Changing Instructors - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 05-20-2012, 09:24 PM Thread Starter
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Changing Instructors

I'm riding at a new barn that has two different instructors. Both are eventing instructors and both are awesome people. My instructor, we'll call her instructor A, was out of town this week so I had my lesson with the other instructor, we'll call her instructor B.

Anyway, Instructor A is a great person but I don't feel like she's challenging me. She more or less just stands there and I do the same thing over and over and she never changes the lessons up to keep me interested. She also never critiques me so I don't feel like I'm getting any better. If something goes wrong she blames the horse and says I'm doing everything right though I know that's not true. My mom video tapes my lessons and I see a lot of things that are wrong and she isn't fixing those. I feel like I pay her to supervise me while I ride.

Then, Instructor B, asked me some questions and set up a jump course today that actually made me think and work. When she saw something that wasn't exactly right she would take me back to the basics until I figured out my problem and fixed it. She was involved with me the whole time and told me that next week she'll switch it up again to make sure my weak points are getting stronger. I feel like I improved my riding today and walked away from lesson feeling like I learned something.

So anyway, my question is, how could I go about switching instructors without making Instructor A mad or upset? I don't want to hurt her feelings because I do enjoy being around her, but I feel like to better myself, I should change. Sorry for my babble, I was trying to show the differences in the two.
Thanks for reading!
thatgirlcaitlin is offline  
post #2 of 11 Old 05-21-2012, 07:36 AM
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It's a tough situation to change an instructor in same barn without making other one upset. What about lesson time, did it change? If so you can always say it's more convenient time-wise for you to take lessons from coach B.

"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass: it's about learning to dance in the rain..."

"When we are no longer able to change a situation - we are challenged to change ourselves."

"How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours."
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post #3 of 11 Old 05-21-2012, 07:43 AM
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Just be upfront. "Instructor B really challenged me and I want to continue lessons with her."

Short and sweet, don't talk yourself into a corner.. that's the worst thing you can do lol..
Back2Horseback likes this.

"Strength is the ability to use a muscle without tension"
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post #4 of 11 Old 05-21-2012, 09:32 PM
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Are you at my old barn? Lol jk. Do you only use instructor b if A is away? Do other riders use B? It can be very hard to ask for the other one is he/she is the "back up" but if other riders have a choice on who to use then you should to. Be honest, and it's YOUR money and YOUR horse and YOUR lesson. Don't ever forgot you are paying them.
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post #5 of 11 Old 05-21-2012, 09:56 PM
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I've found that if you try not to hurt the other person's feelings, you end up talking yourself into a corner and looking like a fool and just making a huge deal out of it.

I speak from experience. Just say it, and be done with it.
Oxer, freia and Back2Horseback like this.

"Strength is the ability to use a muscle without tension"
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post #6 of 11 Old 05-21-2012, 11:20 PM
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I would say that instructor B's particular teaching style jives better with your particular learning style. That's the truth. Thank her for all her time and instruction and tell her how much you've appreciated her sharing her experience with you. Be honest, but don't burn the bridge. Remember that when instructor B isn't available, you'll have instructor A again. Make sure instructor B has time for you in her schedule before dumping instructor A.

If you really like instructor A and want to give her a second chance, then as an alternative, you could tell her how much you enjoyed the challenges and basic instruction and critique that instructor B gave you, and ask if she could do that for you. Maybe she thinks you're happy with the way she's training you, and doesn't realize that you're ready for more.

Last edited by freia; 05-21-2012 at 11:23 PM.
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post #7 of 11 Old 05-22-2012, 12:10 AM
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i can just about guarantee that instructor A will be angry either way.
But i'm a huge proponent for voting with your money. If you don't like the training you're getting from your first trainer, then you should take your money elsewhere.

Life seems mighty precious when there's less of it to waste.
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post #8 of 11 Old 05-23-2012, 10:21 PM
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I agree with everyone. First, find out if trainer B has the availability to take you as a student. As soon as you find out, tell trainer A. I agree that you shouldn't beat around the bush, but you can still be polite. I would say "I have enjoyed taking lessons from you, but I feel like my learning style really clicked with trainer B. I'm going to start taking lessons from trainer B instead, but I hope you and I can stay on good terms." I dunno, just an idea. But I would make sure you tell Trainer A the news right after you ask Trainer B, because I don't think you want Trainer A finding out from Trainer B.

No matter what, Trainer A might be a little miffed. However, I think she'd appreciate that you were honest, professional, and up-front.

This is your money, your time, your dream. Don't hold yourself back by sticking with a trainer you don't work well with, or you'll be filled with regret later.
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post #9 of 11 Old 05-24-2012, 04:16 PM
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If you don't have another lesson scheduled with A just never schedule anpother one with her - switch to B. Then always be polite to A when you see her and if she asks tell her the truth - I felt more challanged with instructor B, Thank you for asking.

If you do have a lesson already scheduled with A make certain B can fit you in permanently then when A return call her - or see her in person - ASAP before the lesson and explain that you feel its a better fit with B but thank her for helping you establish such great basics (even if it is stretching the truth to make A feel better).

Who knows - maybe A will get her act together better so she doesn't lose any more students.

Dressage is for Trainers!
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post #10 of 11 Old 05-25-2012, 09:21 AM
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I, too, agree with just about everyone above re: the various pros and cons of the situation. I do believe you MUST be kind, and really, you must be honest. I'm about as "sensitive" a person as they come, yet, if a student of anything I have taught over the years came to me, privately and in earnest (with the best intentions, and no desire to hurt me) & said, " You have been exceedingly kind and supportive in our lessons. I appreciate that very much, and I really, really like you as a person. However, because I want badly to GROW and at this time do not have any issues with being worried to work harder/take on "scarier" challenges/fear being told right away when I do something incorrectly, I believe I may get that sort of guidance from Instructor B. Would you understand if I were to change over for a bit to her/him and see if that aspect of her/his teaching stays the same, and then keep you posted on how it's going? If it turns out this isn't a good match after all with "B", would you be open to my returning to you for lessons?"

I suggest you say it this way for a few reasons. I believe, knowing ONLY the facts you presented re: "A", that she/he has this teaching style for a reason. People, and especially kids of today's generation (absolutely NO OFFENSE to those younger than I here...I'm speaking mostly of little kids, 6-10 year old kids) are very often totally unable to process criticism of any kind.

They & their parents, sadly, (with parents being the primary reason so many ARE this way) have gotten used to the old, "You're perfect no matter WHAT you do!" & any trainer going against that has BEEN CONDITIONED to expect to get FIRED. With making money to live being paramount to just about anything else these days unfortunately, even riding instructors have changed from good and "growing/educating" people, to those who feel forced into giving "attaboy's" and as you said,"You're perfect! It's just the silly horse!" (when even you could later see, as a learner, that you had a correction you could have made but were not cued to do so).

My point here is to say they if "A" understands, after a good, honest communication session, that you are MORE THAN OKAY, and in fact WANT TRAINING, and not just ego-stroking from her, you MAY SEE that she is in fact a really kind, supportive, AND GROWTH-CAPABLE trainer! She may simply have been in fear of being literally fired for helping you to grow!

After you speak to "A", you may even want to have one final lesson with her and see if she doesn't just "turn into" exactly what you have wanted, and did get, with "B"-once YOU have given her the go ahead to get more challenging with you and more honest with you about where you may need to alter your riding. If that is the case, you will end up with the best of both worlds! "A" as your regular instructor, and "B" as your back-up when "A" is gone!

I think it's worth a try, honestly. Most trainers would find it very hard to sit on their hands/mouth and watch things done incorrectly, and not challenge their student UNLESS they have been conditioned to do so out of fear of losing clients for pushing spoiled kids "too hard"

I really hope you get what I'm "getting at"....and another thing you might do is tell her something like, "you know, if I do something that isn't correct or productive, if you could take me briefly 'back to basics', (as "B" did) & show me where my flaw began and then "school" it out of me, I would love that. I'd also love it if we could set a goal at the start & end of each lesson for me to work/focus on!" & see if she has the skill as an instructor to do so.

Perhaps she will pleasantly surprise you. Either way, you will never come out of the situation feeling like you either went slinking secretly to another trainer, or like you didn't give her EVERY chance to do what you need to grow, and you did all of that simply by staying open, honest, & "on the level" with her.

Good luck to you. These situations are so tough, but they CAN work out really well sometimes!

"I'm too busy working on my own grass to notice if yours is greener"
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