I'm an independent instructor. I use horses owned by a woman who also teaches lessons, trains, does trail rides, etc. She gets half the lesson fee for letting me use her horses.
I'm slowly seeing more and more areas where she and I don't exactly see eye to eye.
1: No helmets. I both require and provide helmets for my beginner students. I feel it's my responsibility as the professional. She says "I tell the parents that if they want their kid to wear a helmet, they can get one"
2: No insurance. When I asked if I could be added on to her insurance policy, I found out she didn't have one... So I bought my own.
3: Spurs on beginners. She regularly puts spurs on very beginner students. Kids and adults alike.
4: Rough with the horses. I have seen some awful horsemanship. Beating a horse with a piece of wood someone broke off out of the barn. Kicking in the ribs from the ground for spooking. Just some bad stuff. The more I talk to people in the horse community, the more I find that she is notorious for how rough she is with her horses.
5: Collection. Her idea of collection is holding a horses head in position with a pretty severe curb bit, with a see-saw hand motion.
6: Language. There have been many times when I've been in the middle of a lesson and she's cussing like a sailor, or talking about crude stuff. She cusses while teaching lessons- to 5 year olds. Or loud, vulgar music playing at the barn.
7: Treatment of her help. She is so, incredibly rude to her 'volunteers', who do all the feeding, cleaning, and even tack up all the horses she rides or teaches lessons on. She will call them useless even though they care for all of her horses and work really hard for her.
I don't have any horses right now. I also have students who have bought multiple lessons- one will be taking lessons with me until May. My hands are kind of tied. I don't know what to do.
I will say, I feel she's been very generous in allowing me to teach lessons with her horses. She also lets me ride her horses as much as I want. She's always saying how thankful she is that her horses are being ridden by an experienced rider. I do go out and help clean stalls as much as I possibly can. I have made her about $1000 in lessons in the last 4 months.
However... I fear I have actually lost clients because of the reasons listed above. I think I have even lost clients when they find out I work with her. I also have several students who took lessons with her in the past and started taking lessons with me recently, not knowing I work with her. One of my students took 1 lesson with her a while back and she had her lope on the first lesson. This same student took 10 lessons with me before I felt I had prepared her with enough trotting and position work to lope.
So, thanks for reading my novel. Am I out of line? What are my options? Do I just keep my mouth shut and continue until I can afford my own horse? Should I stop taking new lessons until I can switch barns?