I'll never understand just how a trainer, running the whole list of abuse and shoddy work toward both students and horses, can rake in so much money as to look appealing to curious competing riders. I have a few trainers in my area that even have solid places on boards as judges, and I know from personal experience myself and from other people, they're far from respectable. Scandal upon scandal happens with these guys, and still, new riders buy into the scam. The trainers I'm talking about are the ones that put on their own shows on property, and the students who win are the ones who paid the most. The business greed is appalling. Even more confusing is how some of the trainers were good about their job in the beginning, or at some points of their career, but overall it's cow chips.
It just makes me wonder, though, that even when these trainers are using shortcuts out the whazoo and doing anything to look good and have a lot of money, sometimes their students place well in a few competitions outside of the trainer's controlled bracket. Not to say most of those students of these trainers don't fall flat on their face when they compete in other regions that their trainer has no influence on--- that makes me angry the most, that they're building up these kids on false, material gains, and then when they compete anywhere else, they find out that they are horribly outmatched. I think that most "salesman" type of trainers can get a rider somewhere, and maybe the more adept of the students are able to improvise and do most of the work themselves. In other words, I think most students and horses are good, because they're good... the trainer doesn't do much other than provide them a place to ride and every now and then an honest remark (gasp!) about what they or the horse looks like. It's nothing the pair couldn't have done by themselves with a friend or video camera.
I started thinking about this because I've been training mostly by myself for the past 3 years. I had some help, along with plenty of trouble, from said businessy trainers, and fellow horse-people. Locally I had the choice between beginner-level trainers, and cutthroat business trainers. One taste of the latter left me puking, so I stuck with the beginners who helped a bit with basics, but essentially helped by giving me input and being a pair of eyes on the ground. I had been on a riding hiatus 2 years ago off an on, so I did need help covering the basics and reminding myself. But, it didn't take long to outgrow them. Then I was just stuck and frustrated.
I loved my first riding stable, so much so that when I had to leave I bought my primary lesson horse. It was a very professional, tidy, welcoming Show Jumper place. When I left 4 years ago, I was a level 5 ranked out of 9 levels--- I could go all gaits but still had some issues with cantering smoothly. I would say I'm a 7, at least, now. I settled and started making contacts in the riding world--- SUCH a fresh breath of air to talk with good, FEI/Grand Prix trainers again, and I decided to set up a plan to start taking lessons from them, specifically my old trainer :)
Can't help but feel some pity for the riders I pass by every day, there are some good riders in there, and some hearts waiting to be broken... Haha, I won't be surprised if I end up being a trainer some years from now
Just because the area needs one who isn't a beginner and isn't obsessed with cash and quick fixes.