Equestrian sports are very unique and all too similar to other sports at the same time. For parents/children and amateurs the culture would imply that we are all supposed to have a leader and follow them blindly. In a lot of ways that would make it much easier for the professionals in the industry. Unlike in a corporate setting a job interview for an equestrian position can be a lot like playing trust fall. This is honestly how it feels as a rider or owner when trying to find a new trainer as well.
A decent amount of the lower level equestrian professional population do not seem to have vast records that support their careers. Please note that I am not saying that every professional needs to be experienced at the upper levels. That said just because you can WTC a horse or hang on over fences doesn’t make you a trainer. Honestly even being a good rider doesn’t always qualify someone as a good trainer or instructor. Not
It feels like there is an opinion that amateurs or anyone with the (perceived) means should support up and coming talent. I don’t necessarily disagree with this. If I had the means to do so (while also riding/showing my own) I would happily give a talented up and coming trainer the ride on my horses where appropriate. It is a two way street though. A lot of the people that are in the middle grounds get taken advantage of. Not everyone with nice horses is a millionaire and a quick way to get those with the dollars to spend to run is to always have a hand out. If those young or up and coming trainers/riders want the ride on horses that could quite literally be their ride to the top it seems like there should be a give and a take. I totally understand that most professional equestrians are not getting rich by any stretch of the imagination. I am not implying that they don’t deserve to be paid either. BUT I do think that if you are going to go pro in this industry you need to be realistic about what to charge for services given relevant experience.
What is giving some of these professionals this mentality? It seems like it should not be that complicated to operate under a business model where you don’t take advantage of your clients and only expect to be paid what you have earned. If you didn’t find the horse/ actively search in my eyes you don’t deserve a commission. If you didn’t ride the horse you don’t get paid. If you didn’t actually do the service that is showing up on the bill please explain why any of us should be expected to pay for it. I know that I am not alone with saying that I don’t like surprises on my bills. I have even gotten to the point now where I don’t let most horse people bill me. I want to know what you charge for the service you have agreed to provide BEFORE it happens. I do acknowledge that that can be easier in eventing land when its 3 parts over 1-2 days 95% of the time vs assorted #s of classes spread over a week.
I just want to say that I respect the hell out of the pros in my life but it makes me a little sad that I have to be so skeptical when finding them. To all of the great horsemen/women that have groomed all of us to this point kudos to you!
How do you guys feel about this? Have there been specific areas that you have lived where this is more prevalent than others? Maybe even a specific discipline vs another?