There is a new trainer/farm hand on the farm where I ride. Many of the younger girls are complaining about what they see in how she treats the horses. These girls are all experienced riders between 12-15 years old....and many have been on this farm since they were 6 or 7. When I ask if they tell the adults around them, they say - no one listens and none of the adults see what they see.
They are saying she loses her temper too easily and is quick to hit, that many of the ponies are now "afraid of people" and are not as quick to be caught and in some cases have gone from easy to difficult to catch. My daughter has come home more than once in tears over what she claims to be the misuse of the horses by this trainer.
I had a lesson with her the other day and 5 minutes before the end of my lesson she asked me to get off so that she could "school" this horse. She was really unhappy with the horse's behavior as she was giving me a bit of attitude.....which didn't bother me (the rider) at all - although I am a novice. She really "laid" into this horse and demanded immediate and complete compliance - she was MAD! It was a bit unnerving actually. She had little tolerance at all. Not being that familiar with training - I didn't really know what to make of it all. Maybe she was correcting a situation she felt was unsafe for me as a novice? Maybe she had to show her force with the attitude she was getting? She was mad the horse was giving any attitude at all....but at the same time she was explaining why....that because I was learning I was hitting her in odd spots and also perhaps leaning to far in on her head when I lost balance etc. making her shift her head oddly and giving attitude. Which as a lesson horse she should know better! I never felt afraid or out of control - even though she was moving her head forward.
So after her "schooling" this horse- she asked that I get back on and finish up the last few minutes of my lesson. Which I did. She apologized to me saying that the horse had not been ridden lately and that she may have had a bit too much energy etc.
The original philosophy on this farm came from the owner who recently had a baby and just can not be involved at the same level right now. The owner's philosophy is anything but "rough" and was always more total understanding than punishment.
I can recall a lesson I had with the owner once when the pony I was on just decided she wanted to kneel down and roll in the sand - with me, the novice rider still on top of her!! It had been raining out and she was a bit wet. Luckily - no crisis - the pony was pregnant at the time and moved slowly enough to the ground that my feet were free and I was able to get off before she began to roll. But, the owner didn't get mad at this pony at all - didn't punish - she just went with the flow and actually took the saddle off and let the pony roll to her hearts content. Then - quick brush and re-saddle - and up I went - and the lesson went on as usual. There was no scolding. No punishment. She just figured it was something weird the pony felt it had to do and best if she just did it and move on. It just seems as though the owner has a totally different philosophy than this new trainer. She uses patience not force.
Since the farm has never had a "rough" trainer on board it seems to be unsettling to the girls and some fo the horses....and even to me. The owner doesn't have a lot of options right now - with a newborn at home and good, inexpensive help is hard to find. I keep telling that to my daughter - that the owner just doesn't have a lot of options right now - maybe that's why she's not "listening".
So my question to you trainers is -
Are we all too sensitive to this different approach? Because the girls really grew up with a totally different philosophy as their model - is this just something that is out there and they are too young to know this? And it's not something evil or cruel but just simply a completely different philosophy from what they grew up with?
I don't know what to tell my daughter about the new trainer's approach. I know it's different but I don't know much else. I don't know if the girls are being overly sensitive or if their concerns are well grounded?
The new trainer is quick to hit, I know that for a fact -and she has a short fuse - around horses who are used to a different philosophy.
It'a a big change on a small farm. For horses and riders. But, is it wrong or just different?