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TurkishVan 02-13-2013 05:16 PM

Riding Instructors and Yelling/Insults?
Call this a bit of rant, if you must, but it's a point that I have to make.

I board one of my horses at a stable, and the riding instructors that frequent this stable are constantly screaming at their students. One of them has shown to 4th level dressage, and the other is a self-taught eventing/dressage enthusiast. I get a lot of raised eyebrows when people suggest that I take lessons from them, and I calmly refuse.

Just yesterday, I was moving my mare from a turnout, and heard the "self-taught" instructor in the indoor arena screaming at her (53-year-old, very much an adult, very passive) student, "That's pathetic! You need to..."
I just couldn't believe it. Why would you subject yourself to such a harpy? I've also, on numerous occasions not just one, heard this same instructor scream at the same student, "You need to hit him for that! HIT him! HIT HIM!" (where "him" is the horse).

The other "4th level dressage" instructor is just as bad. I've heard her scream at her (again, adult) students in the arena time and time again. She even yelled at a middle-aged student about how to "arrange her reins" in the tack room. And it wasn't her equipment, or her tack room. (It was something specific; along the lines of, "They shouldn't be hung this way, they should be hung that way!")
One of her (quite rare) kid students took a lesson, and after the child was done untacking the horse, she told her, "There. Now you may address your peers." Apparently she wasn't allowed to talk to anyone until completing this task. Which is a good idea, don't get me wrong- you don't want your horse standing there- but she should have explained why.

My point is this: How do these people make a living? How can you charge someone $50 for a 45-minute lesson, and truly expect them to put up with your screaming and insults?

I've had instructors that have had to speak loudly, to be heard across and arena, but I've never been screamed at. I think that I'd tell a riding instructor where to head if that happened.

Is there honestly any reason that they need to scream at you? After all, screaming at someone, and getting angry with them, will create tension in the rider's body, which will transfer itself to the horse. Since dressage is about relaxation, and being in harmony with your horse, why would you do this? This applies to just about any riding discipline too, not just dressage. (I'm using dressage as the example because I believe that having someone scream at me while on a big, nervous horse in a teensy little saddle, with no horn to hang on to when things go "south," would just amplify the anxiety, lol!)
It just doesn't make sense to me...
I guess the general rule around here is, "The louder they yell, the better they are."
I can understand a riding instructor yelling and screaming if the rider does something to jeopardize the health of the human and the horse. But in all other cases... Why? What's the point?

What does everyone else think?

clippityclop 02-13-2013 05:33 PM

LOL! I have a dressage USEF judge that I hire from time to time to cross train with endurance - she is a yeller, freak-out-er, curser, bellower, name caller, crazy woman in her 50's. She is really good, but has ZERO personality. I have known so many good and bad types that I've come to realize that there are people like this no matter where you go - work, play, hobbies, grocery store, walmart on black friday...hahaha! I blow it off and try to listen to the real lesson within and just focus on the dressage.

The very first time I rode for her on a horse I had just began riding a month before (and I've been riding/breaking/training for over 25 years) I was trying to explain that this horse was new and I was getting to know him so bare with me...she said 'Don't even bother trying to make excuses for your riding - I can look at you and see that you don't have any clue what you are doing'.........:rofl:

It did not phase me a bit because I know very well what I'm doing but I just didn't have a clue about dressage - especially the terminology - and was very green. It wasn't until about three lessons later she realized I wasn't a total idiot and even tho she still got hot and bothered, she gained respect for my abilities and attitude because I DIDN'T ever let it rile me - and I certainly got my money's worth - she can give you enough of an education in 3 lessons to last you an entire year - she was incredibly good at explaining things and working things out.

But you know, there are a few female adult riders like myself that I tried to talk into taking lessons with me (group lessons were considerably cheaper) and they flat out said 'with her? are you freaking kidding?' HAHAA! So I DO know what you mean - been there myself - but it's just another personality so it doesn't bother me. But to be honest, she doesn't make much money training because of the way she'd never want to send a child to a trainer like this - it would not only ruin their desire for horse activities for life, but quite possibly ruin their self confidence in general.

Are bossy trainers better? Good question - I've never used a dressage trainer that wasn't bossy/prissy/Type AAA - do they exist? LOL! I'd love to hear what others think as well!

Fulford15 02-13-2013 05:39 PM

Oh, I got yelled at until I bawled my eyes out and was told to "Suck it Up Buttercup"(That was one of the "nicer" things said to me) Every lesson... swore at, etc.. At that point, I tried to brush it off and take it with a grain of salt once I got used to it.
Personally, I am glad now that the coach I had was pretty rough on me was I was a kid, I am my worst enemy now and I am very tough on my self when it comes to riding... Which I really don't mind cause it pushes myself mentally to keep going and learning and being the best I can...

My coach now has never raised her voice once, she has a speaker/headset she wears, the only time she yells is when she gets exciting, she has constructive critisim and still pushes you hard but in a professional type way.

I would say the yelling, etc, not professional what so ever.

Tessa7707 02-13-2013 05:58 PM

I'm not a 4th level dressage trainer, but I do make my living with my horsemanship lesson business, and have been trained extensively in effective teaching. Granted, the vast majority of my students are children, but I have always been trained to retain my composure no matter the circumstances. In my experience, the moment you begin yelling at a student, they panic and shut down, their brains stop working, they become afraid, and do nothing. Clear, concise instruction guides much, much better. Preparation for these short cues are necessary for them to work, they associate the 5 minute explanation with the 1 to 3 word direction, and its less confusing. If all else fails, stop and recompose, re-explain, and try again. We were taught to remain calm and composed even in emergency situations, say for example, a runaway horse, I'm speaking loudly 'One rein stop', because they have been taught and have practiced it, not yelling "stop him!" Also, saying the same th ing over again, only louder, is lousy instruction as well. With the hitting, yeah, sometimes a horse needs a pop from the student, but we're going to be prepared for that "if he does 'A' you do 'B'" and then when it does happen, because they are prepared, I usually don't have to say anything, I just need to let them sort it out and correct the horse. If they do need to be told, I will say "correct him for that, that's not ok" if I find I haven't fully prepared them to correct the horse, we stop, explain, try again. No, I don't want the horse to get away with the behavior, but if they fail its not the horse or students fault, it's mine for not preparing them. I took one dressage lesson from a 4th level rider, and I never got the impression that she could make it from her calm, teaching tone to outright yelling.
A lot of people are great with horses, and just suck with their people skills.

Tessa7707 02-13-2013 05:59 PM

Whoops, double post, sorry

Copperhead 02-13-2013 06:03 PM

I had a great instructor who would do humiliating things. That was her way of yelling, I suppose.

She had a microphone and once when I wasn't paying attention (I didn't think she was talking to me), she pounded the microphone on the desk and yelled through it "HEY *insert my last name*! IS THIS THING ON?!"

She had ways of lifting you up, or destroying you, or pushing you to the next step without having to yell insults. She was a very clever woman and was able to manipulate me into making me push myself harder so she didn't have to. Loved her.

I wouldn't take a lesson from someone who yelled insults at me. Its unprofessional. I'd take the bait and start insulting back. It happened to one woman I never really liked because of her yelling problem. 4 lessons in I just started screaming insults back a her and literally drove her out of the arena. She quit the lesson.

Some people love that type of instructor. Others will be crushed by it, but the instructor's thoughts on that is that they have to "toughen" you up to win, and if you can't handle it, you might as well quit now than later.

Delfina 02-13-2013 07:49 PM


Originally Posted by clippityclop (Post 1893043)
Are bossy trainers better? Good question - I've never used a dressage trainer that wasn't bossy/prissy/Type AAA - do they exist? LOL! I'd love to hear what others think as well!

I haven't found one! :lol:

It's pretty hilarious because my trainer does kid lessons and huge, huge, huge difference, she is so polite and sweet and encouraging and the second the kid is out of earshot she's screaming at me to "get your F'NG heels DOWN!"

I'm really good friends with my last trainer (I passed the level she's comfortable training at) and my horse is at her place. She has NO qualms about screaming across the entire property at me if she doesn't like what she sees! She screams, yells, I fix the problem and we go off to lunch and laugh about it.

I don't mind, scream and yell at me if that's what it takes. Heck especially when it's FREE screamed advice!!

onuilmar 02-13-2013 07:56 PM

I guess you have to be rather confident to tolerate being yelled at.

I started riding at a much older age and am very much aware of what I don't know. One instructor was super critical and all it did was make me lose confidence in what I did know.

But that's me. Clearly, up thread others don't have that problem.

Tessa7707 02-13-2013 08:59 PM

I have had mentors that yelled at me, but jokingly, never angry with me, so I see what you're saying Delfina. Haha, I have had that exact phrase yelled at me. (Get your effing heels down!) but nothing like what the op seems to be describing. I can't imagine any of my mentors losing their minds on me and yelling at me. I'm riding because its fun, and its no fun having someone scream at you and tell you your efforts are pathetic.

Haileyyy 02-13-2013 09:29 PM

I am the type that can't handle being yelled at, although I wish I wasn't haha. As soon as someone yells at me I start to get stressed out and either shutdown or I don't retain a single thing that is being yelled at me.

I've had my fair share of screaming trainers though. The only time I had to cut a lesson short as a kid was when a new instructor of mine started to scream at me and yell about my pony. I was about 9 at the time, and left the lesson in tears. I only had half of a lesson with her but she was a fantastic trainer and I wish I had stuck with her for a few more.

I've always learned best with constructive criticism. If I am doing something wrong, tell me without sugar coating it. But DO NOT degrade me, especially in front of my peers. I understand the occasional joke but I will not pay to be yelled at for upwards of an hour.

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