I've got a question to see if my instructor is insenstiive or it's me.
I'm an adult rider (37), started a few years ago and now do lessons at 2 barns - very casual hunter/jumper barn and the new one is a dressage barn. Since I've been going to the new dressage barn, I've really begun to feel like I can't do anything very well. It became apparent that I'd not learned much position-wise at my other lessons with the hunter/jumper barn (though I have achieved my Equine Canada level 3 through that barn so must have learned something), and while I knew I wanted to know more specifics, I didn't realize until the dressage barn that I had been doing a lot of things 'wrong', position wise (ie leg not far enough back, using my toes too much to post, etc.). I'm not doing dressage yet either - my coach keeps telling me I'm just doing 'basic English' and learning what I apparently had not been taught. Anyway, I'm happy to know to be a better rider, but it's caused a huge amount of frustration for me as my coach at the dressage barn seems to be a bit of a perfectionist and thinks she's really nice, but really can be very nitpicky and critical.
Today was an awful lesson there because I was on a super slow horse with a trot that is so crazily smooth that there is barely any impulsion at all. So I was venting a bit about it being hard to post as I'm used to a much bouncier, forward horse (thoroughbred) at my other barn, and my instructor started getting all defensive about the horse and saying other people can post fine on him, you just have to get used to different horses, etc. I agree with her, but it just seemed a bit ridiculous because he was seriously soooo slow and no impulsion whatsoever. I'm still learning or rather unlearning old bad habits, so it just seemed crazy to have to be posting on a horse like this where I was doing all the work myself and I just didn't see the point. I've also been told other times that he has to stay at a really slow trot because he goes lame off and on and is arthritic, etc., so they don't want him pushed, and so as far as I knew that was the best we were going to get for a trot, and then she was going on about me not pushing him forward enough and I was expecting him to do all the work. Hardly, I was doing all the work if you ask me! Argghh.... So then much to my dismay and totally out of character for me, I ended up getting teary-eyed and on the verge of crying as I had just gotten so frustrated with her going on about everything being my fault, so then she got upset too. It was just a nightmare. Here I am a 37 year-old adult with 2 children and I'm practically in tears on top of my old horse. I told her not to take it personally but I really am quite upset about it still now because she was really making me feel like I couldn't even post at all and it had nothing whatsoever to do with the horse.
To make matters worse, I clean paddocks 2 mornings a week there to pay for lessons (so I can ride more often and stay at both barns) and she is the barn manager that I work under. We get along fine in that regard, but she's a speed demon, of course because it's her job, but she is horrified at how 'slow' I am at everything. Thing is though I get paid the same no matter how long it takes me, and it doesn't effect the barn at all. I'm just a methodical, detail-oriented type person, plus I'm 37 and not in the best shape of my life to say the least. I'm not being slow in my mind at all, I'm working my butt off in fact, but she's just a total type A personality so I get comments like 'you're not done yet??' a lot, which I find a bit insulting. The barn owner comments regularly though on how great things look when I'm done. I'm just thorough I guess.
Anyway, what do you think? Is she being insensitive to maybe the issues of an 'older' rider (and 'older' working student
) or am I being too sensitive? I don't want to leave the barn as I do want to eventually do dressage and it's a great barn other than this issue, but I can't change instructors there, plus I don't really want to. Maybe I just need to not talk - if I hadn't complained at all about the slow, almost nonexistant trot, none of this would have happened. By the way, it sounds like we don't get along at all, but we actually do normally, but sometimes she just drives me nuts as she seems to have no understanding for other perspectives....
Funny though as it's mostly an adult barn, but I think most of the other adults there have been doing dressage for years and so while she's used to adults, she's probably not used to having to deal with someone who has to unlearn bad habits at a more beginner level...
Sorry for the very lengthy post. Thanks so much if you made it this far.