A Bit of a Clash...Advice?

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A Bit of a Clash...Advice?

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    04-07-2010, 07:03 AM
A Bit of a Clash...Advice?

I'm having a bit of an issue with my trainer..
I want to start off by saying that she is a very successful rider and trainer who I do very much like and respect, but I am not sure if this is working out. I must admit that I have not ridden with her many times as of yet...I finally completed my first lesson with her on my somewhat newer horse (after one or two on my previous horse awhile back) who I have been working through some confidence issues with (I had a bad fall early in my relationship with him) and who I am still somewhat getting to know and understand.

I left the lesson with a confusing feeling...the lesson in itself went quite well, really, and I feel that I obtained some good information and solid things to work on...yet I also had an awful feeling like something was just really wrong. At first I thought it was my horse and my decision to pursue dressage (both things I have had doubts about in the past) that was causing me such grief, but as I went off on my own to soak and figure things out I realized what was bothering me was my trainer...and a few things about her I have always known came out all that much clearer.
For one thing, we have very strong conflicting beliefs about a few things (I believe in pasture/turnout while she is firmly against it altogether, she uses and has her students use side reins which I am not for, etc) and our personalities are not the best together..she is a bit of a harsher, more forceful type of person and I am gentler (though never timid!) and more laid back. I am basically a western rider who is mostly pursuring dressage as a bit of an addition to the foundation of my riding skills and just want to learn a few things and maybe casually compete at lower levels in the future..and I feel like the situation with her is a bit higher pressure than what I was looking for in this venture.
She has a lot of knowledge, obviously, as someone who has been riding and competing in dressage for many years and with plenty of experience in almost every other discipline out there..and I am a younger rider who I suppose comes across as timid or easily influenced or inexperienced because of my calmer and quieter nature...but really I have been very closely studying and working with horses for 10 years and have some pretty strong opinions about some things. Horses are my passion and I consider them to be...basically my life in many ways. I obviously do not have the experience that she has, but I do feel that the experience that I do have gives me the right to have strong opinions in some areas and make certain decisions about what is best for my horse and myself.

I prefer to avoid conflicts with people whenever I can, so I try to avoid situations where I will be constantly clashing with somebody...but I don't know. Is it possible that I am being too hasty in a decision to try another trainer, or since I have already been having issues so early in the game is it best to get out now before things get serious? There are a few other very good trainers in my area..
At this point I'm pretty certain that we should try somebody else and have a few names in mind to look into, but it will be a pretty awkward situation if I switch (she is the sole official dressage trainer at my barn so if I switched I would be calling a new trainer out which actually no one else at my barn does) so turning back would not be considered a major option...so I'd like to hear opinions if possible to be sure about the decision that I make.

Thank you tons if you've read this through...the virtual cookies have already been sent out, you just can't see or taste them....
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    04-07-2010, 07:14 AM
Oh and my thoughts are just a bit mixed, it's late and I've been doing way too much thinking, haha..
I forgot to really include that I feel a bit nervous and uncomfortable working with her. I have had some struggles with my horse as stated, and have had to work on relaxing and getting back to working normally with him, but when I am riding with her I don't really feel comfortable or relaxed and it tends to bring out more of the issues I had been having with my guy (which is what initially lead me to think the problem was with him) which isn't the best situation...
I feel considerably more comfortable and able to focus and think when I am riding alone at this point.
    04-07-2010, 09:11 AM
You say that she is the sole dressage trainer at your barn and you will have to bring in a different trainer if you do not use her. Are you allowed to do this? Some barns have rules about bringing in outside trainers. Will there be extra fees associated with bringing in an outside trainer, etc.?

Not everyone has to like everyone else.

It is that simple.

This might be the best trainer in the whole world for some people. It does not mean you have to feel bad if their system does not work for you.

Some people learn better when they are being yelled at, some people shut down when they are yelled at. (Just an example, not saying either is the case for you.)

If your barn allows it I say find a trainer that fits your learning style and whose training techniques far closer in line to what you believe.
    04-07-2010, 11:26 AM
Green Broke
Hmmmm I would say find a trainer that is right for you, one that you feel relaxed around and are happy to see and get help from. I found my favourite trainer and I will not move away from her for the world, haha around here, good trainers are like gold, and she's like my family now. Don't worry! Bet you will fin a trainer you will click with sometime!
Does she know your goals? Because if your goals are just to be relaxed and learn some dressage as a foundation if she doesnt know that, and if its a compitition barn, she might be pushing you really hard because she thinks you want to winwinwin. :) just a thought maybe.
    04-07-2010, 01:40 PM
Originally Posted by rocky pony    
At this point I'm pretty certain that we should try somebody else and have a few names in mind to look into, but it will be a pretty awkward situation if I switch (she is the sole official dressage trainer at my barn so if I switched I would be calling a new trainer out which actually no one else at my barn does) so turning back would not be considered a major option...so I'd like to hear opinions if possible to be sure about the decision that I make.

Thank you tons if you've read this through...the virtual cookies have already been sent out, you just can't see or taste them....
Mmmmmmm virtual cookies.

On the no turning back idea I have a few thoughts.

1) Could you approach your current trainer from the angle that you are not sure you two are a good fit and you want to experience what it is like with different trainers to gain some perspective - thus not outright replacing her, just trying to expand your experience base. Will she really be that put out and drop you and never let you come back (or punish you in some way if you do come back)? If so, she sounds a bit extreme and immature and that alone might make me want to leave.

2) Could you trailer out to a few lessons elsewhere to try out the new trainers before bringing them to your barn (assuming outside trainers are even allowed). That way you are not throwing it in her face that you may be replacing her, and if you don't think those other trainers are any better you can always switch back to her.

I also really like ridergirl23's suggestion that you make sure you've been very clear with your expectations and goals with your current trainer to make sure you two are on the same page.
    04-07-2010, 03:42 PM
Wow, thanks so much for the great advice everyone, all really good thoughts!
I hope I don't forget to answer anything...

Another trainer would definitely be allowed..basically at my barn there is a pretty casual atmosphere with a lot of very casual riders and then a small handful of dressage ladies, only some of whom also compete at all, casually as well. About half work with this trainer and the rest work alone. So few people ride at all at my barn that while it is fully allowed to bring an outside trainer it is probably a little bit of a taboo because nobody has really done it..which makes me a little nervous, but of course ultimately I do want to do what is best for us in the end.
This trainer is based at two different barns, this more casual one and one big show barn, so even in her dealings at the casual barn she has more of the kind of mindframe for the show barn, if that makes sense..she is pretty much aware of my goals, but it is just sort of in her personality to really push.

I wouldn't be able to trailer my horse out as I don't have a trailer, but one thing I may be able to do is to try some lessons on a lesson horse at another barn a friend has been telling me about to see how I feel and go from there. Thankfully the situation with this trainer is somewhat casual, I don't really have a set lesson schedule but instead work on whatever needs to be worked on and call her when I feel ready to progress, so if I need some time to try this idea it won't be too fishy, for lack of a better word. That will probably be my next step taken.
    04-07-2010, 03:45 PM
It sounds like a great plan.

There are trainers who are not able to turn off their desire to turn everyone into the next showing wonder and simple teach someone who just wants to learn stuff.

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