Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Teach Me Tuesday: Equine Professionalism

A common denominator for people who make their living with horses is that their schedule is at least in part set by thousand pound animals who sometimes have nothing better to do than screw up your carefully laid plans. True confession: sometimes my horse is the one doing the screwing and to everyone else whose appointment was behind or cancelled, I apologize.
also this picture is awesome

That's why I accept it when a call back is slow or an appointment is late and it's why I generally put up with things I would NEVER be ok with in the non-horsey world.

But at the same time, good business practices apply across all worlds and if I'm paying good money for a service, I want to actually receive the service.
and now he gets lunged hard before every farrier appointment

So where do you draw the line? What levels of tardiness, non-communication, or other less-savory business practices do you put up with in the horse world that you would not accept from a normal business person?

21 comments:

  1. The only crap I've dealt with is with farriers. And it is usually with them either not calling me back or acting like a complete condescending asshole to me. So now I don't deal with it anymore. The moment they act with a 'holier-than-thou' attitude, I can them.

    Aside from that, I usually put up with whatever from vets (I understand they are super busy). And my Instructor never disappoints me soooo...

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  2. I'm big on communication. I understand sh*t happens, plans change for tons of reasons. We're all adults with lots going on. But don't lie to me. And do your best to communicate with me if something changes. But first, DON'T LIE. That's my #1, and I've definitely fired professionals over that.

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    1. This is it exactly. Sometimes you have a shitty day or week or month. But let your clients know what is going on doll they don't feel abandoned or left in the lurch. That's all it takes!!

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    2. 100% agree, I would someone say something up front than hide it and jerk me around. Things happen, I get it. But TELL ME. As Leah says below, I know they have a phone on them, just let me know so I can adjust.

      I also allot a giant amount of time for anything horse related. Farrier, vet, massage lady, add a half hour minimum on each end planning wise, haha.

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  3. I am okay with appointments running late/behind (because, horses) but in the era of smartphones and more or less constant connectivity, I'm not okay with a no-call/no-show.

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  4. With working full time and having a kiddo, my time is precious. I understand running behind or needing to reschedule, but if it becomes a chronic issue I will move on to someone more reliable. Taking off work or getting a sitter so I can be with the vet/farrier/body worker/saddle fitter just to have them no show is a really big loss of money for me. Once or twice, as long as it comes with good communication about being late or having to reschedule, is fine. More than that and I move on.

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  5. I'm ok with sudden cancellations or running late (mostly because my line of work causes me to do the same), but I do expect communication. However- I don't tolerate being rude, and I really don't tolerate much in the "unsavory" realm.

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  6. Much of it depends on the reason behind being late or not communicating. So long as you say "such & such happened, and that's why I wasn't able to see/talk to you earlier" eh, whatever. That's life.

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  7. As a professional I have a couple of rules I follow that I do not deviate from.
    1) I am ALWAYS where I say I am going to be, at the time I say I am going to be there. If I say 3:30, I will be pulling into your driveway at 3:30. If I'm really late it will be 3:35.
    2) If something does come up, I will call/text the client immediately to tell them about it. But I ALWAYS schedule myself with more than enough time to get to place so I am never hustling.
    3) I am always a diplomat. Always. No exceptions. There is no excuse to not be diplomatic in all situations, with all clients.
    4) The personal and professional boundary is never, ever, ever blurred. They're not friends on Facebook. They're not people I hang around with. I refuse to cross those lines. Not ever.

    So basically, communicate with the client and be polite and diplomatic. It's the only way to be and I have no tolerance whatsoever when other people are late or unprofessional. Mostly because I know how to set my schedule so that this never happens - it CAN be done, it just takes thought and planning. And if the person is going to be late, they need to at LEAST send me a text to tell me.

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    1. I had a farrier like you. He was AMAZING and I still hate the stupid people who gave him a better paying, less-physical job in another state.

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  8. I have been on both sides of the equation, so I am pretty laid back when it comes to tardiness. I know my farrier, vet and trainer are amongst the best in their field and take extra time when they need to, so I don't sweat it if they're late. Honestly, I don't trust a trainer, vet or farrier that is always on time because that means they're sacrificing quality for a timetable. I have them text me about 15-20 minutes before they arrive, and then I wander out to catch my horses when I have that confirmation. My vet and farrier don't even give me specific times, just "Friday afternoon" or whatever, and then they text before they pull in. My trainer and I have a longstanding joke about his absolute inability to keep to a schedule, so he'll be like "I'll be there at 3:17 sharp!", and I just roll my eyes and tell him to come in the house when he finally gets here, and then I'll get ready while he raids my fridge.

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    1. This isn't true. I'm 100% on time, 100% of the time and it's because I plan accordingly. I know the horses, I give them all the extra time they need and then some. My books are always full and I let the work speak for itself. I've never once had someone day "gee you're on time and therefore you're untrustworthy to me." In fact I think it goes a LONG way to establish trust.
      But that's just me.

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  9. I have mixed feelings about this and actually have a post about it in my draft folder. I'm super neurotic and absolutely hate being late and people who are consistently late. But I also understand that vets and farriers get extra horses thrown at them and/or have horses that take longer than expected. So I try to cut them slack, plus my barn is more than happy to hold my horse so I don't have to be there. If I was trying to plan my schedule around them to be there it would be more of an issue. Lately my biggest problem has been with a saddle fitter. She is sooo freaking slow about everything. Granted there have been some personal issues going on in her life so I'm trying to cut her some slack. Not to mention that Stinker has been going like a dream since she fit his saddle (honestly that is the only reason I haven't dropped her already). I guess it boils down to how inconvenienced I am and if the quality of work can off set the inconveniences.

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  10. I do not miss dealing with 99% of farriers one bit, they always manage to vanish for two weeks right when a shoe gets thrown or I have a show. My last one was pretty rad with bending over backwards for Pong. My real gripe with equine pros is Billing!!!!! More often than not Ive dealt with trainers who have no fee schedule or don't bill and it gets awkward! Just tell me what I owe and I'll pay it! Better yet send a bil...better still, have an up to date rate sheet :)

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  11. As I'm re-entering horse world, your post has come to me at a great time! I'm very much an on-time person, and don't cut much slack to people who are late. But you're right...some things are out of people's control. People don't wake up trying to screw people over to act unprofessionally, and I need to remind myself of this. Thanks!

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  12. I'm pretty tolerant on some things, but a no call/no show? Once, if you're really that good or I'm in that much need, but if it starts to look like its becoming a habit- you're out.

    I also had a farrier that was rrreeeaaallllyyy leaning towards me drugging my horses before he worked on them. I'm sorry but No. HELL NO! If my horse is **that bad** that they need to be drugged so you can work on them, then there's a problem. A BIG problem.
    -If it's a pain issue and they need it to be comfortable- trust me I'm already on it.
    -If its the horse reacting out of fear- I will work out those issues before calling you in.
    -If its the horse just being an asshole? Again, I will do my best to sort out those issues Before you touch them and have to worry about it.
    -If the horse is a downright dirty SOB to deal with- it won't be my horse to deal with for long. Nobody needs that kind of grief in their life.

    Funny enough the farrier replacing him said he prefers to work on horses that are Not drugged! He agreed, pain and fear have their place for requesting drugs but not the kind to make the horse loopy. I try to take care of my farrier and vet so they will and can come back. If they get hurt dealing with my horse, they lose money not being able to work on other peoples horses and its not fair to them or their other clients.

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  13. I totally understand when my vet or farrier are running late. I just expect a call to let me know. My pet peeve is riding instructors who have no sense of time so you don't know when to be ready.

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  14. Farriers and farmers, hay guys in particular, never seem to be able to call back or show up on time. However that just sort of seems to be the way it works and hay guys have so many customers waiting to buy their hay that I'll put up with just about anything with them. With Farriers I think it would be if they just didn't show up and didn't have an explanation multiple times. Otherwise I'll put up with just about anything.

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  15. I actually don't put up with pretty much anything that I wouldn't put up with elsewhere. The biggest factor for me is weather. My vet and farrier are both punctual, kind, and willing to share information. I wouldn't tolerate any less. My students cancel from time to time, but never for anything that wouldn't be justified outside of horses. I guess I'm lucky!

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