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  • Writer's pictureLiz Moorman

A Guide to Trainer-Exhibitor Relationships: Recognizing When It's Time to Part Ways

Professional relationships between trainers and exhibitors can be incredibly rewarding, but they can also encounter challenges along the way. As much as we strive for harmony and success, there are moments when it becomes clear that the partnership is no longer serving the best interests of either party.

AQHA Level 1 East Championships

Signs to Watch For

Recognizing the signs that indicate a professional relationship has run its course is crucial. These signs can manifest in various ways, including:


Communication Breakdown: When open and effective communication becomes strained or breaks down entirely, it often signifies underlying issues within the relationship. This breakdown can lead to misunderstandings, frustration, and an inability to effectively work together.


Mismatched Goals: If the goals and expectations of both parties no longer align, it can lead to frustration and disappointment on both sides. Whether it's diverging career paths, conflicting training philosophies, or differing competitive aspirations, a misalignment in goals can strain the partnership.


Lack of Trust: Trust forms the foundation of any successful partnership. If trust between the trainer and exhibitor is eroded or nonexistent, it's clear indication that the relationship is in jeopardy. Trust issues can arise from a variety of factors, including dishonesty, inconsistency, or a lack of transparency.


Repeated Conflict: While disagreements are normal in any relationship, constant conflict without resolution can signal deeper underlying issues that may be irreconcilable. Whether it's disputes over training methods, scheduling conflicts, or financial disagreements, ongoing conflict can create a toxic environment that is detrimental to both parties.


AQHA Level 1 East Championships

Handling the Separation Process

Ending a professional relationship can be emotionally challenging, but it's essential to approach it with professionalism and respect. Here are some steps to consider:


Open and Honest Communication: Initiate a conversation with the other party to discuss your concerns and reasons for wanting to part ways. Be honest but diplomatic in your communication, focusing on constructive dialogue rather than blame or confrontation.


Transition Smoothly: Work together to ensure a smooth transition for both parties involved. This may involve providing adequate notice, assisting with finding a suitable replacement, or facilitating the transfer of horses or equipment. Keep lines of communication open throughout the transition process to address any concerns or logistical challenges that arise.


Maintain Professionalism: Throughout the separation process, maintain a professional demeanor and avoid engaging in any behavior that could damage your reputation or the reputation of the other party. Refrain from airing grievances publicly or engaging in gossip, and focus on resolving issues amicably and respectfully.


AQHA Level 1 East Championships

Moving Forward

While parting ways with a trainer or exhibitor can be difficult, it can also open the door to new opportunities and growth. Take the lessons learned from the experience and apply them to future partnerships, always striving for professionalism, mutual respect, and effective communication.


Recognizing when it's time to part ways is a challenging but necessary aspect of navigating the industry. By approaching the process with honesty, integrity, and empathy, both parties can move forward with confidence and clarity.


Stay tuned for the next installment in our relationship guide series, where we'll explore the importance of asking the right questions before entering into a professional relationship.

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