Trainer Issues or Me?

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Trainer Issues or Me?

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    09-12-2012, 01:12 AM
Unhappy Trainer Issues or Me?

I've started going to my trainer every week, after taking 3 weeks off (just worked out that way). I came to lessons last week a little unnerved from stupidly riding a bunny hopping horse without a bit. My trainer put me on a new horse because of my experience with this other horse, I was death gripping the poor mare and we were cantering around the arena (I haven't mastered the posting trot yet. I was a little freaked out by that, but we ended on a good note.

Today, I went back and got a different horse again, smaller and better trained but after 10 minutes of posting at a jog I was beat. My trainer requires at least 30 minutes of a posting trot. I was on a horse that I had to push and work to keep her going... hard work. I kept quitting on her - I have one on one lessons. She began getting frustrated with me and I with her. My trainer ended up firmly telling me that my backtalk would have to stop TODAY and quit being lazy or I would need to find another trainer. That hurt - I'm 30 not 13 and haven't heard those words since I was 17 or so....

I'm admittedly very sensative and I'm wondering if this is still a good fit. For whatever reason, I highly value her opinion of me and when I feel she is pissed at me - it upsets me and my confidence in myself drops. It doesn't help either that the big jumps freak me out and I have thoughts of the horse I'm on going bezerk and jumping out of the arena.

I guess I'm wondering if I should continue - with no cheekiness (I'm very quick witted and have dry humor which can come across as unintentionally sarcastic. I typically use humor to try and diffuse the tension in a situation), an open mind, thick skin, and listening ears. Or I wonder if this may not be a good fit.
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    09-12-2012, 01:48 AM
This is what sounds like a crazy mix of a rider who is not ready to do the work her trainer is requiring, and a trainer who seems to have no real connection to the skill level of her student.

I think, if you cannot post the trot well, you should not be jumping. At all. And if you are feeling a lot of overwhelming fear, then , again, there is a mixmatch of skill/horse/rider/teacher here.

I appreciate that a teacher has to push a student sometimes, and I am grateful for the times that my old teacher made me drop the stirrups and ride but if it gets to the point where you are scared enough to "sass back", (I think this comes from fear), then that is too much push.

I would seek out a teacher better suited to you and your skills and personality.
    09-12-2012, 01:50 AM
Originally Posted by cedarane    
I guess I'm wondering if I should continue - with no cheekiness (I'm very quick witted and have dry humor which can come across as unintentionally sarcastic. I typically use humor to try and diffuse the tension in a situation), an open mind, thick skin, and listening ears.
This. Riding requires maturity and dry humour and sarcasm can offend somepeople. I was told during my first lesson with my brutally honest instructor to not take things personally and to toughen up. You should respect your instructor, but be able to tell her if something is difficult or if you are becoming tired. I wouldn't worry about the jumps or the horse jumping out of the arena. I've never had issues with the arena fence and you aren't at an experience level to be jumping that high. You'll be okay as long as you alter your outlook slightly.

ETA: Well I feel one-sided right now so I want to add more to my answer. Anyway, if you are being pushed too much then you should tell your instructor to ease off in a polite way. If she refuses then maybe you should take tinyliny's advice and find someone who is able to understand your confidence issues.
    09-12-2012, 03:51 AM
Have you come out and plain told your instructor that you are physically drained after 10 minutes and need a walk break?
Or are you just continuing on without saying anything?
If a student tells me that they are sore or tired, particularly a beginner student, I'll come back for a walk break and talk about what we're learning that lesson. If they don't tell me that they are tired, and I am giving them instruction without seeing any response from them, then yes, I get very frustrated at their apparenty lack of effort.
Lessons are a two way street, both parties have to communicate.

Your back chat would not be appreciated, unless perhaps if you are friends with your instructor - I socialise outside of horses with my instructor, and we know each other well. If I'm struggling in a lesson, I'll sure as heck let her know about it, she'll yell at me, and I'll yell back. That frustration tends to make me work harder to get a result, and she knows it!!
    09-12-2012, 08:19 AM
Green Broke
People say you should respect your instructor, which is all very well and valid, and you certainly should respect all people, but you are paying them for a service.

When I got back into riding after a while of posting I was completely beat on horses that needed constant work to keep going. Not only was my riding deteriorating but I was having an awful time. I wasn't enjoying my hobby.

There is no need to trot around for 30 minutes, maybe you need practice but it can be interspersed with slower work and I think an instructor has to be willing to tailor their session to this.

As for "back-chat" if someone told me not to do that to be honest I'd walk away and that would be that. I'm paying for a service and I should be able to comment at any point, sarcastic or not. Maybe if you're with some super high flying instructor, but just your average run of the mill person... there is no reason you shouldn't be able to say anything to them. If they're not willing to put up with that they wouldn't be the right instructor for me.

But that's just my opinion and I know many other people think of instructors differently.
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    09-12-2012, 08:25 AM
Adults should be able to communicate. You need to let her know if you are tired, etc, BUT, you should be able to step it up each lesson, so she sees some progress. Personally, I would not, as an adult, stand for someone I AM PAYING to tell me not to "sass back" like a child. I, like you tend to be sarcastic and if I am not able to say "adult break" at some point if I am tired during a lesson-I will not lesson with them. Period. I am there to learn, yes, but I am also there for ENJOYMENT. If you do not enjoy it, go elsewhere. Many of us do not want to be olympic riders and have no desire to have perfect equitation, etc. I will work hard, but am not going to exhaust myself. Others feel differently. Your instructor needs to know what your thoughts and goals are and teach to that. I will also not ride with a super intense instructor. Again-I want to have fun and be able to laugh at my mistakes, not be in tears at the end of the lesson and feel defeated. Just my .02.
Cherie, Darrin, stevenson and 2 others like this.
    09-12-2012, 08:44 AM
Super Moderator
Your teacher needs to learn that she should teach/ coach an Olympic or open jumper hopeful differently than a middle aged, out of shape, recreational rider. There are times to push hard and times to back off. It seems that she is teaching everyone to the same standard.

I take middle aged riders that lack confidence straight to the trails. I put them and their horse ahead of me and coach them into pushing past their self-imposed limits. I teach control -- because with knowing that one can control the horse comes confidence. I work on building confidence through control FIRST -- then go to the arena to work on better form. When I switched to this style of teaching, I have seen riders gain ground by leaps and bounds.
    09-12-2012, 09:00 AM
I like that Cherie, and agree, except I felt much more in control in an enclosed area. That was my security.
    09-12-2012, 09:13 AM
Super Moderator
I would have gotten you out of the arena on the very first day. Within an hour, I would have had you trotting down the trail in the woods or out in the big pasture. You would have been giggling like a little kid. It really works.
    09-12-2012, 10:36 AM
I do have some confidence and fitness issues which are impeding my progress some. But after 10 minutes I was sweating, out of breath and my legs were on fire! I understand WHY she wanted me to continue to work at a trot - I was fearful and not pushing my horse hard enough to do more than a jog and I was doing all the work.

She typically gets annoyed when she feels that I am not working hard enough or long enough. Last week when I was death gripping her TB mare, I stood up and hunched over the mare's neck - a natural response. She kept yelling at me - SIT DOWN, which was the opposite of what my mind was telling me to do. I just couldn't get my mind around it and finally yelled back "I'M TRYING!!!" To which she replied " NO YOU'RE NOT!" She had be get off the horse - which I was happy to do - then she told me that the mare was a level A show horse and I had NO business owning a horse, etc. Pretty much just scared me further.

Yesterday, we were working on bending our horses necks and the (different) mare I was on was stiff on one side. I felt like I was hurting the horse - as it was something I'd never done before. The horse kept backing up (the mare does western too) and I was having trouble boxing my worry/fear and focusing on what she was doing. My trainer said do what I'm asking or get off my horse - those are your two options. So, I made the horse turn to which she replied sarcastically "See you did it without exploding!"

As we left she said, "This backtalking is going to stop NOW or you're going to leave my barn." Whew, that made me mad! I can handle sarcasm, annoyed trainer, but being talked to like a 12 year old is intolerable! She rode her horse a head of me, obviously pissed. As I was untacking my horse, I just broke down and we had words. I told her that I could not work if we couldn't get along. She replied, "What do you want me to do praise you? Kiss your butt? You DON'T PAY ME ENOUGH!" It was bad. :( I walked away feeling like quitting everything.

Now, I don't mind being picked apart when I'm riding - that's where improvement comes in; I obviously can't see and don't know what I am doing wrong. So trainers are essential in improving my seat.

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