What Do You Demand From an Instructor?
 
 

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What Do You Demand From an Instructor?

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    07-08-2011, 03:30 PM
  #1
Trained
Angry What Do You Demand From an Instructor?

I just finished a xc lesson and schooling the dressage test for the event coming up. I left it feeling less than impressed with my instruction, and being suprised at some extra fees I was not aware of when she said we were going there($25 to haul my horse the mile and a half from the barn to the arena and $20 to use the park). I feel like I'm not getting a whole lot of feedback. The only feedback she really gave me the whole lesson was to close my hip angle. After the dressage test I got basically none. She told me I rode a perfect 20m circle, but I know very well I did not ride a perfect test. When I ask for feedback I get told I am doing a good job or she repeats the hip angle part. But that's about all I'm getting...

For $50 a lesson plus the extra $45 I spent because we rode at the park, I feel like I am getting ripped off. I can't move until my lease is up, but I'm going to try and watch a few other instructors teach -- Problem is there are not too many around here.


So what do you think? What do you expect out of your instructor and how do you know you've gotten your money's worth?
     
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    07-08-2011, 03:37 PM
  #2
Showing
From an instructor, I expect to be drilled and drilled on every nit-picky little thing until I consistently fix it before he/she asks. I like going home with the feeling that I've learned something, and look forward to trying it out on my next ride.
     
    07-08-2011, 04:17 PM
  #3
Yearling
So let me ask a few questions:
1. Was this more of a clinic type of thing? Where there are a few other riders besides yourself? (like a group lesson)
2. Is this your normal trainer?
3. Were do you normally train? Do you normally have to trailer in to an arena, or riding facility to be able to train with an actual trainer?

I know I struggle with my own trainer from time to time. She doesn't micro-manage me much during my lessons. But i've learned a ton from her, both about riding and about actually owning my first horse. I think it's all dependent on what you like/need. I like a trainer that fixes the stuff that needs to be fixed right there, but leaves me alone about the stuff that simply takes time to learn, or condition my body to.
Although, keep in mind that you're still a paying client. This is a business deal. If you're not happy, then you should say something. Especially if you weren't made aware of the extra costs. Not all of us are lucky enough to have $40, 50, 60 bucks laying around our accounts for when a trainer has a sudden expense! We sign agreements for trailering, day fees, arena use, and whatever else. If I didn't sign it, i'm not paying for it.
     
    07-08-2011, 04:23 PM
  #4
Showing
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spastic_Dove    
how do you know you've gotten your money's worth?
When I and my horse progress.

As for feedback... My trainer always asks me in the end of each lesson what 2 or 3 things I learned from the lesson. Surprisingly enough I usually indeed can tell. Also she went through my whole dressage test telling me what was good and what was bad both times I went to the show. She also asked about my own feedback/expectation about the show(s).
     
    07-08-2011, 04:47 PM
  #5
Banned
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spastic_Dove    
I just finished a xc lesson and schooling the dressage test for the event coming up. I left it feeling less than impressed with my instruction, and being suprised at some extra fees I was not aware of when she said we were going there($25 to haul my horse the mile and a half from the barn to the arena and $20 to use the park). I feel like I'm not getting a whole lot of feedback. The only feedback she really gave me the whole lesson was to close my hip angle. After the dressage test I got basically none. She told me I rode a perfect 20m circle, but I know very well I did not ride a perfect test. When I ask for feedback I get told I am doing a good job or she repeats the hip angle part. But that's about all I'm getting...

For $50 a lesson plus the extra $45 I spent because we rode at the park, I feel like I am getting ripped off. I can't move until my lease is up, but I'm going to try and watch a few other instructors teach -- Problem is there are not too many around here.


So what do you think? What do you expect out of your instructor and how do you know you've gotten your money's worth?
You did not get what you should have...HOWEVER $45.00 for any sort of acceptable instruction is below the industry (dressage) expectations.
So my thoughts are that your instructor is sub par and below the industry ( dressage) standards.

You either have a poor coach or live in an area where lessons are very cheap.

Also you have to ask yourself that if $45.00 is the standard rate of just any coach is it worth paying that and getting less than you should just to have some sort of lesson?
     
    07-08-2011, 04:49 PM
  #6
Showing
I haven't taken a lesson in a long time, the last was a dressage lesson while on vacation...big change from riding working qh's for 2 decades! It was fun & I think I benefited from it :)

As an instructor I expect there to be progress or new knowledge gained every lesson. (Private or group) If there isn't, I haven't done my job. I like to give homework too. 1 or 2 little goals to work toward between lessons, then evaluate progress on those goals at the start of the next. Any trainer\instructor\coach should push you to progress as much as you are willing to push yourself.

Try talking to your instructor. Ask for more feedback. Does she ever take notes? If not ask her, maybe approach it as "would you pretend to be a judge and score my test and write down comments?"
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    07-08-2011, 04:50 PM
  #7
Trained
Hmm. See, I'm not sure I learned much of anything today. I know when I am jumping behind and my upper body needs work -- it's just a matter of practicing to get the muscle memory at this point.

To Oxer. It was me and one other girl which is how I try to have all of my lessons. I can't afford private lessons weekly, so I only try to get lessons when someone else can ride with me. The girl I rode with is leasing a horse, and the other half leaser rode the same horse in the lesson after mine. They split the cost of trailering that horse ($25) down the middle, but I am responsible for my trailering fees. (Which I will be paying for this time around of course. Just maybe not repeating in the future). Yes, this is my normal instructor (been riding with her about a month and a half now) and we normally ride at her house which has a wonky sand arena and a pretty decent jump field. (Which she charges on top of board to use so I generally don't outside of lessons. This is also something else I was not made aware of).


I also like a nitpicky instructor, and I think I'm not getting what I need out of this one. Certainly not a good value for my money at least -- I don't feel I am progressing much because of her. Progression has been coming from my lease horse. I just end up feeling rather frustrated and at this point am not really looking forward to the mini event which I have been looking forward to all summer. :/ ick.

ETA: Spyder, the lessons themselves are 50. I clean stalls for $7 an hour *normally only takes me a half hour* The $45 was for trailering my guy to the field and using the jumps. $40 an hour group and $50 -60 an hour private is about average for instruction.
     
    07-08-2011, 05:09 PM
  #8
Banned
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spastic_Dove    
ETA: Spyder, the lessons themselves are 50. I clean stalls for $7 an hour *normally only takes me a half hour* The $45 was for trailering my guy to the field and using the jumps. $40 an hour group and $50 -60 an hour private is about average for instruction.

Even at a rate of $50.00/60.00 you should have gotten more.

I interact with my students and after I ask them to do something I ASK them to tell me what they think they got. This serves two purposes. I lets me know if they understand and it reinforces what I have asked them to do as they have to think about what they just did. I don't always tell them to do something but will continuously ask them to tell me what they think. I also expect them to know the consequences when something is not done right, and they should, if they are thinking when they ride..

I want any student of mine to be able to go anywhere and "know" when things are STARTING to go wrong, not when they have already gone south.

I don't consider myself as anything special so any coach can't interact like this I consider them ineffective.
     
    07-08-2011, 06:03 PM
  #9
Banned
$20 to use the showgrounds or XC is reasonable and not under your instructor's control anyway. $25 to haul *might* be reasonable if you were the only one going; for a very short haul with multiple students on the trailer I would have cut the hauling fee.

However, the biggest concern in what you've told me is the lack of concrete feedback. I *always* began lessons or schooling sessions with a lesson plan or a specific goal and I *always* wrapped up with a Q & A and a summation of where we were according to our goals.

If you rode your complete test, I would expect very specific feedback, almost as if it were a judged test. As for a xc school, I would discuss the questions asked by each fence, and advise students on pace, balance and approach for each fence and then provide a critique of those after the fence. As is "We talked about having a short, bouncy, coffin canter approaching this fence since it's on a downhill slope; but your horse got heavy and strong and you took your leg off - that's why you added a stride and the fence felt so sticky. When he pulls to a fence like that, big half halt 3 - 4 strides out and then make sure you're riding forward again in front of the fence. Do it again, and make sure he's in front of your leg with a short, bouncy, stride."

IMO, you don't work on position during a xc school unless it's so out of whack that it's dangerous. It's also kind of waste of the opportunity; it's more effective to work on position in the ring, over gymnastics and single fences. If I paid to haul to a XC facility, I would want to school over as many new obstacles as my skill and horse's fitness allowed.

I don't think you're getting quality instruction. I'm not going to address the $$$, because that can vary considerably by region, but I have some very real issues with the lack of constructive feedback.
     
    07-08-2011, 06:12 PM
  #10
Green Broke
If every lesson you feel that way then change but it is commom that you may feel that way occasionally and have an off lesson. I don't think 25.00 is out of line to haul your horse, could you have ridden it there and back?
     

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