I'm curious about some differences between the UK, the US, and other countries. I've noticed Americans tend to use the word 'trainer' where Brits use 'instructor', for starters!
Admittedly I'm not that deep into the British horse world, merely someone on the periphary, but I know very few riders who don't have an instructor. Even if they don't have a lesson every time they ride, there's someone - usually the instructors at the stable where they board, or someone who used to teach them regularly - who they can go to with questions and difficulties. Is this just a function of everything being closer in the UK, or do most Americans have 'their' instructor too? XD From talking to you guys here, I kind of get the impression that it's far more common to work with your horse independently, without someone sort of on hand to help out.
Also 'clinics', big name trainers with videos and Methods and merchandise, and ideological movements about riding and horse care ... I've never heard of anything like that in the UK! But that seems to just be a facet of our different cultures, lol, and the fact that we've got a much smaller population!
I've only ever met one experienced, adult rider who's said, "I think lessons are a waste of time." Even for total beginners, apparently. Personally, I thought she was talking nonsense. But she was very definitely a reverse snob - I ride at a very good stables, and when she learned that she immediately assumed I was some spoilt girl riding on Daddy's credit card who was going to get her own pony. XD
So - what are your own experiences with instructors and trainers, and what would you say was the norm in your area? What differences have you noticed between your own region and other places?