Dressage trainer's ad: Am I looking too far into this? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 01-17-2012, 09:14 PM Thread Starter
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Dressage trainer's ad: Am I looking too far into this?

Ok so I've been looking around our area for a dressage trainer to begin taking lessons with. I've been talking with one specific trainer and was planning on going down this weekend to meet her and her horses, check out the facility and maybe watch a lesson. I seem to have cruddy luck because I've ended up with some less than desirable instructors in the past and I feel like I need a re-start in regards to my riding...so I'm hesitant to say the least. Anyways, I was feeling good about this and then I saw a post she has on craigslist selling one of her horses. It says that this mare is getting "ruined" in her lesson program and deserves better than that. Does that sound strange or am I reading too much into this? To me, if you're the instructor, allowing your personal horses to be used in your lesson program, you don't let them get "ruined", as in you're always there supervising and making necessary corrections, etc. I guess I just kind of took it that her students are ruining this horse...

Any input? Should I still go check this place out? It's difficult because my husband and I are military and where we are currently stationed there are very very few riding facilities within a 2 hour commute; this is the closest at 1.5 hours but I won't ride there if it's shady or this is her feeling. I thought that all of our email communication was pretty positive...

Just looking for some opinions!
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post #2 of 11 Old 01-17-2012, 09:22 PM
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Forget the Craigslist ad for a moment. Have you watched her other students ride & compete? Have you watched her give lessons? Have you talked to her students and asked what they thought of her teaching methods, results? This is how I picked my current coach/instructor and I am thoroughly happy with her and my riding results.
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post #3 of 11 Old 01-17-2012, 09:24 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by waresbear View Post
Forget the Craigslist ad for a moment. Have you watched her other students ride & compete? Have you watched her give lessons? Have you talked to her students and asked what they thought of her teaching methods, results? This is how I picked my current coach/instructor and I am thoroughly happy with her and my riding results.
I'm heading down this weekend to watch a lesson and meet her and her horses. Definitely still planning on going, I guess the ad just caught me off guard a bit!
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post #4 of 11 Old 01-17-2012, 09:28 PM
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I wouldn't read too much into it. Being a school horse does eventually 'ruin' a horse. Just the daily grind of having different riders, that have different problems - eventually the horse becomes a little 'dull'.
My coach is one of the top FEI riders in my state. Her old FEI horse is now retired into her school horse program, and even though she selects her better riders to have lessons on him, he still gets duller over time. He still does all the 'tricks', but the connection is lacking, and he is not as sensitive to the aids.

If the advertised horse is fairly young and talented, then it is certainly a fair statement to say that she is being ruined or wasted as a lesson horse.

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post #5 of 11 Old 01-17-2012, 09:28 PM
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I think it's pretty much an accepted fact that a lesson horse gets 'ruined' to some degree or another. I had a QH that my sis and I bought at 6 y.o. who had been a lesson horse, he was our lesson horse and we fell in love. When we got him they were using a Kimberwicke and he was still front end heavy and pulling. The little kids who rode him used his mouth to balance on. We took the bit out for 2 years and rode him in a bosal and then re-introduced a Myler Comfort Snaffle to him and he was soft as butter. So, he was getting 'ruined' but it really wasn't his fault nor was it the kids, they were just sooo little and had to hang on to something.

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post #6 of 11 Old 01-17-2012, 09:31 PM
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Craigslist.. isn't very reliable. What you experience is worth its weight in gold. Like waresbear suggests.. go down there (like you are.. yay!) experience a lesson, see if you like HER, how she teaches.. how her students look.. are they using their seat properly, are they communicating effectively with their horses, are they getting better as time goes by, are questions being asked and answered, is the instructor paying attention to the student and horse or to others, etc. Ask everything.. question everything. Make a list of what you want to feel at the end of a lesson (accomplished, sore, happy, determined, tired, etc.) and see if that is what the students are emulating or if they are more angry or crying or whatnot.

Ask around too.. find someone that rocks riding their horse and ask them if they can recommend a trainer.

Good luck!

"Strength is the ability to use a muscle without tension"
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post #7 of 11 Old 01-17-2012, 09:32 PM
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I thoroughly agree with kayty. Remember even though she's there to watch and correct the horse will still get the odd
Confusing cue or incorrect aide and will need to dull down slightly.
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post #8 of 11 Old 01-17-2012, 10:08 PM
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Some horses just aren't cut out to be school horses either. Our trainer has one she has to spell out of the program occasionally bc he gets sour when over used.
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post #9 of 11 Old 01-17-2012, 11:13 PM
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Perhaps she bought the horse thinking that it would be a good school horse, but has noted that the horse doesn't particularly respond well with lessons, and is picking up bad habits by people's unskilled riding. Regardless of how many times an instructor corrects a student, they still jerk on their mouth, flop on their back etc. because they haven't yet learned how to ride properly. It takes time. As others have said, not all horses are cut out for lessons, in fact I would think that many are not.
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post #10 of 11 Old 01-18-2012, 05:21 AM
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I agree with what others have said. I have known a good few school horses in very reputable lessons programs with great trainers who just could not handle the "daily grind," as someone nicely put it above, of different riders at different levels with a myriad of problems. Not even the best instructor in the world will fix someone's bad habits overnight. Perhaps this means that the instructor here is sensitive to her horse's needs and has realized that this one is not cut out to be a school horse. Many aren't. Still worth meeting her, I'd say.
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