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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'll preface this by saying I finished leasing a Hunter a few months ago at my trainer's barn. My trainer's horse. I've since been between horses (though I've been shareboarding a non-jumping horse just to keep in the saddle during the week. I also pay my trainer for this horse).

Lately, I've become...a little disheartened? Sad? There are very few school horses at our barn, as it is small location. The few that are at the barn are kind, good horses, but below my current level. We've been resorting to jumping w/no reins and the such to try and keep things interesting, as these horses can't really jump above X's (due to age or soundness of the lesson horse). Most are walk/trot horses for beginner children- I'm an adult. I've tried to stay positive and to try and refine myself on these horses, but I am finding myself more and more disappointed.

Nearly a month ago, my trainer said that she has been 'keeping an eye out' for sale horses that she believes will be suitable for me, but I've not heard a peep about a single horse. She's had some extremely hectic things come into her life lately, so I understand, but at the same time I'm getting to the point where I don't want to waste my time/money lessoning until I have a horse that is more my speed.

*Is it considered absolutely rude to take 1 lesson a week at another barn in the area? What is the etiquette? Do I have to tell my trainer? Can I get away with not mentioning anything? It isn't like I'm packing up and leaving my barn, I really like my trainer, but right now I feel like she doesn't have the time or the focus for me (let alone time to work with me on finding a new mount. I've mentioned to her that I'm getting a little unhappy with the lesson situation, dropped the hints that I'm EXTREMELY ready for her to find me a new horse...but it's all kinda waved away). My trainer even admitted our lessons are less than exciting due to lack of capable horses.

I'm just looking to get some time jumping some more capable horses. There simply aren't any school horses that fit the bill at my current location and I don't feel like I'm improving myself. I have another barn in mind, but I know my trainer knows at least one trainer there. They at least wouldn't know me, but if I said who I have been riding with, I'm sure it will be brought up eventually, so not sure if it is better to be vague about my experience. Or if it is just better to not ride at two places in the first place...I loathe drama.

I personally feel like my trainer will be mad at me if I mention I want to take lessons elsewhere. My old trainer years ago was livid if I ever lessoned with someone other than her when she didn't have time for me to even get a lesson in with her every week due to her crazy schedule. I just don't want to burn any bridges or rock any boats. I just want to enjoy my jumping lessons again with a horse much younger than 30 years old...

This isn't to say that I WOULDN'T switch barns in the future. Frankly, if more months go by and I haven't heard a single word about a possible horse to even look at, I'll probably have to move on. I just don't understand how much time is normal to pass by when you've made it known that you are open to buy, but haven't been shown a single animal via video or in person. Do people just not sell horses in December/January/February? Thoughts on that? Is my trainer possibly just...not focusing on my needs at all? I'm getting a bad feeling about it, honestly...but maybe I'm too over-eager and chomping at the bit (and need a reality check)!
 

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Are you sure this is the right barn for you? I mean, I understand loyalty - I really do. We develop relationships with people and want to be loyal to them. But it doesn't sound like you're getting anything at all out of this barn.

My daughter changed barns several times (about 5 or 6) before she found her current coach. And she sometimes takes lessons from a different coach, but that's because this person is a grown-up student of the regular coach who is more available to come to our house in the winter when we don't like to trailer our horse to lessons (the regular coach just doesn't have time to travel to our house). My daughter also took several dressage lessons from a specialized coach who gave a clinic at her regular coach's barn, then came to our house a few times for private lessons. The regular coach knew this and encouraged it. We're also thinking of going to a couple of lessons at another coach's barn soon because she has an indoor, and my daughter wants to jump, but can't at the regular coach's place because there's no indoor and the footing in winter isn't good for jumping. In other words, while my daughter has her regular coach, she is also learning from other coaches for various reasons. None of this is a secret, and her coach is fine with all of it because she recognizes that riders can learn different things from different coaches.

So what I'm trying to say is that a reasonable person would understand that you're not getting the challenges you want at the current barn, and not get upset at you for wanting to try a different barn. But you suggest that maybe your coach will not feel that way. So you might want to be sure you're prepared to walk away if things turn sour between you and her. In the end though, you may be doing yourself a huge favour. I know I'm glad my daughter didn't stick with some of the coaches she's had! Turned out half of them were not the most emotionally stable people.

As for buying a horse, have you been looking? It's a good idea to bring someone like a coach/trainer with you to look at them, but maybe if you find some horse for sale ads, you can send them to her to get her thoughts.
 

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Why are you waiting for your trainer to find a horse? Are you looking for another lease or to purchase? Are you expecting your trainer to be buying a horse just so you can lease it from her?


If you want a different horse, go find one. Start showing her ads of horse's you'd like to go try.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Are you sure this is the right barn for you? I mean, I understand loyalty - I really do. We develop relationships with people and want to be loyal to them. But it doesn't sound like you're getting anything at all out of this barn.

My daughter changed barns several times (about 5 or 6) before she found her current coach. And she sometimes takes lessons from a different coach, but that's because this person is a grown-up student of the regular coach who is more available to come to our house in the winter when we don't like to trailer our horse to lessons (the regular coach just doesn't have time to travel to our house). My daughter also took several dressage lessons from a specialized coach who gave a clinic at her regular coach's barn, then came to our house a few times for private lessons. The regular coach knew this and encouraged it. We're also thinking of going to a couple of lessons at another coach's barn soon because she has an indoor, and my daughter wants to jump, but can't at the regular coach's place because there's no indoor and the footing in winter isn't good for jumping. In other words, while my daughter has her regular coach, she is also learning from other coaches for various reasons. None of this is a secret, and her coach is fine with all of it because she recognizes that riders can learn different things from different coaches.

So what I'm trying to say is that a reasonable person would understand that you're not getting the challenges you want at the current barn, and not get upset at you for wanting to try a different barn. But you suggest that maybe your coach will not feel that way. So you might want to be sure you're prepared to walk away if things turn sour between you and her. In the end though, you may be doing yourself a huge favour. I know I'm glad my daughter didn't stick with some of the coaches she's had! Turned out half of them were not the most emotionally stable people.

As for buying a horse, have you been looking? It's a good idea to bring someone like a coach/trainer with you to look at them, but maybe if you find some horse for sale ads, you can send them to her to get her thoughts.
@Acadianartist: To be honest, I'm not totally sure if the barn is suitable for me anymore. I have learned so much from this trainer, but over the past year she sold off her only advanced school horse to another barn and due to her current circumstances I don't think she will be getting anything with more spirit any time soon. She has a lot of beginners right now, people learning to trot and canter. There is a strong possibility that it is burning her out, as she has always preferred showing and many of her new students have parents that aren't interested in such things.

I'd really like to avoid telling her that I am looking to augment my training by lessoning elsewhere, because she has the personality that would see that as her 'losing money' and she would probably spend even less focus on me, even though I've spent a lot of time and money showing with her + leasing show horses from her. It just very disheartening. Then again; I guess that would answer the question that it is time to move on then if she ignores me for trying to learn elsewhere.

As for purchasing, I'm not quite sure how to really even start looking. There aren't too many sites that I've seen that showcase any local horses. Maybe I don't know the best sites (aka, I've never bought by myself). My trainer has always basically made it seem like all searches must go through her...so I've been relying on her thus far. Frankly, I probably should just start looking by myself because I could probably find something I enjoy for a better price vs her finding something SUPER FANCY that I don't really need for my goals.


@ApuetsoT: I'd always been told by her that she doesn't like clients looking for horses themselves and that she has 'a few very select people she will trust clients buying from'. So, basically I always thought people didn't really look by themselves. I've only ever leased or shareboarded horses that trainers have pointed my way. I'd happily run off to another barn and inquire about what they have available...but she's always told me too many people get taken advantage of when they go that route. Essentially, she scopes out potential horses and then has her clients trial them to see if they want to purchase the horse...but right now I'm the only person looking to buy.
 

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There is no shame from you or for your trainer to recognize that the current barn has taken you as far as you can progress with the kind of school horse, or even leased horse available at the premise.
It is time to move on, and go.
Find another barn...there should be no need to hide that you are searching to improve your abilities and choices are limited at your current barn from your instructor...she already knows hence why the different tactile lessons you have been encountering....she has no options or alternatives in her stable...
It is time she send you to a barn to again challenge you and your goals.

You want a horse and have not done some internet looking?
Why not???
There is no reason you can not look at and see what is around in your price-range and area for sale.
Actually, right now is a great time to look and purchase when people don't want to pay board/expenses for the winter months of limited use.
You know what you are riding comfortably right now...that is what you look for in a horses abilities.
Age, breed, size are all things to consider but ability and can we make a partnership and horse help me as I learn to be a more accomplished rider are so very important.
You can do the beginning of searching...maybe your instructor thought you not serious. Maybe she doesn't have the resources of other trainers barns with sale prospects in them fitting your needs....but has she made the attempt to find?
Use internet sales sites to start the search...
Be specific in filling in the details wanted selections and see if anything shows in your area...now copy that and take it to the current trainer.
If your trainer not act interested or call about said animal...then you have your answer.
I think though you already know from what you wrote it is time to move on to a barn that challenges you, enriches your training and will offer school horses better suited and will bring in for trial horses that fit your needs and abilities with some room for growth already present....in your price-range.
There are beginner lesson barns {where you are at}, there are intermediate lesson barns of better caliber and quality of horses and sale prospects available, and then there are elite lesson barns where lessons are done on your private owned horse with top-notch trainers who demand and get results in the show ring as that is where these riders go...the best of the best.
There are many barns that fit combined, beginner and intermediate resources available for lessons, leasing and will go find the sale prospect and keep the student as now a boarder and lesson rider...
What you are encountering sound more to me you are stagnated and drowning in a barn with no potential to progress.
Sadly, with the barns lack of adequate mounts and her time to teach {its a job and home stays home regardless} the door is closing on usefulness for you.
Friends is friends but business is business and you are being shorted on what is in your best interest here.
I would not hide the fact from her you are looking for a new barn and tell her why...she knows and has done this to herself, not you inflicting it....
This situation is occurring by the instructors hand.
Do not own it or claim sorrow for moving on...you want to learn and can not at her place and under her tutelage with her current horses, period.
She sounds great for what she does, but you have moved past her and her barns available animals and abilities....move on.
:runninghorse2:...
jmo..
 

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I agree with the above.

I really find it off-putting that the trainer has discouraged any looking or outside interest in buying a horse except through her. Sounds to me like she's attempting to foster dependence on her and only on her, which is the exact opposite of what she should be doing - i.e. helping you along your horsemanship journey to become more INdependent and learn how to accomplish your own goals instead of being led to them. You know what you want, what you're looking for. If she's not willing to assist you in finding it, you shouldn't be afraid to find someone who is.

Are you actually looking to buy or just looking for a barn with better lesson horses? I suppose it doesn't matter; you said you'd already found another barn. Once you get going with that barn, if you're looking to buy, have that trainer assist you if you feel like you need assistance. Go look at some horses without a trainer, if you don't want to wait. There's nothing wrong with taking a test ride, and you're far enough along to know what you need and want, so I say start looking. If you find one you like, have the trainer at the new barn take a look at it as well.

-- Kai
 

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You do realize that part of the reason you are discouraged from looking on your own is your trainer gets a percentage of profit added on top to the cost of any horse she "finds" you besides what she will tell you is her fee for finding.
Depending upon the cost of the animal, that can be hundreds if not thousands of added $$ to purchase price.

Leased or purchase, this is a standard arrangement done between professionals.
It is not a written in stone you can't look.
You've been waiting months for your trainer to find you something....and are still waiting.
Sorry but either your trainer isn't actively looking or can't make enough from any transaction to be bothered...
By all means start the search process yourself.
If you find something promising...make contact with the person selling and go see the animal.
Seller always rides first after you do a visual inspection...if they won't mount up, don't you either and leave.
A telltale sign something is truly wrong with said animal is when a seller will not get astride and demonstrate a animal.
So, if you like the horse, tell them you would like for your trainer to come see, ride and work with you for a bit to make sure a partnership is possible with the horse...
Then go to your trainer and tell them you have found a possibility and would like her opinion....pay her what her "fee" is...
You already know the price so no shenanigans of adding to it can be done so trainer is paid by you for her time, period.
If all the goes well, then you get a vet of your choice but not the sellers to come do a PPE, pre-purchase exam, where you pay the expenses so you are entitled to the findings of the exam firsthand from the vet, not through your trainer or anyone else interpreting...you and the vet speak.

Have your trainer be present so any questionable findings are known and asked about.
I would go with the recommendation of the learned vet about will the horse successfully do what you want in their opinion or fall apart and need huge maintenance work to be ridden sound.
So, that is also why possibly no horses came is your trainer not have connections nor can she wrangle a deal where she makes money twice off of you. :|
The horse industry is not so transparent and clear in how it works, but those who work{ed} the industry know and will tell as I just did... called shady dealings with some.
:runninghorse2:...
 

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It isn't rude to take lessons at a second barn temporarily.

It isn't even rude to change barns permanently.

Your quest to better horsemanship is personal. Everyone outside of that is a service provider. No different than which grocery store gives you the best quality for the best price.

Your next horse is your responsibility. Yes, we often seek (and pay for) knowledgeable advice, whether the coach or vet. But it is ultimately your choice.
 

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While I agree with HLG there are legitimate reasons for a seller not to ride. Evaluate the situation and ask if they can have someone there to ride first. Or have someone experienced with you to evaluate and make that call. You could also consider a trusted sales barn for that though you need to have recommendations and be absolutely honest about your abilities.

While the trainer does make money they also know you and your ability. That can go a long way. I would look around and pick a few. If she is not interested in helping you decide and insists on her own suppliers then walk away. Find a new barn and take lessons with the understanding of what you are wanting to do and see if they are more flexible.
 

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It's not rude at all, to switch barns temporarily, even completely. I've outgrown barns. It happens. I wouldn't waste time on waiting for the trainer to get you a horse - I'd look on my own & maybe she can come out with you, if she has time, to go check a few out. Other than that, I wouldn't make it her responsibility or depend on her for it. Take it upon yourself to look for a horse now.

It sounds like you've made it clear to her that you've reached your limit at that place - there's only so much you can do, & it doesn't sound like you will be able to go any further there, which is not a huge deal! Totally OK to outgrow a place.

Just make sure you give proper notice, & that's it.
 

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Lately, I've become...a little disheartened? Sad? There are very few school horses at our barn, as it is small location. The few that are at the barn are kind, good horses, but below my current level. We've been resorting to jumping w/no reins and the such to try and keep things interesting, as these horses can't really jump above X's (due to age or soundness of the lesson horse). Most are walk/trot horses for beginner children- I'm an adult. I've tried to stay positive and to try and refine myself on these horses, but I am finding myself more and more disappointed.

I think you need to ask yourself two questions:

1) What are your goals for horseback riding
2) Is your current instructor able to successfully fulfill your goals?

From the above, it appears you already know the answer to this. You will come across this issue several times, if your goal is to keep progressing. Unfortunately, most barns will have a cap of what level they are able to teach, whether that be in the instructor's ability or resources available.

*Is it considered absolutely rude to take 1 lesson a week at another barn in the area? What is the etiquette?

This entirely depends on the instructor's personality. Some instructors take it very well, while others can take it as a form of insult. I've experienced both.

Do I have to tell my trainer? Can I get away with not mentioning anything? It isn't like I'm packing up and leaving my barn, I really like my trainer, but right now I feel like she doesn't have the time or the focus for me (let alone time to work with me on finding a new mount. I've mentioned to her that I'm getting a little unhappy with the lesson situation, dropped the hints that I'm EXTREMELY ready for her to find me a new horse...but it's all kinda waved away). My trainer even admitted our lessons are less than exciting due to lack of capable horses.

Short-term, you may be able to hide it, but probably not long-term. You will have to make the call on whichever you'd think would be best. In a situation similar to yours, I tried lessons at another barn 1-2 times and decided not to tell my trainer at the time. The trainer still somehow found out and basically told me that I could not train under them, unless I quit at the other barn. Now, I don't think the situation would have been any different if I had told my trainer that I was trying lessons at another barn, but It may have possibly made the situation a bit better. However, I was only 15 at the time and was not confident in having that sort of discussion. The trainer offered alternatives, but ultimately I ended up leaving that barn on a sour note, far too late. The trainer just did not have the resources, despite them trying to insist that they did. Afterwards, I came to discover that this was not abnormal behavior for this trainer and I was not the only client this had happened too. In fact many had looked elsewhere for further learning opportunities and encountered the same frustrations and hostile behavior. The moral of this story is that being upfront is probably most ethical, so the trainer has a chance to try and accommodate; however, it may not change anything. Ultimately, the best decision may be to thank the trainer for their time, try to leave things on a good note, and find a barn that does offer what you are looking for.

I'm just looking to get some time jumping some more capable horses. There simply aren't any school horses that fit the bill at my current location and I don't feel like I'm improving myself. I have another barn in mind, but I know my trainer knows at least one trainer there. They at least wouldn't know me, but if I said who I have been riding with, I'm sure it will be brought up eventually, so not sure if it is better to be vague about my experience. Or if it is just better to not ride at two places in the first place...I loathe drama.

I personally feel like my trainer will be mad at me if I mention I want to take lessons elsewhere. My old trainer years ago was livid if I ever lessoned with someone other than her when she didn't have time for me to even get a lesson in with her every week due to her crazy schedule. I just don't want to burn any bridges or rock any boats. I just want to enjoy my jumping lessons again with a horse much younger than 30 years old...

It is possible that your instructor could get mad, but do not let that stop you in making the best decision for yourself. Lesson barns are a business and instructors will often try and hold onto their clientele as long as possible. However, you have every right to look elsewhere if you are no longer learning in the lessons you are paying for. Sometimes, this may have undesirable consequences, but that will not be your fault. All you can do is be as kind as possible, before moving on and the rest is up to your instructor.

This isn't to say that I WOULDN'T switch barns in the future. Frankly, if more months go by and I haven't heard a single word about a possible horse to even look at, I'll probably have to move on. I just don't understand how much time is normal to pass by when you've made it known that you are open to buy, but haven't been shown a single animal via video or in person. Do people just not sell horses in December/January/February? Thoughts on that? Is my trainer possibly just...not focusing on my needs at all? I'm getting a bad feeling about it, honestly...but maybe I'm too over-eager and chomping at the bit (and need a reality check)!

It can sometimes take a long time to find a horse that fits, but I have also seen numerous instructors go on a power trip or make students dependent on lessons by matching them with unsuitable horses. I'm not saying this is necessarily the case with your instructor, but that it does indeed happen. It is of course fantastic to have an instructor search with you for a horse, but you should also be heavily involved in the process.
 
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