Concerned about an instructors abilities - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 10-27-2011, 01:02 AM Thread Starter
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Concerned about an instructors abilities

Sorry if this is not in the right place. I am the head riding instructor at a facility and I recently hired another instructor to help with the overflow of beginner/intermediate students. I've watched her teach a few lessons and everything that came out of her mouth was calm and correct but I've seen a few things that make me doubt her abilities. First of all she was very professional, had great references, used to own her own facility and has alot of horse connections in our area.

I've seen her get on a few times to fix a pony or show a student something.. posting is fine, canter is fine.

What has me a little worried is that I watched her get on one of my school horses that "drift" towards the gate and she couldn't correct the problem very well. She was trying to use a direct rein and opposite leg to guide her but the horse just bent more and continued to bulge the shoulder and drift toward the gate instead of applying and releasing same side aids to "block" her and straighten her up. I've seen another student of hers repeatedly have the same problem on a different horse.

I've also seen saddle fit issues where everyone one wears a fleece half pad when its not needed. She put a riser on backwards and UNDER the saddle pad. I've been in the tacking area while she was helping one of my students (that I passed on to her for a few lessons). My student correctly hooked up the girth to the back two billets to balance the saddle and the instructor "corrected" the student saying "We always use the first and third billet strap for equal pressure and the third one is just a spare."

She is older than me and has been in the business longer so I feel that she should know better but I'm unsure how to go about correcting her with out insulting her. I was pretty embarrassed when she got on and could hardly steer the lesson horse when my beginner student (who I passed to her) was doing a better job just 5 minutes before. Any thoughts?
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post #2 of 10 Old 10-27-2011, 02:57 AM
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I would nip it in the bud from the word go if I were you. Everyone has a different way of doing things, however I do find the pad thing a little weird! But you don't have to be rude, just say this is the way we do things here. If you don't, it might be harder further on down the line to correct these things.

As for the horse drifting, I wouldn't worry about it too much, but ask her in her free time if she would like to school the horse, perhaps, so she finds those right buttons? Or do a mock up where you teach her. I knew a very very good school pony who wouldn't put a foot out of place for a beginner, however as soon as a more experienced rider got on was a bit of a handful!

She sounds like she's good with the kids, and she's good in her lessons so just let her know. She'll probably be more grateful for you doing this now than in a few weeks time.
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post #3 of 10 Old 10-27-2011, 06:56 AM
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I've always used the first and third straps. Never seen it done differently anywhere. As for the other stuff she seems to be in the wrong.
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post #4 of 10 Old 10-27-2011, 07:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Kiviknon View Post
I've always used the first and third straps. Never seen it done differently anywhere. As for the other stuff she seems to be in the wrong.
Agreed, the US Pony Club teaches people to use the first and third billet straps. I don't know the reasoning behind it, but that seems to be the most common method.
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post #5 of 10 Old 10-27-2011, 05:56 PM
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She defiantly has some unusual methods, First and third for me.
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post #6 of 10 Old 10-27-2011, 06:13 PM
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First and third are because most saddle the first two billets are sewn together on the same piece of nylon, or together in some way depending on the maker of the saddle, and the third billet is sewn into the saddle separately. If the first billet breaks or pulls out for some reason, the third billet strap is unaffected, and you can have the time to get off, and it will prevent the girth from falling off completely and swinging underneath the horse. Same with if the third billet breaks, the first one is safe.
As for the trainer, everyone has a little different method for teaching, and if the students are learning properly and advancing, and getting what she's trying to teach them, then I would just ask her next time you see it, why she put the pads the way she did, or why she used the pads that she did, just in the interest of understanding her and her methods better. If you are concerned about her answers, or don't like her answers, then I would let her go, and find someone else.
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post #7 of 10 Old 10-28-2011, 11:57 AM
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The riser thing and the steering thing would concern me too! As you can tell about the billet strap thing... its a common misconception so i wouldn't harpoon her for that.

Dressagebelle was the closest but it's typically the back two that are sewn together. I've read that traditionally the back two straps were meant to be used and the front "point" strap (that is usually anchored directly to the tree) was meant to anchor the front of the saddle for horses with no withers for added security. Especially on a jumping saddle with a forward flap the point strap could cause the saddle flap to put to much pressure on the shoulder blade and restrict movement. However billet straps can be used to assist in saddle fit for example: using the back two for a saddle that is slightly to wide and falls forward on the wither. Personally, I think using the first and the third creates to much bulk under you leg especially on cheaper saddles.

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Last edited by starlinestables; 10-28-2011 at 12:05 PM.
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post #8 of 10 Old 10-28-2011, 12:24 PM
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We're taught first and third because it balances the saddle weight more evenly and the back two are on the same piece of webbing so if you use those two and it breaks you have no girth anymore and you're coming off. At least if you use the first and second/third then if that piece of webbing goes then your girth is still attached to something.

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post #9 of 10 Old 10-28-2011, 12:59 PM
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I always use the first (anchored to the tree and MUCH less likely to pull loose) and the third (triangulates the balance of the saddle). Using the back two billets is not as safe, IMO. The webbing that they attach to are more likely to come loose in an emergency and if it goes, you lose your whole girth. If the tree billet is used, you will still have one holding your girth.

The extra billet is in case one of the billets snaps. You could have a spare to get you home.

Did you ever ask why she used the pads that way? She may have a reason she like. I am always willing to listen in the hope that a new technique might just make sense. I must admit, would take a lot to make me think it makes much sense.

On the bending issue. Would a more experienced instructor get the horse to do better or was the horse just being incredibly sour and unresponsive?

I would say sit her down and have a chat before making a decision.
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post #10 of 10 Old 10-28-2011, 01:32 PM
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nip it in the butt now before it gets bigger :)
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