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VACowgirl 06-21-2012 12:18 PM

Not sure what to think of this instructor...
So, I started reining lessons about 3 weeks ago. I used to run barrels for a year and basically stuck with the Western discipline. I moved out to Cali and decided to try reining. I started taking reining lessons from a guy who's won a lot of competitions. Anyway, the lessons started off fun but very challenging...Still getting the hang of lead cues and posting at the trot.
I have no idea what it is, but this guy gets pretty frustrated when I don't do something right immediately. He'll play with his phone, go talk to other people, etc while I'm trying to practice something.
Last night, he actually trained two guys WHILE he was supposed to be teaching me. I pay $50 per hour for one-on-one instruction. Anyway, at one point he got frustrated with me so he called over his "apprentice" to teach me instead. I LOVED the "substitute teacher" but I took the situation personally. I specifically pay this instructor because he's good and the one I want to learn from. At the end, I told him that I liked the substitute, that he was encouraging and helpful. He got offended and said, "Well, that boy needs to remember who signs his paychecks!" That was pretty snide.

I texted him and said I didn't like what happened at the lesson, so I'll be going back on Saturday to see how it goes. I plan to talk to him - let him know my thoughts and what my riding goals are. The situation is really disappointing - the instructor is an amazing reiner, but I can't learn from someone who has no patience with newbies :(

BarrelracingArabian 06-21-2012 12:22 PM

I would not be happy with an instructor like that. You did the right thing by telling him how you felt about how it went however you may need to find a new instructor and maybe come back to him when you have the basics down atleast. Some just aren't cut for training new people.
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BarrelWannabe 06-21-2012 12:28 PM

Sounds like you may want to find someone else. If you're paying $50/hour, then you should be the only person he is focused on.

I understand that some people do things better than they teach, but that's no excuse for his behavior. I'm glad you are taking the straight forward approach and not willing to put up with this.

Have you thought about discussing lessons with the apprentice? If you two get along as well as you do, maybe it would be a good thing. Although I do foresee drama in switching from head trainer to apprentice, so I'm not sure if that would be a good route to take.

Amlalriiee 06-21-2012 12:29 PM

I would find a new instructor. Just because he rides well, doesn't mean he teaches well. Actually the worst instructor I ever had was probably the best rider out of all my instructors and the best instructor I had was the lesser rider of the group I think. This is HORRIBLE etiquette and just completely unacceptable IMO. If he continues doing things like this you really aren't going to learn much from the experience, anyway because you're losing a lot of the 1-1 attention, and losing respect as well.

VACowgirl 06-21-2012 01:18 PM

Thank you SO much, everyone! I was worried that I was being too sensitive. I plan to pull him aside Saturday morning and make him listen for 5 minutes while I spill it all out. I was pretty shocked at how cocky he is - I know he messed up royally at a show last week, but that's no excuse to make me feel awful. He took the fun out of something I looked forward to all week.
I appreciate the advice - and I think I'll be looking for a new, NICER and more attentive instructor! :)

VACowgirl 06-21-2012 01:26 PM

I just texted him before I waste anymore money by showing up Saturday morning...basically I was diplomatic and said "Should I maybe gain some experience elsewhere and return when I'm a better rider?" He said said no, not at all...come ride because part of getting better is gaining hours in the saddle.
HA! Well, that's all good, but I could gain hours in the saddle anywhere ;)
I think he's getting the point that he's not as professional as his website "mission statement" says. I'll give him one more chance and see how it goes....

wetrain17 06-21-2012 03:48 PM

When you take a lesson, you pay someone to focus on you and your riding abilities. You dont pay them to text and teach other people. I would stand your ground, give him another shot, if you feel like you're learning something, and if it happens again, leave.

kitten_Val 06-21-2012 04:02 PM

I'd run away from such an instructor. Are there any other barns with reining in your area? I think it's cool you plan on talking to him straight, however I have lots of doubt the person will change the way he is. In any case good luck!

Saddlebag 06-21-2012 04:13 PM

I agree, you are not paying this guy to yak on the phone, talk to other people or have an apprentice teach you. You need to clarify that with him. Many good riders are teaching disunctional and it's easy to blame the student. I attended several clinics by a paticularly talented couple and both he and his wife were excellent teachers. When I commented on this he said that as the demand for them as clinicians grew he and his wife enrolled in a teaching course.

jfmnyc 06-21-2012 06:42 PM

I had a similar experience in hang gliding. My first instructor was a great pilot but a bit of a jerk (very critical, yelled when I screwed something up, etc.), to the point where I wasn't having fun. I ended up switching instructors (which was very awkward because they all know each other and compete pretty fiercely) and it was a million times better - the new instructor's teaching style really worked for me and I enjoyed learning from him.

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