Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: yankee ct where we live forever
• Horses: 0
I'm going to throw this up here in this forum because I suspect this might be an older person issue. It hasn't happened to me before in this sport but it's happening now and I'm not sure how to procede.
This is about barn drama.
I have been happily riding at a school, a university where some of the instructors are students in equine studies. In their senior year they will teach some of the classes for grading.
There is a student instructor who has also been "promoted" to one of their chief instructors this year. Until now, she wasn't my favorite instructor but I liked her and I respected her approach which seemed very thorough and very much about learning how to instruct and give a good class.
Okay, this year I noticed as I would ride past her, her criticisms seemed to be very strident. And very personal.
For example: she loudly criticizes certain aspects of my riding. Initially I figured maybe she's seeing something so I'd try to conform. But lately the attitude seems to be as if I'm doing something personal to HER. I have a philosophy about taking lessons - which is I'm going to take it all in and learn. I don't believe in arguing with instructors. Until this week, I have taken it in but it was starting to smart.
At one time, I was riding a horse with diabetes and he was having behavior issues - he was eating too much spring grass so his sugar was spiking, he was not responding to cues and not only was becoming irritable and nippy, he was becoming a difficult ride.
His meds have been adjusted AND it turned out he may have a bit of Lyme as well so he's having a rough summer. And it's very hot and humid here.
But before he was tested, I was talking to someone else in the barn about him after a lesson with him.
The instructor I am having difficulties with came up behind me and loudly announced to my friend and I, "Cynthia, I just think you hate (the horse)." I was completely shocked and taken aback - so I responded, "why would you say such a thing?". And she said, "you don't like him, you never have anything nice to say about him. He's a great horse and I don't have any problems with him." Then she said "I got first place on him last year (something we have all heard about hundred times)." I said, "when was the last time you rode him?" And she said (and I swear there was a little smile when she said this), "two weeks ago".
Next was when she came to me to ask me why I was turning him out in a collar instead of a halter. I was told this winter to only use a collar on him because he works his way out of halters. He has his own special collar in his stall. I explained this to her. She said, "who told you this?". Now I don't know the names of everyone there and I don't recall exactly who said it, but it was someone who was in charge. So she disregards what I said and stands there lecturing me on why I should use a halter - "we don't want the beginners thinking using a collar is the right way, on and on and on". And my answer was, "This is what I was told to do with him".
The tone she uses with me is very much like chastising a errant child.
I resent being spoken to as if I'm trying to get away with something. It has built up in me because whenever she addresses me about anything (which she IS supposed to do, because she IS an instructor) she mostly takes on a derogatory and condescneding tone.
I'm 66 years old and I take horses and riding seriously.
I love my sport but this young woman takes every opportunity to loudly chastise me, what I do, how I do it, acting as if I'm a disobient child instead of a grown woman who is working hard to learn to be a horsewoman. And it's eating away at me and making my time there not fun or positive.
This week she begins our lesson by announcing that we're going to be doing lots of standing and posting so we can work on our muscles and get toned butts. I'm not a FAN of posting. But I'll do it. But my ass and the shpe it's in is not why I ride. But I'm always game. The horse I was riding, I usually post anyway.
When she said it my first thought was UGH....why are we talking about my ass. I care about riding. I RIDE WESTERN. And posting isn't necessarily what the focus should be - but I'm about whatever the instructor wants it to be about. I'm okay with posting and standing in my stirrups too. I like working on skills. But not for my butt. I do all of it to ride. It seems superficial and in a way mean - helping me work on the firmness of my butt.
But this horse is very fast and he hops in a trot like an insane rabbit, and I got close to a horse (he's faster than all the other horses), not close enough to be kicked, but we come up. In group lessons this has never been a huge issue, passing other horses. She begins reprimanding me. Not correcting or offering a solution to his speed. Just reprimanding. Loudly.
So I come back at her, "Look ____, I'd like it if you'd try to remember that I'm trying very hard and I'm aware. Please don't act as if I'm doing this on purpose because I'm not. ....blah blah."
Which of course made it worse. I tried to apologize. She IS the instructor. But she's not hearing it.
She tells me "I don't think you respect me".
And when I think about it I know she's right. I've started not to. But not because I don't acknowledge her positiion or her body of knowledge.
I can't respect someone who doesn't respect me. Who talks to me as she does. LOUDLY. PUBLICLY. AS IF I AM AN IDIOT.
Until now in riding I have had the best instruction with a lot of kindness and encouragement.
I have found there are instructors who impart information - who tell give you evaluation about what you're doing, why it's working or not, how you can improve what you're doing, and it never feels personal.
I have found instructors who teach as though this is the most fun in the world and riding becomes even more fun because they love teaching and horses and the people who want to ride.
And then there are instructors who have egos a mild wide, who do not respect students. It feels to me like they believe any thing they say or any way speaking or yelling at their students is acceptable. I've been in the presence of star instructors where that is their attitude - you are a sow's ear and I will make some kind of silk purse out of you. And others who are kindness personafied.
This is negativity and it's becoming an issue for me. I'm not sure what to do.
There is a head instructor I respect. I have not discussed this with her because it felt too personal and too "drama" ish.
I don't know how to handle it without feeling like I'm insulting one of her best instructors. I am asking you older riders because I figure this is an adult thing - that as we get older respect becomes very important. I have always shown this young lady respect and I've always been encouraging to her.
Last summer, an older man in one of our classes wouldn't listen to this young woman - he would REFUSE to do anything she said. I honestly don't know what the problem was because I hardly ever interacted with her at the time (there was another instructor I usually worked with). But perhaps it was the same thing.
Last edited by wild old thing; 07-13-2013 at 02:07 PM.