Dangerous instructor? - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 19 Old 09-26-2013, 02:37 PM Thread Starter
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Dangerous instructor?

I recently switched from Western reining to English Hunter/Jumper. This was my first time ever using an English saddle and my first introduction to the English discipline. My new instructor said I seemed like a great rider, so she really pushed me for the first few lessons. By the third lesson, she asked me to jump. I thought it was too soon, but I went for it anyway and did well (not the smartest idea, I know, but I wasn't afraid to eat dirt).

The issue is, now she's putting me on very "forward" horses who bolt and are probably not best for novice English riders. She's intent on getting me "show ready" within two months. I think there's a fine line between 'pushing yourself' and 'risking serious medical attention.' Right now, we're working on proper rein cues and "pressure and release" on a forward horse. I'm not comfortable, but she's not really happy with "setting me back" on a less go-happy horse. Thoughts?
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post #2 of 19 Old 09-26-2013, 02:49 PM
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If you are not comfortable, she needs to listen to that. End of story. You are PAYING her, so what you want is paramount, within reason, of course. Over the years (WAY too many...lol) I have learned to listen to my gut. If my gut (instincts) tell me not to do something, I will take that into consideration. There are days I know I shouldn't ride-sometimes just because of my mood.....I know it will not be a positive experience for me or my horse so we do ground work.

Making the transition from Western to English is a difficult one, IMO, as you are now dealing with basically a postage stamp to stay balanced on. I know I would feel really insecure going back.

As far as "show ready" in 2 months....have you told her you WANT to show? If so, then you need to let her know it will be when YOU feel you are ready. 2 months is ridiculous IMO, unless it is a flat class, in which case, concentrate on the flat!
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post #3 of 19 Old 09-26-2013, 02:54 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you so much for the feedback, franknbeans! What ticks me off is that I told her I wasn't comfortable with this particular horse after a few times on him and she kept saying, "Well, I wouldn't put you on a dangerous horse." And of course, the next lesson, he bolts and leaves me on the ground. Had a sore shoulder for days.
The switch from Western to English has been and eye-opener to say the least! Your "postage stamp" description was spot on There's no longer a saddle horn to grab on to! I'm kind expecting to fall MORE in English than I did in Western.

I do want to show, but definitely not by November! If I do, it'll be on the flat and not on this speed demon horse! I needed a reminder to go with my instinct, so I really appreciate it :)
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post #4 of 19 Old 09-26-2013, 03:21 PM
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I think she's just figuring that you can ride already because of your western background and either is ignoring or doesn't understand the huge differences between styles.

I'd find a new instructor personally.
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post #5 of 19 Old 09-26-2013, 03:25 PM
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I used to teach in the UK many years ago - in a riding school so we got many beginners - My best advice to you is to find a different barn and leave this trainer behind you.
Pushing someone too far beyond their comfort zone is dangerous and also opens up the potential to leave some huge holes in your learning that you might struggle to backtrack on further down the line
You're paying her for something you're supposed to enjoy doing and she's failing to deliver
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post #6 of 19 Old 09-26-2013, 03:28 PM
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I think she's just figuring that you can ride already because of your western background and either is ignoring or doesn't understand the huge differences between styles.

I'd find a new instructor personally.
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post #7 of 19 Old 09-26-2013, 04:24 PM
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I also agree with everyone.
You're putting yourself at risk of injury and as mentioned, you can't rush learning without having holes in the foundation. I don't see why you must expect to fall more in English than Western. I had few falls in my many years of riding, most of them on lesson horses. And ALL of them I had a bad gut feeling and didn't speak up.

You spoke to your coach and she's not listening. Move elsewhere! Learning should be fun, not scary. I would concentrate on flatwork and basic dressage. Jumping is fun, but should be introduced much later when flatwork is mastered in all gaits.
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post #8 of 19 Old 09-26-2013, 04:55 PM
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I'd be shopping for another instructor! The problem isn't that you're switching disciplines, the problem is that she is putting you in situations that are intimidating and unsafe and that is not ok. Ever. I have several students who have switched from western to english and the very first thing I do is make sure they have a solid leg and independant hands/seat. For some western riders it takes a while (lots of them tend to ride with their legs out in front of them and ride off the back of their seat) and for some it takes a few weeks. Sometimes they can handle a more difficult horse on the flat but no matter how gutsy they are I ALWAYS put them on one of the safest easiest jumping horses when they are learning to jump. I just got a new students a few weeks ago and she was jumping after 3 weeks of flat lessons with me. She was jumping lines comfortably and completely in control during her second lesson. She always has a huge smile on her face and is always telling me how amazed she is by how technical english riding is. I don't care that our show season will pretty much be over in 2 months, she will show when I think she's ready. (and yes, she does want to) An instructor should be safe and always have YOUR best interest at heart.
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post #9 of 19 Old 09-26-2013, 05:00 PM
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I'm with the others, find a new instructor.

Regardless of how long you have been riding western, that does not translate into being competent enough for jumping... and good for you to realize that! There are people who have been riding English for a long time that shouldn't even be jumping, never mind someone who isn't even comfortable in a smaller saddle yet.

There's a lot more to jumping safely than just cantering towards a fence and hoping the horse takes you over. I think a lot of (inexperienced) instructors assume that just because a rider has balance that it's safe for them to jump which couldn't be any further than the truth. You need to be able to properly control your horse, to see distances, to have a proper release to not pull on their mouth, to properly land without slamming down on their backs. That's just the beginning, there is so much more that one (should) know before jumping.

Here's a relevant article:

Top 3 Reasons Why America’s Producing so Many Mediocre Instructors | The Riding Instructor
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post #10 of 19 Old 09-26-2013, 05:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jinxremoving View Post
I'm with the others, find a new instructor.

Regardless of how long you have been riding western, that does not translate into being competent enough for jumping... and good for you to realize that! There are people who have been riding English for a long time that shouldn't even be jumping, never mind someone who isn't even comfortable in a smaller saddle yet.

There's a lot more to jumping safely than just cantering towards a fence and hoping the horse takes you over. I think a lot of (inexperienced) instructors assume that just because a rider has balance that it's safe for them to jump which couldn't be any further than the truth. You need to be able to properly control your horse, to see distances, to have a proper release to not pull on their mouth, to properly land without slamming down on their backs. That's just the beginning, there is so much more that one (should) know before jumping.

Here's a relevant article:

Top 3 Reasons Why America’s Producing so Many Mediocre Instructors | The Riding Instructor


I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE that article! (and thought about posting it! Glad you did) Someone posted it on FB and I couldn't agree more with every word it says. AMEN!
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