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kae 04-25-2013 11:07 PM

Question about trainers
Hello all,

I've been taking english riding lessons (with an interest to progress to hunter/jumper) for about 4 months now, mainly with one specific trainer, but I also tried out one other. Now I have some questions regarding how differently they approach the lessons.

So the trainer I've been with for the majority of the 4 months, has just started me trotting ground poles. We do some no stirrup work every now and then, but really only about three times so far. We also haven't done any work with cantering.

Now the other trainer, which I only took a few lessons with thus far, had a bit of a different approach, and we actually started working on cantering the second lesson because she knew I wanted to get into hunter/jumper and said that I would need to master this gait to get where I needed to be. I haven't had enough lessons with her to say much else, I just thought it was strange that we immediately went into cantering while my other trainer hasn't even said the word around me, haha.

I guess my question is, how fast should I be progressing exactly? Is it weird that I haven't started cantering with my trainer yet at 4 months? I get along great with my trainer, but I want to make sure I'm not progressing slowly because of their training style, or if this is normal.

Any input would be appreciated.


SMCLeenie 04-26-2013 12:37 AM

I wouldn't worry about progressing too slowly, there is not hard and fast way to measure progress so I'd advise striving to improve each lessons and being content with that.
Each trainer will have their own way of doing things, I figure the reason the trainer you've used for most of the four months wants to get you solid at the walk and trot before moving to the canter, where as the other trainer wants to "Fast track" you to showing so to speak. I personally prefer the slower way (even if it ca be frustrating at some points :lol: ) just because I feel that I am better prepared when I finally do get to advance to the next step in training.
If you are unhappy with your progress, talk to your trainer, tell her/him that your are concerned that you haven't been able to canter and maybe ask why/when you'll be able to. If you are unhappy with your trainer, or prefer the one you got to canter with, then I'd consider making a switch. But only if you are unhappy, not because you want to go fast. Hope this helps!

waresbear 04-26-2013 12:50 AM

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I am not a riding instructor, I am horrible about instructing people, but I can ride pretty good and I know in my mind what other people need to do to improve their skills. Now, the technique to get it from my brain into someone else's in a manner that doesn't overload them or bore them is key. Find an instructor that has a method or system you like and chose that one, or take lessons from different instructors, chose what works for you and what you enjoy spending your money on.

jinxremoving 04-26-2013 08:36 AM


Originally Posted by kae (Post 2350033)
I guess my question is, how fast should I be progressing exactly? Is it weird that I haven't started cantering with my trainer yet at 4 months? I get along great with my trainer, but I want to make sure I'm not progressing slowly because of their training style, or if this is normal.

You also have to understand the other side of the spectrum. Some instructors advance their students much faster than they are ready for creating a very dangerous environment. There are plenty of instructors out there who start their students jumping before they can master the canter which is insanity, I've even heard of a few cases (on HorseForum) where some are being taught to jump before learning how to canter which is even worse!

Every instructor is going to be different and every students progression is going to be different... without seeing a video of you riding it's hard to say whether or not you're being (unfairly) held back by the other instructor. Waiting four months to learn how to canter does seem unusually long... however, a friend who teaches at another barn told me she has an adult student who has been riding almost weekly for six months who can't even canter yet.

As someone else already mentioned, talk to your instructor about it and see what their reasoning is. They are being paid to help and you should always voice your concerns with them. :)

equitate 04-26-2013 11:16 AM

How many days a week are you riding? How experienced are you? How balanced?

Slower is better imho, consolidate behaviors. Are you working w/o stirrups/doing two point/using all three gaits/being lunged/etc OUTSIDE of lessons?

There is a local place who has the students wtC/jumping the product is a mess because the students are always left behind/punishing the horse/etc. The point is not show as quickly as possible, but being the best rider which treats the horse fairly.

kae 04-26-2013 01:54 PM

I ride twice a week with my instructor. Mainly working on posting trot and two point at the trot, then toward the end of the lesson we will work on posting trot and two point at the trot over ground poles.

I don't think it's that I can't canter. I guess maybe she is waiting for me to perfect the ground poles at the walk and trot before moving me up to the next gait, like everyone is suggesting might be the case.

I just want to make sure I'm getting the most out of my lessons!

Thanks for the insight everyone.

equitate 04-26-2013 03:32 PM

With so little riding, I agree with the instructor which is progressive.

PinkStella 05-01-2013 09:35 PM

Have you talked to your primary trainer about this? Does s/he know what your goals are? I can't remember exactly how long it took me to get to the canter in my lesson progression, but it was quite some time. And that whole trotting over poles thing - I STILL do that in my lessons sometimes. It sounds like your primary trainer is working to build your strength and your skills. Personally, I'd rather progress slowly and properly than move ahead before I'm ready. I also have a good enough relationship with my trainer that I can tell her when I'm ready for a new challenge.

I agree with SMCL - you should be honest with your trainer, and make a switch if you're unhappy. If you're happy with the trainer, keep going, and take the most from every lesson. I do 'basic' work all the time. It helps build your strength and your abilities. There's nothing wrong with building a strong foundation!

TheLauren 05-02-2013 12:28 AM

I've been riding for what feels like years, but I am honestly happy that my trainer is taking it at a slower pace. I am confident with my trot, and my seat is good, and my hands are pretty good as well. I know the patience part is difficult but I think it will pay off in the end.
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kitten_Val 05-02-2013 07:37 AM

kae, did you ride/know how to ride prior the lessons? If yes then I'm surprised you didn't start on cantering, and I think you need to talk to your primary instructor. If no, then I honestly think it may be too early for you to start it till you have a good seat and can comfortably trot and control the horse. IMHO 4 months IS very short time for the beginner (if you are the one), so your primary instructor may be taking things slowly (not a bad thing :D ).

In any case if you are concerned I'd bring up your worries to your main instructor.

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