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Telling horse people they are not good at their jobs....

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  • #21
    Generally, hay is a rarer commodity in winter/spring -so hay growers kind of have you over a barrel. Then add that fewer and fewer "professional" hay growers (the kind with decent hay) feel the need to deliver -competition is too fierce for good hay and there are fewer worker bees wiling to load and unload. It is just easier and less hassle to lower the price a little and have people pick it up themselves.

    As to the barn thing -sounds like the relationship is personal.
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    • #22
      Originally posted by meupatdoes View Post
      I don't think any of this is "telling people they are not good at their jobs."

      It is simply saying, "Hey, this thing you did here bothers me for the following reasons. It impacts me [thusly] when you do [x, y and z]. In the future I would appreciate it if you would do [a, b or c] instead, or I will have to consider other options."
      And also, it's never appropriate to tell someone with whom you are doing business that they suck at their job. You aren't the arbiter of job performance.

      You can discover that their performance isn't good enough for you.

      Then you ask them to do what you want/need, don't ask them and suffer, or hire someone else.

      No job performance evaluation read explicitly from a podium at all.

      As a HO with a real job before the second job of organizing horse care, I sympathize with you, OP. And same for the pros (large and small) dealing with horses and weather and prices-- so many big, unpredictable things they can't control!
      The armchair saddler
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      • #23
        Since bringing my horses home from boarding 10 years ago, hay is the single biggest stress in my life!!

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        • #24
          I live in a small city, and a lot of local businesses (not just horse businesses!) operate this way. They get away with not returning calls, not being open during hours they post as their open hours, etc. because there is VERY limited competition. The guy who delivers wood shavings to the barn for bedding frequently shows up 1-2 weeks after arranged, so my BO has to order in advance of when they are needed, because if she doesn't buy from him, it's shavings by the bag from the local feed store...which has its own "small business" issues.

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          • #25
            You know... normally I just go find a different supplier (okay once I did cave and leave a very curt message after several no shows) but I had an issue with my farrier... he was late all the time by an hour or so, cancel at the last moment or after my appointment... but he is VERY good. The only one I have available who doesn't leave a million miles of toe and no heel in this area really.

            After over a week of not coming out to tack a shoe back on I had had it. Kept saying he was coming and didn't. I told him I found someone else to put it on. He was very upset and asked if I was firing him? I said no but I wasn't leaving my mare's feet like this for this long ever again. He apologized profusely, I also addressed the lateness and no shows. He said he would put me first and schedule others around my time... which I hope he doesn't do and don't need!

            But he has been on time ever since, no issues. We have a great open communication that has developed into a friendship. Just breaking that ice and putting it out there (nicely) really changed it. And since he is young and just starting in business, I would like to think I did something helpful for him. It was a learning experience.

            Be calm and give it a try... you may be surprised how much they are willing to work with you.

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            • #26
              magicteetango, that works if you have other alternatives. My current farrier is awesome, comes exactly when he says he will, short of a personal emergency...we set his appointment 6 weeks ahead. But, if he wasn't as cooperative, I don't have another alternative unless I haul the horses to Lexington. I've used the other farriers around here and I won't use them again.

              Where you run into the problem is when you don't have another alternative.

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              • #27
                I agree about the hay supplier stress. I had a great one, then he went to big bales and I couldn't handle those. So I tried about four other fellows, and wasn't happy with their quality and service. I found my current supplier through my farrier, and I treat him like gold, believe me. I pay through the nose, but it's worth it not to have the hassle and uncertainty. He delivers and stacks it, and over three years I've probably had four questionable bales.

                Rather than tell the guys I didn't like their hay and service, I just didn't call them again. They weren't lacking for customers, apparently, because no one ever contacted me to see what happened.

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                • #28
                  It's not just you - I've been completely stunned by the low standards of professional conduct I've encountered in the horse world. I think there are a couple of factors at work:

                  1. Many horse professionals have done this their whole lives, and so never had to punch the clock in a more standardized professional environment where such behavior would result fairly quickly in unemployment.

                  2. Word of mouth is important, but it is difficult for outsiders entering the horse world, or moving to a new area, to get a feel for the lie of the land. There are no RateMyHorseProffesional.com websites (that I know of, anyway!) I've renovated two houses in two different countries, and none of the tradesmen I worked with were as bad as what seems run of the mill in the horse world.

                  3. Self-employment can lead to two things: total workaholic unbalanced lifestyle, and losing touch with who your client base is and what you are actually selling to them. There seems to be a real disconnect between who holds the power and who writes the checks - but the disconnect is very real, because hey, when those are the unbalanced people who have the care of your horse in their hands, sometimes you gotta suck it up until you can find a better solution. I've been there before, and it's why my medium-term goals now include buying a truck and a trailer and learning to drive them. And I would never leave my horse (or myself!) vulnerable to an unpleasant boarding or trainer situation again. Too much harm can be done before you realize it's time to get outta dodge. IME, anyway.

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                  • #29
                    Originally posted by West End Girl View Post
                    It's not just you - I've been completely stunned by the low standards of professional conduct I've encountered in the horse world. I think there are a couple of factors at work:

                    1. Many horse professionals have done this their whole lives, and so never had to punch the clock in a more standardized professional environment where such behavior would result fairly quickly in unemployment.
                    Ding ding ding we have a winner. So true.....

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                    • #30
                      I've found most BO/BM have no problems nitpicking the boarders/feeders or leaving nastygrams about things they forget to do, leave out, etc BUT you point out something they did wrong or forgot to do and all of a sudden you're "attacking/nitpicking" them. Been going through this at current barn where board just went up when quality of feed/hay over the last year and a half has gone down... and yet her net profit (after mortgage, bills, feed/hay,met) for boarding alone went up last year, even though barn wasn't full (not a big barn to begin with so being down a horse or two makes a difference).
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                      • #31
                        Originally posted by CarolinaGirl View Post
                        I've found most BO/BM have no problems nitpicking the boarders/feeders or leaving nastygrams about things they forget to do, leave out, etc BUT you point out something they did wrong or forgot to do and all of a sudden you're "attacking/nitpicking" them.
                        This drives me crazy too. Current BO, when I moved in, said she "didn't do" beet pulp because it was too much of a hassle, and got all defensive. At the time, my horse needed the calories from beep rather than more grain that would make her crazy. (As it turns out, on a different feed, she does fine with no beep.) A few months later, someone shows up with a "valuable jumper" that's used to getting beep, and guess what? He gets it, with a smile.

                        I hate feeling like I have to "leverage" my value to the BO to get the care I want (I am NOT a demanding boarder, trust me.)
                        You have to have experiences to gain experience.

                        1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"

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                        • #32
                          IMO the horse world puts up with far too much from "professionals". I had an issue with a trainer and keeping scheduled appointments recently. Asked people about said issue and got the "well what did you do wrong?" "Are you sure she's not just letting you down easy?" "Maybe the other appointment was more important." The just of it is I had an appointment on X day trainer changed mind sometime after making my appointment deciding she would do something else that day. It's unprofessional and she set the bar for my horse experience in the area.

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                          • #33
                            Originally posted by mbm View Post
                            in the end i find the horseworld to be chock full of crazy people who would not be able to act like they do in others walks of life
                            Amen.

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                            • #34
                              This thread makes me very very thankful for the horse professionals I work with!

                              Heck, I have a farrier who sends appointment reminders a week out!! AND shows up on time! One time, they (husband/wife team) even beat me to the barn. I was impressed They're moving to Tennessee at the end of April (which is okay, because I'm also moving at the end of April)....TN is getting some great farriers!!
                              To be loved by a horse should fill us with awe, for we hath not deserved it.

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                              • #35
                                Originally posted by CarolinaGirl View Post
                                I've found most BO/BM have no problems nitpicking the boarders/feeders or leaving nastygrams about things they forget to do, leave out, etc BUT you point out something they did wrong or forgot to do and all of a sudden you're "attacking/nitpicking" them. Been going through this at current barn where board just went up when quality of feed/hay over the last year and a half has gone down... and yet her net profit (after mortgage, bills, feed/hay,met) for boarding alone went up last year, even though barn wasn't full (not a big barn to begin with so being down a horse or two makes a difference).
                                Isn't this the truth! I have only been to one barn where if you said, "please make sure all employees feed my horse x amount of hay and grain," they wouldn't be offended by it. They would just say, "ill make sure they do that." Why do they take it as an insult? Its just asking them to make sure it happens. This one barn I was at kept missing supplements on certain days and I told the BM about it and she basically bit my head off. I don't pay $50 a month for supplements not to be fed consistently. Its so frustrating. Personally, I think the BM/BO you can't talk to are the ones who create tension. You can never bring anything up without a fight.

                                I think the most complicated and drama enhanced boarding barns are the ones where the trainer is also the manager. It creates tension between the training and the boarding. It doesn't work because it changes you training relationship if you have an issue with the barn. You also have the trainers who are close friends with their students and the professional atmosphere dies. Your either best friends and getting special treatment or your left in the dust.

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                                • #36
                                  OP I understand your frustration, customer service is pretty much out the window in the horse world. Whenever I find a really great vet, farrier and trainer I always make an extra effort to take care of them so I get the best out of them. (Along with being paid in cash, Otter Pops and bottled water go a long way on a hot summer day!)

                                  And when I don't get the best out of ANYONE a simple "when you do X it makes me feel like X." It's a pretty non-confrontational way of telling them you're disappointed in them and has been handy for me in all my relationships. So, when you don't deliver my hay on time it makes me feel like you don't value my business.... What's the hay gonna say in response to that?? "F*&^ you!" probably not.

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                                  • #37
                                    In my experience, this is a problem mainly at smaller/lower-level barns. With the bigger/higher-level barns, when sh*t needs to get done it needs to get DONE and there's no room for drama, laziness, etc. If you can't provide the expertise/perform the required service, we'll go elsewhere because we don't have the spare time/energy/effort to deal with you. Everyone knows this, so there is less personal drama and it's more all about the horses.

                                    I will say that being attached to a barn like this has many, many benefits and has allowed me to pass lots of these issues. Like vet care, for example: all horses are on a schedule, and the vet contacts the trainer to set up days where all horses get vaccinations and dental. If a horse is lame and needs diagnostics, trainer contacts vet, vet is there ASAP (always within the week).
                                    Same thing with farriers. We have farrier days, where he'll shoe 5 horses.
                                    Local mobile tack units? They'll do anything for us, including spontaneous "The sky is blue today" discounts, because we are a constant supply of revenue to them.
                                    The only time I've had problems are in the areas where I have to act as my own agent: I'm the only one in the barn who uses a certain farrier (she's the only TB in a barn of WBs, so she's shod a little differently), and it can be difficult to convince him to come out as he'll keep putting my horse off until it's more convenient for him (which is never because he has to make a special trip) and because I buy my own hay and never order more than 80 bales at a time. In these instances, my trainer has had to step in and use his weight and influence to get my farrier out, my hay delivered, etc.
                                    Our trainer can pretty much stay out of drama, but again, that's because we're a barn that isn't really... back yard? Not the term I'm looking for...
                                    We do a small number of imports, clients are incredibly tight-knit, but we're all there to ride and if someone's goals/situation changes and they leave, no hard feelings. Trainer has even pointed clients obviously a mis-match with our barn to other trainers in the area where he believes they would succeed.

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