Gotham Training Center - Telling it like it is

Wauchula, Florida 2 comments
Not resolved

I used to be a client of Cat Smith's at Gotham Training Center.I agree with those people who have stated that she does not deliver on the promises made in regards to training your horse.

She would only work my horse when I was present, which was 1 day a week, and I was paying what other trainer's charge for 5-6 days a week training. I had finally moved to another more reputable training facility after giving her many chances to right the situation. It never got better, I only was taken MORE advantage of. I truly feel that she bit off more than she could chew.

She was not in a the position to run a full-service show barn, nor a training practice. I do think she was capable of working with well-trained seasoned horses, but not fixing serious behavioral problems or starting young horses. I must honestly say that I did enjoy the lessons I had with her and felt she was good at giving instruction. Her problems were her lack of total commitment and always finding an excuse for not following through with her promises.

She needs to take a good, hard look at herself and determine what she could do to restore her reputation, which may include making amends to those she has wronged.But until she faces up to it and swallows that difficult pill, it will never happen.

Review about: Horse Training.

Comments

Anonymous
#615317

I think this comment must've been written by Cat herself.Anyone paying top dollar for a service deserves to be treated with honesty and respect....anything less is fraud.

I know this first hand as I also had my horses in "training" at her facility. And believe me, what the other disgruntled customers are upset about are valid issues. Both of my horses received minimal, at best, attention. The only time she worked them was when I was there and requested it.

I was paying over $1,400 per horse monthly. Afterward I took my one horse to another trainer and had him under saddle and riding him myself within 1 week after being told by Cat that this would take months! I do think she was an accomplished rider and good at giving lessons.

But training horses and running an entire boarding/training facility....Absolutely NOT!

Anonymous
#471431

People need to be accountable for themselves.I totally have first hand experience with this facility and clients.

It is amazing to me how everyone wants a "deal" and thinks that that they should have board and training for free. Dropping their children off all day and expects their children to be watched all day by the trainer and then driven home by the trainer. If anything Cat was way too generous to all the clients at the barn and was taken advantage of. When she had to close her business people were upset because now they actually would have to pay full board.

"imagine that". If you look up the show records of her clients you will find they were always in the ribbons. GIVE CREDIT were credit is due. I saw clients come in crying that they could not pay their board and Cat always worked it out.

Check with the local vets and you will see that her horses were always in top form. If I were Cat there would be lawsuits for slander being filed. As for other trainers lets not be naive they want the business and will say a lot of harmful things just to get clients. Cat always has worked with problem and green horses and has been extremely successful at it.

These sites only hurt all the people involved and keep personnel attacks going. Most of the people posting on here were long time clients and why would they stay if this facility was so bad! Cat had a 30 day notice policy to leave and open door day or night to come see their horse.

I...

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Gotham Training Center aka Cat Smith

Tampa, Florida 13 comments
Not resolved

Two things amaze me about bad horse trainers.One is that they stay in business.

Two is that they continually steal major $$ from unsuspecting clients and then close up their facility only to move on to another group of unsuspecting victims. This is how Cat Smith operates. She is a liar, thief and scam artist. Her list of credentials, references and education resume is bogus.

After extensive research and contacting the people and places she lists on her resume, I have the proof to discredit her. In fact, she has been let go from reputable facilities in the state of Florida for her unprofessionalism and unethical ways of doing business. Her reputation in the industry is nothing more than a "*** Artist in a pair of riding boots". I have been told by well known, professional horse trainers and reputable equine medical personnel, that her facility conditions and care she provides are substandard and detrimental to the health of the horses.

She advertises she is able to train your horse in every type of discipline. Let me tell you she is not able to do so. She does not have the ability to train your horse at all. WHY?

Because she is in this business for her own personal gain. She does not care about the horses or the students who pay good money for lessons. Her only agenda is her and how much money she can get out of you before you figure out what she is really about. She assures you that your young, green horse is destined to be a fabulous champion and/or worth major $$ and that your child is naturally talented and headed for great success.

Either way, Cat Smith utilizes these proclamations to seduce you into spending more money. Meanwhile, your horse is NOT being trained and your child is trained only to the point to where you are told to lay out more $$. I am writing this from firsthand experience dealing with this lying viper. I cannot begin to tell you how much time, effort, and money I have given this person.

My horse and child have suffered greatly at the hands of this pathological liar. The best is when you call her on what she is doing. She tries to reverse the blame and tell you that your horse has issues and that your child is not progressing because he/she is not listening to her or working hard enough. In other words, nothing is ever Cat Smith's fault.

Cat Smith carefully chooses which horses to ride that make her look good. Any horse that is evasive, temperamental or just plain unattractive is not ridden and a client is then told "she has exhausted all her efforts and that they should "Cut Your Losses". It is always someone or something else's fault. She takes no responsibility for the horse's health she has put in jeopardy and takes no responsibility for the money she has taken from loyal clients.

I can't stress enough that you should never board, train or take lessons with Catherine "Cat" Smith. She leaves behind her a long list of casualties in both horses and good people. This is not being written by someone with a grudge or personal vendetta, just by someone speaking up for a large group of people that have been taken advantage of by this lying fake. I just hope you adhere to my words and do you and your horse a favor - Stay away from her.

There should be laws put into effect that keep people like her from working in this industry. She gives legitimate hard working trainers a bad name. She is part of a group that tarnishes this profession for all the truly ethical people out there. Cat Smith is in the process of once again going out of business at her current facility (there have been many and she is actually being evicted).

She is most likely planning to relocate and repeat her ways on to another group of unsuspecting, hard working people.BEWARE!

Review about: Horse Training.

Comments

Anonymous
Oviedo, Florida, United States #742320

The person who wrote this must not know Cat Smith at all, especially when it comes to caring about horses/animals.I have personally seen her sleep in the stall next to a sick horse for mulitiple nights till the horse was nursed back to health.

The person who wrote this is obviously holding some kinda grudge and truly doesnt know Cat Smith.

You cant make everyone happy and this must be one of those you cant make happy.Cat is an amazing trainer and truly loves animals.

Anonymous
#471430

People need to be accountable for themselves.I totally have first hand experience with this facility and clients.

It is amazing to me how everyone wants a "deal" and thinks that that they should have board and training for free. Dropping their children off all day and expects their children to be watched all day by the trainer and then driven home by the trainer. If anything Cat was way too generous to all the clients at the barn and was taken advantage of. When she had to close her business people were upset because now they actually would have to pay full board.

"imagine that". If you look up the show records of her clients you will find they were always in the ribbons. GIVE CREDIT were credit is due. I saw clients come in crying that they could not pay their board and Cat always worked it out.

Check with the local vets and you will see that her horses were always in top form. If I were Cat there would be lawsuits for slander being filed. As for other trainers lets not be naive they want the business and will say a lot of harmful things just to get clients. Cat always has worked with problem and green horses and has been extremely successful at it.

These sites only hurt all the people involved and keep personnel attacks going. Most of the people posting on here were long time clients and why would they stay if this facility was so bad! Cat had a 30 day notice policy to leave and open door day or night to come see their horse.

I...

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Anonymous
#432959

I trained with Cat Smith.She was one of the best trainers I had EVER had when she was focused.

When her relationship with her husband went down hill so did her business. But before that her business was amazing and was always imporving. She would have done nothing bad for the horses. Personally I don't know what happened between her and her husband but I know she had big dreams for all of her riders most of them went on to do big things.

I was very upset when her business fell apart. But when the problems started her mind was not in the right place. If she would try to build her business back up I would trust her completely. And I really think she should try after all her problems are over and her mind is in the right place.

Most of these nasty comments are all made by one person that did not have a good experience from the begin.

That person should have just moved at the begging.Then there would not be 50000 websites about how bad Cat Smith is because she is an amazing trainer and rider!

Anonymous
#372507

I have personally experienced training /boarding with Cat Smith.She was a good trainer for the students, but when it came to the training and care of the horses it could have been ALOT better. She lied when she was so called “training“ the horses that needed to be trained, they would sit in a stall on day’s end, the only out time would be when they were let out during the day or at night. She lied about various things.And for that so called “ugly” American warmblood she was far from ugly(the only reason she looked the way she did was from lack of care),and she was the ONLY horse that won Ellet Broodmare at the warmblood inspection that’s saying something!!And all the students that looked up to her and wanted be like her she put them to shame…its very disappointing to have your students see how horrible and hateful a person can be.I wish that Cat Smith would just admit to the things that she has done wrong and leave her pervious clients alone and if she can NOT get the hint that we do NOT care for her anymore shes is extremely delusional…WE JUST WANT HER TO BE GONE.

Anonymous
#372315

I heard about this website when I googled "Gotham Training" and I have to laugh.I used to know Cat and was curious if she was still training.

All I can say is that I am not surprised to see this forum at all. Also to "No need to comment on this" I have to respond that Cat Smith will NEVER own up to this. She has had delusions of grandeur from day one and she probably doesnt believe she did anything wrong to these people. To you loyal supporters..

Ask her for her diploma from UF, call those trainers that she supposedly mentored with.You will be biting your tongue.

Anonymous
#372178

Yes, the supporters should not comment.That way, nobody can call the vindictive liars out.

In your perfect world maybe.And obviously, it's not the supporters who need the "eduacating."

Anonymous
#372125

I suggest that Cat Smith's loyal supporters remove themselves from this situation.Cat and only Cat can answer to these former clients and it's time she steps up and does so.

Look at the above arguements. All the former clients are posting legitiment facts.Even professionals in this field are commenting on her integity. Everything posted is a result of improper care and Cat knows this. Also they seem to have proof to document their claims.

I suggest that Cat put this to bed and maybe try to rectify this mess with sincere apologies to these people. Also to her somewhat rude and illiterate supporters - you should mind your business. All you are doing is adding senseless fuel to this fire. I understand that you may know a different Cat and thats fine but really attacking the looks of horses???

And also your posts ramble on and make no sense. You really need someone to proof read them you are in need of some further eduacating.

My advice is that everyone find the right way to settle this.Cat that would mean YOU!!!

Anonymous
#372032

Two things amaze me about naive horse people.One is how they think being a success in the horse industry is placing at a schooling show.

It's a great, and necessary, start. But, that's all it should be- a start. Two is how when they are the ones getting the deals, it's all good. When things change, they cry foul and act like the innocent victim.

I've known cat smith for a long time. Anyone who says she only gets on horses that make her look good has about as much horse sense as someone who thinks owning a specific breed instantly makes them a better rider. Ive seen cat smith ride, and show, some of the most unattractive and unathletic horses out there and make them look good. As a previous poster said, this is her appeal.

I've watched countless kids and adults come to cat smith with no basics, no confidence and no goals. Months later, they look like different riders. The care the horses in her facility receive is steps above the competition. While the other trainers are relaxing and having a good time (usually with quite a few drinks) on show weekends, this trainer is busy helping her students and horses prepare.

If that makes her unfriendly, i think those other trainers need to remember what their responsibilties are. I've watched so called "help" be anything but help. They did this bc they knew cat smith was too nice and they took advantage of her and the deal they were getting which, at the time, was of course not a problem. I've seen...

To these people, its all a game to see who they can cheat the most. The loser gets their name tarnished by this person, atleast thats the goal. Ive had several horses in cat smiths care and have no complaints about the attention and care she gave them. In the end, it just boils down to the fact that all of the "pissed consumers" here have one priority.

And it's not their horses or even their children. It's themselves.

They will lie and connive their way thru barns, bad mouthing each trainer as they go, until one day they realize that winning grand champion at the schooling show down the road year after year or letting your child ride a dangerous or lame horse bc it's a so-called fancy warmblood doesn't mean you beat the system.It just means you are still as well known in the horse world as you were the day before you knew the difference between a gelding and a mare.

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Anonymous
#371805

Unfortunately, there are a lot of people in the horse business that claim they are trainers.Just because you can ride a horse and tell a child how to look pretty on a pony does NOT make you a horse trainer.

This is how Cat Smith ran her business. She wanted to project that she is an elite equestrian when all she ran was a backyard "horse camp". She didn't have the ability or the strength to train half of the horses that came in to her barn. Most of the time to even get clients she had to "trade" services and she never held her end of the bargain.

When I worked for her I saw her lying to clients and telling them she was "training" their horses when all she did was sit around and gossip and complain about her problems ( health, marriage, mean clients, etc ). After talking to most of her past clients I can say she never actually has successfully trained a horse in her Gotham career. Most people left out of frustration.

As far as the care of the horses... she lied to clients regularly about the care their horses were receiving.

Almost every horse in the barn had hoof problems that miraculously got better after the horse left. Me and other employees would show up to feed and there would be no hay and no food to feed the horses, so she would say "Oh just give them bran". The people that worked there knew to bring their own hay and feed if they wanted their horses to get fed.

I am glad that the talented riders at her barn have moved on and...

She has some clients that really tried to stay loyal to her but just like everyone else they got screwed in the end.Her closing was inevitable and hopefully one day she will come to terms and STOP making excuses!

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Anonymous
#371629

I am an Equine Trainer/Boarding Facility/Riding Instructor who has been operating in the same location and knows Cat Smith. The situation that has been revolving around her abrupt departure was brought to my attention when quite a few of her former clients and students were desperately searching for a facility. Many of them were angry and felt betrayed, which I being in this business for many years understand. My facility is considered small so I was not able to accommodate them at the time. The reason I am even addressing this is because I understand there are two sides to this argument. As I know, running a boarding/ training facility is a 24 hour, 7day a week job. You must be business savvy and also completely devoted. The problem with Cat Smith was that she wanted bigger than she was capable of having. As with this business, the owner/trainer takes a back seat to the horses, clients and students. I saw that her struggles began when she put herself first and the important matters second. In this business, one needs to operate within boundaries and go no further until capable. I have seen firsthand owner/ trainers get bigger than they should and the end result is always the same – They close leaving horses and clients to fend for themselves, while they move on only to create the same situation again. I feel for those clients.

On a personal note, Cat Smith was cool but cordial. She did not communicate well with equine professionals, horse trainers and...

This being a very small community, word spreads quickly. I will tell you that I had the honor of acquiring one of her students and horses awhile back while she was still in operation. I can say that the student was trained decently but the horse needed major reconditioning. This client than recommended another former student and horse that has been training with Cat Smith. The same issues were apparent in this horse as in the first. If time is not spent conditioning a horse properly it will not perform properly and this is Cat’s biggest fault. She rushes a horse and this is quite damaging in the long run.

I hope everyone involved is able to move on from this. I understand from medical equine professionals in the area that there are horses coming out of Cat’s facility that needed some major physical rehabilitation. This is what saddens me. Cat Smith is experienced enough to not have let that happen. I wish her success. I hope she reflects on what has happened, feels remorse for her former clients, students and horses but mostly she does not repeat what she has done.

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Anonymous
#371112

my experience with cat, though very limited, was very pleasent. It sounds as though the "American Warmblood" (need more be said?) owner is the one pointing fingers.

AppyGrl
#370200

WOW!Since I know and can prove that the things you said werent true I hope she sues you!

and Cats record is spotless! (I mean the legal record) unlike some angy consumer who cussed her way out of a barn. (and NO this isnt CAT.) but every SINGLE reference on that resume is true and provable IN COURT man I will give cat the money to take you there for slander if I can talk her into it.

but she is TOO NICE.anyway good luck with that ugly american WB

Anonymous
#370013

first off, whoever wrote this sounds like they are mad at the industry and blaming it on Cat.Sorry, the horse business is all about money!

For that matter really though, what business is not? Do you not expect to make money at your job? I find it interesting that you expect this trainer NOT to make a living off of you and others. That is how they make their living.

It is not crooked or dishonest or manipulative or using you. It is a job that is built paid for by the discretionary spending of others. If anything, Cat is incredibly honest and up front about costs and fees of the horse show world, or at least so I have found. As for "only riding horses that make her look good", I have seen this trainer ride mules, figuratively speaking, and make them look like stars!

She is known for making great horses out of mediocre ones. She finds that little spark in everything and cultivates and grows it. That is the appeal of this trainer. Yes, whenever you are in horses and you want to climb up a rung it means more money.

It is an elietest sport. That is the reality of it. Cat has always done her best to help people along this process and is always honest about the costs. As for Cat being kicked out of training facilities or her resume being false.

I have known her for the majority of her resume and KNOW it to be true. I would be interested to know the names of these professionals you are quoting. If it is true, write it down so we can look it...

This is the FIRST training facility that has been shut down and it was done so legally. I am not sure what you are talking about by her stealing peoples money but if you want this attack to be taken seriously you should give people the ability to verify what you are saying. Remember consumer, there are two sides to every story. It is a shame this one seemed to end so baddly.

From reading this story it sounds like you had a great kid and a young horse, which are ALWAYS dicey situations because a young horse can go any way.

It sounds like you were hurt when Cat HAD to quit the business for family reasons.I understand that hurt but maybe you should talk to her about it rationally instead of ranting on a public forum that can never be erased, that is just hateful.

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