Trainer Frustration (rant) - The Horse Forum
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 12 Old 03-30-2013, 11:06 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Tucson, AZ
Posts: 728
• Horses: 1
Trainer Frustration (rant)

Hi all!

Well, my search for a trainer has come to a screeching halt with my last lesson. To be fair, this week has been pretty stressful and horrible all on its own... but yesterday's lesson was possibly the worst ride I've had in the 3 months I've owned Jax (and ridden on a 5-6time a week basis, no less)! And to think that I was excited for a breezy happy relaxing lesson...

Have you ever had a new trainer who doesn't know your horse all that well, and therefore makes assumptions about his behavior that aren't quite true? Yesterday Jax was laaaazy as lazy can be (I'd checked beforehand for soreness/reaction to recent vaccinations, and he was just peachy). Normally I'll pick up a dressage whip if he's looking lazy for the simple fact that holding it makes him perk up without even coming into contact with it. Well, I didn't because I'm a fool. Our walk-trot portions of the lesson were fine, but cantering and canter transitions were horrific. For the first time, he was trot-running into the canter, pinning his ears, picking up the wrong lead... and my instructor was praising him for it! ?!?! See, I may not be a trainer, but I know this horse pretty well. She literally had me holding the pommel and kicking through that terrible bouncy falling-apart trot into a lazy canter and telling me that he was doing great! And when he dropped gait? Well, he picked it up for me so it's progress. No.... no, it's not. He knows better, and I know it! When he drops gait, I make him work even harder until I say we're done. When he decides to run into a canter, I bring him back to whatever starting gait I was at and ask him again and again until he picks it up right. When he picks up a canter but drags along on his forehand, it is not good enough-- I expect effort when I ask for it, and keep asking for it, and keep asking for it...

Well at the end of the lesson she finally let me pick up my dressage whip, and suddenly I was on a forward-moving, hind-end-engaging horse who picked up a lovely rocking canter from a walk.

This has been working for us, and yesterday left me miserable and I'm sure Jax's back was not happy after that bouncy-house-on-his-back session.

This is what I get for riding trainer-free for so many years. :( I know I'm not infallible, which is why I'm looking for a trainer-- I'm just sad to find that this is not it. Especially because it's so difficult to find a dressage trainer in Tucson.

Last edited by existentialpony; 03-30-2013 at 11:10 PM.
existentialpony is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 12 Old 03-31-2013, 04:18 AM
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 278
• Horses: 0
You should discuss, at length, what you've accomplished with your horse, and the things you are hoping to finesse and work on through lessons. That should give a hopeful new trainer a better insight regarding your perspective, and a great starting point with your horse. I wouldn't give up on your trainer just yet - based on what she saw from your horse's behavior, there WAS improvement. She clearly does not know your horse well, and it was probably a great thing for her to see you guys work with a crop, so she can see what MORE to expect from him in the future. A good trainer wants to reward steps in the right direction, and based on what she had seen (which, technically was your fault because you didn't ride with your whip when you normally, otherwise would have), she was doing just that. I'd talk to her in between lessons and give her another try, before officially ruling her out. :) Although... I guess I'm not clear on whether or not you were ruling her out?

So... on that note... I apologize for potentially unsolicited advice :) I totally get it, though... I started with my trainer, and at the beginning she was praising us and I was like "Uhhh???" haha. However, my trainer had a lot to offer, and even though occasionally we have lessons where I think "But, we already know this?" I find out that there is more finesse, and sometimes "more to it" in general, so the refreshers and tweaking is well worth it :) Good luck, however... I do know how frustrating it can be!
existentialpony likes this.

Last edited by sillyhorses; 03-31-2013 at 04:22 AM.
sillyhorses is offline  
post #3 of 12 Old 03-31-2013, 07:43 AM
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 5,995
• Horses: 0
Do you want to know what I see? It certainly is not what you see.

I think you have put into words better than I could have, the exact reason why I hate whips. Your horse only respects the whip and not the rider. What you really have is a level of respect that matches the horse's performance when you do not have the whip in your hand. What you really have is a horse that has been 'whip trained' and taught that he can 'tune out' your legs and other aids.

What you really need is to find a trainer that will help you 'wean' your horse off the whip and help you teach it to respond to the correct aids. When a whip has been used as a 'threat' like it has in your case, I becomes completely ineffective as a training tool. Whips ARE NOT aids. You hands, seat and legs ARE AIDS. WHIPS AND SPURS ARE TOOLS, not aids, just like draw reins, German Martingales and other tools. Like these other tools, they can easily become crutches.

visit us at

Last edited by Cherie; 03-31-2013 at 09:54 AM.
Cherie is offline  
post #4 of 12 Old 03-31-2013, 10:55 AM
Green Broke
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Missouri
Posts: 3,771
• Horses: 3
I agree with Cherie on this one.

If only time you can get forward is when holding a whip? You have not done your job of making horse respond to any of your cues. You have essentially taught horse the rider is helpless.

Your trainer is on right track here.

And furthermore, if you ever do ride a responsive horse that has been trained correctly, you would know what we are saying is true.
Foxhunter likes this.

Horses make me a better person.
Palomine is offline  
post #5 of 12 Old 03-31-2013, 03:39 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Tucson, AZ
Posts: 728
• Horses: 1
When did I say I could only move forward with a whip...? I rode for an hour today alone with no whip w/t/c and had a wonderful ride with spot-on transitions. This thread was about the trainer...? Thank you for the input but I rarely ride with a dressage whip to begin with.
Posted via Mobile Device
existentialpony is offline  
post #6 of 12 Old 03-31-2013, 03:43 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Tucson, AZ
Posts: 728
• Horses: 1
(Rarely meaning on days when he thinks he has my number and needs to be reminded that he listens to me, no matter how he's feeling. Which since I've owned him has totaled to 4 or 5 times.).
Posted via Mobile Device
existentialpony is offline  
post #7 of 12 Old 03-31-2013, 03:44 PM
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: southern Arizona
Posts: 9,561
• Horses: 4
All anyone knows about the situation is what you post. Your first post had the horse needing a whip:

"Well at the end of the lesson she finally let me pick up my dressage whip, and suddenly I was on a forward-moving, hind-end-engaging horse who picked up a lovely rocking canter from a walk."

"Make the right thing easy and the wrong thing...well, ignore it mostly."
bsms is offline  
post #8 of 12 Old 03-31-2013, 03:46 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Tucson, AZ
Posts: 728
• Horses: 1
Yes, and prior to that I mentioned that I thought I might need it because he was displaying obstinate/lazy behavior, and also that until we cantered our lesson was excellent and he was perfectly responsive albeit sluggish-feeling.
Posted via Mobile Device
existentialpony is offline  
post #9 of 12 Old 03-31-2013, 03:49 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Tucson, AZ
Posts: 728
• Horses: 1
This thread isn't about me defending myself. Thank you for your input, but please understand that your advice is misdirected.
Posted via Mobile Device
existentialpony is offline  
post #10 of 12 Old 03-31-2013, 05:40 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Southeast
Posts: 3,906
• Horses: 0
E-pony, I agree, there is correct & there is not correct, and any good instructor should be able to see the difference. It is useless to practice incorrect movement, and if occasionally a horse needs a pop with the whip to remind them, or even just carrying the whip, then that is what the horse needs!

My (past) instructor, can recognize in 5 minutes what the rider and the horse needs, so going almost an entire lesson without working correctly is unacceptable. I would not waste my money by going back to that "trainer".

I suggest you attend a recognized show or two to watch the top competitors, and find out who their instructors are, and then see about getting lessons. I have found it is better to have 1 lesson with a top instructor than 50 lessons with a poor one.

A top instructor will take you very quickly to a higher level. Good luck to you!
AnitaAnne is offline  

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the The Horse Forum forums, you must first register.

Already have a Horse Forum account?
Members are allowed only one account per person at the Horse Forum, so if you've made an account here in the past you'll need to continue using that account. Please do not create a new account or you may lose access to the Horse Forum. If you need help recovering your existing account, please Contact Us. We'll be glad to help!

New to the Horse Forum?
Please choose a username you will be satisfied with using for the duration of your membership at the Horse Forum. We do not change members' usernames upon request because that would make it difficult for everyone to keep track of who is who on the forum. For that reason, please do not incorporate your horse's name into your username so that you are not stuck with a username related to a horse you may no longer have some day, or use any other username you may no longer identify with or care for in the future.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Old Thread Warning
This thread is more than 90 days old. When a thread is this old, it is often better to start a new thread rather than post to it. However, If you feel you have something of value to add to this particular thread, you can do so by checking the box below before submitting your post.

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
My Rant of Frustration >:( RideroftheWind English Riding 27 08-15-2015 09:11 PM
Trainer Rant. FirstCyte Horse Training 16 07-29-2012 08:11 AM
set backs* little frustration rant* BarrelracingArabian Horse Riding 0 04-29-2012 11:52 AM
Frustration rant Saskia General Off Topic Discussion 1 11-16-2010 11:59 AM
frustration! { rant } Jillyann Horse Talk 4 05-12-2009 09:33 PM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome