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Anyone and Everyone is a Trainer

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    04-20-2011, 12:05 AM
Thanks horsesdontlie it really is sad to watch these self proclaimed instructors teach people when they don't know what they're doing themselves. I've seen way too many people shovelling out their money thinking they are getting quality advice because they're learning and obviously don't know themselves so they have nothing to compare to. I'm always thankful now for books and the internet providing different opinions and information to educate people that are in that situation and hopefully make them question the quality of lessons they are taking. It opened my eyes to a whole new world or riding (correctly!)
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    04-20-2011, 01:10 AM
Green Broke
I'm only really a beginner rider myself. Before I started getting lessons with my horse we had a friend over (who has owned horses all her life) who tried to give me a lesson because I was already riding when they came over. She claims to have owned horses all her life, she taught her daughter, she shows. So to her she obviously knows a lot and is a good instructor. She is a friend and like her but I would rarely turn to her for help when it comes to horses. Whenever I have a problem with a horse all she would say was you need a harsher bit or you need this piece of equipment. So I would basically be loading my horse with all this stuff.

Whereas my actual instructor who I found never claimed to be a fantastic teacher she just offered because she was a friends mom. She rarely got me to use more then the most basic equipment (e.g a crop every now and then). I know she got very high in dressage (don't know all the different levels in dressage off the top of my head) I know she did well and she trained with Olympic riders, by the time I met her though she barely rode but that was because of illness. When she got on a horse you could see how good she was and she barely had to do much if that makes sense.

It was very embarrassing when during one of my lessons our family friend (1st paragraph) came over and started pointing out all the things my instructor was doing wrong during my lesson. It would have been very easy for my instructor to hear her saying all of this and I felt bad because she is a very nice lady.

Anyway don't if that made much sense. But I don't get why people feel the need to make seem like they are all high and mighty. If you should get help from anyone it should be them.
    04-21-2011, 12:56 AM
Can I ask what "makes" a trainer then?

Obviously there is a lot of people who think most trainer/instructors shouldn't be charging for what they do. (not that I disagree with this... entirely) I think the thing is there isn't really any real way to measure the worth of a "trainer" until you see them in action.

I've seen some completely "backyard" trainers come out of the woodwork and show how very talented they are. They advertise word of mouth, or work for ranches/farms as employees - they do consider themselves trainers and get paid as such.

I've seen some trainers who are "certified" in this training program or that... and they couldn't ride or train their way out of a wet paper bag.

I have no problem with someone with experience (with or without a "record" or certificate) considering themselves a trainer, or an instructor - PROVIDED - they do not attempt to work past their level of ability/knowledge, and provided they are covered by insurance. (I have ridden with one lady who hasn't been able to ride for many years due to health reasons - she's a nationally accredited judge - one of the BEST instructors I've ever ridden with. Obviously not able to do it herself, but HAD done it at one point and was very able to describe it, to every last detail)
    04-21-2011, 03:18 AM
I totally agree, though I do not think age has anything to do with it. I taught for a while (though I was no "Trainer") and I saw a lot of people look down on me. Previous to that I was a working student for 3 years and I learned how to teach as an apprentice of sorts from a very experienced trainer. At age 17, I had kids consistently winning in the local circuit. Other trainers (who could not get on a horse and do half of what my kids do) would not treat me with respect.

What does define a trainer then? In my opinion, a trainer is defined by the people he/she trained with previously. You cannot be a trainer without years of training yourself. I agree with not training past your level. However, I don't even think you should train to your level. I was a 3'0"-3'9" rider with extensive dressage training. I taught 2'0" hunter riders and that was surely my limit. It makes me very nervous when I see kids who are clearly not trained in basic equitation jumping around on so called "trainers'" horses running around. I also think trainers need to have clear communication and they need to do their homework. George Morris was a huge inspiration to me. I read all his articles and literature because he is the master. If school teachers are expected to be well versed in their subject, shouldn't trainers (who have not only the education but the safety of their students in their hands) have to read and expand their perspective?

I wish there was a certification for trainers in the US that was widely used. If there was, I'd have invested in that years ago. The only option I see is taking judging classes (when I am out of school I will be doing that to help with my eye) but I would love to see USEF come out with standards for that sort of thing.
    04-21-2011, 11:22 AM
What is makes a good trainer? Now that is the question of the year. XP

I believe it doesn't have to do with any type of certification or having a major in equine sciences. Heck, I would take lessons from some homeless person on the street if he knew what he was talking about. That's the problem, people get majors and still have NO idea what they are talking about. Then clients believe that is they got a major in it they must be good.

A good trainer is one that has a natural eye. I'm sorry but either you have it, or you don't. Its an understanding of BALANCE between a horse and rider. They don't need to know the exercises or specific moves, those can all be easily learned. But a trainer needs an eye to notice when a horse is off balance because of over bending, off balance because of lack of muscle in the hind, balance because the rider is off the horse's center. Its all that and knowing how to correct it. The jumping, barrel racing, pleasure riding can come after and be drastically improved by balance. Yet so many trainers resort to stronger bits, and telling kids that their horses are the one at fault. Its to all the trainers that said they could do nothing with my horse, Jake and saying that he would always be how he is, dangerous from his balance issues. When I rode it was always (go canter him for 30 minutes in a very small circle before the lesson starts/lunge him into exhaustion/and GET AFTER HIM.) Well I got a trainer who could see the balance problem and came up with exercises to work on the problem and help him build muscle to help with it, and she is always screaming "Don't you dare get mad at him, that was all your fault!" Lol
    04-21-2011, 12:16 PM
OK, but the question is... how do you know if the trainer is "good" or not? I mean, yes, absolutely it has to do with having a good eye, and good feel - the ability to communicate well with horses and people.

How does one "judge" that though, especially if they have no previous experience? Not everyone has a good "gut instinct" - and that's kind of where the problem lies.

Not only are there people who THINK they are way better than they are... but there are a lot of people who don't know any better than to believe them.
    04-21-2011, 12:30 PM
Green Broke
Really interesting point and something that never ceases to amaze me in my experiences with the horse world here.

I am not a trainer. I am a full time student and work part time in an office job. I train horses for people because I enjoy doing it. If I am asked to break in a youngster, re-train a problem horse or school an already broken horse for someone I am more than happy to do so if time permits. Last summer holidays I worked with many different horses for different people and during the school semester I still work with horses for other people although my time is much more limited.

In my experience, if you do a good job with one horse that is sent to you, the following month there will be three more waiting. I currently have far more horses waiting to be trained than I anticipate having time for in the next few months. Now, after all of that shameless self promotion I will share something with you: I am by no means a professional. Just someone who has dealt with a lot of different horses over the years in various capacities. I started working for a racehorse trainer 15 years ago and rode anything and everything that I had to including breaking the youngsters for the track and exercise riding at the track. I have trained and successfully competed many horses of my own and also for other people. The more problems you learn to deal with in regards to horse training, the more extensive your bag of tricks becomes.

I don’t necessarily believe that a formal qualification is needed to be a horse trainer, you either have the horsemanship, knowledge, experience and ability, or you don’t. The horses in your care achieve the goals that people want, or they don’t.

The reason I have been so dumbfounded is the number of horse trainers that simply don’t ride. Whether it is because they can’t or won’t (I have seen both) is irrelevant, I am talking about horses that are already broken in this instance. Nothing amuses me more than to hear stories of horses that have been in training for six months or more without the trainer ever so much as getting on the horses back. When it comes to horse training, very simply, the proof is in the pudding. Either the 1, 2, 3 months training (or however long) has been effective and vast improvement has been made, or it hasn’t. Very transparent.

Trainers for schooling people, now that’s a whole different story. I would NEVER train people. I simply don’t have the skills. My comp results were good but nothing spectacular, certainly not to the point where I would consider taking on a student and I certainly am not able to effectively communicate to a person how and what to do in each situation. I can do it myself but imparting that knowledge to another human is mission impossible for me whereas my communication skills with my equine partners is much more reliable.
    04-21-2011, 12:50 PM
I agree Horsesdontlie - that anyone out there can call themselves a Trainer or a Coach now a days.

There are far too many uneducated turning out uneducated. I see it on a regular basis, especially at the previous barn I was at.

The Uneducated do not know any better as Unicorn stated. I see kids with their parents show up at the barn I used to be at, both parties knowing nothing and trusting the barn to do what they claim they can do - leaving those who are educated standing behind the lines scratching their heads going "huh?"

An example - a "Coach" was working with my Lil' Eventing Buddy *he's 12 now turning 13 in a few, at the time he was 11* out on the "XC" course. I watched the lesson, where his horse was going around the course flat, heavy on the fore, taking the bit and choosing his own speed. I saw this and thought "omg, this kid is going to get killed out there" and expected to hear this "coach" correct what I was seeing.

Instead of hearing sit up, get your seat under you, get off your horses shoulders, rock back, get your horse under you - I heard "tug, tug". Tug tug? Wth? No, no, no, no, no, no, no - tug tug does NOTHING....this kid needed to go back to the sandbox, and work on his body positioning to encourage his horse to follow him, they needed to go back to the sandbox to work on rhythm, control, balance, tempo, extending, collecting *hand gallop to a coffin canter*. Not TUG TUG!!!!

He knew nothing about obtaining a Functional Two Point, he knew nothing about anything - except point and shoot.

Then I got my hands on him *MWWWUUUAA HA HA HA HAH A HA HA* and now he's a very tough cookie to beat at HT's.

I feel that if you aren't riding the sport, training in the sport, competing in the sport and not up to your ears in the sport - you have no business coaching it. This "coach" who was working with my little buddy, is a dressage rider....not an eventer, not a hunter/jumper.

Myself, I by no means call myself a coach or a trainer. I call myself a mentor though. I worked with him personally on issues he had, but I also encouraged he and his mother to get involved with educated eventing coaches, clinics and to step outside their little box world at that previous barn, and venture outside to see what the real world of eventing is about and the education level you need to do it safely and well.

I'm very picky as to whom I choose to coach me. Again, that person has to ride the sport, train in the sport, compete in the sport and be up to their ears in the sport. Someone who is always trying to educate themselves via clinics, auditing, attending the association meetings, and being involved with that particular community.

Someone who turns out well rounded, educated students. A Coach who explains not only the "why's" as to what you are doing, but the "hows" as well. Someone who is encouraging and supportive.

I don't care if their students aren't winning - big deal. I don't care if they aren't winning, whooptie doo - but what I do care about on the matter, is how safe are their riders/students, how safe are they, and how involved are they in the sport from all aspects.
    04-22-2011, 01:47 AM
Thelastunicorn - For me its pretty easy. I can either tell within riding or watching one-two lessons from the instructor. Its very easy to seem some flaws in logic or a general attitude towards the riders and their horses. You can tell by the school horses. I have seen many trainers who have great horses, that they claim can't do anything. (Got my hands on a warmblood that a trainer was trying to sell for 1500. She claimed he needed an experienced rider and could only jump up to 2 feet. The horse knew his job, could easily take any rider from advanced beginner with crossrails to more advanced and jumping 4' It wasn't health issue. The trainer just said he had a bad attitude. When this horse merely was very hard mouthed from the very powerful bits and beginners bouncing off his face with these bits.) Or the trainer that has horses that are ALL lame and look skinny. =\

For those people who are starting the sport, they have no way of knowing. Which is what I don't like, at least I can spot and move on from bad trainers. But if you don't know how could you pick and choose? I have seen people come out to my stables that have never had lessons, never had any horse experience and the trainer was FULL leasing out a horse to them without any supervision. When the mom was complaining that the trainer wasn't there to get the tack for her 9 year old daughter to ride, I suggested she find LESSONS with a trainer that would teach them how to handle horses from the ground up, and doing that before leasing.

Saraver - over 50% of the trainers I have observed either can't or haven't gotten on a horse in years and years. Some of the better trainers used to give lessons on horseback themselves.

I gotta respect those people who can do it well. When I'm helping friends or family with riding. I'm always trying to explain things, and it never seems to translate as well as I would have hoped. It so much easier for me just to feel it.

I feel that if you aren't riding the sport, training in the sport, competing in the sport and not up to your ears in the sport - you have no business coaching it.
- MIeventer

Love it!! That sounds like good qualifications to me.
    04-22-2011, 02:12 AM
Green Broke
Originally Posted by Horsesdontlie    
Saraver - over 50% of the trainers I have observed either can't or haven't gotten on a horse in years and years. Some of the better trainers used to give lessons on horseback themselves.
My new trainer has all the papers to say she's a good trainer but that isn't why I like her. She comes out with me and she rides my other horse alongside me during the lesson. He is very naughty under saddle and after just the first lesson she had him going almost perfectly for her. Though he will probably test her everytime at least for awhile. She also explains in good detail what she wants me to do and if I still don't quite get (I'm more of a visual learner) she show me on the horse she is riding as to what she means or if she on the ground she will (look quite funny while doing it) show as best she can while standing there. Also when she first came she had a little go on my horse. Now when we have lessons she knows what I am like and she has an idea of what my horse is like. So when I'm doing something wrong she'll point it out and say why I am probably doing it, then tell me how to fix it and why that way is better. Also after lessons we talk about what I improved on what my horse improved on and what we should work on next time. That is why I like her.

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