Okay, this is LONG. Very long. In summary, my trainer is pretty cruddy, and so her students (except for one or two) are pretty cruddy horsepeople. The horses are in not-so-good shape, and are ridden pretty awfully. Not to mention most of her bits are harshharshharsh.
Onto the LONG story! My wording might be bad, tell me if anything needs clarification.
So I've learned a LOT over the past year or so I've been on HF. Namely, how completely ridiculous my trainer's methods are. This barn has 14 horses and two ponies. One horse is leaving soon because she's chronically lame and never ridden. One horse is almost completely green, two are only ridden well by one person (who is rarely there...My favorite horse is one), two are full leased but NEVER RIDDEN, two are leased and ridden often, and one cannot be ridden except by one girl, but he is lame right now. There are five "schoolies," but they all have weird quirks. Two of them are crazy stiff. There is a second half of the barn with 6-10 polo horses.
She uses standing martingales on every horse but two because it gives them "a subconscious sense of control." wth??? Two of the leased horses are in snaffles, one is in a gag, one is in a pelham, and one is in a double offset twisted full cheek snaffle. (like this. More offset.) The green horse is in a pelham. All but two horses (one in a pelham) and one pony are in gags, many of them in Barry (double offset) gags. The other pony is in a double offset twisted full cheek. Her reasoning seems to change day to day.
-"They can get strong sometimes"
-"The gag makes them feel in control"
-"The gag brings their head up!" (Not right at ALL.)
-"They're so used to it...From polo." (Almost all the horses were polo horses, where gratuitous tack is used. This reason is stupid, however, because she still used all the tack on horses that never set foot on a polo field.)
Basically, stupid. My horse (a horse I lease all summer every summer and ride as often as possible, also the love of my life. Not technically my horse.) was just switched to a double offset gag from her old fat single gag. Why? "Oh she's getting to strong for you." GAH. A BIT IS NOT A REMEDY FOR THAT!!!
Some days, she'll blatantly say the answer for something is whipping a horse. Horse does something stupid and she quickly says "HIT EM!" She trained one horse under that and now that horse won't do anything without being hit...My horse blatantly spooked at a new jump, and she yelled at me for not hitting her. I went to the jump more confidently and she took it fine...
I'm not even going to go into how stupid and disrespectful and downright MEAN one of her younger (18 or 19 year old) instructor is. I'm going to skip over how stupid most of her students are. I'm not going to go too far into how god awful her lessons are for both student learning and horse well being. Lets just say her lessons are like this: "Walk. Now trot. Now trot without stirrups....Oh right reverse. (Two minutes later). Walk. Alright canter (after 10 straight minutes of cantering) Walk...Now lets jump until we're sick! And cause its not summer we don't have to bother cooling our horses down!" I could kill her.
This isn't to say EVERYTHING is bad. One instructor (a long time leaser who is probably in her 40s) comes around only in the winter, but she's wonderful. Almost everything that comes out of her mouth is great. She really knows how to warm up a horse and keep a horse fit and healthy. She knows what she's talking about. She tries to work with us on collection, but most horses are too stiff or too downhill to do any major collection. She is incredibly patient. I love her lessons. Everything has a reason. Nothing is overly repetitive. Not to even mention how she likes to teach us about other horse things, and actually helps us with our position! Wow! Didn't know instructors could do that! Also, one other girl is very intelligent about horses and riding, however she is unfortunately not very educated about bitting. She wants to go to horse college, so she'll learn quickly the right ways. Her being at the barn makes things better.
So by now you're probably thinking GET THE HECK OUT OF THERE! Well...I have a couple reasons why I can't/don't want to...
1. My horse (Paquita) is the love of my life. I once complimented my boyfriend by saying "I love you a teeny bit more than Paquita." I don't think I could leave her with these stupid people in good conscience. I'm already really worried about what will happen to her when I go to college. My mom said she's open to buying her, but only if the barn closes down.
2. I don't want those stupid people to break Paquita's spirit. When I first started riding her she was anti-social, extremely headshy, and overall crazy. Especially when I ride her consistently she turns into a very social, barely headshy, dream-to-ride horse. I feel like most people would revert her to her old ways. I can feel her tenseness and fear after others have ridden her.
3. I have three choices if I left: Go to a barn close to my house that also treats their horses crappily, but at least I learn more about equitation (they're also closed from September to March) OR go to a barn REALLY REALLY REALLY far away (my current barn is already 25 minutes away) or go to an expensive barn that would sap my college fund that's also far away, but less so.
4. Even though they're not the smartest with horses, I LOVE some of the people there. I'd hate to betray them.
5. If I left, the trainer would never forgive me enough to let me buy Paquita. And what would I say? "You're not pushing me to where I want to be pushed." She would say its cause I'm not good enough (I'm plenty confident) or that she WILL push me harder. Pushing me harder would simply consist of jumping higher...
BTW, this only skims the surface, but these things are the worst things.
I've put up with this bulls*** for too long now. I can't take it anymore but I don't know what to do...Help?