I've had a lesson with a Philippe Karl proponent. It's been very intersting week following that. My horse is obviously travelling better, and lighter to all his aids (including some that I had dulled inadvertedly) and this is following one lesson (I can feel his back rising underneath me in a way I hadn't felt with him before with my old coach). Not only that, the group that rides with this trainer are super nice and I actually feel like maybe I'm part of a community that wants me, and that I have help... However, it's a very unconventional method and most people in my barn really do not approve of this method. I wouldn't care, but the thing is, my barn does have some drama and I have no wish to isolate myself from the rest of the barn just because of the crowd that hangs around this trainer.
Ok, so that wouldn't be a problem... if I was fully convinced of this method. I like some parts, I like how super relaxed my horse is, even when doing things that are hard (and they are, he never usually gets this exhausted!). But I feel like this method falls apart in the higher movements, from what I've studied. So I don't feel comfortable with switching my allegience, in other words. This may not be super important, but I might as well add that this trainer is an eventer at heart.
So, who else is there, you ask? Well, the majority of the barn seems to recommend a couple of specific trainers. These are both honest dressage trainers. One is too advanced for me yet (she comes with a warning that she can be tough... which I can take, but since my basics are still shaky, I'd rather wait, but this trainer is my goal eventually) and there's the other. Now, this other one is decent enough, but there are things I don't like about her.
I've watched her with the two horses she has in this barn. Both horses carry themselves well, are round and (properly) collected. What don't I like? Well, she rides with draw reins with one of the horses, all the times I've seen. I understand sometimes you need tools, but all the time...? And I've seen her teach sometimes, and I swear I've heard her teach the old 'bring down your hands real low'. Don't know if she was trying to make the student set the head down or what, but she doesn't seem to do it with her own horses (except for the draw reins).
The other thing I've noticed is that she and her students' horses all seem... rushed, tense. You watch her riding and it doesn't look easy, like so many others I've watched in my own barn. In fact, there's another trainer here that I love love love to watch. She rides so effortlessly, no gadgets ever, and I saw with my own eyes how she transformed a fat, lazy, grumpy Curly cross mare into a wow forward dressage horse. But I also saw her teach once and it doesn't seem like she transfers her riding into teaching well... I wasn't very much impressed, anyways.
So don't know what to do. I don't think I want to go with the PK trainer simply because: A) I'm isolating myself b) not a proven method and I have doubts. But the second trainer I'm not impressed with either... Plus, she's a bit cold and very very very professional, so I'd have my lessons and help, but I'd be on my own most of the time, which is what it was with my old coach and it was unnerving sometimes. On the other hand, her students do very well in shows...
Well, that's my rant. Don't know what to do. Sigh.