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Trainer Favoritism?

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  • My crazy ex trainer horse

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    01-27-2013, 12:09 AM
  #11
Weanling
I think it depends on everyone's definition of "favoritism" and the extent to which it's taking place. In my example above, I've always felt that my instructor and I just don't quite jive on some level, and I'm aware that it's nothing personal. It's something that happens all the time, in many different settings.
     
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    01-27-2013, 07:53 AM
  #12
Foal
I don't think it's favouritism at all to give something extra (like better horses, more compliments, tasks that are more difficult, additional coaching/help outside the lessons...) to a pupil that is better, listens better or has "the pieces" to make it further than the rest.

To me favouritism is more about giving somebody extra without them deserving it or not giving someone a chance just because you don't like that person. Or not giving the same level of attention to all riders in the group (provided that all of them are willing to learn).

For example I rode a while with a great Dressage trainer/instructor and she played favourites. If in any given lesson there was a friend of hers, no matter how good or bad a rider, she would give her friend the better horses, more in-depth comments or just plain chat with this friend in expense of other riders and their learning in the group. A friend of mine rode on this person's lessons on another stable and in that situation the lesson had 5 of this trainer's friends and three who were not (my friend being one of them). The five got to ride different, nice horses and the three got the horses that were left after the day's lessons. My friend (an adult who had ridden only a year or two at that point) got a difficult very green horse 16 times in a row and guess what was the best and most in-depth instruction she got? "Make a half-halt." Totally transformed her riding. Not.

I on the other hand rode on a lesson where there was just one of the trainer's friends present. Sure she chatted with her friend more, gave her "sidebar" instructions sometimes and helped her mount etc. that she didn't do with the rest of us. But in no way that would make me say it annoyed me or took the time from instructing me. She gave me praise where praise was due and tips to help me ride better BUT with enough leeway to try out and find things on my own. And hey, this was someone who is as strictly Dressage as can be, teaching a lazy-ass Western rider who couldn't sit straight most of the time. I was very happy with her lessons and would love to ride on her lessons more. Even if we don't and didn't agree on everything (f.ex. "you can't anticipate a horse bucking!").

All in all, if you think you're not getting your money's worth, get another trainer/instructor. If you feel annoyed at your trainer's behaviour so much so it distracts you, find another. If you've committed yourself to this person's instruction for years and still can't get what you're looking for, or a real reason as to why that is, find another trainer.

In the OP's situation I'd ask the trainer nicely why she thinks you're not going to win and what can you do to change that. Or why she's not finding a horse for you. If the answer doesn't satisfy you, get another trainer.
I've asked those kind of questions from my current trainer and she's always given me an answer and helped me to think and get better.
     
    02-17-2013, 07:43 PM
  #13
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by kayhmk    
In the OP's situation I'd ask the trainer nicely why she thinks you're not going to win and what can you do to change that. Or why she's not finding a horse for you. If the answer doesn't satisfy you, get another trainer.
I agree with kayhmk.
Go to your instructor and tell her, "Hey, I noticed that you seem to like -so & so's - riding. How can I improve upon my riding skills?"

Maybe this person has a "natural talent" that the trainer is excited about, and wants to work with (which sounds bogus, but whatever). If she/he says something along those lines, then ask, "Okay, how can I improve upon my riding abilities to get myself to that level?"
You'll have to be firm about wanting to better yourself. If you want this instructor to take you seriously, and to pay attention to you, you have to be interested in your own improvement. Be sure not to start talking about this other girl- focus the conversation on yourself. Don't ask, "Why is she getting all of the attention?" That will make you sound shallow, and jealous. That's the last thing you want to be.

One time I had a lesson with my boyfriend, and the trainer gave him more attention than myself. I found out later that this was because I was doing everything correctly, and he wasn't. I didn't need the encouragement (though it certainly would have put me at ease! I thought she was ignoring me!), but my boyfriend did.

Sometimes you have to view an instructor-student relationship as purely professional. You are the consumer, and you're demanding access to a product. Your instructor should help you achieve your goals, but you have to supply the energy, and perseverance to do so.

And if this trainer doesn't give you a good answer when you ask "How can I improve?", leave. If her answer is discouraging, such as, "Well, you'll never get to that level/etc." then leave. Such a statement means that she has blinders on, and will not see your full potential, no matter what you do.
Of course, everything you do will always depend upon your work ethic. Work hard, and it'll pay off.
     
    02-17-2013, 09:17 PM
  #14
Weanling
Hmmm... I don't know if you are upset because the trainer blatantly said this in front of you in a condescending tone, or is it a general "knowledge" amongst his/her riders that "so and so" is considered to be the most competent of said trainer's clients? However, if this is something you overheard (when the trainer thought you weren't present), I wouldn't dwell on it too much. Maybe that rider needed a good dose of support (even if it isn't considered entirely true?)...

I am going to use this opportunity to say that I believe today's common "ideal" of everyone being completely equal, despite the level of effort, skill level or knowledge is absolutely rediculous - I hope that isn't what your thought process is. That kind of thinking won't help you to succeed. Perhaps your trainer is acknowledging and praising someone else's skills in hopes to encourage competitive "others" in the area to continue to work hard to attain better/more skills.

It isn't an approach I would take (praising another individual and comparing them to others)... but, to each their own, I suppose. I think your own best competition is yourself ;)

Unless you want your trainer to tell you what you already know he/she thinks, then you should probably just carry on and work harder (if that praise is what you are seeking for yourself). If you DO want to discuss it, then you can approach him/her and ask what they think would make you a better competitor. Perhaps the best thing to do is keep quiet and show everyone otherwise ;)
     
    02-17-2013, 09:24 PM
  #15
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by horsesareforeverr    
It makes tons of sense for a trainer to favor harder working students but this person doesn't work any harder than the rest of us. And its not like she's at a higher riding level or any more talented than many of my trainers other talented pupils.
You are clearly upset right now - it is entirely possible that the other student DOES work harder and is more committed, and has more experience than you realize.
     
    02-17-2013, 09:30 PM
  #16
Showing
I am always favored at every barn I go to, for one reason or another.. and it drives everyone else crazy.

Being jealous doesn't change the fact that you need to work harder. Maybe you complain, maybe you have an attitude, maybe she's easier to talk with.. there are many reasons.

I'm guessing if the roles were reversed you wouldn't inquire as to why the other girl wasn't the favourite.
     
    02-18-2013, 12:36 AM
  #17
Foal
You have a trainer to pay them for their advice. Not getting advice? Don't like the advice? Then leave. Find another trainer who you can get advice from.

Not all trainers click with all students. That said, I used to work at a Hunter/Jumper barn. The trainer CLEARLY played favorites. She was much better and much more in depth with her show team than she ever was with anyone else. I took THREE lessons with her on my (at the time) green broke baby. Her advice? Not at all helpful! She told me time and time again things that were OBVIOUSLY not working! After three lessons, I'd had enough! But with one of her show team 16 year old girls and her 3 year old green broke baby? She's personally working the horse to turn it into a show horse because the girl is one of her higher jumpers and at the time, I wasn't even jumping at all after returning to riding.

She never straight up neglected any other students but many students talked about feeling left out, left behind, and like she plain old didn't want them in the barn because they weren't able to show with her other girls for whatever reason (green horse, money, no time, whatever).

I like the trainer as a person but she did not work for me and my horse. Would I take a lesson from her again? Sure on one of HER horses and if it was free. I certainly wouldn't pay for another lesson and I wouldn't take my baby back to her just to frustrate my horse! The trainer I have now is just AWESOME. She clicks with myself and my pony, is great about encouraging me and even better with making sure my pony is really getting it before we move onto anything else. The other trainer wanted to rush things. It's all about personal preference with trainers.

If you're not excited about the person you're training with, for any reason, it's probably not going to work out well. If you feel like they're showing favorites and you're not getting what you need out of it (ie: finding a horse to lease, the encouragement that you have a shot at winning the big titles for the year, and whatever else). Talk to your trainer first to see if you can resolve things but maybe it's time to find a new barn and a new trainer? Shop around, see what works for you.
demonwolfmoon and AllieJ333 like this.
     
    02-18-2013, 01:33 AM
  #18
Weanling
I've been both the favorite and the unfavorite in big group riding settings. The last group I was in was quite vicious. Two girls literally tried to tear each other apart- one ended up in an ambulance and the other in handcuffs. The trainer was then forced to leave.

After that I now only take private lessons in a private setting and have a trainer come to me. I have found more success this way (and enjoyment in horses!) and haven't been demotivated by other people's drama. As long as I have a good, professional relationship with my trainer and his/her practices work well with my horse I could care less about what goes on with his/her other students.
     
    02-18-2013, 01:41 AM
  #19
Banned
Quote:
Originally Posted by Canterklutz    
I've been both the favorite and the unfavorite in big group riding settings. The last group I was in was quite vicious. Two girls literally tried to tear each other apart- one ended up in an ambulance and the other in handcuffs. The trainer was then forced to leave.

After that I now only take private lessons in a private setting and have a trainer come to me. I have found more success this way (and enjoyment in horses!) and haven't been demotivated by other people's drama. As long as I have a good, professional relationship with my trainer and his/her practices work well with my horse I could care less about what goes on with his/her other students.
Wow really, they beat each other up? wow I miss all the drama...wow
     
    02-18-2013, 11:17 AM
  #20
Weanling
If my trainer favored or didn't favor me or other students based on the horse we rode or amount of natural talent, I would be out of there in a heartbeat. It's completely unfair for you to pay someone to teach you only for them to give you less attention based on things you can't change. No matter what.
PaintedBandit and AllieJ333 like this.
     

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