I Really Want to Switch...Just Not Sure How - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 09-15-2010, 04:50 PM Thread Starter
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I Really Want to Switch...Just Not Sure How

I've been taking lessons at one barn for about a year and a half now, and it's been good, I've learned quite a bit. But the trainer we bought Tango from also offers lessons (well, I know she would to us, anyways..she's dad's friend), and I've always wanted to go and learn from her instead.

Last summer, when I was new to riding, and having huge problems with Tango, she stepped in and *snap* just like that, problem solved. She's so confident and knows exactly what to do and how to do it, and gets exactly what she wants from every horse. I mean, my instructor currently is knowledgable too, but..I don't know, I just like the way the trainer handles things better. As my current instructor has said: "She rides like a man." Not in a rude way, but in the fact that she (the trainer) has the confidence, the "I'm in charge, you will do what I say" mentality that guys tend to have. By nature I have a very quiet, passive, non-confrontational personality, and that's the root of my problems. My instructor has never pushed me past that. I'm not blaming her, but I know almost for certain (I speak from some experience) that the trainer would push me, tell me, coach me to be a stronger rider. I guess my instructor feels that I'll find it on my own eventually, but I know for a fact it's not going to come easily-or at all if the current situation keeps up.

For a couple days, I took lessons from her, and it was probably the best time I've ever been on a horse. With someone there that confident, you feel like you're pretty much invincible, because around them nothing bad can happen, and with someone you respect that much, you always want to impress and do as best as you can for them. And with someone you trust that much, when they tell you to do something, there is no question as to whether it's possible or not-you just do it.

It's probably bad to put that much faith in someone, but at this point in my riding, I need it. For those few days she instructed me, for the first and pretty much only time, I actually was riding. I was in control, and I wasn't just keeping Tango under control and keeping her from running off, as I've experienced pretty much the entire rest of the time I've been on her. Don't get me wrong, I do like my current instructor, she's taught me a lot and clearly knows what she's talking about...but she just doesn't have that certain..."I am strong, I am a leader" vibe. Basically, the trainer is great for my confidence, and that's exactly what I need right now. The instructor has taught me the skills I need to control Tango, but 90% of every problem I come across while riding is lack of confidence, and confidence is what the trainer can give me.

So, I'll finish preaching about how great the trainer is now, and get on to the point Previously I could never take lessons with the trainer because she lived too far away to trailer Tango to every week, but she bought a new farm, only a little bit farther than the distance we travel to go to lessons currently. I've asked dad if I could switch and take lessons with her instead of the instructor, and though he seemed hesitant about it, he said: "Yeah, [trainer] can probably teach you a lot more than [instructor]. Finish the season with [instructor], at least, and then we'll see." I know he's probably hesitant for the same reason I am: we've been with this instructor for a year and a half, how do all of a sudden we just up and leave to go take lessons somewhere else? It feels almost like a betrayal or something. How should I go about this? Throw caution to the winds and just tell her we're not going to be taking lessons with her anymore, or go in a bit more carefully? If so, how?

P.S. I hope you could discern any sort of sense at all from that =) When I write long posts I tend to ramble.

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post #2 of 11 Old 09-15-2010, 05:21 PM
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Why do people always act as if they're breaking off a romantic, personal relationship when they want to switch trainers?

Ily, this is a business arrangement. You've been paying this person. You're not obligated to continue to pay them if their services are no longer satisfactory.

If this person is a professional and acts like one, she'll deal with your leaving in a mature manner. If she's a big, pouty baby, then you're better off going somewhere else anyway.

Any time you pay someone for a service, it's business. Regardless of how much you might like them as a person, that has no bearing on whether or not you should stay with them as a customer.
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post #3 of 11 Old 09-15-2010, 05:24 PM Thread Starter
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I'm glad. I really didn't want any awkward confrontations (as you read above, I like to avoid confrontation). It shouldn't be a big deal then.

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post #4 of 11 Old 09-15-2010, 05:28 PM
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I don't think I've ever met anyone who actually likes confrontations, it's just that some of us aren't opposed to being straightforward and honest, instead of *****footing around the issue.

I don't like mimicking a doormat.
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post #5 of 11 Old 09-15-2010, 10:31 PM
Green Broke
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When you reach the point of you dont think you can learn anymore from a coach, it does make sense to move on to the next so that you can learn more. No point in staying where you arent learning anything more....
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post #6 of 11 Old 09-16-2010, 07:36 AM
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When you do switch trainers do not just stop showing up at the old place and leave her wondering. That is not fair.

There are many options but do tell her you are leaving at least. You can tell her that you have decided to try lessons some where else for a while. I think a nice thank you card would be nice too. Thanking her for all she has taught you, etc. No reason to burn bridges.

Do not directly lie to her. Do not tell her you are not going to be riding or anything like that.
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post #7 of 11 Old 09-16-2010, 11:54 PM
Green Broke
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Very true AB...that is great advice that more people should follow.

If you are staying in the same area, people talk and it WILL get back to your old coach if you are still riding but you have said you aren't able to do anymore. Or she will see you somewhere.

You don't have to get in specifics about why you are leaving, but give at least a months notice.
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post #8 of 11 Old 09-17-2010, 01:25 AM
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It sucks to be honest because you don't want to hurt anyones feelings and this is a situation where feelings could be hurt.... be tactful and truthful. It is not the easiest way but it is the best way.

"Equine-facilitated therapy employs a form of biofeedback for practicing self-awareness, emotional management, and relationship skills that human role-playing exercises and discussion groups cannot begin to access." Linda Kohanov (The Tao of Equus)
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post #9 of 11 Old 09-17-2010, 06:07 AM
Green Broke
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As people have said, it is a business arrangement. People grow attached to their trainers but remember if you stopped paying them they wouldn't be teaching you.

Move to your new trainer, just make sure you leave the last one on good terms. Tell them you'll be taking a break from lessons for a while, its up to you if you want to mention that you'll be taking lessons elsewhere or not.

New trainers bring new ideas and methods into your training. I wouldn't want to stay with the same one forever.
Saskia is offline  
post #10 of 11 Old 09-18-2010, 12:47 PM
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Just switch. I was with one trainer for a year and a half and the switch to my current one was the best choice of my life. I actually get to show now and I've learned more than I did at the last place. Just like everyone has said, this is a business arrangement. Give your current instructor 30 days notice and then move on to your new trainer. If your instructor is a professional she won't hold any bad feelings about it, people move on all the time when they feel they're not getting what they need.
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