I've seen two this week...thought I'd share.
These are just two signs of a bad instructor....
1) Lessons are VERY inexpensive. Groups are big and horses do not stop. This is unsafe. I watched a group lesson with 4 students in it, horses were not suitable for them and they all ran in circles for most of the lesson.
2) Instructor claims to specialize in X but her students do not ever place in X, nor does she teach her students to move the horse correctly to perform X. (X is my discipline as well, and this ain't right). Do your homework and make sure you're getting correct instruction. READ and make sure your instruction is aligned with your discipline's standards. This particular trainer does give the impression of confidence.
So, just a tip. Be educated and be safe.
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Instructors that can ride really well doesn't mean they can teach. Instructors that can't ride (due to health, injury etc) doesn't mean they are no good.
When I taught it was a private lesson only. As much as I wanted a student to think I had eyes in the back of my head, I don't and if I'm watching a second rider I can't watch the first and if something should happen with the first rider I'd have missed it.
I've seen my fair share of bad instructors... in my opinion I have yet to see a quality instructor since coming to Ireland. Maybe it's just the area I'm in, or the lesson stables I have been to but it all seems to be the same - jump as quickly as possible. Kids jumping without knowing the correct diagonal, without cantering, and a lot of them are tucked into a line nose-to-tail and just follow each other over the jumps rather than learn how to approach and control the horse themselves. I find it incredibly frustrating and am very difficult to find an instructor I feel happy to send my kid to (I have a friend teach her). Obviously this isn't all.. it's just my own experiences here.
In the UK majority of novice lessons are done in group rides - up to eight riders in a lesson.
I like this because it gives people a break from trying hard, gives them a chance to see how it can be done, adds a competitive element to a lesson and most of all makes the horses act as individuals.
One other thing I would add, good teachers have a natural gift.
As with anything, finding a really good trainer, requires homework. How safe and well trained, are the lesson horses? How safe is the tack? How safe is the area in which the students will ride? Have their students gone on to higher levels? How much experience has the trainer had? Are they well known in the industry? How large are the classes? Lots to consider.
I think we saw on this forum, a while ago, a supposed 'trainer' who was giving lessons and didn't even have the correct tack on her very poor looking horses.
Don't give your child over to any person, who has not met ALL your requirements of a knowledgeable trainer. If not trained properly, it could mean the life of your child.
I think you know you have a bad instructor when all their of lesson horses buck you off and they say "well this is just something you have to figure out." Then they proceed to sell you and unbroke 3 y/o mustang for your first horse and tell you it's a good idea. :shock: Not that I am speaking from experience or anything. :oops:
We've had so many threads on here where people have been paying for lessons on totally unsuitable horses and where they are still learning to trot after a year or more. I know everyone has their own level of progress but some of these places are really a rip off
In the UK there are BHS approved riding schools where at least you can have some confidence that the trainer has been 'trained' and somewhere to complain too if you're not satisfied or have concerns.
Maybe some sort of an approval scheme in the US would be a good place to start, when you know nothing its very easy to be impressed by someone who knows only a very little so I can see why people get conned and misled
Group lessons are good if all the horses know their job and work independently - not just crocodile fashion one after the other. I would expect a group I was teaching to do individual exercises as well as working together to establish that they knew how to give correct cues/aids
The problem I see with a lot of new riders looking for an instructor/stables is that they don't know what to expect and look for. Many instructors will take advantage of that, unfortunately.
There was this instructor that worked at a barn across the street from me a few years ago. I was probably twelve at the time, taking a walk with my parents in hopes that I would get to pet one of the horses. She came over and very sweetly started talking to my parents about how lessons were so cheap and the horses were perfectly safe. She was holding this half-dead mare, which was frantically trying to eat some of the grass on the side of the road. When I petted her, clouds of dust puffed up. She was a Paint, but you couldn't tell because she was so dirty.
You didn't want to walk past there or even be outside during a lesson of hers. She screamed at her students, a bunch of teenagers she had promised green horses if they did enough work, only to sell those horses to slaughter under their noses. I'm not exaggerating/joking, either.
Point being, check out a barn you're thinking about going to with a knowledgeable horse person, or at least do your homework on what you should find at a reputable stables. Ask someone at a tack or feed store if you don't know any horse people. Come to watch a lesson and meet the horses/staff before making a decision.
That's just my two cents. Be educated!
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