Trainers Riding Their Student's Horse
This is more of a question than anything. For those of you who ARE trainers, I would really like your input, but students...please chime in too.
The stable that I grew up at in Southern California had 2 AMAZING trainers. Of course one was WP and the other H/J. But they were great friends and shared philosophies and sometimes could sub well for each other if needed. One great thing that they both did was ANY time a new student came in with their own horse, or a student bought a new horse, etc, the trainers would hop on and take it for a spin. The reason, they wanted to get to know the horse too so that in lesson they would know what issues were actually the HORSE and which were actually the STUDENT. It also put an end to the whining of "but my horse is doing this, or my horse is doing that, it's my horse's fault."
Anyway, of course I grew up thinking this is what trainers did. Sadly I have YET to find a trainer who will hop onto to Cinny for even 5 minutes! Not the very reputable and pricey dressage trainer I started with, Not the EXTREMELY price clinician who gave her clinics as a series of 45 minute private lessons who rode each horse, but mine...for the first 15 minutes. And non of the other sudo, call themselves a trainer but not sure if they were people that have come after. Even my current trainer who is sort of a "middle of the line" sort of trainer..but she has an excuse, she is recovering from a stress fracture in her ankle and can't ride any horse. But she recently lost a bit of respect when I told her about the saddle fitter telling me my saddle isn't right...she shook her head and laughed and said she new all along. So why the heck did she never say a word? but I digress.
So which is normal? Which should I expect? Should I expect any reputable trainer I work with to hop on Cinny for at least 1 or 2 times around the arena so that they feel the way he goes into the bridle and the way he throws you into your post? And how do I ask a trainer. There have been times that Cinny has been particularly MOUTHY and throwing his head around...which if I follow his head with my hands they move a lot. So I got yelled at to keep my hands quiet but when I did he got worse and he ended up popped in the mouth constantly with the bit because I was "holding my hands quiet".....this trainer even said this was better, but I don't think Cinny thought so. I just wanted to scream YOU GET ON AND SEE WHAT HE'S DOING...it's not just me! But I didn't.
Is it appropriate to ask your trainer to get on your horse. And what is a respectful way to be a bit insistent that they do? I'm not trying to blame all my problems on Cinny, but when a trainer puts me on a lesson horse and then keeps saying "I don't know why you don't ride this quietly on your own horse."
How can a trainer teach me how to fix little problems in my horse when they don't have any experience of what it is like to ride my horse?
Oh and this is a fun example to share too.... My current trainer said I don't put near enough leg on my horse and that is why he won't round or go into the bridle. She is constantly telling me to squeeze squeeze squeeze...which you HAVE to do with her lesson horses to even keep them in a trot. Cinny has extremely sensitive flanks and the result is, Cinny rushes forward or worse, breaks off into a hand gallop with more than a mere tickle of your calf...which then is my fault for not holding him in. Sigh.
I don't see the point of an instructor riding your horse. Chances are they won't have any problems getting the horse to do whatever it is they are asking the horse to do. Their job is to give you the skills to ride your horse.
Whether the instructor can ride your horse or not is irrelevant. You need to ride your horse.
Now, if your horse doesn't have the skills yet and you don't have the experience to teach him said skills then you need to send him to a trainer.
So, is the person you are working with a riding instructor or a horse trainer? If she is a horse trainer, then, yes, I would expect her to be riding the horse. If she is a riding instructor, I would never expect her to get on your horse.
LOL, is that clear as mud?? LOL
I've been on every one of my students horses. I like to have a feel of how they work, what they do/don't know, how they respond to pressure and being corrected, etc. It then makes it easier to say if it is a rider or horse issue and get it fixed.
I also ride if a horse is off in any way (not lame of course) because I get as much if not more from feel than watching.
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As a student, I had no trouble with asking the instructor to get on my horse and either demonstrate or to see if my horse would behave the same way under a better rider. And she had no trouble with hopping on and saying, "See, if I trot with her on the wrong lead, her ears come back and her head raises...she's telling on me, just as she was with you". However, the lady I hired was a horse trainer first and a riding instructor second. Don't know if that makes a difference.
When I took group lessons a year ago, the instructor would sometimes ask a rider to step off and would mount up (in shorts and flip-flops) to demonstrate what she was trying to convey.
Reading some of the older threads on Cinny, it seems to me it would help you both if an instructor would get on and see (and hopefully demonstrate) how the rider affects the horse.
Sometimes it is NOT you. On a couple of times, when the lady I hired got on Mia, Mia responded the same for her as for me - and that indicated something else was going on (usually a hole in Mia's training).
Just my experience. FWIW.
Or maybe I can ask if the advanced student can help figure out what works with Cin as in amount of pressure, etc....and then kind of help when I'm on because she will know by his reaction if I'm doing whatever the suggestion is too much, too little, etc.
It very well may be a rider issue, but what if the horse doesnt know what your asking? Wouldnt it make sense for the trainer to get on, show the horse what we want, and then have the owner get on and do it? So the horse knows what he supposed to do? Just my thinking if the owner cant get what they want out of the horse...
My trainer has no problem hopping on my horses if i want them too. When Rumor was there, she got me up on her to see if i could get the same response out o f her as she did. She has wayyy longer legs then me so cues can be interpreted differently by the horse. Rumor worked great for both of us, but thats besides the point.
I believe its $15 for my trainer to ride my horse in a training session. $20 for a regular lesson on your own horse, and $25 for a lesson on one of the barns horses.
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i don't know if its customary to do so but my trainer did. he worked denny on the lunge line then rode him. then put me on his lesson horse for an evaluation.
then next session he put me and denny together and we started working on the holes we both had in training.
seems it would be a smart practice to go about it that way :/
A good coach can see what's happening before the rider feels it. I've often wondered if my coach is some kind or weird horse psychic because of what she sees before it happens, but as my feel gets refined and my eye gets better watching her teach, I am beginning to see and feel it as well. She very, very rarely gets on a horse in a lesson and usually only to ride through what I do not have the timing or feel yet to do. There are only a handful of horses she will ride, I'm lucky that mine is one of them.
I feel like any coach who feels that they need to get on a horse to feel what's going on is an inexperienced rider themselves. When I am teaching, only if the horse is so far off from another whom I have ridden do I think I need to get on for a spin. The issue for me in doing that is it is usually that I can work through the issue easily and then it frustrates me that the rider can't do it when for me it is almost in my nature. So I avoid getting on the horse until I have an idea of the communication style of the rider and that I know I can explain what I am doing. However usually going through a few analogies and exercises the rider can come to their own understanding which is ideal.
And yes if you put leg on your horse and it runs away, you didn't hold it enough and it is your fault. I've put 20-25 rides on a greenbroke horse never off the lunge and he is already schooling first level and hacking out quietly. Do you think he didn't run away or buck the first times I used a leg aid? Reinforcement and training are what have him where he is now, not eye rolling at important concepts and how hard it makes your life to do something fundamental like put a leg on and then deal with the result. It's called training and riding, not pretending to be a sack of potatoes.
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