How to "Quit" With a Trainer? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 3 Old 08-17-2013, 01:56 AM Thread Starter
Green Broke
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Louisiana
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How to "Quit" With a Trainer?

A bit of back story here, so sorry if it gets a bit long. I'm at a bit of a dilemma here! For the past four years I have been away in college and not taking lessons. Prior to moving (since I was about 13 I guess) I have been taking lessons from a dressage trainer in my area. She was a great trainer and person, and when I was 15 she helped me purchase my first (and current) horse. I took lessons from her and did some showing until I graduated high school and moved to a new city and new barn. I kept riding my horse regularly (unless something was going on at least a few times/week minimum) but I stopped showing and lessons. I came back to my original barn every summer and took a few lessons with her a couple of years ago, but that's it. I loved the time that I spent showing and would love to get back to it soon if possible, but I have enjoyed having time to just enjoy myself and my horse over the past four years. During my high school years she was basically a second mother to me, and has remained a close friend to our family over the years. She comes to our house for holidays, I always came to visit her when I was in town, I babysit her dogs when she leaves town, and we would call each other regularly to ask how our lives/horses were doing.

In the past few years she pretty much got out of horses. She hasn't done any lessons since two years ago (her last student graduated, didn't seek anymore), and has been leasing her horse out since about that time. She quit her job at my original barn last fall, and has been "out of the horse world" since.

Now I have moved back to the area where I was in high school, but at a different barn. The new barn that I am at is a low key place with only a few boarders and no trainer like my old place (my trainer was kind of a secondary there even). I have been wanting to get back into training so that I can contemplate showing in the future, so I called my old trainer to see if she would be interested. She said "Give me a chance to think about it", and she never got back to me. I assumed that she wasn't interested, so a few weeks later I asked her if there would be any dressage trainers that would come out to my barn for lessons. She replied "Besides me?!", so I naturally started taking lessons with her.

Long story short, the lessons haven't been working out. She's been out of horses for awhile, and is giving me advice that is completely contrary to what I think and feel is going on with myself and my horse. I understand that I've been out of the training loop for a few years, so we definitely have a few rough edges. However, after the first couple of lessons I had iffy feelings. We had worked out a dogsitting/lesson exchange already so I decided to give her lessons a little more time, but today I made the decision that things just aren't working. I'm in a tricky situation where I don't have a trailer to travel to any other trainers or have anyone other than her that will travel to my barn, but I don't want to have her ill-advice ruin my riding and relationship with my horse. I'd rather have no lessons than have poor quality lessons, especially since I'm' going to start having to pay for them since the sitting-lesson trade has just about run out. When we started taking lessons I told her that if she ever felt inclined to ride she was welcome to hop on my boy if she gave me notice. She got on him at the beginning of our lesson today, and I was horrified by the way she rode. He was really tense and looky for some random reason (not acting up in the slightest, but moving very tense), and she was jerking him all over the place and flopping all over his back. I don't want to revoke the offer, but I don't want her anywhere near my horse's back when I'm not around!

So, how do I quit? After today's lesson I was just so fed up with everything that I didn't even know how to say that I wouldn't be attending next week's lesson. I just don't know what to tell her. She seems to love coming out to the barn, and I wish that we could be able to have a compatible lesson relationship again. She knows that I want to take lessons and look into showing, but that path just may not include her. I'm just at a loss and would love to have any advice. She's not just a random trainer who I was with in high school, broke up with, and came back to for the summer. She's also a family friend, a friend of mine, AND the lady who helped me find the most perfect partner of 7 years (my horse). I don't want to ruin that relationship, but I don't want her riding my horse, and I don't want her "advice" to ruin my riding. How do I let her down gently?
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post #2 of 3 Old 08-17-2013, 04:53 AM
Join Date: Aug 2013
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I would explain that you don't need her services anymore, and hope she understands. :)
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post #3 of 3 Old 08-17-2013, 05:05 AM
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Portland, OR
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I would just be honest and tell her that you want to move in a different direction with your lessons. Or you could say you need to take a break from lessons and then let her know gently when you find a different trainer. As someone who is naturally timid and people-pleasing, I'll say that no good ever comes from sacrificing your own well-being to spare the feelings of others. The truth eventually comes out anyway, and you should spare yourself the anguish and just get it over with. You'll feel so much better once it's just done.
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