- Personal Performance Coach for all riders | Cutting Horse Trainer and Educator | Author, Speaker, Clinician - https://barbraschulte.com -

Difficult conversation:
Taking my horse home

All of us feel anxiety when we have difficult conversations. We all want to have good relationships with those in our circle – and not be shunned or shamed by anyone. But certain situations in a barn or with other people bring up feelings of vulnerability.

When can, though, muster the courage to be clear and confident when we state the truth about our personal situation and what we want going forward. Then we know we have done all we can do.

That’s what this podcast is all about.

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Recently I received this question from a member of my Core Confidence Course. I know this rider is not the only one who has ever felt these emotions, so I decided to share my thoughts with all of you, too.

This is from someone who rides with a trainer:

“I’m really nervous about telling my trainer I need to take my horse home.

It is a financial decision.

What is the best way to tell your trainer you want and need to bring your horse home?

I still want to take him for lessons with my trainer.
I still want to go to the same shows and be part of the team.
I still want to take him for tune-ups once or twice a year and leave him there for a month at a time.

My trainer does have amateurs that have their horses at home, and the amateurs haul their horses to the shows themselves but still stall with my trainer or by my trainer, and he and his assistant still help them at shows.

It has come the time where I need to do this too.

How much notice do I give him? If I tell my trainer now, do I run the chance he won’t ride him between now and when I bring him home?

I am just trying not to burn bridges. I want to keep this relationship and do the right thing.

I’m nervous about this.”

It’s important to know that you’re not alone. Lots of people feel that same anxiety.

We all want to have good relationships with the people in our horse lives – and not be shunned or shamed by anyone. However, your responsibility is to yourself and your family first.

That being said, I think that although you feel vulnerable (which is not easy), being honest about your situation without trying to over or understate it – and without apology – state the facts clearly about what you want – those are the keys.

Regarding the timing for when to tell your trainer – the sooner, the better. That helps trainers plan.

I would ask for a time to get together, so neither of you will be rushed or interrupted by others around when you meet.

Start by telling him how much you appreciate all he has done for you, your new situation, and why. Tell him it’s hard not to keep your horse at the barn, but you really must make a change because of your training and showing budget. You don’t need to go into more details than that – unless you want to.

Then be very clear about what you would like to do moving forward so you can express that to him succinctly. You’re not really changing trainers; you are asking him to help you in a new situation.

After you say what you need, ask him if he would do that for you?

Before the meeting, be careful not to set yourself up that he will feel a certain way – or fire you – or think poorly of you. You have no way of knowing his situation. Maybe he wants to have fewer horses in the barn who stay there all the time. Again, you have no way of knowing. All you have control of is setting up a good meeting situation, presenting the facts, expressing your appreciation, asking for what you want, and letting the cards fall.

No matter what he says, it will work out. It always does.

Change is never easy. We never know what’s around the corner, but if we believe it will be good – and even if it’s hard, it will work out to our advantage – you can be confident in doing the right thing for yourself. You can take the pressure off because you are also doing the right thing for yourself and your husband.

Sketch out points about appreciation and what you want ahead of time. Do your best to be calm and confident. Rehearse it easily, so you feel prepared, and then see what happens.

All the best to you, and thank you for such an awesome question that everyone can relate to.

Those of you listening – can you relate? Leave a comment for me.