Be honest with your trainer - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 36 Old 10-30-2010, 10:23 PM Thread Starter
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Be honest with your trainer

Some recent events have gotten me a little wary of the horses I take from people so I thought I would post my thoughts on the honesty of my clients sometimes. Now I don't know if they intentionally lie or if they just don't think certain things are very big issues but it seems like the horse they tell me about on the phone is not the one they drop off in my yard. I have had two horses that were so spooky that I had to rope them to catch them the next day. The owners described them as a little hard to catch. I had one horse that couldn't stand tied for 15 minutes without trying to hang back and break something and the owners said he might pull back when you pick up his feet. One horse that hadn't had her feet handled much would jerk her foot out of my hands and try to stomp it on my foot (she only wieghed 1500lbs). I've had "pretty stout" horses that were "almost 15 hands" show up reaching for 14 hands and 800 lbs. I am 6'8". Do you have any idea how difficult it is to properly cue a horse that it technically a pony? Pretty darn hard.

I don't turn down horses. I can't afford to and I think it's a bad habit to get into. All the horses listed above went home happy and well behaved but it would have been much easier on me and the horse and ultimately the owner if they would have either told the truth or said nothing. The horse won't lie for you. Within the first hour of the first ride I had alot of these horses figured out but alot can happen in that first hour that sets the tone for the next month.

So the point of all this ranting is to encourage those of you who are sending your horse to a trainer to be upfront with what you know about the horse and don't be afraid to tell the guy just how bad your horse is. If the trainer can't or won't be able to handle it then it is best you find out before you write the check.

There's nothing like the Rockies in the springtime... Nothing like the freedom in the air... And there ain't nothing better than draggin calves to the fire and there's nothing like the smell of burning hair. -Brenn Hill
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post #2 of 36 Old 10-31-2010, 12:35 AM
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Exactly. I know the feeling Kevin (though I don't have a problem with smaller horses LOL).

Always remember that feeling of looking at a big, open country over the ears of a good horse, seeing a new trail unwind ahead of you, and that ever-spectacular view from the top of the ridge!!! Follow my training blog: http://robertsontraining.blogspot.com/
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post #3 of 36 Old 10-31-2010, 04:07 AM
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Kevin…in my opinion, it's not a bad habit to get into…it's not a bad thing to work with horses you want to work with...here's why I say this…

1. Owner's don't pay for damage done to you or your facility by their horse once you've accepted the horse for training.

2. It takes more time, effort and risk to re-train/undo/"fix" a problem horse than it does one that needs tuning, finishing or to start one from scratch.

3. Working with the same type of problem horses won't make you a better trainer…working with better horses will. Fixing problems isn't the same as teaching a horse how to give it's personal best. Better horses means better money. And you can't accept a good horse if your barn is full of problem ones because you don't turn down horses.

Re: Owners - they'll tell you what THEY have a problem with and it will seldom be what the problem really is…if they knew what the problem was and how to handle it, there wouldn't be a need to come to you in the first place. Owners do what I call '"creative omission" - they'll tell you enough so that you'll understand the horse needs work, but not enough to scare you off…especially if you are priced right and have an opening!

What you might think about doing is evaluate potential horses, for a fee, upfront, then determine whether or not you'll take them in for training and what it'll cost the owner if you do. That way you'll get to see how the horse behaves when he's "at home", what "at home" consists of and have the owner handy which saves on phone tag later. IOW, do your "first hour, first ride" there - for a fee - in front of the owner.

Just my .02 cents worth on the subject.

Good luck!
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post #4 of 36 Old 10-31-2010, 06:53 AM
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I feel your frustration, I really do. I wonder if these people think you might not notice if they don't tell you? Or if their other horses must be 100x worse! I have a policy of never giving credit to what anyone tells me about a horse. I make my own judgements on the horse, same as I do for people :)

I treat all unknown horses as if they are unhandled crazy loonatics until they prove to me otherwise, but the owners I will never trust as far as I can throw 'em!

Read my doggie's adventures at: http://hosteldog.blogspot.com

Or my horsie adventures at: http://horseridingtuscany.blogspot.com
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post #5 of 36 Old 10-31-2010, 07:23 AM
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Interesting enough, I have yet to find a trainer I trust. They all seem to be concerned with one thing convincing me, that I can't have a relationship with my horse, unless I go thru them! The trainer I am workin with now, wants to blow everything out of proportion, and after doing that, makes ultimatums for myself, daughter, and the horse in question. Nonsense! I am sure each relationship is different, as are people and their horses.

...............................
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post #6 of 36 Old 10-31-2010, 01:40 PM
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First of all let me say IMHO the owner must be always honest about the horse's issues. I'd hate to put a person on my horse and that person would get hurt because of my ignorance (or lie). I'd never forgive myself if that would happen.

But unfortunately I had other way around experience. I'm 100% times honest upfront about my horses (I know the issues or potential issues and have no problem to disclose them, moreover I usually send the trainer the list of problems and ask if he/she can deal with them). However, most trainers LAUGHED at me when I gave the true picture. Not sure why, whether they thought I'm "over-concerned not knowing anything horsey mom" or what. Then they come out, run into issues with my horse they couldn't deal with, AND charge me for not doing anything. So WHY not to say "I can't deal with this horse" (and I had in fact one trainer to say that) instead of laughing at the owner and charge just for the arrival?

P.S. Now I state up front in the end of my message when I try to schedule the appointment (before they come of course): if you say "you can deal with the horse" and you can't, then I'm not paying. Sorry.
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post #7 of 36 Old 10-31-2010, 05:16 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Horse Poor View Post
Kevin…in my opinion, it's not a bad habit to get into…it's not a bad thing to work with horses you want to work with...here's why I say this…

1. Owner's don't pay for damage done to you or your facility by their horse once you've accepted the horse for training.

2. It takes more time, effort and risk to re-train/undo/"fix" a problem horse than it does one that needs tuning, finishing or to start one from scratch.

3. Working with the same type of problem horses won't make you a better trainer…working with better horses will. Fixing problems isn't the same as teaching a horse how to give it's personal best. Better horses means better money. And you can't accept a good horse if your barn is full of problem ones because you don't turn down horses.
You make a very good point but I hate to turn away a horse that needs help and I always learn something from them.

There's nothing like the Rockies in the springtime... Nothing like the freedom in the air... And there ain't nothing better than draggin calves to the fire and there's nothing like the smell of burning hair. -Brenn Hill
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post #8 of 36 Old 10-31-2010, 06:59 PM
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Wouldn't you think working with problem horses and most likely fixing them, you would learn more than if you were working with already trained ones? And if Kevin doesn't do it someone else will and get paid..

Horses are scared of two things... Things that move and things that don't.
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post #9 of 36 Old 10-31-2010, 08:13 PM
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You're 6'8? Jeez, I'm 6'2 and I struggle all the time with young horses under 15 hands balancing me correctly. Haha, how do you do it?! :P

I'm so busy, I don't know if I've found a rope... or lost my horse...
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post #10 of 36 Old 10-31-2010, 08:34 PM
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Amen Kevin! I usually say this is range for your horse and what it would cost. If it's easy it's X and if it's hard it's Z and if it's in between then it's Y. The difference is usually about $100 but I will not charge the same for a horse that needs a tune-up to a horse that's bat-crap crazy! I want hazard pay! And in my contract I also make it the responsibility of the owner to replace or reimburse me for any damage done to my facilities or equipment by said owner. I have a great lawyer and my butt needs to be well covered or I would go under.

That being said I agree that nobody represents their horse right and while in a perfect world they would disclose the truth it's not going to happen. For the simple reason that if they really knew what was wrong they wouldn't be paying you the big bucks to fix it they'd be doing parelli and buying magical dust to sprinkle over the horse to fix specific problems. So as a fellow trainer I totally sympathize...but I have no words of wisdom to fix the problem. Although I'm only 5'4 and I too have a hard time balancing the narrow ponies so I can't even begin to imagine how hard it is for you.
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