Switching Instructors/Barns

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Switching Instructors/Barns

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  • 1 Post By Houston
  • 1 Post By Houston

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    07-29-2012, 01:14 AM
Switching Instructors/Barns

I think I'm reaching a dead end with my instructor...

Don't get me wrong. She is a very nice, patient lady and without a doubt has taught me quite a bit in the year or so I've been riding at that barn. But it's getting to the point where I feel like I'm not going anywhere with improving my riding skills. Not only that but the more I research and read about horses and riding, the more I find myself developing my own opinions and disagreeing with her methods.

For example my half-lease/lesson horse has a very fast, uncomfortable jog. My instructors way to fix this is to pull on the reins and to only release when he slows. We've been at this for months with little improvement using her method.

My idea (which I do outside of lessons when I'm riding on my own) was to circle him until he slowed which got decent results. I brought this up to her, however we have not been doing the circle method in lessons. Just pulling on his face, him getting upset, and me feeling bad. All the circle work I do gets thrown out the window. But I do it her way. After all she is the instructor and this is her horse.

I'm at a loss between emotion and doing what's best for me. On one hand I do have a sort of loyalty with this barn. I've recommended several people to take lessons and go on trail rides with them.
On the other hand my skills are getting stale. I feel like I'm working more on fixing the horse than improving my riding ability. And being that I only started riding a little more than a year ago, I really want to concentrate on my riding in lessons.

Long story short I'm not sure what to do and how to do it. If I do move barns and instructors, I don't want to cause any hurt feelings or tension and I'm not sure how to make the transition.

I guess I'm looking for advice, input, opinions, etc.
Have you ever been in a similar situation?
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    07-29-2012, 01:26 AM
It's always awkward to leave a barn, but it sounds as if it might be time for you to do that as you are not progressing.

It's best to just be upfront about it, and tell her how you feel. But if that's too uncomfortable for you, say you are looking at a barn that is closer to work/home.
    07-29-2012, 01:32 AM
Tight circles can hurt an unbalances horse if they are forced to do them at a fast speed. Try half halts. They work much better, balance the horse, and you won't be depending on circles to slow your horse down.

Just go find an instructor you like. One who doesn't encourage a horse to brace by telling a student to haul on its face, or force you to look up ways to slow a horse down on the Internet.

I left my first instructor for better pastures when I couldn't learn anymore from her. When I became a trainer, I returned to her barn where I now board, and we have a working relationship now. I will start training one of her lessons horses soon for WP (boo) in return for board. We respect each other and I never had a bad word to say about her. I just out grew her instruction one day.
    07-29-2012, 01:39 AM
Yes I was just in te exact situation you are describing. I was with this trainer who is a very good trainer, but she was older an downsized from her large, bustling, 20 stall lesson/boarder barn to a two stall barn with only an outdoor (partially for financial reasons). A couple weeks ago I just felt like I had hit a big brick wall in my and my new horses training, I was actually getting bored and frustrated in my lessons because I just felt like were not working in anything. I was also th only person at the barn who was really dedicated and had my own horse and went to shows which got really old really fast. Then during jumping camp a different instructor was brought in to teach one day and I was like WOW and I sudden remembered what it was like to actually work hard during a lesson. The hard part was that my old trainer had basically become like part of my family and I loved her. But once I realized that I was realy unhappy and that I wanted to really move ahead in my riding I was able to let go of my old trainer and move to a new barn with an awesome hunter/jumper trainer. I have been here for two weeks and I am blissfully happy.

Just try to keep in the front of your mind that riding is something that you want to enjoy, and you want to grow as a rider, and if you are courteous about leaving your barn there should be no hard feelings.
Hope this helps! Ask any more questions if you need to, believe me I know how hard this can be :)
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    07-29-2012, 03:04 AM
Thanks for the input guys.

Originally Posted by AlexS    
It's best to just be upfront about it, and tell her how you feel. But if that's too uncomfortable for you, say you are looking at a barn that is closer to work/home.
I could bring that up, and it's not untrue. The next barn/instructor I'm thinking about going to is close to home.

Originally Posted by Copperhead    
Tight circles can hurt an unbalances horse if they are forced to do them at a fast speed. Try half halts. They work much better, balance the horse, and you won't be depending on circles to slow your horse down.
My experience is limited but I have tried half-halts. I must do them continuously with this guy; I do a half-halt, he slows (while showing discomfort from the bit), I release, he speeds. Like what my instructor wants me to do, this also seems to put too much on his mouth. And with a curb bit, I don't like to do that.

Circling was recommended to me by several people and sources and I have seen improvement (although it's normally thrown out the window in my lessons...). It allows me to loosen the rein completely and is more work for him which encourages him to slow down. It also keeps him on my aids and when he doesn't know what to expect, he is slower and waiting for what I ask next. I just have to transfer that idea to going straight along the rail.
    07-29-2012, 03:22 AM
Some horses need half halts every stride, most horses do when they are learning stride rhythm and regulation. A circle is kind of like an emergency "whoa". Release the half halt when he reacts appropriately, and half halt again. Put balances circles in for attention grabbers, to keep him thinking...just don't rely on it to slow his pace all the time. It takes a steady hand and correct timing to learn a correct half halt. A good instructor will teach you that.

Believe me, you don't want to have to circle the horse every time he speeds up. A 20 meter circle is challenging to the best dressage horses. When you circle an unbalanced horse, it will dive in with the shoulder, which puts all the weight on the inside shoulder. I've seen horses injured this way.

There's a much better way, a good instructor will show you the value of half halts. They are extremely important to a horses physical development and training. That's why you see Olympians half halt instead of circle all the time for control
    07-29-2012, 03:30 AM
Originally Posted by Copperhead    
It takes a steady hand and correct timing to learn a correct half halt. A good instructor will teach you that.
Definitely. I'm not sure I'm even doing them correctly (probably not). I was never really taught how to do them properly... There is still so much I need to learn which is why I think a change of instructor is in order at this point.
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    07-29-2012, 03:36 AM
It will definitely be beneficial. Go check out a couple barns. When I left my first instructor, I just told her I found some place closer. She understood.

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