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Need input: Ex- trainer wants tack from owner of deceased horse

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  • Need input: Ex- trainer wants tack from owner of deceased horse

    Here's the story:
    Owner had horse in training with a good trainer for 10+ years. Horse was very successful on show circuit, shown by owner and trainer. Owner generally happy at barn, although disagreements over horse's management pop up occasionally. Horse begins to have health and soundness issues. Horse stops showing.

    Finally, trainer asks owner to leave barn. Owner hurt, and moves to other barn (no trainer at barn, just pleasure horses). Horse has better environment, fed better, picks up needed weight. Vet happy. Soundness issues go away, then come back. Laminitis. Six months after moving there, horse is put down.

    1 1/2 years after moving out of ex-trainer's barn, owner receives call from husband of ex-trainer. This is the first time owner has heard from ex-trainer or husband since owner had to leave their barn.

    Husband of ex-trainer says he's sorry for loss of horse, and asks if owner wants to sell the horse's show bit to them. Bit was hand made, and aren't being made anymore. Husband says they want to use it on a horse they have in training.

    What's your take on this ? Is this "normal" or insensitive ?


  • #2
    From owner's POV, insensitive - can vote with sale price (including NFS)
    From ex-trainer's husband's POV - tried to be sensitive by conveying sympathy for horse loss, then business as usual, ie how about that bit ...

    So much depends on the general level of innate sensibilities of the people involved, obviously it would've been more "sensitive" if ex-trainer had expressed sympathy over horse's loss at time of death (called, sent card etc).
    Further, in your scenario, owner perceived the 10+year relationship differently than did the trainer (& husband).

    I'd likely be keeping my horse's special hand made bit for my own sentimental reasons & not give much thought to the ex-trainer's situation, which really has nothing to do with me anyway.


    • #3
      I'd say, depending on why owner left the barn. If trainer was basically saying gtfo because the horse wasn't showing and therefore was not a feather in the trainer's cap, or even if the mystery lameness and/or "much needed weight" was caused by trainer.... Then hell no.
      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


      • #4
        It's pretty tacky. (No pun intended.) But since a lot of people don't really care about the horses or people for that matter, it's typical. At least they didn't call right when the horse was put down.

        She should just totally ignore the request. Or tell the trainer and her husband that the bit is theirs for $10,000. (or more.)


        • #5
          I agree with alto.
          Unless the bit has sentimental value (in which case, IIWM, I'd keep it*) I'd put a premium price on it and sell it to the trainer.

          *to show what a sentimental slob I am, I have, on my desk my departed TB's first D-ring bit.
          Good memories, great paperweight.
          *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


          • #6
            Lots of training barns ask horses to leave that can no longer work in the training program. Many just don't have the stall space to function as a training and boarding barn so I don't really see a problem that they asked person to leave and I would not automatically assume it was personal.

            It has been a year since the horse died so I also don't think it is insensitive at this point to ask about a piece of equipment that might no longer be wanted. The person could always just say no they prefer to keep the bit.
            Auventera Two:Some women would eat their own offspring if they had some dipping sauce.
            Serious Leigh: it sounds like her drama llama should be an old schoolmaster by now.


            • #7
              No, it is not insensitive. It is business, and not a big deal. If the owner is wanting to keep it, then no big deal either. To me, it is a non issue, and I am a big softie. I get grief from my girls about using Rebel's stuff on other horses, but I do it, because it works.

              She may not have changed the stars from their courses, but she loved a good man, and she rode good horses….author unknown


              • #8
                I am confused what the big deal is.
                If horse owner does not want to part with their bit then they are allowed to say no. It is not like the trainer is asking for the horse owner to give them the bit or making claims that it is theirs or anything. Simply asking that since they know the horse owner does not need it anymore are they interested in selling it.

                If the issue is that it is the trainer that asked the horse owner to leave that is asking to buy the bit, I find nothing wrong with a show barn asking a not showing anymore owner to leave (clearly with good notice, not kicking them out and saying they have to leave the next day). There are lots of types of barns and serious show barns do not have the space to keep non-showing animals around when there is a showing animal that will take the stall. They make their money showing.

                How long after the death do you (OP) think the trainer should wait to ask if maybe the horse owner is interested in selling this specialized bit?


                • #9
                  I don't think the ex-trainer was being insensitive. Unfortunately if this person makes their living off of training and showing horses it wouldn't be practical to allow the horse to take up a training stall at their barn after it could no longer show. That's a big loss of money for the trainer. I don't think it's the trainer being greedy. This is a hard business to make it in, she may not have been able to afford allowing the horse to stay, and lose the extra income.

                  The post said the horse passed away six months after leaving, and that a year and a half later the trainer called and inquired about the bit. Had the trainer called right away, while the death was still fresh, I think that would have been insensitive. Buy it sounds like she gave it some time, expressed her sympathy and then asked. I don't see anything wrong with that. She probably liked the bit and often times people will sell equipment after a horse passes if they no longer need it.
                  Hillside Stable LLC
                  Glastonbury, CT



                  • #10
                    I'm with the don't see what the big deal is crowd. Owner may have an expensive bit sitting around that will never be used again. It doesn't hurt to ask. And why would you charge a premium? It's been a year since the horse died. Not like they called the day after.


                    • #11
                      I just think there's a lot of baggage from owner here, such as being hurt at being asked to move on after horse stopped showing. I don't show but have friends who do, and at their show barns if the horse isn't in training/showing any longer, it moves on. It's just a business decision on the trainer's part, it's not personal - it's how the trainer/barn makes a living.

                      It would have been a much nicer gesture on the ex-trainer's part to call with condolences when horse died, especially after such a long relationship with horse/HO. But after 1.5 yrs calling about a tack sale isn't insensitive to me, it's just another business proposition. I think owner just has a real problem separating business from personal relationships.
                      Proud Member Of The Lady Mafia


                      • #12
                        Sounds like the owner is understandably still hurt about the loss of the horse.
                        That is normal, but it is not, as it seems, still want to find fault somewhere else to ease that hurt, blame whatever it can on others, the thing about the bit a good place to do so thru somewhat displaced aggression.

                        There is no way the trainer is going to look good to an owner that seems to still be sore about the whole situation, no matter what it was calling about.

                        Now, the owner can try to get past that and understand this is about a bit the trainer could use, if it is for sale and decide if to sell it or keep it.

                        To resent the trainer because it asked about the bit, unless the trainer is a total klutz with people and no good trainer is THAT bad and asked in an impolite manner, which it seems it didn't, gave his sympathy first, why not let past begone and deal with this as it is presented right now, about the bit, not the horse or that he/she was a former client?

                        On the other hand and seeing how the owner is now acting and having known that client for so many years, I am surprised the trainer even went there and decided to ask for a bit.
                        I would think he should know that client, nice as he/she may be normally, was not the sensible kind.
                        Better let sleeping dogs lie when it comes to such situations.

                        Then, I am myself not good at all at reading people, so am double careful when in any socially sensitive situation.
                        I have trouble at times knowing where people are coming from.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Mardi View Post

                          Husband of ex-trainer says he's sorry for loss of horse, and asks if owner wants to sell the horse's show bit to them. Bit was hand made, and aren't being made anymore. Husband says they want to use it on a horse they have in training.

                          What's your take on this ? Is this "normal" or insensitive ?

                          if this was a very nice western bit I could see why they'd ask to buy it from them... those things are truly worth their weight in gold,hard to find and even more rare to find for sale...

                          Production Acres,Pro A Welsh Cobs
                          I am one of the last 210,000 remaining full time farmers in America.We feed the others.


                          • #14
                            I don't think it's insensitive. From your title it seemed like they wanted all the tack. A bit is something that many people might part with -- personally, I save my old bits because they are a small, but good reminder of past horses. I do know people who become obsessed over certain custom bits and will do almost anything to hold on to one.
                            Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                            EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.


                            • #15
                              I'm completely confused as to how this could be construed as insensitive. If the bit is a sentimental object to the owner and they don't want to sell it, all they have to do is say that in a normal, polite manner. If they have no use for the bit anymore then they should figure out what it is worth and sell it back to the trainer. Many people would be very happy to sell a bit that they no longer have any use for. Even if they hate the trainer so much that they just don't want them to have the bit, they all they have to do is say, "No thanks."

                              Over a 10 year relationship of any kind, there are going to be some ups and downs. Even if the relationship ended on a sour note, there is nothing insensitive or offensive about a trainer enquiring if a previous client would like to sell a piece of equipment they are likely no longer using--especially a custom item or something unusual.


                              • Original Poster

                                Originally posted by Bogie View Post
                                From your title it seemed like they wanted all the tack.
                                If the title of the thread said "Ex-trainer wants bit from owner of deceased horse" that may sound as if the ex trainer wanted some of the horse ! So I said "tack" instead.


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Mardi View Post
                                  If the title of the thread said "Ex-trainer wants bit from owner of deceased horse" that may sound as if the ex trainer wanted some of the horse ! So I said "tack" instead.
                                  "Ex-trainer inquires about purchasing bit from owner of deceased horse".

                                  I opened this thread thinking the ex-trainer wanted the owner to give them the horse's tack right after the horse died. "Need input: Ex- trainer wants tack from owner of deceased horse"

                                  That fact that the trainer inquired over a year later, expressed their condolences and offered to buy one piece of equipment that they liked is certainly acceptable behavior.

                                  The owners are free to say no if they do not want to sell the bit.


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Macimage View Post
                                    I opened this thread thinking the ex-trainer wanted the owner to give them the horse's tack right after the horse died.
                                    That is what I thought when I read the title too.


                                    • #19
                                      I don't read anything particularly unusual or insensitive into this either as the facts are presented. If there is some other back story, well, who knows. The owner is free to say yes or no as he or she pleases, end of story and go on with life in any event.


                                      • #20
                                        That trainer appears to think this is "just business"... except for the fact that she sent her husband to make the overture.

                                        Did trainer ask client to leave because she no longer had a money-making show horse? That looks like "just business, too."

                                        If I were the client and felt hurt, I simply wouldn't return their phone calls. After an 18 year relationship, there ought to be more good will than good business.
                                        The armchair saddler
                                        Politically Pro-Cat