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My Long Not as Sad Story

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  • My Long Not as Sad Story

    I will try to keep this short. I may not be able to do so.

    I bought a young horse from my trainer for a relative. He raised the horse. He was "perfect" for the young owner. I was discouraged from looking at other horses. (I was naive. Do not punish me for this.) I paid a good price for this horse.

    Young horse was "perfect" for a time. He stayed under the trainer's supervision. Then he was ridden by someone who did something wrong. It could have been the trainer's daughter or someone else. I do not need to blame anyone. Somehow the horse was bothered. To keep privacy I will not say what happened. It does not matter.

    The horse is no longer "perfect". No one can get the horse to be "perfect" for more than a year. The trainer tried. Other riders tried. He is not dangerous, but he is not able to do what I bought him to do.

    The trainer wants the horse back. He wants to trade. He does not have anything I want. He says he will buy something to trade me. That is fine. He wants to buy cheap horses that need surgery, or have hoof problems, or roar, or were broodmares, or have crooked legs. That is not fine.

    I am not so naive anymore. I do not trust the trainer as much. I am on a waiting list with someone else. It may be months before I can move.

    I need to decide what to do.

    1. I can tell the trainer I want to sell the horse to someone else. I do not like this option. Horses are not selling well now. The horse may not get a good home. I may not get a good price. If the trainer does not want to sell the horse, the horse will not get sold. I have seen this myself.

    2. I can tell the trainer I want to sell him the horse for nearly what I paid. I think this is fair.

    3. I can find a horse I like and ask the trainer to buy it. I can't do this on my own. If he does not like a horse, he is not kind. I have seen that and been told that by a barn employee. The trainer will have to see the horse, ride the horse, and buy the horse.

    4. I can put the horse with another trainer hoping to fix him. All trainers may say they can fix him. I do not know anyone who I know can fix him.

    Your opinions are wanted. Thank you.
    Last edited by nylonalter; Jun. 19, 2010, 11:24 PM.

  • #2
    I can't offer you advice, but just wanted to say I love how you write! So clear.

    And, I completely believe everything you've said about your trainer -- it is true of many trainers I've seen, that if they don't really want to sell your horse, it doesn't sell. (And then what happens, after months of paying board on the sale horse, is the trainer says, "Your horse is for sale for $50,000. You've been paying board for six months. You want the board payments to stop. I'll buy your horse for $10,000 -- yes, you'll take a loss, but the money going out every month will stop." And then the trainer turns around and sells the horse for $30,000.

    I look forward to hearing the advice others give you.

    Best of luck.
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    • #3
      Without knowing what the horse is doing, it's hard to say whether it might be fixable or not.

      I'll say this ... you are not, BY FAR, the first one to have bought a horse from a trainer, paid too much, and then realized you could have gotten a MUCH better horse for your money. So don't beat yourself up about that. You know what not to do now, right? So learn from that.

      From what you've posted, it doesn't sound like this trainer really has your best interests at heart. And you're right about the market right now ... it's not a good one for sellers, especially if you have a horse with issues. Finding a truly good home for a horse isn't the easiest thing to do, and finding a truly good home for a horse with serious issues becomes quite a bit harder.

      But does this horse have serious issues, or is he just not "perfect" for what you need him to do now? He may well be "perfect" for someone else with different goals/expectations.

      If I were you, I'd see about finding a trainer you can trust to be professional and ethical. Do some asking around, check with your vet and farrier and see if they know of someone.

      Or if the trainer wants the horse back, and you think trainer will treat it properly, sell the horse back to him. No trades ... why would you continue to do business with someone you don't trust to look out for your interests?
      Full-time bargain hunter.


      • #4
        I like option 2 and a dose of well-deserved hard-a$$/"the jig is up" directed at the trainer just to get the conversational ball rolling.

        It sounds like he likes the horse, thinks he can fix it and perhaps sell if for more. Let him. It may be the best deal available for the horse right now.

        I'd ask for near what I paid or a trade to your specs in 90 days. At the end of that, you'll leave, take the horse with you and sell in any way you see fit.

        It sounds like you do need to cut business ties with this trainer. Don't get mad, don't get personal, but really don't put yourself in a situation where the trainer continued to hold you hostage in any way. You're just done. No more, no less. He can do what he wants within the basic set of terms you outline.
        The armchair saddler
        Politically Pro-Cat


        • Original Poster

          Originally posted by onelanerode View Post
          But does this horse have serious issues, or is he just not "perfect" for what you need him to do now? He may well be "perfect" for someone else with different goals/expectations.
          The horse does have serious issues. He should be excused from any competition. He would be "perfect" as a lawnmower. That is not his best use. He can do so much more.

          SMF11 thank you for the compliment. I have to work hard to make my writing understandable.

          I do not know if there is a trainer I can trust. One never knows until one finds differently. Once a youth picked up a poison snake. The snake bit him. The dying youth asked the snake why it bit him. The snake said, "You knew what I was when you picked me up." Are all trainers like this?

          MVP you have given me good ideas. I like the deadline. I can leave when an opening occurs. That will solve all problems.

          Thank you.


          • #6
            I sadly have no advice to offer, however, can so feel your pain.

            I have wasted much money over the past 4 years trying to find the perfect horse and perfect trainer.......

            Each trainer said they could find a perfect match horse, always atrade and $$, switching from hunters to wp, the breed show good ol boys club for sure.

            Finally have super nice horse and have him at home in my yard and am enjoying him without a trainer.

            i have learned go with your gut, so trust what our inner voice is telling you.

            one would hope that getting this horse away from the trainer might improve the issue, maybe some time off and being allowed to be a horse??

            (((HUGS)) it will all work out!


            • #7
              Originally posted by nylonalter View Post
              I do not know if there is a trainer I can trust. One never knows until one finds differently. Once a youth picked up a poison snake. The snake bit him. The dying youth asked the snake why it bit him. The snake said, "You knew what I was when you picked me up." Are all trainers like this?
              No, although in my opinion, most are.

              However, not all are. One way to find them is to see which barns have *fiercely* loyal clients, who've been there a long time (10, 15, 20 years). A friend told me about my trainer, and said the people at the barn "acted like they drank the Koolaid". Having seen many experiences like yours, I told her I"d be suspicious and check it out. Six months later I told my friend "I've drank the Koolaid!" and I haven't look back. Been at the barn 10 years.

              There are a few things to look for: one, my trainer doesn't charge a commission when she buys/sells a horse for you. She just charges for her time ($45/hour). Another thing to look for: what does the trainer do with school horses when they are done? Mine retires them, either at her barn, or at a better situation for them, and if need be *pays to support them*. Another thing to look for: happy horses at the barn. Happy staff, with low turnover.

              My barn is primarily an eventing barn. If you are anywhere near me and would like my trainer's name let me know.

              Agree with the posters that say your trainer doesn't have your best interest at heart, don't do business with him/her. If he can't sell the horse, maybe do research, hopefully find a trainer who's reputable, and move there. Tell that trainer your situation, that you need to sell the horse etc and let them help you. The key, obviously, is finding that honest trainer.
              Follow us on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/peonyvodka/


              • #8
                Originally posted by nylonalter View Post
                I do not know if there is a trainer I can trust. One never knows until one finds differently. Once a youth picked up a poison snake. The snake bit him. The dying youth asked the snake why it bit him. The snake said, "You knew what I was when you picked me up." Are all trainers like this?
                Since most of us are hobbyist we tend to forget that professional trainers need to make money to pay their bills and buying and selling horses is one way they can do that. We should remind ourselves of that if we decide to buy a horse from a trainer. Ethical trainers are careful when they match horses/riders, but sometimes they do make a mistake. After all its their reputation and future earnings on the line so most of them try to be a little careful. The ones that don't...usually end up packing up from one spot and moving to another to start over so SMF11 has the right idea about longetivity. I wouldn't beat myself up about this. My first horse was a total nut job and I'm lucky I survived her...bought her from a horse dealer. Tells you how much I knew back then.

                As far as your question, I also like option 2. Sell the horse outright. I also agree as soon as another opening happens you need to move on. Is there someplace close to your target barn where you can board until there's an opening and then hack over for lessons? I did this with a trainer and it worked out beautifully. The to and from was my warm up and cool down.

                It's hard to have respect for someone after they've misled you the way this one has. I don't know if I would trust buying/trading another horse from them. You already know he only has his own interests at heart.

                Good luck.


                • #9
                  I think it's hard to make any recommendations based on the vague opening post. (Of course I understand why you want to protect everyone's identity, too).

                  But the vagueness poses a problem. For example, you suggest that it was possibly the trainer's daughter who made the horse less than perfect. Well what does that mean? How old is the daughter? Is the trainer still legally responsible for her actions? Why was she working with the horse (at your request or not)? What arrangement did you have with the trainer for training and riding the horse?

                  When you say the horse is no longer perfect, what does that mean? Does it mean the horse is no longer a Grand Prix jumper and is now only suited to be a trailhorse?

                  Was the horse "perfect" for a year after purchase? Was the horse's eventual decline to "imperfection" the result of the direct actions of the trainer or a result of some pre-existing condition that the trainer knew about but didn't disclose?

                  From my point of view (which is essentially worthless), based on the very sketchy first post, this is what I think.

                  The trainer seems to be willing to take the horse back (good) but only on trade (bad) and you're leery of any horse that trainer proposes. I totally understand why.

                  I doubt however that you're going to be able to talk the trainer into buying the original horse back for the original price. (Again this is based on the very sketchy details offered), unless you can prove direct culpability for the horse's current issues.

                  So, if that's the case, that means that you are either:

                  a) stuck with a horse you don't want and won't be able to sell for close to the price you paid;


                  b) you could accept the trade offered by the trainer, try to get the best horse you possibly can out of the deal, then turn around and sell that horse for the most you can;


                  c) you could re-define what you want to do as an equestrian and ride the less-than-perfect horse.

                  Ultimately, depending on the amount of money involved, you may end up consulting a lawyer about your legal options.

                  Good luck.
                  "The formula 'Two and two make five' is not without its attractions." --Dostoevsky


                  • #10
                    The fact that the trainer told you he was willing to buy something to trade to you, tells us right there he is looking again to make a fast buck. Tell him you will save him the trouble and you are happy to trade your horse- for a fat cashiers check for the purchase price.
                    If the trainer's daughter or whoever rode the horse without authorization and caused the problems, you can sue the trainer for negligence resulting in diminished value.
                    "The sea was angry that day, my friends - like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli"


                    • #11
                      I'd take the $$ and separate from the trainer.
                      Somehow my inner ten year old seems to have stolen my chequebook!



                      • #12
                        I smell dirtbag trainer in this story. Sorry!
                        Even duct tape can't fix stupid


                        • #13
                          I dont think Id trust the trainer..at all with anything.

                          Noone has talked about a vet. Is it body problem or mind problem? If body maybe a vet/chiro would help or more turnout would ehlp the mind.

                          Jus sayin.
                          “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” Peter Drucker


                          • #14
                            I'm very surprised that the trainer wants the horse back. If you think it's because he has an emotional investment in the horse, then OK, that's fine. Otherwise, he believes that he is going to be able to resell the horse.
                            So, why does he believe he can resell the horse?
                            Is it possible that the horse can be fixed by the trainer, but is not being fixed by the trainer because he can fix the horse when he gets him back and then flip him for a lot more money?

                            Put another way...who has made the determination that the horse is not suitable for what you want to do? The trainer? Another trainer? A vet?

                            Just something to think about.

                            Make him BUY the horse back if he wants it. Then run, run away.
                            "The mighty oak is a nut who stood its ground"

                            "...you'll never win Olympic gold by shaking a carrot stick at a warmblood..." see u at x


                            • Original Poster

                              Posting trot I do not know what happened. The horse was good for a few months. Then the horse's brain went out. It was very sudden, like a beating. The daughter is still in high school. I do not know if she rode my horse. I do know she rides many training horses. I do not think many owners know that.

                              I understand the trainer needs to make money. Please be honest about it. Take care of customers. Admit you made mistakes.

                              JohnDeere, they have their vet. I do not know if they would let another vet in. If they have something to hide they would not.


                              • Original Poster

                                Stacie this trainer does not train because he loves horses. I think flipping is a good reason to buy him back.

                                If the horse can be fixed and is not being fixed then I have to get angry.


                                • #17
                                  As some people have already pointed out. If the trainer has the money to buy another horse of equal value then they have the money just to buy your horse back at the same price. Why trade? It just leaves room for misunderstanding and interesting accounting.
                                  I would take my horse and leave.
                                  Find someone who has no invested interest in the horse to evaluate him. Then determine if it is worth your money to try and get back your old horse, or to sell at a loss. I guess it depends on the original purchase price and what the next trainer tells you.
                                  Good luck

                                  There could be health issues too. Sometimes you see an abrupt change in personality.


                                  • #18
                                    If he "wants" the horse back badly enough and is willing to trade get something in tangible value that you can sell to get some $ back as soon as possible. Load of hay? Saddle? Which you can immediately turn around and re-sell. That plus some money? You may get some money (and you'll be lucky to get any at this point because he owes you nothing legally) back and quickly without much risk.

                                    There's no way you can prove anything or any one thing went wrong w/the horses training. Could be onset of EPM, or degenerative arthritis or anything that's making him change.

                                    Get out, with something tangible you can get some money for. And don't do business with this trainer again.


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by nylonalter View Post

                                      JohnDeere, they have their vet. I do not know if they would let another vet in. If they have something to hide they would not.
                                      Personally , I would trailer the horse to another vet and have him fully evaluated by a vet with a good reputation for finding physical issues other vets have missed. I would not say a word to the trainer about it. None of his business.

                                      The other possibility is that there is something going on the barn that is frying the horses mind. Feed, turn-out, how he is being handled can all effect them. And you won't know this until you move the horse and see if he gets any better.

                                      On the other hand, if you don't really like the horse, for whatever reason, and the trainer will buy him back, then you can just be done with it and move on.

                                      Is there any chance that the trainer is doing something to the horse to make you want to give him back, just so the trainer can flip him?
                                      "The mighty oak is a nut who stood its ground"

                                      "...you'll never win Olympic gold by shaking a carrot stick at a warmblood..." see u at x


                                      • #20
                                        If the trainer controls your access to other people-- vets, trainers, would be buyers, you need to decide if you know enough to make the decision on you own to take the horse to another pro and give up the idea of selling or trading with this one.

                                        If I had a trainer who wanted by buy back his problem for close to a fair price, I'd be likely to take it. It saves you the hassle and cost of being wrong about anyone's ability to fix or sell the horse better. Of course those pros will do that-- not because they are being dishonest but because they haven't yet seen the problem.

                                        I'm sorry this has happened to you. But not all trainers are thorough crooks. The person who does want to buy back the horse may think he can make a buck. There isn't "beyond normal limits" dishonesty in that so long as you aren't ridiculously lowballed in the process.

                                        And some respected ones do run a "closed barn" where they pick the farriers, vets and sales clients. Not my cup of tea, but some BNTs have published these kinds of rules at their operations.
                                        The armchair saddler
                                        Politically Pro-Cat