Say NO to Your Horse Trainer. Say No to Dysfunctional Relationships.
I don’t know if it’s because the majority of horse people are women, or if it’s just the environment, but I cannot believe the amount of dysfunctional relationships I have seen between trainers and their “students”.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been there myself. I remember as a child having an incredibly dysfunctional relationship with my trainer. Downright abusive. But, I was a kid and didn’t necessarily have options. I just wanted to ride, and the abuse was worth it.
Why can’t more people say “no” to their horse trainer?
But as an adult, I have found myself in a few circumstances where I knew I shouldn’t be where I was, yet I had some unhealthy loyalty to where I was. After coming to terms with dysfunctional horse trainer relationships I’ve had, I broke the pattern of training dysfunction and since have always done what is right for me and my horse(s).
When it comes to horses, many people are not in control of their own money. Most trainees aren’t in control of their choices. Trainers may provide instruction, but they shouldn’t be controling.
Why can’t most people say NO to their horse trainer?
If your trainer asks if you are taking your horse to a horse show, you can say “no”. It’s okay. If your trainer tells you the vet is coming to inject your horse’s hocks and you aren’t comfortable with it, you can ask to talk to the vet yourself. If your trainer tells you to put your horse in training and you don’t want to, you can say “no”. If your trainer tells you to sell your horse and buy a new one, you can say “no”, and then you should leave your barn.
Do you really think your horse trainer has your best interest at hand? Really? I’m not saying that trainers are evil. Some trainers, very, very, very few, are worth mentoring. But remember, when it comes to horses, it’s your money, and most importantly, YOUR “hobby”.
If you don’t like showing – don’t. If you love your horse – even if it isn’t the best fit for you or even if your horse isn’t doing well at horse shows – you don’t have to sell your horse just because the trainer says so. Before you listen to everything your trainer tells you to do, ask yourself if you know what you want out of riding. Once you really figure out your horse riding goals, tell your trainer. If your trainer doesn’t treat you the same because you aren’t spending as much money, MOVE YOUR HORSE SOMEWHERE ELSE.
Your trainer should not spend all your horse money. It’s your horse, and it’s your money.
You do realize if you are at a training barn and the trainer spends LOTS of time on you, it it’s directly related to how much money you are spending. That isn’t a cut on trainers. They are making a living, and their time costs money.
But don’t trap yourself in a professional horse training relationship that isn’t healthy. Be upfront with your horse riding goals. If it’s showing, not showing, social interaction, peaceful solitude, exercise, learning, relaxation, anger release, whatever it is, be vocal with your trainer. If you end up wanting an authority on horses (one who has more knowledge than yourself) to help you with your equine partner, make sure you pick a trainer that is best for you, your horse, and your pocketbook.
So many people end up getting burned out on horses, and they often cite a trainer that MADE them spend all this money on showing or buying new horses, new tack, supplements, etc, but in the end, they never actually told the trainer “no”. It is up to you make sure you get what you want out of riding, the barn, and most importantly, your trainer.
Break the cycle and be honest and open with yourself and your trainer. Be strong and realize that you may not be as popular if you don’t spend as much money. If being popular is your goal in riding, then by all means, keep writing bigger and bigger checks every month! As long as you know what you want, don’t be a victim of your inability to communicate your wants. When it comes to trainers and horses, you are the customer.
Related Citizen Horse Articles
-Are Horse Shows Right For You?
-Leaving a Barn: The 30 Day Notice
-Clicker Training: Horses Are Not Dogs (or Dolphins)