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Attempted poaching during try out...say anything?

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  • Attempted poaching during try out...say anything?

    I recently sent a young adult student out to try a horse without me, as it is hard for us to find time to go shopping due to conflicting schedules. I knew enough about the horse to feel it would be safe, and thought I could trust owner & trainer.

    Student loved horse and we are planning to go back together next week...BUT the trainer told & hinted to my student a few times that she could come ride/board with her. I think it was said in a "and if you bought her you could always keep boarding her here, and ride with me" kind of way.

    I find this hugely inappropriate and want to say something, and part of me wants to walk away from the horse based on this.

    But then another part of me says I shouldn't care as my students will ride with who ever feels fits them better and that is how it should be.

    Thoughts? If I did say something, who to? trainer or owner?
    Freeing worms from cans everywhere!

  • #2
    Originally posted by CHT View Post

    But then another part of me says I shouldn't care as my students will ride with who ever feels fits them better and that is how it should be.
    I agree with this part of your post. The seller is probably also concerned about the horse and hoping to be able to keep a bit of an eye on him. Which is a perfectly understandable and legitimate desire. She also knows the horse better than you do and who knows, maybe there are certain things she could teach your student better than you could, at least about riding that horse, if not about riding in general.

    Regardless of why the seller made the comments, you shouldn't feel threatened by it. Either your student wants to learn from you or she will find someone else, you can't *protect* her from anyone making a suggestion or comment. If she wants to learn from you, she won't be *poached* by another trainer.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by CHT View Post
      I think it was said in a "and if you bought her you could always keep boarding her here, and ride with me" kind of way.

      I find this hugely inappropriate and want to say something, and part of me wants to walk away from the horse based on this.
      Don't say anything.
      Be the better trainer.
      Since this trainer is also a horse dealer I will bet dollars to donuts that in six months they will tell your student that she has outgrown the horse and if she wants to be competitive she should buy the horse in Barn 3 of which he gets a commission.

      Inappropriate - Yes
      Shows his character - Yes
      If your student is smart enough to have the money for training she should be smart enough to recognize a phony.
      A pussycat of a horse with a chewed off tail won the triple crown, The Cubs won the world series and Trump won the Presidency.
      Don't tell me 'It can't be done.'

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      • #4
        Originally posted by CHT View Post
        I find this hugely inappropriate and want to say something, and part of me wants to walk away from the horse based on this.
        As a student, I get barn owners/trainers mentioning they have space/lessons/what have you all the time. It's a non-issue. As others have said, they can't poach what doesn't want to be poached already.

        On the other hand, if I had a trainer walk away from a seemingly suitable horse because their feelings were hurt over a non-issue like this -- I'd become VERY poachable, VERY fast.

        I don't have the time/energy to deal with a trainer who is making recommendations about my next horse based on how hurt their feelings are. They need to be making recommendations based on the actual horse's suitability. If they can't do that, I'll go find someone who can.
        Halt Near X | Horse Bloggers - Blog Directory

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        • #5
          Originally posted by CHT View Post
          .

          I find this hugely inappropriate and want to say something, and part of me wants to walk away from the horse based on this.

          really? you would walk based on this? You were not even there, tone of voice is everything. It may be just a simple comment.

          you aren't buying the horse, you don't "own" a client, relax. You will come off as a drama queen if you get in the middle in my opinion. This isn't your "fight" if you will-its between them. Not you.

          I think one way to see it is that the loved the horse and want to keep training it. I know it must be hard to let the horse go. Simple as that? Its not about stealing clients, well, unless you want it to be!

          Save your energy for real issues. I see why you are hurt but again, this isn't even about you.

          Comment


          • #6
            Defintely inappropriate if it was said in seriousness.
            Don't say anything.
            Be the better trainer.
            DO go look at the horse with your student.
            Tell your student it was a nice compliment to her riding.
            No matter where you go, there you are

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Originally posted by Beck View Post
              Defintely inappropriate if it was said in seriousness.
              Don't say anything.
              Be the better trainer.
              DO go look at the horse with your student.
              Tell your student it was a nice compliment to her riding.
              Yep, exactly what I told her!

              I like the owner, so will go look at the horse, but my trust level in the trainer has gone down the tubes so I will find it harder to trust her word.

              Not sure why people think my feelings were hurt. why on earth would it hurt my feelings that someone wanted my student in their program?

              Perhaps I just expect better ethics.
              Freeing worms from cans everywhere!

              Comment


              • #8
                Sorry, but it isn't unethical for business owners to try recruit new clients, especially in the setting of their own business facility. It isn't in good taste, and it doesn't exactly build goodwill, but it isn't some ethical transgression. I would take it as a compliment--not just to your student but also to your teaching that has made her into the kind of rider others would like to have in their program.

                It is also entirely possible that the comment was made innocently and/or came out wrong. It's also possible that the other trainer may have assumed that your relationship with the student was more casual or that there were issues based on the fact that you weren't there to try the horse with her.

                I would not let the other trainer's behavior affect your interest level in the horse. If I were your client and you walked away from a nice potential horse over something like this I would fire you in a heartbeat. It is unprofessional to act like you own your clients or to try to guard them from other trainers.

                A good rule of thumb is to stop worrying so much about other people and concentrate on making sure your own behavior is polite and professional.

                Comment


                • #9
                  i am a student not a piece of property.

                  i would be pissed if a hired trainer talked about me like i was their property.

                  i would be doubly pissed if i knew a trainer i was working with wanted to sabotage a deal for a horse I was buying.

                  its not about you. its about your client who is expecting you to do right by her - because she pays you to do so. but that doesn't mean you own her.

                  also, i would absolutely expect a trainer who operates as a business person to try to get more clients.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Wowsers. I would never knowingly hire, and would run quickly away from, any trainer who would pass on a prospective horse for any reason other than it simply isn't the right horse for a client.

                    Nor would I hire a trainer who believes that a 'young adult student' needs the trainer's permission to go shopping for horses without him or her.

                    In my opinion, a good trainer, and an ethical trainer, should be striving to EDUCATE the student so that the student learns and can be less dependent, not more dependent, on said trainer. I give you Jane Marshall Dillon as a stellar example.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by mbm View Post
                      i am a student not a piece of property.

                      i would be pissed if a hired trainer talked about me like i was their property.

                      i would be doubly pissed if i knew a trainer i was working with wanted to sabotage a deal for a horse I was buying.

                      its not about you. its about your client who is expecting you to do right by her - because she pays you to do so. but that doesn't mean you own her.

                      also, i would absolutely expect a trainer who operates as a business person to try to get more clients.
                      Ditto.
                      This it be all wot we want in life, wenn peoples dey loff us. ~ Willem

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Your schedule didn't mesh with the your student's so she went alone...what better time for another trainer to suggest that another trainer might suit her better? If the selling trainer can sell the horse and pick up a client, she gets commission and keeps getting board/training. Why wouldn't she suggest it?
                        Visit my Spoonflower shop

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                        • #13
                          I don't know, I don't think I'd be offended. I'd be more inclined to think this horse may be a REALLY good one that she doesn't want to let go out of her barn.

                          Anyway, if you cared that much about potentially having this client poached, I reckon you would have wanted to show UP. You're not entitled to a client's repeat business if you keep dropping the ball on them.
                          "The standard you walk by is the standard you accept."--Lt. Gen. David Morrison, Austalian Army Chief

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            While you didn't say exactly how you found out about the exchange, I'm guessing it was from your student. So have a conversation with your student to make sure they are indeed happy in your program. Then you can put your mind at ease and not worry about what other trainers do.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by 5 View Post
                              Don't say anything.
                              Be the better trainer.
                              Since this trainer is also a horse dealer I will bet dollars to donuts that in six months they will tell your student that she has outgrown the horse and if she wants to be competitive she should buy the horse in Barn 3 of which he gets a commission.

                              Inappropriate - Yes
                              Shows his character - Yes
                              If your student is smart enough to have the money for training she should be smart enough to recognize a phony.
                              The trainer is also a "horse dealer"? And that's a negative thing and means that they'll be trying to cram another horse down student's throat in 6 months? First, I don't know a trainer that hasn't sold a horse. So, in my mind, I guess they're all "horse dealers". And since I like the vast majority of trainers I know and I know that their businesses rely on horse sales, I guess I don't see that as a bad thing. To slap what you clearly see as a negative label on the seller and then to speculate about her future behavior is just unfair and counterproductive.

                              Maybe the horse is a greenie or just a tricky ride and the seller knows it will require trainer supervision. And maybe, the prospective buyer showing up without a trainer raised red flags for her. Maybe the prospective buyer said or hinted at something when she showed up without her trainer that allowed the seller to believe she might be shopping for more than just a horse. And maybe the student told the OP about the offer for continued board to feel out what her reaction would be, i.e. is this the kind of trainer who will hold a grudge or try to burn me if I make a switch? Or to begin planting seeds in case she decides, "You know, New Horse is happy at her current barn, I wouldn't have deal with any sort of transitional period and maybe this trainer has more free time...."

                              I hate the word "poaching" in this context. Poaching, by definition, is illegal. Informing a visitor to your place of business of your business services is just smart business. OP, if you feel the need to control the situation or the dialogue, you need to at least be there.
                              "Absent a correct diagnosis, medicine is poison, surgery is trauma and alternative therapy is witchcraft" A. Kent Allen
                              http://www.etsy.com/shop/tailsofglory

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                You have no idea how the exchange took place - the conversation could have taken shape in a number of ways for example - client Oh my this is a beautiful facility you have here' Seller Trainer' thanks, you are welcome to keep Ralphie here and train with us"..or client is riding Ralphie and things are going good. Seller Trainer comments - geez you two get along so well, I'd love it if you kept him here" meant as a complement.. Take the high road, say nothing to the trainer about any conversation other than about the horse.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I agree that a happy client is not going to just jump ship on a whim based on a complement from another trainer.

                                  OP, have you ever taken the opportunity with a visitor to demonstrate some of the services you have to offer?

                                  As a client, I would be upset if my trainer (working for a sales commission predicated on finding me the BEST match) allowed her personal feelings to intervene on the process. The client is the principal here. Even if any opinion you might have about the seller is right, it's moot to project "what might happen" if client leaves to ride with her. First, client hasn't done so, and she might not even have thought of it! Second, by walking away from the horse, you might be creating a self fulfilling prophecy where client feels you are not acting on her behalf, she goes and buys horse and moves to sellers barn.
                                  F O.B
                                  Resident racing historian ~~~ Re-riders Clique
                                  Founder of the Mighty Thoroughbred Clique

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Seems my take on it was different. I am NOT worried about student leaving. Students come and go as their needs change. This is a good thing.

                                    My angle is that this is unethical, and if the trainer practices unethical behaviours than what else should I be questioning. My job in looking for a horse is to also look behind the scenes for red flags such as unethical business practices.

                                    If someone sends their client to me to look at a horse, I DO NOT discuss my services unless asked directly. My honour/ethics are important to me. I also try to be more flexible as to try out times.

                                    Now that I have had time to think about it, I no longer really care though.
                                    Freeing worms from cans everywhere!

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I've spent a lot of time trying horses lately and haven't had any experiences like what happened with the OP's student. Sometimes I've gone with my trainer and other times my trainer has spoken with the seller and/or the seller's trainer and I've gone solo when schedules didn't match.

                                      I imagine it's a matter of professionalism. If I were a trainer selling a horse, I wouldn't suggest the potential buyer move if they bought the horse. It would just feel odd to me. I figure if people are happy they will stay where they are. If they aren't happy they will ask questions that will hint around at it.

                                      People come and go as their needs change. If a trainer gets possessive, it's likely to make students feel uncomfortable. By the same token, if a trainer isn't trying, at least in some respects, to help their clients feel valued, then the clients might leave.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        OP I see the point you were trying to make, and please correct me if I have misunderstood. In your view the trainer offering their services your client is unprofessional, which makes you question what other things this trainer might be unprofessional about which may in turn affect the suitability of the horse presented for sale.

                                        Is it unprofessional for a trainer to make an unsolicited approach to another trainer's student?

                                        I am interested in this topic as I have found myself in situations like this and found them difficult to navigate because they always seem to cause So Much Drama.

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