Trainer taking advantage or is this commonplace? - Page 3

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Trainer taking advantage or is this commonplace?

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    12-12-2012, 10:42 AM
Super Moderator
I agree with Val - after two years you should be a lot further ahead than you are even just riding once a week so your instructor would fail for me just on that count
All I see happening is you losing your confidence here
There is a lot to be said for encouraging people to push themselves as its how we progress but at the same time we ride for pleasure and if you are content and happy with where you are and no ambitions to do anything greater than why allow yourself to be pushed at all?
My children learnt to ride on safe ponies that did as they were asked the instant the request was made but unless you asked correctly they did nothing and they then moved onto the slightly more challenging ones that needed a little more 'asking' at times as they had it in them to say ' 'cant be bothered today' - but that is a big difference between a green horse that doesnt even understand the 'ask' in the first place
Find a new instructor/trainer.
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    12-12-2012, 11:58 AM
Confidence is a very fragile thing. It is so important to get it and keep it. Once it's lost, it is extremely difficult to get it back. Riding a green horse is not fair to either of you.

It takes a lot of experience to become very clear and consistent with how and what you are asking of the horse. For a young horse to receive inconsistent cues is nothing but frustrating for them and will create a mess.

If you take a serious fall, you may be physically injured and worse yet, not ever want to ride again. Or just always be anxious about taking another tumble, which will have a negative result in all your future rides.

You're right to insist on riding more experienced horses until you are completely comfortable and ready to move on to more challenges. Trust your instincts and stick to your guns. There are other instructors out there if this one is not willing to respect your wishes.
Nitefeatherz likes this.
    12-12-2012, 12:55 PM
I know I feel like I should be further along now. I've been with this trainer for a year. Before that I lived in another state and was with a different trainer. So she's not totally to blame but I know I could be further along now under different circumstances.

I know it's important to be able to ride different horses. But, I feel like I've made my best strides in riding a couple of seasoned horses there. She has put me on a different horse each week and, for lack of a better metaphor, it's like driving a new car each week. I feel like I'm just getting to know the horses buttons and then the lesson is over. Then next week it's a new horse. I don't want to be the person who can only ride one horse, but I do feel like I need some security. There are two horses there that give me the best lesson and I feel like I actually progress. I'm going to ask for one of them.

I do think of finding another barn sometimes. This one is kind of an all around barn, no real discipline. Mostly trail riders. There's just a lot of things I see that people do there that most people on this forum agree are not a good idea. If I listed the stuff here your head would spin. I'm talking people smoking in the barn when it's clearly bothering the horses, not to mention hay all around! Little kids (6-7 years old) going out on trail rides with no helmets on these 3 year old green horses. Even people I know who never wear a helmet said they wouldn't dream of letting kids ride on their farm without one. I sometimes feel like they are whistling past the graveyard that nothing bad has happened yet. Yet I like the people there and my trainer so much. But yeah, might be time to go barn shopping.
LisaG likes this.
    12-12-2012, 01:22 PM
Super Moderator
I think it might!!!
I don't know a huge amount about US riding schools, we have one near us where helmets are a rule, no one is allowed on a horse without one but I did spend a lot of time one winter a few years ago at a breeding/show/boarding barn where I rode a horse that someone was selling and wanted exercising and it worked for me as my horse was lame and they had an indoor. They gave lessons there and had no helmet rules at all
In the UK all lesson horses have to suitable for the job, you do get ones that present more of a challenge for experienced riders but they still have to be safe - no green horses. Not fair to the horse or the rider
I would have thought that their insurance company would be concerened with their attitude - so I wonder if they even have good coverage?
Have you been asked to sign a waiver at all?
    12-12-2012, 01:57 PM
In Georgia, there is a law that is supposed to relieve barn owners of liability if people are injured while riding there. I seriously doubt that the law would stand up to protect people against deliberate negligence such as allowing small children to ride without helmets or putting green riders on untrained horses. If you BO doesn't care about little kids, chance are, they don't care about you. It is probably not deliberate malice; more a case of not truly understanding the risks.
LisaG likes this.
    12-12-2012, 02:18 PM
I'm not going to pick on the no helmet business, out here in OK we never wear them and I have never seen a barn or show that requires them unless it's in hunter or dressage classes. The helmet is the exception not the rule out here, so negligence isn't necessarily going to fly. We also have the "inherent risk law" here and sign waivers on top of that being posted. If a parent wanted the helmet on their kid, it would be up to them to put it on before the lesson or ride, if the trainer/barn didn't require them.

Smoking is a huge pet peeve of mine, I make people go out into the middle of the street in front of the property, I don't allow it ANYWHERE on my place. And that includes casual visitors.

Since the trainer is switching up horses on you, I really do think she's trying to find one that makes you progress and come along. I think she's just not reading you right and you need to tell her you're not ready for that. The rider has to be a little responsible for some communication and by going along like this for a year, she's probably thinking you're liking it.

Trainers are not Gods and not omnipotent and all knowing. Too many people say, "Well, my trainer says I.........." or "I have to ask my trainer........." instead of taking charge of their own learning program. When I go to a trainer I spell out exactly what I need (I've recently started showing at stock seat shows rather than Arab shows, I need to learn the rules and different styles of riding) and what I want (I want to ride at the upper level shows like AQHA World) and my time frame (I can only afford 6 months of training for me & my horse). That tells the trainer just how hard to push and how long he can push me and in what direction. If at any point, I don't agree with what he's doing or don't understand what he's having me do, I stop dead in the water and I start asking questions until everything is clear. I don't know what board & training is out in VA but here in OK it costs me around $500-1000/month depending on what kind of trainer I'm at. No way do I shell out that kind of money every month and not get what I'm after.

It may be time for a new barn but first, since you say you're over all happy, I'd sit down with the trainer and talk to her about your fears, expectations, wants and needs. Besides asking for a new, Steady Eddy horse, set some goals. She is making money by the lesson, if all you do is go out and trot and resist working the canter, she'll let you for the next 50 years, it pays the same. If YOU want to progress then you need to say, "I want to be comfortable at the canter/lope by June 2013. I would like you to really work me on that, on a lunge line if need be, until I can feel the rhythm and get with the motion so that I don't lose my seat after a few strides every time.". Spell out what you want, when you want it and how you want to get there. That lets her know how hard/fast to push and what you're comfortable accepting from her.
    12-12-2012, 03:01 PM
Thank you for all of the tips! I feel so much better getting advice from you all.

Some other things I should note. It's not just different horses, it's also switching between gaited and non-gaited. I had been going back and forth between the two and for a couple of months it was nice being able to try both out. Then I realized that since I want to do mostly ring work, I really prefer non-gaited. Just give me a good older quarter horse and I'm happy. So she kept me on non-gaited horses but a different one each week. Then this past few weeks she's had me on green horses.
Also she's not the only person who trains. She has this other person train us as well. This girl knows a lot about horses and is a heck of a rider, but not much of a trainer. I take my lesson with 3 other people so there's 4 of us just riding all over the place. Two of the people are on their own horse. The other woman, like me, doesn't own yet. She doesnt' like the green horses either, but she's so soft spoken I don't think she's going to say anything.

Overall it's just too much of a mish-mosh for me between alternating trainers, alternating gaited and non and alternating seasoned horses between green horses. I just feel like I can't find my groove. I am going to definitely talk to my trainer and let her know what I want to do for now. It's possible she thinks I'm enjoying all of this switching up but I'm not.

I'll admit that I'm not a helmet nut myself. I wear one myself but I don't think anything of seeing other adults without one. But I have to admit I cringe when I see these little kids who have barely ridden or never ridden going out on trail rides with these green horses. Over the summer the barn was doing birthday party trail rides which is a great idea but many of these kids had never been on a horse. I'd see them on these green horses heading out and I always held my breath until they got back. The trails have tons of tree roots and large rocks. One crazy turkey flying out and there's no way the kids would know how to calm their horse.
The one girl who did trail rides said she took a bunch of 12-13 year old girls out on the trails. She turned around and none of them had their hands on the reins. They were all texting and taking pictures of each other with their phones.

Sorry for rambling, but when I tell people I ride, so many times I'll get a lecture on how dangerous horses are, blah blah. There is an article from a few years back circling around that says horses are more dangerous than motorcycles because of the rider to injury ratio. But I see things like what happens at this barn and I honestly am surprised we don't hear of more injuries and even deaths.

I want to trust my trainer I can ride a green horse and I think, "Well if this was really dangerous, she wouldn't put me on them." But then I look at the other things they do there and I'm thinking safety is not that big of a concern.
Oh boy. My lesson is Saturday. I'm going to get there early so I can talk to her. I'll make it short and very sweet. I think she'll understand.
    12-12-2012, 03:06 PM
In any relationship, you have to communicate. People cannot read your mind. Hopefully you will have a happy story to tell us after your next lesson.
    12-12-2012, 03:16 PM
Super Moderator
I hope you can sort something out but the more you describe this place the more I think it doesnt sound like a serious riding stables where you will really learn anything valuable - kids texting etc - obviously not taking things seriously, they might as well be at home on the sofa doing that. I like to relax on a horse - actually its essentail but you never take your eye off the game no matter how experienced you are and if I was escorting a ride no way would I allow them to do that.
Good luck. Hope you can sort something
    12-12-2012, 03:19 PM
Originally Posted by Celeste    
In any relationship, you have to communicate. People cannot read your mind. Hopefully you will have a happy story to tell us after your next lesson.

I agree. I really thought I was clear with what I wanted. Last spring I told her I really wanted to stick to English saddle and do ring work with the non-gaited horses. Then every so often she'd have a gaited horse for me to ride and I went along with it. Then I did tell her I felt much more comfortable using either of the schoolies there because I really want to work on my canter. But she said I can work on the canter with the green horses. But I can barely get them trot. I think this is one of these cases where the trainer is thinking, she knows what I need better than I do. I'm sure many times that is true. I really did try. I do need to remind her again. You're right.

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