civil. Don't go out of your way to try and be weird nice or strike up a long conversation because that wouldn't ring true either.


    • #3
      Ditto. All you have to do is be polite. You are not responsible for their behavior, only your own
      <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.


      • Original Poster

        yeah, its just going to be awkward and I hate that now I'll be the subject of their gossip... urgh.


        • #5
          Yes, you will be the flavor of the month! I have had it happen, but believe it or not, it does go away and someday you may even forget how bad it was. Just say "hi" and keep on doing your thing. It really isn't all that bad.


          • #6
            Originally posted by altermetoday View Post
            yeah, its just going to be awkward and I hate that now I'll be the subject of their gossip... urgh.
            You might be ..but you most certainly will be if your behavior mirrors hers. Just be a duck and concentrate on your horse and your show.
            "I would not beleive her if her tongue came notorized"


            • #7
              1) What anyone other than your current trainer and the judge thinks about your riding doesn't matter.
              2) You don't HAVE to deal with this person at all - if the falling out was bad, keep your distance and don't give them any reason or room to be nasty toward you.
              Adversity is the stone on which I sharpen my blade.


              • #8
                Originally posted by islgrl View Post
                Its easy. Act like an adult, be polite and civil and go about your day. This is true whether its a trainer or any other person on earth you may have had an issue with. Never be that person who isn't polite and civil. Don't go out of your way to try and be weird nice or strike up a long conversation because that wouldn't ring true either.
                yes, this is the way to do it but don't be surprised if it doesn't happen on the other end. I was literally run over in the schooling ring at Raleigh by a trainer who holds a grudge against me. He is a piece of work with much baggage and people comment on it but he's still in business. Great rider & trainer but not a mature human being and probably never will be. Just be the adult and let the cow-chips fall where they may.

                And don't forget to have a great weekend!!


                • #9
                  Originally posted by islgrl View Post
                  Its easy. Act like an adult, be polite and civil and go about your day. This is true whether its a trainer or any other person on earth you may have had an issue with. Never be that person who isn't polite and civil. Don't go out of your way to try and be weird nice or strike up a long conversation because that wouldn't ring true either.


                  Decades ago there was a very good local trainer that at times lost it's cool and would be rough on a horse, out of the blue, completely unnecessary.
                  I saw that myself and made my opinion known right then, that kicking a horse under the belly with his pointy boot, because the yearling filly had dared move around when another horse acted up close by, well, not being the first time that happened, I finally said I thought that was completely unasked for and unnecessary, especially from a role model to 4H kids.

                  At times, when he came in the conversation, I did mention that he was a very good trainer, but at times unnecessarily rough, which I didn't like.

                  He was always absolutely polite with me, went out of his way to have a few nice words when we happen to meet somewhere.
                  Guess his wife didn't appreciate my objections to some of his behavior, that was well known by many anyway.
                  She absolutely made it clear she hated me, went out of her way to be rude to me.
                  I ignored that, what else could I do and she did have a point there, as she was defending her husband.
                  Still, it made for the odd situation here and there.
                  Thankfully, that is the only time in my long life I had such a situation.

                  My point, try to do what you have to do, try not to burn bridges, try to be polite on your end, don't respond to grumps with grumpiness.
                  You can't control what others do, only what you do, so do that.


                  • #10
                    As everyone else mentioned, you just act like a class act and focus on what you're there to do. Be polite, don't gossip on your end.
                    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                    Might be a reason, never an excuse...


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by islgrl View Post
                      Its easy. Act like an adult, be polite and civil and go about your day. This is true whether its a trainer or any other person on earth you may have had an issue with. Never be that person who isn't polite and civil. Don't go out of your way to try and be weird nice or strike up a long conversation because that wouldn't ring true either.
                      Top Advice of the Day Award for this.

                      You can't control other people's bad behavior. You can only control your own reaction to it. Your politeness, professionalism, and supreme indifference to their bad behavior will sting them worse than any witty "bon mots" you might want to use.

                      Sometimes being an adult sucks, but sometimes it doesn't.

                      Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão


                      • #12
                        Gossip is a fact of life in the horse business. If you can't living in Knot's Landing Land, I wouldn't recommend horses. If this woman is going to talk about you, she'll come up with something no matter what you do, so just don't sweat it.

                        I had a very unpleasant relationship (no not that kind of relationship!) with my neighbor for a couple years. We handled it very simply - we ignored one another completely, even though our homes shared a common wall. No "hi, how are you" or any pretense that we remotely cared about the other. It worked out fabulously!
                        Visit my Spoonflower shop


                        • #13
                          Who says you have to interact with said person at all?? I've been to plenty of shows, and if there was an individual I didn't want to talk to, I didn't. You park your rig farther down the line, you make yourself busy if they wander near (what girth doesn't need to be checked, on the other side of the horse?), and just don't interact with them. You know whatever you say, even if it's a nice "good morning" is going to be gossiped about, so why bother at all?

                          COTH's official mini-donk enabler

                          "I am all for reaching out, but in some situations it needs to be done with a rolled up news paper." Alagirl


                          • #14
                            Understand that it is human nature to talk (gossip) about others. Once you realize that you have been talked about, it doesn't mean much anymore. Just be polite when you see them. I just say hello to everyone I know, good or bad. They usually say hello back and then go on with their business. If they don't say hello, no big deal. I just go on with my day.


                            • #15
                              As far as the trainer- be polite and courteous and leave it at that. There is always a horse or ring schedule to be checked at a horse show that gives you a legitimate reason to avoid a longer conversation.

                              If the people in her "in" crowd are friendships you'd like to maintain, when your departure comes up in conversation, tell them that there isn't one right trainer or barn environment, that you want them to be successful and enjoy their riding and support whatever path they feel will accomplish that. Be prepared to repeat often. That way you can be certain that you're not putting them in an awkward situation.


                              • #16
                                Always take the higher road. Your behavior will eventually catch up to you (as will theirs) and as it all shakes out it's always best to be the saner of the two parties

                                I have had falling outs as well. I had my former trainer's wife find people to report me to the steward for "being a pro" at every show for a whole show season. By the end of the season it was a running joke with the stewards who would approach me to let me know that "Crazy" had found someone else to bring "my training" to their attention again (I wasn't training). She also approached several gals that I competed against with the pitch, "hey, would you like to have PNW stop beating you?" Ha ha! How insulting is that? Several of my good friends reported that to me and and said they were more than a little offended at the implication that the only way they could beat me would be to report me out of the ammy classes (friends who beat me as much as I beat them, FTR). As a result I became pretty good acquaintances with all of our local stewards, and bonded with several competitors who became good friends as a result.

                                Anyhow, horseshows are easy enough to avoid those you don't want to see at. And funny thing, you won't be the only person with an uncomfortable relationship!

                                My personal approach (since I don't respond to histrionics or blow ups), is to remain friendly and polite and to say hello to everyone I see....strained relationship or not. I don't really carry grudges in regards to relationships, so it's not necessarily a false act. And I KNOW some of my former friends/trainers on the circuit have set me up as their gossip target in the past....so be it. No skin off my nose! I go to shows to ride my horses, period.

                                And I try to remember that when someone talks about you like that THEY take it really personally (as in, they're trying to hurt you in some way). The people who listen to it (even if they don't know enough to disagree) aren't usually invested and don't particularly care. Think about when someone has gossiped to you about someone you don't know well. Do you take every word at face value and then ignore that person straight out (thinking in a horseshow environment here)? I know I don't. So try to remember that regardless of what people are saying IT WILL PASS (assuming, of course, that you're on the right side of the crazy train).

                                And finally, if you go to show on your own (like me), it's really easy to ask the show office to not stable you near x, y, or z. Sometimes distance is really the best solution
                                Flying F Sport Horses
                                Horses in the NW


                                • #17
                                  Lots of great advice here.

                                  Do make sure if you are going to ignore her all together that you do not make it obvious that you are ignoring. If she says hi and is standing right next to you do not pretend you are not there and walk away, etc.


                                  • #18
                                    While it might be human nature, gossip is hurtful, unnecessary, often false and unwarranted.

                                    I know a situation where it is not so much the trainer that gossips(much), but her best friend and confidant. She gossips about ALL of the trainers students, plus everyone else on the circuit, and to anyone who will listen. It reflects on the trainer too. The trainer must know she is doing it, and participating to some extent herself.

                                    If you think she is not gossiping about you(no one here specifically), think again!

                                    It's really quite sad and unprofessional.


                                    • #19
                                      While everyone likes to participte in gossip (well, most people), they also recognize who the gossips are - it is hard to not let it bother you if you are a bit thin skinned, but there is no other way but to ignore and take the high road. Never let them see you sweat...stay cool.
                                      Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique


                                      • #20
                                        agree w/ Guilherme - isgirl gets best advice award! To add to that, chances are if this trainer is any kind of professional they will be way to busy worrying about their clients doing good, to worry about what you're doing and same for you. You don't have to make an effort to talk to them but should your paths cross all you have to do is smile and say hi, how are you and keep walking unless both of you want to engage in a conversation. If so keep it light, and don't be afraid to throw out some complements. If one of their clients did well say so.