This sounds more like buyer's remorse almost. And I also don't see "manipulation" as much as her simply arguing her stance on the matter, with which you happen to disagree.
I guess I would look at it one of two ways. 1) You're paying tuition for a fast-track into her specific discipline/business (breed-specific), or 2) You're wasting time doing something other than what you want to do. If you feel it's become more of Case 2, then $1400 per month is better spent elsewhere. You could probably find yourself a good dressage barn, take 1-2 lessons/week, and clinic with BNTs on a fairly regular basis for that amount.
$1400/mo here could have my horse boarded at a very nice barn and in full training. Frankly for just a bit more I could pull off a well-known A barn in training with show fees on top of it. Basically, it sounds to me like you're pouring a lot of money and time into something you don't like and for people who don't appreciate it. Run.
The reason I asked about prior experience was because my impression was that, prior to starting at Breed Barn, OP didn't have much, if any, experience. It's one thing if she's been a capable worker slaving away for this year or so. It's quite another if she was newer. The barn may have invested a substantial amount of time and effort into getting OP to the point where she actually IS useful, and not in need of supervision and checking up on for the more basic tasks.
Whether that's the case or not, I agree that OP is not being manipulated. The expectations and the rewards were clear up front. It may or may not be fair market value for her time/money, but she certainly isn't being conned into it. If she believes she can get a better deal elsewhere, grow a spine and go get the better deal. Nothing is stopping her. Breed Barn hasn't done anything wrong, except perhaps investing time in someone who had no long-term aspirations for their breed. To be fair, it sounds like OP was pretty clear with them about that point, so it's not like she's done anything wrong either.
1400 keeps coming up but in reality she is actually paying 1600 dollars a month with what she is working off. That is a lot of money for any show team leased horse a month. I have never ever ever seen a part lease and shows once a month cost this much money. I'm guessing this is probably the paint or qh world at this barn and ive really never seen a qh or paint barn cost that much money a month. And to be fair if she is working 20 hrs a week and make 200 discount a month that is 2.50 hour. I've never seen a barn that cheap on their trade offs either. Yes she gets extra riding hours but not lessons, just riding the horse she already pays a part lease for. I believe the op didn't really understand the horse world and is getting taken a bit because she didn't understand.
Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole
I have seen this several times where trainers think they "own" you after being in a work program. You worked AND paid your way. Trainers do not own you, this is simply manipulation to keep you in a spot that benefits them.
Move on, there is so much to experience with horses and different disciplines. Experiencing other horses/trainers/disciplines will make you a more well rounded rider in the long run. Good luck.
For others to say that they put all this time into you and they are probably upset with that IMO is hogwash. You have paid them a lot of money for this training that they are giving you. Their time is being paid for. It's not like they took you on for free and now your dropping them. Move on, people do this all the time. Tell them thank you so much but I really want to pursue dressage and that's where I'm going to go. Just because they had hopes you would ride what they do and keep getting your money for it, well it's business and time to move on if your not happy
Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole
I think it all boils down to the fact that you're not happy. There are times in life to suck it up and tolerate not being happy, but when you're paying $1400 and working 80+ hours a month- that isn't one of them.
Given the current economy, there are some very nice horses available really cheap or free. Buy one, lease one, go to the track and adopt a TB, whatever. Then trundle yourselves over to one of the barns that trains seriously and shows in the actual discipline of your choice...and it sounds like you can pay less than $1400 for the privilege. Look for a job that will pay you actual money. Bartering for everything is complicated and rarely works for both parties, as you've found out. IMO.
I want to say ahead of time that I appreciate the replies. Some people have been angry at me for "wasting the barns time" and other people are angry at the barn for "ripping me off". I think this is a simple case of miscommunication. The barn I am at is a very high quality barn and they're good at what they do--if I left today I would not look back with bitterness. It's not about the money--I think in retrospect of my first post what I was trying to explain was that I didn't want to do this long term. Long term my goals involve dressage and eventing, but in the mean time I was having fun experimenting with different disciplines.
I put a lot of effort into this barn and enthusiasm because I loved horses and wanted to learn about horses no matter what. I feel as though that enthusiasm was a little manipulated (maybe even unintentionally) by the trainer who thought I would change my mind and go into the breed circuits. Maybe she thought there was something I wasn't seeing and if she could get me to really commit and try it I'd see that. But I don't like leading people on and if I had known that's what she thought I would never have committed to the show. I don't want to let the team down and I certainly don't want a trainer investing time in me when she thinks I'm going to be with them for a decade and I'm not. The reason I brought up the money at all was to explain what was really hanging me up about it. I had no issues being a paying client--prior to joining the team I did pay for one lesson a week because I thought it was fair to the barn. I worked off practice time.
It's not "omg I got so ripped off, I can't believe they're charging me that much!" It's that I saw the value in their program despite it being more expensive than others in the area, but I only saw its value when it was a short term thing. Now that the cards have changed in that it is no longer right for me... if that makes sense. But please don't say this is a bad barn or they're malicious or anything because they're not!!!
Originally Posted by red mares
I still can't figure out why you went there to begin with. This barn has an established program and you knew when you signed up that is not what you really wanted to do. Now you're upset that They are upset because you've told them you don't want to play in their sandbox?
No... as I said in prior post I think what's upsetting me is that I was very clear on what I wanted to do long term and told them how long I intended this to go on for and what I was willing to put into it to see if I was a good fit. I said I wasn't interested if it wasn't because _____ is what I wanted to do. They said of course they would agree with all of that, and of course they could help me reach my goals. I think on some level maybe the trainer thought things would change which is why she encouraged it?
I don't think my OP expressed this well enough. Because I'm not bashing this barn. I just feel as though I wasn't listened to when I was making a serious financial decision. I was told x, I agreed on x, and now all of the sudden the plan is Y. It's not about the costs so much as it's about the fact that I said I wanted to do it for a certain amount of time and was as clear as I thought I could be about it. This wasn't one of those situations where I knew about the money and suddenly I couldn't afford it. I knew about the cost, I made the choices necessary to afford that cost and was open by saying that I would be willing to do this for x amount of time.
I can afford $1400-$1500 a month for 2-3 years. Not 5-10. I told them five years from now I wanted to be a full time worker, and they agreed that that would be my plan. Then I found out that there must have been some misunderstanding or assumption that I'd change my mind because they picture me as a client for the next ten years and that's not something I ever agreed to.
I feel sucky because I am now in a position where for the better of both parties I feel obligated to pull out and I never wanted to be in this situation in the first place. I was going to put my all into this breed world and learn a lot and have fun and do some shows. I was ready to do that. I didn't want them to change their game or anything like that, I wanted to be a part of their game. But not on that timeline--I had never even heard of that timeline before I signed the contract and the timeline was not on the contract.
Just leave, but keep in mind that you've essentially wasted a good bit of their time (even though they've been paid) developing you as a rider. Training barns are what they are. Just because you don't fit their mold, doesn't mean that they have to bend over backward to accomodate you.
I could take my saddleseat self over to Joe Fargis. I'm sure I'd learn a lot from him and some things would help my horse. But I wouldn't expect him to alter his show schedule or training program to accomodate my gaited horse.
When did I ever say I expected them to alter anything? I didn't. It isn't about not fitting their mold. This was something I wanted to do short term and I was clear about that from the get go. I feel as though it's a miscommunication on both ends.
Originally Posted by Renae
The OP has said she is working 18-20 hours a week (and OP are you counting the time you are spending on a horse either in a lesson or riding as work?). That is not really working your butt off, that is working a few hours to put a dent in your bill.
18-20 hours a week not including any time in the saddle. I don't get paid to ride. I'm not sure why you would assume I meant otherwise?
One other thing I would like to mention to the OP: barn owners/managers may be more likely to take you seriously if you apply for a job rather than go around looking to barter work for lessons. You said it took you over a year to find a barn that would let you barter work for lessons, and most barns hesitate at doing that because frankly it often results in having a starry eyed youngster under foot who really isn't getting much work done.
This is some good input. I did both.
Originally Posted by AllWeatherGal
My guess is that you feel manipulated because you want full support. Sometimes it just doesn't work that way. But this is YOUR future and YOUR career. I devoted too many years and WAY too much money to someone whose focus was on her own best interest at the expense of mine (and my horse). You can choose to stay put and risk building a lot of resentment if things don't work out as she promises or risk flailing on your own until you find a good path. I would choose the 2nd.
What does your husband say? He seems to be a partner in your venture, whichever way you go.
And yes, I agree with everyone who says that it doesn't sound like you're getting a good value for your money. I thought working students were given housing, a small stipend, discount on boarding, and lessons ... I think you'd do better to work for free than the situation you have now where you essentially pay (a lot) to work.
I think this post does sum up how I feel really well. I don't feel ripped off I just feel as though I'm not getting the value I thought I would. I wouldn't say they're a bad barn like other people have tried to imply or that they're evil but I do feel emotionally cheated because I get along well with these people otherwise and I feel as though that has gotten in the way of being clear.
My husband is supportive of whatever I do. He is for me quitting the team even if I don't quit the barn just yet. I think I was happier with the barn before I joined a team and became a "big client". I enjoyed coming in to work just for the work, it was fun. Being a client sort of changed the ball game and complicated things way too much. Not that I wouldn't pay a trainer in the future--it's just that I'd prefer it to be a clear cut deal with no emotions involved next time.
Originally Posted by HungarianHippo
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?
This has given me a lot to think about, thank you.
Originally Posted by Valentina_32926
You are paying for services and are unhappy with what you are receiving for that money. I am NOT saying it's not worth the values BUT I am saying 'you want a pionk dress and you're getting a red dress'.
Find a horse that does at least 2nd level dressage. Then ask the barn where the horse curretnyl resides if they have a trainer OR if you can bring in a trainer to learn what you want to learn.
Then give 30 days notice to old barn and new barn, and after 30 days make the switch. Make certain that when you provide you're written notice you detail "this is what I am paying for the final 30 days and what I expect to receive for that money. I am providing this in writing so that there is no mis-communication between us since I have enjoyed my learning experience at your barn, and may some day wish to come back to your barn. Thank you again for such a positive experience:.
You do not want to burn bridges, especially as it sounds like this trainer really knows what they are doing (and you may find that others in the area do not).
I agree with this post. Thank-you for understanding. I didn't realize a written detail was so important and that is what I believe I will do. I hope to prevent any further miscommunication.
Originally Posted by LochNessD
I'm curious, OP. Did you have any horse experience before working at this barn? If so, what kind and how much?
Yes. I had riding lessons and I showed when I was a little girl (though I took a long break from showing and just kept riding). I had a volunteer position at a horse rescue in high school and I pretty much lived at that rescue. I was always there, haha. I stopped riding when I went into college (no money and no college team) and started again after college.
I moved to a new state when my husband (at the time, fiance) got a new job. I couldn't find any horse related jobs that I qualified for (a lot of people were just looking at show experience which I hadn't done in almost a decade). I just took to taking lessons and patiently looking--I needed something, even a volunteer position to get references. Then I found this barn. It wasn't paid but it was something, and I already knew how to do most of the work (raking arenas, mucking stalls, prepping horses, applying medicine, etc). And I really appreciate that they gave me a chance because for me I didn't care what I did or who I was with, I just wanted to be around horses and around a barn. I had a goal in mind and I found being with this barn to be a beautiful experience that I would look back fondly on.
I think even if I left now, and went to another barn, I'd still look back on it fondly. I have caught myself making assumptions about people in the past and know how easy it is to assume somebody is going to change their mind and that's what I think happened with the barn. They saw how eager I was to learn and mistook it, they assumed that I would change my mind about the breed industry and stick with them. And the reason I feel it wasn't malicious is because my trainer up until a decade ago spent many years as a dressage instructor. She lived and breathed for dressage, but found this place and eventually let go of it. Maybe she thought I would be the same? It's just really sad that I wasn't and that I hadn't realized I was giving them false hope by trying out the team for a few years.
i would add that you seem to be placing too much importance on the emotional aspects of this situation.
I agree. Many sentiments in your post (where you describe bring manipulated, feeling irritated, being conned, feeling emotional pressure or indoctrination, and being guilt tripped) relate to feelings about the person trying to encourage you to stay.
This is business. She makes money off you and you buy her services. If you don't like it, leave. If you feel you can only get your training there, change your outlook and appreciate what you can get out of it, and be clear, but unemotional, with the trainer about what services you won't be buying. I'd be irritated with a continued hard sell too, but I wouldn't put up with it for long!
You're not dating the trainer (I hope!) so don't add in emotions where there should be none, aside from friendly regard if you appreciate her help.