I've been going back and forth for literally over a year now on whether or not to switch barns. I've been at the same barn with the same trainer for approximately seven years now. In the beginning, it was great. My trainer was insightful and honest and care was fabulous. Now....the care is still great (I can't complain about that), but there have been a lot of little things that are now adding up to be a big problem for me and I don't know what to do. I'm very upset.
For the last year or so, the quality of the lessons has diminished for me. I feel like I'm invisible when I ride in my lessons. For awhile, I felt like I, an adult amateur with confidence issues over fences, was being passed over for the talented juniors with no confidence issues who were also interested in showing. I just sort of accepted my fate. I considered talking to her about my feelings, but there NEVER seems to be a good time to speak with her. In addition to the above, lately she has begun to talk to people not lessoning during my lessons, so I feel even more ignored. Plus, her daughter has recently begun to ride and a good portion of the lessons is taken up by her daughter jumping jumps and riding recklessly in the ring while the boarders are supposed to be lessoning. Specifically, I often have to pull up my horse and just stand in the middle of the ring in order to prevent a crash as the child seems to close her eyes and ride. She is willfully disobediant when told not to do something, runs into horses, jumps jumps backwards, switches directions when everyone in the lesson is supposed to go the same direction, etc. Thus, the lessons have sort of become useless for me in many ways.
Next, I have another concern with my trainer's child. The child often grabs items from my tack box without asking and does not put them back. In fact, about two months ago, the child took my car keys out of my tack box and would not give them back. I and the child's grandmother (BM) had to corner her and yank the keys out of her hands. I have now started to hide my car keys. When I have discussed the situation with my trainer, I was informed that there was nothing she could do and I just needed to watch my stuff better. The child has done things like fall on the ground, crawl UNDERNEATH my horse, and scream and kick when she is having a tantrum or grab a pair of scissors (from where? who knows...) and attempt to cut his tail, fur, whiskers, etc. (I have been present and able to stop her before this has happened). Fortunately, my horse is very good with children and remains calm, but there is almost nothing I can do now. When I attempt to reprimand this child myself since the BM and my trainer are basically useless, I am told by the child that she is the trainer's daughter and she "owns the barn" and can do what she wants. This child is only 7 years old...I'm frightened of what she'll do when she becomes older and stronger.
In addition, I am being pressured to spend money on shows and clinics. It's not that I don't want to attend clinics or shows, but the barn has recently raised board due to the drought (which I totally understand) and right now, I just don't have the extra money needed to participate in such activities. When I explain to my trainer why I cannot attend a clinic/show, I'm told "Oh you have enough money. The clinic/show is only XXX amount of money." This behavior is doubly bizarre as I've never been that into showing before anyways.
Lastly, and I feel this is the final straw, I was recently informed by my trainer that I am no longer to allow my god-daughter to groom my horse. I recently had someone out to visit my horse (a coworker of mine) who fell off my horse. My coworker was wearing a helmet and had signed a liability waiver. She was not hurt, except for some bruises. Initially, my trainer did not want me allowing anyone to ride my horse. I completely understood this request as her facility could be potentially sued by an insurance company. However, (and maybe this is just me) I think it's a little over the top to not allow my god-daughter to groom my horse. She has groomed him on many, many occasions without any incident whatsoever. She wears a helmet (I always require anyone working around my horse to wear a helmet because I'm paranoid), even though she is not riding, and grooms him only in my presence. My trainer told me the reason she doesn't want my god-daughter to groom is because she has cerebral palsy and if my god-daughter wants to be around horses, she should take lessons. My god-daughter's cerebral palsy is exceptionally mild and does not hinder her ability to perform gross/fine motor activities and right now her family does not have the money to support her horsey habit. So, I let her groom my horse, which she loves, and give him treats. I'm upset that she will no longer be able to do that.
So, help! If you were me, would you stay or would you go?
It sounds to me like you know you should leave and you just want someone to tell you its ok..so I will tell you, its ok to leave. I also feel that in the future you need to speak up about issues that are bothering you while they are small, and not wait until the situation has become untenable for you.
You seem very unhappy, I would move. Unless you are allowed to use outside trainers. But even then this demon child would still steal your car keys, etc.. Which btw, is totally unacceptable. I would be LIVID that no one is making this child behave. If that was my kid, I would have "worn her out" as my dad used to say, if you know what I mean. In front of everyone. My son is in the barn with me every day. He will be one on saturday, so he does not do anything like that, but I am smart enough to know that clients come to the barn to get away from stress, not deal with your ill behaved children!! That would totally piss me off!
I have to ask... does the trainer's daughter do this to anyone else, or has she chosen to make you her special victim? Not that it matters either way; you should LEAVE. I just continue to be amazed by how people let their children treat adults and clients and wonder if this has become an issue with others at the barn as well.
My impression, both from your post and how long you have put up with this, is that you tend to be kind and circumspect and perhaps not the most outspoken person. None of that is bad, but there comes a point when you have to get angry on your own behalf and do something about the ridiculousness. Just imagine what that child could get up to with your horse when you aren't there to intervene.
In addition to the above, lately she has begun to talk to people not lessoning during my lessons, so I feel even more ignored. Plus, her daughter has recently begun to ride and a good portion of the lessons is taken up by her daughter ... riding recklessly in the ring while the boarders are supposed to be lessoning.
... I and the child's grandmother (BM) had to corner her and yank the keys out of her hands. ... I was informed that there was nothing she could do and I just needed to watch my stuff better. The child has done things like fall on the ground, crawl UNDERNEATH my horse, and scream and kick when she is having a tantrum or grab a pair of scissors (from where? who knows...) and attempt to cut his tail, fur, whiskers, etc.
Flee. Flee now, while you can. Like someone else said, this kid is a lawsuit waiting to happen. What if your horse accidentally steps on her or knocks her over? Sounds like the trainer wouldn't hesitate to sue you, because Pookie can do no wrong.
Tomorrow is the 31st. Get out now. After you have safely moved your horse and your belongings then tell the trainer and BO why. That is total nonsense. Good Luck
Totally agree. Again. This is a situation where I would not give 30 days THEN move the horse.... no way no how. What is scary is the mom doesn't seem to care what the child does.... so what if one day she DOES cut his tail off? or whatever? Mom won't care... UGH.
Oh gosh, the issues with the child are more than enough to leave over. There's something wrong...that is not normal behavior for 7 year old, they generally have more self control than that at that age. And the trainer shrugging the behavior off is pretty scary...for the kid as much as anyone else. Whatever their issues are you and your horse shouldn't have to suffer for it. I'd certainly get out.
Wow. I would leave just do to the owner's child. That is a walking lawsuit.
As for not letting others ride or groom your horse. Really? The rule at our place is you come on the property you sign a release and you follow all barn rules. It is the responsability of the person you are visiting with to make sure you follow those rules. Other then that, you pay to have your horse there why would you pay to have your horse someplace you can't have others come?