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  1. #1

    Default Feeling manipulated by trainer.

    I preface this with saying that my barn has been very supportive of me over the years. They took me in and let me work in exchange for extra lessons when no other barn in my area would (and I spent over a year searching). I'm really grateful to them, but I'm starting to have... doubts.

    This is a high level barn that specializes in one particular breed. I am not interested in showing that breed or riding under that discipline. I have learned a ton under the trainers and have drastically improved my riding. They really know what they're doing. Over the past year and a half I have been here I have taken various lessons at other barns in the area to get a feel for what they also have to offer and many of them are not as educated.

    Here's the thing, as educated as this barn is, they can't give me what I want. they can make me a great rider but I won't be showing in the circuits I want to show in unless I go it alone, and one of their requirements is that all horses in their barn be of a specific breed which I am also not interested in.

    I joined the show team rather stupidly six months back and have been working in exchange for extra lessons, working off some of my lease, and education on the spot about various horse care. I have a lot to learn still. I've been heavily involved in the barn and I'm supposed to start showing next summer. But as much as I appreciate the education... I feel like I'm being pressured into this world that I want no part in.

    When I told my trainer that I was thinking about going after another discipline she was disappointed and guilt tripped me. I mentioned that while I love being here I think it would be better for my equestrian career if I actually got experience in a barn that worked the kinds of horses I wanted to work with. She said that I might be surprised and end up changing my mind and pursuing this career instead. They use classical dressage in their training but they don't show it (the breed's show doesn't even have a dressage class) and I want to get experience showing it.

    I tried to explain that I'd been doing a lot of research online about disciplines but got shut down. I was told I would be missing a huge opportunity if I left because other barns wouldn't give me the same chance that they would or the same opportunity. And while part of me agrees (I've tried to find working student positions to no avail in the discipline I prefer) part of me is irritated because I feel as though I'm just being conned into giving them more money. After working off stuff, I pay $1400 a month for the team program. It's just too much money and I don't want to afford to pay it forever. But the trainer cannot understand that and is putting emotional pressure on me.

    I don't like it. I know I can't get the same "education" elsewhere but I also don't want to work somewhere that tries to indoctrinate me into stuff. My goal is to be a horse trainer and I just don't want to be a part of the discipline world that my barn is a part of.

    Any advice on what to do???



  2. #2
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    Of course you are allowed to own whatever horse you'd like and ride any discipline you'd like.

    But. Your barn has sunk a lot of time and training into you. I'm sure they thought you were on board with their program and ideals since you have spent much time working for and with them. You even joined the show team, knowing what that meant.

    I wonder if your trainer wasn't so much guilt tripping you but just plain shocked. I know if I had made the concession and let someone work off lessons and partial leases, I'd be floored to suddenly find I'd sunk that time and effort and financial loss (yes you were working but it's still a loss) into someone who had little interest in what is very clearly (and has always been very clearly) my tenets and program.

    If you want to move on to something else, do so. You deserve to be doing what you want to do. But from what I've read here, I don't see pressure. I see a disappointed trainer who thought you were on board with what has been since the day you showed up.
    "Aye God, Woodrow..."


    11 members found this post helpful.

  3. #3
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    Nov. 4, 2012
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    Quote Originally Posted by Long Spot View Post
    Of course you are allowed to own whatever horse you'd like and ride any discipline you'd like.

    But. Your barn has sunk a lot of time and training into you. I'm sure they thought you were on board with their program and ideals since you have spent much time working for and with them. You even joined the show team, knowing what that meant.

    I wonder if your trainer wasn't so much guilt tripping you but just plain shocked. I know if I had made the concession and let someone work off lessons and partial leases, I'd be floored to suddenly find I'd sunk that time and effort and financial loss (yes you were working but it's still a loss) into someone who had little interest in what is very clearly (and has always been very clearly) my tenets and program.

    If you want to move on to something else, do so. You deserve to be doing what you want to do. But from what I've read here, I don't see pressure. I see a disappointed trainer who thought you were on board with what has been since the day you showed up.
    The thing is that I have been clear that I don't want to work with that breed in the long run since I got there. We had agreed that I was using the training program to better myself as an equestrian and then apply that knowledge in other disciplines since I'm not a one-breed kind of gal. We had thought of and talked about a three year plan. That three year plan involved learning everything I could and then moving on and applying it in the dressage ring at a barn that actually shows dressage. She knew this. But for some reason when I brought up that I was thinking about doing it sooner than three years she was shocked. I was always open about what I wanted to do. I wanted to join the show team to get show experience and it's going to be helpful for me in finding a job.

    But for some reason I guess my trainer convinced herself that I would change my mind. I don't know. I've been mucking stalls, helping give lessons to clients, exercising horses, hand walking injured/lame horses, teaching summer horse camp, keeping the place and tack spotless, etc. In exchange I got a $200 discount per month and extra riding time every day I come in. I've been told by friends in the equine industry that I've been getting ripped off with how much I pay per month for so little and on some level it is true. I get torn because I don't want to leave yet. I just want to prepare for someday moving on. I like being in the space etc. But as much as I like their program (despite disagreeing with the breed specialty) I cannot afford to keep paying this much money every month indefinitely. That's why I agreed to a three year plan. It's not that there isn't money there, it's that I am living on a tight budget for an education (education meaning I'm treating this whole working student thing as college) and I expect that education to end (i.e. graduating and moving on to the next step).

    And the trainer expects me to just keep paying it when I've been very clear about that fact. I like being part of the program but what I really need is a job. Her plan would result me not getting a real, paid job for another 5+ years which is completely unrealistic. By paid I mean even if it's just a groom. Even if it's a minimum wage job or a job that is part wages and part discount on boarding. I want to be able to really get my foot in the door of the horse world. I know I won't be a trainer for a long, long time, but that doesn't mean I have to be a student.



  4. #4
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    That sounds crazy to me. Why would you be teaching lessons in a discipline you don't want to participate in? I think you owe it to the barn to move on.


    2 members found this post helpful.

  5. #5
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    I read less an issue of manipulation and more an issue with the fit of this particular program. I can't say whether you're ripped off or not without knowing more (how many hours you put in versus what you get for it). But I think that's not really the point. I think you've simply outgrown the program as it's not really where you want to be long-term. That's ok. I would thank them profusely for all their help, maybe buy your trainer a parting gift, and move on. Since this program was working for you for awhile, I would try to focus on the positive and maintain good ties with this trainer. I would give ample notice and ask her what she needs to make it as easy as possible. In short, leave on good terms.
    All the best.
    Born under a rock and owned by beasts!


    1 members found this post helpful.

  6. #6
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    Nov. 4, 2012
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    Quote Originally Posted by Laurierace View Post
    That sounds crazy to me. Why would you be teaching lessons in a discipline you don't want to participate in? I think you owe it to the barn to move on.
    I don't think I've explained it well enough then. So this is a barn that specializes in a specific horse breed that is commonly used in a discipline I don't care for. This barn however is all around and doesn't just focus on what the breed is typically used for. They use classical dressage methods for teaching (something I AM interested in doing) but they don't show classical dressage because that isn't even a class in the breed shows. I'm not teaching a discipline I'm not interested in. I'm just teaching people to ride horses.

    It's the breed show thing I'm opposed to, not necessarily their discipline specialty because they're an all around barn and that's why I chose them.



  7. #7
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    Nov. 4, 2012
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    Quote Originally Posted by ako View Post
    I read less an issue of manipulation and more an issue with the fit of this particular program. I can't say whether you're ripped off or not without knowing more (how many hours you put in versus what you get for it). But I think that's not really the point. I think you've simply outgrown the program as it's not really where you want to be long-term. That's ok. I would thank them profusely for all their help, maybe buy your trainer a parting gift, and move on. Since this program was working for you for awhile, I would try to focus on the positive and maintain good ties with this trainer. I would give ample notice and ask her what she needs to make it as easy as possible. In short, leave on good terms.
    All the best.
    This does make sense to me. I guess the reason I feel manipulated is because I'm being told that I'll never find a place as good as that place etc etc and I'm shot down or not taken seriously when I talk about doing what I want to do in the future. I started paying for the show program because the trainer told me she would help me accomplish all of my goals, including the ones that involved not showing that particular breed and said they would use this breed to prepare me for the horse world. They said I'd be doing all this great stuff for what i'm interested in and six months later now I'm under hard core pressure to drop those desires. I wouldn't have signed into the program if I knew this would happen.

    I don't want to leave on bad terms at all I just feel like I trusted and had a relationship with my trainer and now we don't see eye to eye anymore. I wasn't even planning on leaving until after the next show season because I want to keep training with them for now, but now I'm not so sure I should even stay that long because of how they keep telling me I'm going to change my mind. I'm not. I have been clear and consistent.

    I work about 20 hours a week for them. I think I can't stress enough that I don't want to leave yet and it caught me totally off guard the way my trainer reacted to when was talking about leaving after the show season next year. I expected her to talk about just waiting a little longer for the three year plan but instead she was ignoring my three year plan and talking about five, six, seven, ten years from now and how the want me on it long term. But if we have such a difference in ideas of where this is going to go, maybe I should leave instead of letting them get their hopes up again. I don't know. It's almost like I'm saying short term and they are letting it go in one ear and out the other.



  8. #8
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    Aug. 22, 2006
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    1. How many hours do you work "on the clock" per your arrangement per week?
    2. What does the $1400 you pay per month include?

    In expensive SE PA horse country 1400/mo would get you top of the line A circuit boarding with an indoor arena, swanky facilities and a part if not full lease depending on the horse. Or full lease plus board and lessons at a quality local barn.

    If you were a true working student you shouldn't have such exorbitant costs at the end of the month, maybe show fees or lease fees only. Something sounds like it doesn't quite add up but more info is needed.
    Last edited by tua37516; Nov. 7, 2012 at 04:52 PM. Reason: typo


    4 members found this post helpful.

  9. #9
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    Nov. 4, 2012
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    Quote Originally Posted by tua37516 View Post
    1. How many hours do you work "on the clock" per your arrangement per week?
    2. What does the $1400 you pay per month include?

    In expensive SE PA horse country 1400/mo would get you top of the line A circuit boarding with an indoor arena, swanky facilities and a part if not full lease depending on the horse. Or full lease plus board and lessons at a quality local barn.

    If you were a true working student you shouldn't have such exorbitant costs at the end of the month, maybe show fees or lease fees only. Something sounds like it doesn't quite add up but more info is needed.
    My arrangement is for me to work 18 hours a week on the clock, plus covering for a lesson when needed and teaching one dedicated lesson a week. I am allowed to work extra days, some on the clock and others off depending on whether or not I go over 25 hours. I'm a client that is part of a working student program.

    $1400 includes:
    - 1x semi-private lesson a week.
    - 1x team lesson a week.
    - half lease (it's treated as a full lease for me since I free-ride 4-5 days a week)
    - covered arena
    - once a month overnight intensive where there is 6 hours of riding

    When you own your own horse the program goes up by several hundred a month and includes boarding and "training" (though this is sometimes only just 45 minutes on a lunge line). Show fees are not included, neither are hauling fees, blanket washing costs extra, etc. Stalls are cleaned once a day and there is no turnout in the winter since the paddocks get too muddy.

    I work off a extra lesson per week as well as the cost of the full lease. They said I can't work off any of the program including board and can only work off extra stuff.

    Where I live the average cost of boarding is $750/mo for a much nicer facility than the one I ride at. Board here is $1200 a month (full lease is $900). There is another barn in the area that has $1200 a month board and that barn is much larger, with a full jumping out door arena, year round turn out, larger stalls, a heated indoor arena, a hot walker, a round pen, trails etc. The lesson costs are on par with the costs of the area.

    One working student job I interviewed for last year in the area was $600 a month pay before taxes, 40% off board and daily riding time with the trainer (though not a dedicate lesson guaranteed). It also covered housing which is partially why I didn't take the position. It required living on the property and I live with my husband and have no intention of moving. They were not A-circuit.



  10. #10
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    20 hours each week is a lot of work to still owe $1400 each month.
    They clearly want to keep you, either because you're great and they like you, because the deal is great for them, or both. If it's because you're great, then I would take that as a compliment! It just really doesn't sound as if the situation is so great for you anymore.
    Born under a rock and owned by beasts!


    1 members found this post helpful.

  11. #11
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    Aug. 22, 2006
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    Full lease is $900/month? Does this include board? Honestly though I don't think this is a good deal for you. Is the horse you are leasing super extra wonderful FANCY? Because for $100 more a month you can lease a proven bombproof A rated Zone champion: http://www.equine.com/horses-for-sal...d-2409188.html

    The working student position you mentioned at the end of your post sounds typical of the industry and should include: free supervised riding time (maybe not full lessons but you will ride for trainer and they will oversee and instruct when needed), some pay, and often includes housing. Board is frequently offered at a discounted rate. You should be working hours at an agreed upon rate and the opportunity to barter for additional hours to cover costs outside of the agreement such as showing are frequently available.



  12. #12
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    If you figure $10/hr you are really paying $2200/month for a lease, one private and one group lesson per week. And you really just want to do dressage? I can't imagine a dressage barn that would not be happy to accommodate you..... Heck, I do eventing but for $1400/month you could ride my solid 2nd level horse, take lessons and I'd take you to whatever d**n shows you wanted.... LOL....

    Jennifer


    6 members found this post helpful.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThirdCharm View Post
    If you figure $10/hr you are really paying $2200/month for a lease, one private and one group lesson per week. And you really just want to do dressage? I can't imagine a dressage barn that would not be happy to accommodate you..... Heck, I do eventing but for $1400/month you could ride my solid 2nd level horse, take lessons and I'd take you to whatever d**n shows you wanted.... LOL....

    Jennifer
    This is kind of what I was getting at. My advice... RUN... to someone who appreciates your hard work and dedication!



  14. #14
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    Wow. That is a boatload of money and time for something that isn't what YOU want to do. Get out! Spend that money at a dressage barn if that's what you really want to learn.

    The reason the trainer is upset you're leaving is because she's making a TON of money off of you.


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  15. #15
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    Seconded everyone who thinks you're spending too much. RUN. You're allowing yourself to be financially taken advantage of.


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  16. #16
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    i would add that you seem to be placing too much importance on the emotional aspects of this situation. When you do that, you'll remain vulnerable to manipulation, if that's what's happening, and it's hard to make good objective decisions about what's really best for YOU. It's quite possible that she truly believes that the other barns in the area are not as high quality (kinda sounds like you think so too) and she's saying that because she really cares about you and helping you reach your potential. Or, maybe she just cares about the potential income you represent. Even if that's the case, all she is guilty of is being a businesswoman. It is smart business to keep your good-paying customers. Now it's your turn to be business-like, and decide whether the arrangement there is right for you--without considering the emotional aspects of guilt, potential manipulation, sense of obligation, etc. Doesn't sound like it's a good fit anymore.

    BUT, it's quite possible you'll have to compromise on your goals or willingness to relocate, if there aren't any other local barns good enough to further your career. And this begs the question--is there a market in your area for a trainer like you? if there's not already an active scene in your chosen discipline, with customers willing to pay for a high quality trainer in that discipline, are you sure you have a good business plan to begin with?


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  17. #17
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    Apr. 6, 2006
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    Plainview, MN
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    You don't sound happy. Give two weeks notice, don't cause a fuss, politely leave. No need to make a big deal about it, leave telling the customers to the barn.

    Do realize that to find a working student or entry level position in a specific discipline you will likely have to move. Although a lot of barns would rather pay someone and have them just do their work rather than have an unpaid working student who expects to be taught about everything. Also a true working student, serious about making this their profession, will be working far, far, far more than 20 hours a week.



  18. #18
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    Jun. 21, 2009
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    Well... honestly... The 'breed' business is often a Business. Many, many, many horse operations are not money makers. You are married, which means that maybe you don't have to actually totally support yourself 100%, but I don't know all the details on that. You sound pretty young, too.

    What I do know, is that MAYBE you are being offered an education in something that really has value. So what if, 5 years from now, you train horses in 'the breed' for $, but keep your own horse/s to compete how you want to, on the side.

    Think of it this way. When someone wants to be a doctor, they go through lots of years (maybe 12-14) of really not so fun schooling before they get anywhere NEAR doing 'what they want.' And even people who go to school to learn 'what they want' that in no way means they will eventually earn a living doing 'what they want.'

    If this farm's program could seriously have you on track to be a pro horse trainer in 5 years, and that is what you want to do. Then put in your time for that. Then in 5 years, you will be in a better position to 'do what you want.'

    It is very unlikely that you WANT to be a minimum wage groom from now until you retire/die. And if you work as a minimum wage groom, you will likely be working until you drop dead in the barn aisle.....

    If this barn has a solid business, and they are planning on bringing you into that, then you maybe have not such a bad deal here.



  19. #19
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    Sep. 29, 2003
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    Quote Originally Posted by showhorsegallery View Post
    Seconded everyone who thinks you're spending too much. RUN. You're allowing yourself to be financially taken advantage of.
    This, a thousand times over. If you can give us a vague idea of location, OP, perhaps members on her can make recommendations. Here in NOVA, in expensive horse country, for $1400 you can find a solid, though perhaps not tippy-top level, program which includes full board and training for that price. Give your notice, take a month to explore other local barns and pick up a cheap prospect for the cost of what you're paying to be part of a "show team" you don't participate in. Then go to a barn with a program you want to be a part of. What you're paying right now versus what you're getting is ridiculous.



  20. #20
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    You're working your butt off and paying outrageous amounts? That seems like an incredible deal for the trainer! No wonder she doesn't want you to leave.


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