- Report: #715250
Report - Rebuttal - Arbitrate
Complaint Review: The Cambridge Training Stable
The Cambridge Training StableFreeland Road Maple Park, Illinois United States of America
The Cambridge Training Stable Ed Fodge hunter/jumper barn, fraud, misrepresentation, lessons, sales, lame horses Maple Park, Illinois
*Author of original report: Maintaining my original report: response to satisfied customer from Savannah.
*Consumer Comment: Cambridge Training Stable, excellent little barn
I started taking hunter/jumper riding lessons at the Cambridge training stable summer of 2009 (after discovering the nice website online). I was a beginner hunter/jumper rider and was very impressed by Ed's manners and welcoming demeanor. I took lessons from Ed for a year and even participated in two schooling shows with him.
What I came to learn was that all my lessons consisted of the same thing: walk, trot, canter, jump. There was no real instruction as to how you post, how you position yourself for jumps, how to collect your horse, how to count strides and judge distance, etc. It was merely you do what he says. If he says jump, you jump. It didn't matter what I looked like or about my position. He had me, as a beginner, jumping with absolutely no foundational training what-so-ever. After several months I never felt like I was consistently improving.
Interestingly enough, I was being charged $70 an hour and was expected to not only untack the lesson horse but also clean all the tack every time I rode. I realize this is not an outrageous request, but I lived 2 hours away one way(4 hours round trip) and sometimes needed to be on the road heading for home at a decent hour.
Ed never checked tack to make sure it was suitable for each rider. He put every rider and every horse in the same tack. I bought and used my own saddle occasionally (which he let me use, but never checked to see if it actually fit the horses). Being new at this, I had apparently bought a saddle that was too small for me. Ed never told me and let me ride in that saddle for months. One day he offered me a new saddle to buy (an older model collegiate) for $500. It was bigger and worked out better so I purchased it. He then offered to take my smaller saddle and in return I had to pay a month in advance for lessons and then he would give me a second set of lesson for the value of the saddle. Essentially I took two lessons a day, one I paid for and one for the value of the saddle until he had "taught" the saddle price off.
I came to learn later that he had known for months my first saddle was too small but never said a word to me about it. Additionally, the saddle he convinced me to buy was such an old and useless model that I had a horrible time selling it and eventually got rid of it for half the price I paid after months of listings. He also had sold a 20 year old crosby saddle to another beginner at the barn. She found out later from a better trainer that it didn't even fit her horse (one of Ed's lesson horses she bought!) and it was so worn it left bruises on the sides of the riders legs.
Ed had been talking to me about buying a horse (every beginners dream) and as a result I began horse shopping. Naturally, everything and anything I found he was overly positive about and encouraged me to pay him to come along and "try" each horse. He wanted to charge me his time and his gas and ride new horses on my dollar (some trainers do charge for this service, but even if I offered to drive him he wouldn't give me any break). This man does nothing for free or out of the goodness of his heart, everything carries dollar signs. I eventually did find a horse, and without his help, purchased her.
I had liked the barn she was boarded at so I decided to leave her there and take some lessons with the trainer there. I soon learned, through my many lessons with an exceptional, qualified, A circuit rider and trainer, that I knew absolutely nothing about riding. It was unbelievable that after a year of riding with Ed I couldn't even perform basic tasks correctly like trotting and cantering. After a year of lessons I thought I would have at least gotten that down. That completely explained why I looked like such a fool at both schooling shows he entered me in.
I still did visit at Ed's barn due to having friends there. However, a few of them had told me that he did nothing but bad mouth the horse I had purchased. The irony was that he was the one who encouraged me to buy her. Obviously not moving her into his barn and paying him right away caused him to bad mouth me.
So let's talk about the horses at his barn. For one thing, they do not get pasture turn out like they should. If they are turned out at all it is only in one of the arenas and only for a few hours at most. They are not put out to graze ever. Most horses there spend all day in a stall or in a lesson. Some of the lesson horses have terrible attitudes, kick, bite, etc. most likely due to the lack of turn out. The stalls look like a nice, decent sized stall, but they are all rock based. Yes, your horse stands on rocks all day. He doesn't clean stalls daily either and as a result some horses have come down with white line disease (not necessarily caused by stall conditions, but it is a factor) or thrush. The bugs at his barn are the worst I have ever encountered at any barn I've been to. They are terrible and he does not spray for them. I often came home with mosquito bites all over my legs (yes they bit me through my clothes) and arms. As far as winter time, the horses are worked regardless of the temperature outside. We would have lessons when it was so cold we couldn't feel our feet or hands. He has an odd feed regime and will often mix grains such as strategy with horseman's edge for no apparent reason (I even asked Purina reps about this and they were confused as to why he does this). Also, if you left anything in a tack box in his tack room, mice would either eat it or poop all over it. If you made the mistake of leaving things like brushes or shampoos out, he would use/take them.
There is more even. A friend of mine from Ed's barn (who worked for him for two years) decided to leave and come to my barn after taking a lesson from my new trainer and coming to the same realization that Ed taught her nothing. She was very much attached to a lesson horse he had at his barn and decided to purchase her when he put her up for sale. This started the beginning of a terrible nightmare. He was terrible to work with and tried to hike the price on her (told my friend $2500 and told me $3000). Also, I discovered the horse did not have a negative coggins and had to threaten him with the state law before he would have it pulled for us (I helped her buy the horse).
When my friend moved the mare to my barn the trainer rode her only to tell my friend she was not worth $2500 because she had absolutely no real training at all. She had no idea what contact was, how to be on the bit or use herself/bend. The mare was incredibly rude at the barn as well, unlike at Ed's. At Ed's barn she had no real turn out and spent most time in a lesson or a stall like I had said. When we did introduce her to turn out she became a beast. She was rude, dangerous and often broke gates. It got worse when the farrier came out and discovered she had white line disease in one of her hooves. We were able to treat it, but she has since been lame almost every other day for a month now. My friend got a hold of Ed's farrier and discovered that Ed had known about the white line disease for months and refused to treat it because she wasn't lame at the time. Instead, he let her foot crack and allowed her to constantly throw shoes.
My friend has tried to contact Ed over and over and he ignores her calls. Stay away from this man. He is nothing but a fraud and a rip off. All of his students have terrible habits particularly jumping ahead of their horse and pinching with their knees. He does not teach fundamentals, but charges you like he's an grand prix trainer (far from it). I have seen a few horses enter his barn for training, but I've never seen any drastic progress in any of them (some people even moved their horses because of that). He puts all horses in virtually the same tack, hops on and walk, trot, canter, jump. That's it. All of his lessons are predictable and all his training rides are the same too. He ignores problems the horses have instead of fixing them (ie if they kick at you he says "just ignore it"). He is no where near a good trainer, he's just garbage and a waste of time and money. He's nice to you while you're lining his wallet, but the second you leave he has nothing nice to say or will hardly talk you unless you are making a big deal over him. He doesn't even show often. Occasionally he'll do a NIJA show or a schooling show, but unless a student is paying his way (yes he makes you pay his hotel) he doesn't usually go to shows.
Bottom line, you will not learn anything from this guy. You won't learn how tack functions (he doesn't even teach you how to put polos on correctly) or how to fit tack, you won't be taught any fundamentals (such as learning about having contact and learning how horses bend, understand lines and judging distances to jumps, etc), you won't be taught what certain horse behaviors mean or how to deal with them and most certainly you will not advance as a rider, but you will go broke paying him to teach you. Also, do not expect to buy nice horses from him (he gets some of his horses from animal shelters than turns around and sells them for a lot more than he paid) or for him to be honest about what each horse can and can't do. He's in this to make a buck. He doesn't care about people's feelings or about the well being of the horses. There are much better trainers in the area that are honest and that will teach you how to ride.
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 04/07/2011 06:47 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/The-Cambridge-Training-Stable/Maple-Park-Illinois-/The-Cambridge-Training-Stable-Ed-Fodge-hunterjumper-barn-fraud-misrepresentation-lesso-715250. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.
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