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Bad Instructors

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    05-21-2013, 07:26 PM
  #31
Foal
I just paid over 2k for training, just to get my gelding back after 6 months acting like he'd never had a bit in his mouth..His teeth were checked, they are fine. Conveniently the trainer will not return my messages, so make sure the trainer of choice is one that is super reputable.
     
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    05-21-2013, 08:58 PM
  #32
Weanling
Or local so you can pop by and check in.
ariatgirl2008 likes this.
     
    05-22-2013, 12:19 PM
  #33
Foal
Interesting reading ..... and exactly why I started a new riding instruction business this spring! I have experienced the broad spectrum of trainers, coaches, and instructors over the last 10 to 12 years. Some were good with a horse, some with people, seldom with both. There are some out there and I was fortunate to find a couple. But over the last few years they are starting to retire. The "new" batch seems only interested in showing what they can do and having the horse owner be their "annuity" providing them with a great horse, paying their bills and having the trainer show it for them.

Be it starting colts or finishing saddle horses, I found the basics were going by the boards and folks were ending up with either "one trick ponies" or unsafe mounts. Hence, my instruction business.

I offer my business approach as some items for others to consider when looking for a trainer, coach, or instructor. I always invite prospective custormers out for a free demo. I will explain what my program is about and why it follows the program it does (Instructing people riding their own horse). Next I offer a discounted first lesson. That way I can give the person some idea of what to expect and how much time it will take to reach their goal. The instruction is non-discipline specific, its what all broke and safe horses should be capable of doing. I don't train horses, I instruct riders. We are all trainers, even if we only go feed the horses twice a day! If your trainer won't spend time teaching you, you just as well give the horse to the trainer ..... it will be cheaper in the long run! If you're attending a group lesson, look to see if everyone gets the same amount of instruction. I divide the group into subgroups and focus on the riders riding and what they need. The folks waiting are in the arena with horses lined up and watching the riders. They get to teach their horse to stand quietly and behave while waiting their turn. Is there any rhyme or reason to the instruction? My students are told day one, ride one, if I don't tell them why we are doing something to stop and ask why.

Look at the facilities, is there any sence of pride in appearance? Are there places to park? Safely unload your horse? Are you expected to properly warm up your horse prior to starting the lesson? Are you coached on safety from the minute you start to unload your horse? Read the facility rules and see if they are actually inforced.

I know this has turned into a bit of a rant, but having horses is expensive, and having an untrained horse is dangerous ...... do your homework and spend your money where you are getting what you want!
ariatgirl2008 likes this.
     
    05-22-2013, 03:43 PM
  #34
Weanling
I think it would be beneficial for most riders to learn from several different people. That way you get different perspectives. Also, it's tough to find an instructor that can teach you the bare beginnings, up to the advanced levels.

The first person I ever took lessons from was my mother. It was a "learn on the fly" experience! Later on, I took lessons from a girl that didn't really know how to ride properly, but taught me the cues. I refined that with another instructor a few years later, although the lessons started to get monotonous, and I could tell that I'd reached her peak of knowledge because even after doing everything correctly, we didn't really move on. I got the feeling I was just another source of her steady lesson income.

I stopped taking lessons for a long time, and just rode. When I finally decided to take some lessons for fun, I started looking around. The barn managers of the barn I boarded at gave lessons, but I avoided them, due to the fact that they did NOT enforce safety of the human or horse. I watched one little girl, in particular, who was born with fetal alcohol syndrome, brush a horse, then go UNDER the horse's belly to brush the other side. They saw my reaction and laughed and said, "Oh! She always does that! It's okay! The horse is dead broke!" All I could think of was, "Yeah, but someday she'll try to do that to one that ISN'T dead broke, and what happens then?"

Another instructor I had heard of was very loud, but really gave no good, clear instruction. I finally narrowed down my options to 2 instructors. It's really just best to see how these people act in and out of the arena. How do they act to their animals? To other people's animals? One instructor (the one I didn't pick) told people to "kick" her puppy "hard" if he tried to jump on them. That told me volumes about her character, and the way that she trained animals in general. Positive reinforcement is always better than negative, in my opinion. I've seen her riders really force a horse into a position that the horse isn't ready for, and as a consequence, the horses have gotten nasty or gone lame.

My instructor does not show, as she does not like the atmosphere. But she went to a very nice horse school on the east coast, and taught there for 3 years after graduating. We focus more on improving the communication between horse and rider, and improving my riding skills. But that's what I've wanted, and what I've asked for. Someone that wants to advance through the levels quickly would not be pleased with her teaching style, as she makes sure you are completely competent before going forward. But improvement and gaining skill takes patience!

I would definitely recommend that you pick out a few random lessons from each instructor you're interested in, and drop in to watch. See how the lessons are structured, how the rider responds to their comments, if their comments are derogatory, how well do they actually instruct, etc.
     
    05-22-2013, 11:16 PM
  #35
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by Foxhunter    
Someone on the ground can be a big help. They need not be qualified nor have riding abilities but they will have to have seen the person they are trying to help have instruction and understand what they are trying to achieve. They would not be able to actually teach.

Instructors should not be asking someone to do something they cannot do themselves. The exception to this is with the older teacher - they might well have given up competing or even riding, but they know what is wanted and how to achieve it.
THIS is what I want so badly. I really stinks to know that you have so much to learn.. but no one to teach you except your horse and the mistakes you make.

Your story about Lizzy made me smile.. and gave me goose bumps! She is a lucky girl! Ahh.. Poo.. I quoted the wrong post.
     
    05-23-2013, 01:22 AM
  #36
Foal
The worst instructor I ever had the 'pleasure' of working with, was an incredible horseperson in many ways. She was quite knowledgeable and had a very impressive show record.
Unfortunately, she was one of the most miserable people I have ever met. She was extremely rough with the horses. She was quick to anger and quick to react. Thought nothing of hitting or kicking a horse for very minor problems (i.e., one horse rested his foot when she was trying to put on polos). She admitted on multiple occasions, that she didn't like horses at all...and if she wasn't able to make money off them, she wouldn't have any at all (she was a dealer who dealt with high end performance horses). She was very cheap and despite the fact boarders were paying nearly $500/month, she would give everyone around 4 flakes of hay a day and would ask for more money if a horse required more than that.
If that wasn't enough, she was nasty to people. She would say the rudest and cruelest of things and do incredibly mean things. For example, she sold an expensive horse to a friend. She admitted that she wanted the woman (a 60+ year old lady who had just started riding) to get hurt, then sell the horse back to her at a reduced rate so she could make money. One day she looked at me and honestly said "You know, you would be really pretty if you had plastic surgery". I just laughed.

However, I left soon after that. I learned a lot of from her. Some things to do. Some things never to do. I certainly don't regret going there and learning, but when I started leaving the barn with more stress then I arrived there with, then it was time to move on. Both myself and my mare are much, much happier at another barn.
     
    05-23-2013, 02:13 AM
  #37
Super Moderator
It is important that people take lessons from all sorts of instructors as they get more experienced.
Majority of the 'good old boys (and girls)' that had been there and done that, learned the hard way, are long dead. I have not yet seen a good instructor nowadays of their ilk. This is probably a good thing because they were tough in a way that would not be accepted nowadays!
The thing about them is that they had all proven themselves in the competition field and trained their own horses. If they were tough on their pupils then they were tougher on themselves.

The thing about them was that they had the answers, not all were conventional, but they worked. This was from their own experiences and they were great if you were prepared to work hard, stand up to their often rude comments and most of all keep trying. They were encouraging once you had proved you wanted to learn.
These people were taking more advanced riders not novices.

I remember them all with a great fondness. I well recall riding on a course with one of my favourites, Dick Stillwell. The horse I was riding was rather lazy. He was green, had a lot of ability but was hard work. We were trotting on a circle, going over three trotting poles, then a one stride double, not vey high, about 2' 6". The horse was going this but I was having to really ride him. I was told to stop riding him and let him carry himself. We went over the poles carelessly and he hit the pole of the first fence, tripped, went down on his knees and nose, Dick was standing there and cracked the horse on the backside, shooting him up and over the second fence! I was still on top, still had both feet in the stirrups! Dick was shouting out "Lovely, lovely! Bring him straight round!" That horse was a different animal after that - he stopped being blase about the fences and certainly carried himself over fences after that.
He was a lot more mellow as he aged!

I am lucky in that I have never known anyone like the one mentioned above. I do not care how good they are, someone with morals like that is not worth knowing.
     
    05-23-2013, 10:09 AM
  #38
Super Moderator
Quote:
Originally Posted by Foxhunter    
It is important that people take lessons from all sorts of instructors as they get more experienced.
Majority of the 'good old boys (and girls)' that had been there and done that, learned the hard way, are long dead. I have not yet seen a good instructor nowadays of their ilk. This is probably a good thing because they were tough in a way that would not be accepted nowadays!
The thing about them is that they had all proven themselves in the competition field and trained their own horses. If they were tough on their pupils then they were tougher on themselves.

The thing about them was that they had the answers, not all were conventional, but they worked. This was from their own experiences and they were great if you were prepared to work hard, stand up to their often rude comments and most of all keep trying. They were encouraging once you had proved you wanted to learn.
These people were taking more advanced riders not novices.

I remember them all with a great fondness. I well recall riding on a course with one of my favourites, Dick Stillwell. The horse I was riding was rather lazy. He was green, had a lot of ability but was hard work. We were trotting on a circle, going over three trotting poles, then a one stride double, not vey high, about 2' 6". The horse was going this but I was having to really ride him. I was told to stop riding him and let him carry himself. We went over the poles carelessly and he hit the pole of the first fence, tripped, went down on his knees and nose, Dick was standing there and cracked the horse on the backside, shooting him up and over the second fence! I was still on top, still had both feet in the stirrups! Dick was shouting out "Lovely, lovely! Bring him straight round!" That horse was a different animal after that - he stopped being blase about the fences and certainly carried himself over fences after that.
He was a lot more mellow as he aged!

I am lucky in that I have never known anyone like the one mentioned above. I do not care how good they are, someone with morals like that is not worth knowing.
Dick Stillwell once brought a wealthy woman from Greece to try a young horse my boss was selling that I'd done very basic jumping, XCountry & dressage with. I rode the mare first and then the woman got on and it was very obvious that she was only used to quiet, experienced push button horses. Annie dumped her very quickly as if to make a statement and we felt so embarrassed but he told his client straight that it was entirely her own fault and she wasn't ready for a green horse. He was so well respected she accepted the criticism without question and he then bought the mares younger sister himself which really pleased me because she had a personality I didn't really get on with!!!
Foxhunter likes this.
     
    05-24-2013, 02:59 AM
  #39
Weanling
I think going to local tack shop or feed stores and asking opinions of trainers in the area and if you do find one you like go watch a lesson or two, sit down and talk to the trainer and ask lots of questions, get too know them and make a choice from there. That is how I found my first trainer and the one I am currently with. The only reason I switched was because I ended having to pay for everything on my own and it was very pricey but I still have a friendly relationship with my first trainer and am welcome back for a haul in lesson anytime.
     
    05-24-2013, 10:05 AM
  #40
Weanling
I'll have to put my two cents in (aka my lesson stories)
My first instructor focused on having fun and enjoying the basics of horsemanship. I cantered and did crossrails within a year of riding. Now I look back and I realize she didn't teach me form or seat, but she taught me horsemanship. I was always placed with dead horses, so to speak.
My second instructor was a nice young lady, she taught me form well enough that I quickly placed in the top three in my first horse show. The horses were nice hunter mounts. She got fired and the BO's daughter took over, she was a nutcase. I was placed on her advanced jumper (and got bucked off) and with an ill trained hunter that I hated. I also now realize that she rode completely front to back.
The next was an avid trashy lesson barn with too many instructors being fired and hired to count. The horses were green, lame, thin, and pathetic. None of the instructors knew what they were doing. The one that did, got fired. I am now told that the BO actually made the instructors do some stuff, some BAD stuff. So I'd now say that it's not always the instructor's fault if they are "bad" it might be an outside source.
The next place was similar to the last, but the instructors were more knowledgable. The horses;however, were overworked. But they did teach me more back to front riding and that's when I started dressage.
Kady was the best trainer I could of hoped for. She knew how to train and ride, and she was my best friend. She understood how sensitive I am and worked around that. She taught me how to really ride dressage. She is the basis of how I ride now. She knew good horses I should ride, and really did a lot for me. Sadly, she was young and her family problems got in the way of us. I also think some of her young ness made her not notice some stuff of my riding till I was better at it.
Then I rode and worked for a lady who know everything that she's doing, but she's really mean. You have to do exactly what she says or you'd be really sad, but I think she helped me realize exactly what my seat can do, and she built my confidence because I was getting yelled at, but I honestly wouldn't long term pay for someone who yells at me the whole lesson, even if they are the best.
Now, I'm with an amazing rider, but we don't click. She never has time to answer questions, and she seems to think of her clients as "just another." She tries to be helpful, but she does stuff a different way, and I just don't get it. I don't think I've learned a thing from her in three months. I've adapted to her way of dressage, but besides that my horse is getting stronger, I don't see a different in myself. She's an amazing rider, but I might quit with her because we don't get each other.
     

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