Which would you choose?
So, I'm kinda stuck here. I REALLY want to start taking dressage lessons with Zeus. I feel it'll improve my riding, my communication with him, and his responsiveness. Here's the deal though. The dressage trainer at my barn, whom EVERYONE recommends, (great riders, great horses, looks like good lessons), seems a little off to me. I dunno, I just don't really like what I see in her as a person. There's little doubt in my mind that she's a good trainer but I just don't know. Now there's another trainer that is also highly recommended, she teaches hunter/jumper, and while that's not dressage, a good trainer is a good trainer and there's always something to learn, regardless of the discipline. I do eventually want to jump with him, and it's not a question of if, he can definitely jump, but more of when. We could take flat lessons from her, and she seems like a nice person and trainer. But will she teach me anything that I can use? My last hunter/jumper trainer when I was much younger only taught me to sit pretty and pose over jumps.
I figure I'd take a lesson from the dressage trainer and see what it's like. That's the direction I'm leaning in but what do you guys think? If there really is something off about her or her methods than I can split, if not than awesome. I really hope she doesn't just teach headset and bumbling along on the forehand, I've had enough crappy trainers teach me ALL about that. Now I have a horse with talent and potential for dressage and I really want to get a good start in this.
Thanks for listening to me ramble.
Can you show us a picture of one of this woman's students, or her riding?
And like you say, a good trainer is a good trainer. You don't necessarily have to like them as a person, you aren't getting married.
Go with the dressage trainer and see what you think. As a gross generalization you are going to learn more about riding from a dressage trainer and more about posing and framing from a h/j trainer.
Unfortunately I only know her first name and don't know where I could get pictures of her or her students riding. I'm gonna give her a call and see about getting a lesson. If she turns out to be a great trainer than it doesn't really matter whether I like her as a person or not, as long as I can learn from here and improve. Thanks. :] And I agree about the h/j trainers... at least in my area. I haven't personally encountered any that actually teach you to ride and not just pose and sit pretty. I'm sure they're out there, but just not that I've seen.
Most h/j trainers/riders at the upper levels have a VERY strong basis in dressage.
Think about it. A hunter horse needs to have perfect rhythm, be supple, accept the contact, have great impulsion (via great ground covering stride and a wicked jump), be completely balanced, be dead straight and respond to completely invisible cues.
Why does that sound familiar? Oh wait, dressage.
Jumper horse needs to have great rhythm, great balance, be straight, accept the contact, accept the aids, have great impulsion and respond perfectly to the aids.
H/J only jump their horses a few times a week. The rest of the time they're doing flat work.
Now, I know there are differences between the schooling a hunter horse will do and the schooling a dressage horse will do. But the basics are all still there. You want a horse who is calm, forward and straight, you want a rider who is balanced and effective. You do the collections, the extensions, the lateral work. You use the training scale. I guarantee that almost every single horse at my barn could walk into the dressage ring today, and do well (almost because there are a few who are currently on the injury list). They may not be brilliant, but they are correct.
Many H/J coaches (including mine) have extensive dressage backgrounds.
Sorry for the tangent, but that statement was completely false and more than a little insulting.
No 'trainer' teaches how to pose. The basics are the basics, no matter what saddle you ride in.
Misfit - hence the "gross generalization" statement. As someone who has ridden a lot of horses trained in both dressage and hunters and also shown in both, I find that in general, that is the case. Yes there are dressage coaches who just tell you to sit there and look pretty and there are many h/j coaches who tell their students to get their butts in the tack and ride.
Personally, I would prefer having a dressage coach warm me up for any over fences classes than many of the hacks who call themselves h/j coaches in my area. $0.02
^ What level h/j trainer? Because I find the higher you go, the more likely you are to get a good trainer.
Edited to add: For example, the trillium circuit in my area... SCARY. But the A's you're most likely going to get someone decent (if you know where to go).
Neither of us said that all h/j trainers were like this. I do know a few great h/j riders myself, but as I said I personally have not encountered a h/j trainer that has taught more than just posing and sitting pretty. Like Anabel said there are dressage trainers that may only teach their students a pretty frame for their horse and plod around on the forehand, and on the flip side there are h/j trainers that actually teach you how to ride. In my area, I know it's hard as heck to find a decent h/j trainer. That's all I'm saying.
And mind you this is coming from a person with primarily a h/j background.
Wheras with dressage trainers, you basically have to be good to make it in the business because there are so few clients to spread around and they are much older/richer clients.
It can't hurt to try a few lessons with the dressage trainer. Like you said, worst happens is you don't hit it off and move on. To satisfiy your curiosity about the H/J trainer, go watch a lesson and see if her students are riding correctly or just plodding around hollow. Personally I'd rather have a great dressage trainer who is so-so at jumping instead of a jumping trainer who has no clue of how to get me correctly from fence to fence.
I agree on the fact that there are more scary hunter/jumper trainers, due to their being more hunter/jumper trainers in general.
However, I disagree that you have to be a good trainer in order to make it as a dressage trainer. I know quite a few scary dressage trainers.
I think the % of good vs bad trainers are the same for dressage and h/j. But, because there are more h/j trainers, there are more scary ones as well.
Sorry for having a bit of a fit. It just drives me six different kinds of bat s*** crazy when people start ragging on hunter/jumpers. I swear, the next ignorant fool who says that hunters is all about posing... I will seriously strangle them, and then make them have a lesson with my coach on one of her hunters. (not calling you an ignorant fool, you are simply someone who got caught in the crossfire of my oversensitivity)
Like I keep saying, the basics are the same no matter what saddle you ride in. You need a horse who is calm, forward and straight and everything else will sort itself out.
As for the OP, go with your gut. If something feels off about the trainer, you're probably right.
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