How did you find yours?
I ride with a trainer who was recommended by a friend. I was influenced by the fact that he had trained and competed at Grand Prix but the most important factor for me, was that he was classically trained.
How did you find your trainer and what factors influenced your choice of trainer?
Right now my trainer is decent. I'm learning things but I'm looking around for better. It was an emergency barn change for my horse and her barn and boarding was good so I went there. I had a week to find a new stable. They take care of the horses very well and are very humane. I am not going backwards in training which is what really matters. The trainer did seem pretty good, and she does have some good horse knowledge. Mine too was a grand prix rider in jumping and she takes dressage lessons with our friend's I2 level dressage coach whenever she can.
My best instructor I've ever had left the country but wow they were good at teaching. They were at a stable I really liked so I boarded there and took lessons with her. In about four lessons I had a new awareness in riding and actually feeling and communicating with the horse. I just don't feel that now. You know that you have a good instructor when that 45 min or 1 hour lesson goes by in what feels like 5 minutes and you have a sense of fulfillment after each lesson making you want to take like 15 lessons/week. I wish I could find an instructor like that again. They are hard to come by!
I was at this one stable, and for the first 2 summers I did very well and had that feeling of "accomplishment" like SP described. When I restarted lessons last spring (for many reasons I couldn't ride all year, but every year I would increase my number of lessons and was going to start riding regularly (finally) during the year), my trainer had no more interest in me. She would wouldn't concentrate much on me, when I was the one who needed the most help. I didn't want her to only teach me and ignore the others, but I wanted the same care and instructions she was giving to everyone else. I think it's because she thought I wasn't serious about riding, that I only planned on taking lessons in the summer for the rest of my little life.
Long story short, I couldn't stand it any longer. Talking to her about my plans and what I wanted was impossible. NO matter how bad I tried I couldn't get our relationship to grow. We really didn't click.
I was miserable, and started to dislike riding. Always getting the really old mare no one rode anymore didn't help either. She was easy to ride... when you could get her to move. She was really old and all she wanted was to sleep and eat in the pastures all day. She didn't want to be ridden and did everything in her power to trick her way out of the work. She was one clever pony!
Anyhow I browsed, found a barn that was 3 times closer and found there the trainer I have today. She is very knowledgeable, and is also a bit of a "safe fanatic" which me and my parents like. I know I will never seriously get hurt while she is there, because she will make me stop immediately if she see's I am riding in a position that can possibly be dangerous.
She is also very open, sociable and I can easily open up to her and tell her things. :D
I went through 5 or 6 trainers, and most of them were recommended to me (either by friends or on local horse forum). I knew it was time to move on when 1) I was told my horse is hopeless, 2) Requests for more tack gadgets, 3) No progress. # 3) was a key factor, but more often than not it was coupled with 1) or 2) or both.
Then when I almost lost any hope someone recommended to me my current trainer (with the warning she's NOT sugar-coated :wink: , but I didn't care as I'm down to the earth and know my own and my horse's flows). She's most supportive of all trainers I know/tried (she believes in my "hopeless" horses :-) ), I use just very basic equipment (no gimmicks, special bits, etc.), and whats the most important - we progress together despite being a green rider/green horse!
There weren't any English (equitation) instructors near my home or my work (45 miles apart) so I started to look online. I found 2 or 3 places an hour or so from home. By a stroke of luck, I really liked the first trainer I tried out and I've now been with her for four months.
1.) Discipline. I've spent time in the past with dressage/western people who swore they could teach equitation, but would always end up screwing up my seat.
2.) Cost. I knew I couldn't afford high-end lessons if I was having to drive 50+ miles in a Wrangler to get there.
3.) Riding experience/show history. I would expect any trainer to have some solid A/AA show experience. The clincher for me was my trainer also competed in the same zone/region I did in IHSA. I knew her college coach and she knew mine.
4.) How the barn is run/how horses are treated. If the barn has practices I'm not comfortable with, I walk away.
5.) Availability of leasing/showing school horses. I have no plans to own a horse in the next couple years, so this was important. Also, I was interested in being able to show school horses, even if it meant extra cost if I chose not to lease.
6.) Last and most importantly: Safety. Are helmets required, do current students have a good, solid seat and look to be control of their horses? Or do they look like train wrecks waiting to happen? Does the instructor progress students accordingly, or are they jumping within a month of taking lessons?
The first time I met my instructor, it was after a schooling horse show her barn had put on. I was able to stand around and watch her students, her lesson horses, speak with a few people. Good vibes all around. Everyone was polite and friendly, students looked safe, no drama, and I noticed my future trainer was at the gate, making sure her kids were ready, tallying up scores, etc.
It's not easy to find a great trainer that's within travelling distance. I'm lucky that my instructor comes to me but, i couldn't afford it if i had to travel to him as he lives miles away. He teaches me on his way to other clients. I'm conviced that there are lots of brilliant trainers out there, it's just finding them that's the problem.
i suppose it just depends where you live. If you're lucky, like some of us are, you'll have a great trainer nearby or willing to travel to you. It's a zip code lottery!
I think I found a really good one in my area and I've tried to contact them but they haven't returned any emails so...
First trainer ( 4-5 years of age), we found the only trainer in the area who would take a student as young as I was. My parents don't know horses, so there was no thought on credibility, achievements, ect. ect.
Second trainer ( 5-10 years of age) We moved to a barn closer, again, no real education behind this choice.
third - fifth trainer ( 10 - 14) Three trainers that were at a barn closer to my new house. They were decent, but no thought went into credentials. I got shuffled off to a new trainer every so often when a conflict ( or other circumstance) forced each one out of the barn or into a new position.
sixth trainer - ( 14-15) the barn owner, who had loads of experience and very good reputation, felt bad that I had been bounced off to new trainers so often, and decided to take me on as a student.
Seventh ( and current ) trainer - Due to schedule, i had to separate from my 6th trainer, in doing so, I did A LOT of research. I phoned 10 - 20 trainers in the area and eventually stumbled upon a dressage judge who taught the pony club, my barn owner was also interested and she gave her a call, she now teaches me and a few students at my current stables.
When I was in first grade, I met my now best friend/ non-biological sister. The more I got to know her, the more I found out about her and her life with horses. I went over to her house one day and got to ride some of her horses with her parents and I was hooked. Ever since first grade, I was taking lessons at her house with one of the smaller trainers, then over the years I worked up to her dad who is my trainer/ second father:D
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