Instructor Decision... - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 05-17-2010, 11:51 AM Thread Starter
Green Broke
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Western Pennsylvania
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Instructor Decision...

Well..I'm having trouble and I'm not sure what I should do..
I'm looking for an instructor, so that I can learn to handle and ride better in western (doing barrels, stakes and poles) or learn to do jumping (I've never touched an english saddle, let alone rode in one. ;-; ) so that I can show later on in it.
But-my dad says that he refuses to talk to me about a barn that does private and group lessons until I take a few from my current BO where I ride at.
Since I've been going there once/twice a week and riding, I've noticed that I'm not extremely fond of how she (or some of the boarders/her friends) handle the horses.
I mean..I've become semi-friends with this BO, away from the horses or when she doesn't criticize me for something ridiculous and actually tells me I did something right. And I don't want to offend her or my friend, since she's taught him how to ride.
I will handle a horse progressively rougher if it doesn't listen, but I'd rather handle it with more finesse than force if I can effectively.
--One of the horses at the barns is headshy, I believe because his bridle doesn't fit properly, and he turns and moves to his corner as soon as you try to get his second ear through the headpiece. She ends up yanking on his bridle and slapping/hitting his neck, which I find ridiculous, because it's obvious he's not just trying to get out of work and that it hurts him. She's held it against me that I refuse to yank his head back down and hit him to get the bridle on and that I'll have Drew or her put it on because I don't feel comfortable hitting him when he doesn't deserve it.
--She also holds it against me the second time I "fell" off a horse, ever. We were cantering around the round pen tackless (Drew was free lunging him with me on) and he ended up stopping right infront of the puddle (rather large) and then crow hopping (kind of) to the left towards the middle of the pen. I ended up just sliding off, because I could always just hop back on instead of trying to pull myself back up centered. I dropped to the ground, facing the pony's (he's still considered a pony :#) shoulder, but I ended up slipping in the puddle, since I thought it was farther than it was. ;-; The BO looks over and starts cracking up on her horse. e.e;; She doesn't ask me if I'm alright until 10-15 minutes later while I'm trying to clean some of the mud off my new boots (that's what I get for wishing they looked dirtier that morning lol) and told Drew about how he was stupid for letting me on his pony in the pen because there was a puddle and how he knows how inexperienced I am. Especially because it looked like I flipped off him and fell on my shoulder, even though she wasn't looking when it happened and didn't see until Drew started cracking up asking me if I was alright..and continuing to crack up. That bothered me, and still does, because she didn't see and had the gall to say about how inexperienced I am.
--She always goes on about my leg position and heels. ;-; If I'm walking in the indoor (it's actually about 1/4 the size of a normal indoor) to warm whoever I'm riding up or waiting for everyone else to tack and mount, she hollers about how I need to move my legs up and put my heels down. I know that I ought to ride like that, but when I'm actually doing something or out on a trail somewhere. It's not the fact that she tells me, but that she's rather arrogant about it and acts like I have no riding experience.
Now, my dad told me that he won't even think about riding lessons from someone else/another barn until I "try her out" and take a few lessons from her. I'm really not even sure if I want to take a lesson from her, because if I don't agree with something she says to do, I'm going to argue about it, and I don't want to ruin being able to hangout with Drew there and ride for free.
I was looking at another barn, which has multiple disciplines, including what I would like to work on (minus reining, atleast I don't think they have that, and cutting), but group lessons are $30 ($10 more than a private with my current BO) and private lessons are $40 ($20 more) and my dad thinks it's asinine to take more expensive lessons if I haven't tried them out with my current BO for $20.

Now..would you consider taking a lesson from a BO like this and possibly ruining what you have at that barn (where I'd also be boarding when/if I get my own horse) because we have different views, or spend a little more money and try another barn and be able to take lessons that aim at one, specific discipline instead of just overall riding?

I think I'm done now...I tried breaking it up, but I'm sure there are parts that ramble on and I apologize. ;-;

Iseul is offline  
post #2 of 11 Old 05-17-2010, 12:07 PM
Join Date: Oct 2009
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My advice is take a few lessons with her and keep your mouth shut. She might interact with you differently as a "student". Or, if you really don't like her, tell your dad after several lessons that you'd really like to try a different barn, with a different style of teaching. Be able to tell your Dad specifically why you're not happy with her lessons, then ask if he will go with you to watch some lessons at the other barn. If your Dad is paying for it, I don't think his request is that unreasonable.

Do not argue with any instructor, ever, unless they are putting you or your horse in danger. Always be respectful (particularly since you are on her property and riding at her barn). If you're not happy, you're free to move elsewhere.

Smart people listen. Not so smart people think they do not need to hear what others have to say.
luvmyperch is offline  
post #3 of 11 Old 05-17-2010, 12:30 PM
Green Broke
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Originally Posted by Iseul View Post
--She always goes on about my leg position and heels. ;-; If I'm walking in the indoor (it's actually about 1/4 the size of a normal indoor) to warm whoever I'm riding up or waiting for everyone else to tack and mount, she hollers about how I need to move my legs up and put my heels down. I know that I ought to ride like that, but when I'm actually doing something or out on a trail somewhere.
As my instructor reminds me, you have what is called "Memory Muscle". Your muscles learn to respond in how you train them. So if you wander around riding incorrectly, when the world goes to crap and you aren't focusing on your leg position and heels because you're just trying to stay on... you won't be riding correctly and in the best position TO stay on because that's not how you trained your muscles. Or when you're trying to focus on learning 2 new things, the basics which everything builds off of won't be there because you can't focus on them and everything else.

She tells me that when you are warming up or cooling off, there is zero excuse for riding with a crappy position because you aren't working on anything else. Warming up or cooling off should be for the rider to check their position, are my heels down, are my legs back, if my instructor came by what would she tell me to fix?

Mine will come through and yell "elbows!!" at me because I do tend to lock my elbows when I get tense. She's 100% correct and although it's slightly frustrating at the time, I DO need to correct it and the nagging *is* what will get me to fix it, wandering around with them locked isn't accomplishing anything productive.

Try some lessons with her. If you go in with an attitude of wanting to learn from her, you may be surprised at what she can teach you.
Delfina is offline  
post #4 of 11 Old 05-17-2010, 12:32 PM
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I think you do have some valid points, some personalities just don't mesh well together, and you/the BO might have that problem. You are also allowed to have your own opinions on how her horses are handled.

However, about the legs, she does have a good point. You never know when a horse might take off on you--I had my guy do it on me once, and thank God I was gearing up for his trot so I was kind of ready. The only reason I stayed on even without one stirrup was because my heels were down and I was balanced! So in that respect she's looking out for your safety. Could she maybe say it a little nicer? Sure, but she's probably saying it like you have no experience because in her opinion, if you don't ride correctly all of the time then you aren't experienced.

I agree that if you want to move to this barn with the private lessons, just take a couple and then move on.
justsambam08 is offline  
post #5 of 11 Old 05-17-2010, 03:57 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
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luvmyperch, the thing is-my dad isn't the one paying for it, I am.
I'm taking what he has into consideration because he might be the one paying for me to lease a horse for 4H next year, so I thought I might as well hear him out on it. I've been thinking about lessons for the past 2-3 months or so, and decided that I might as well get other opinions, as mine are probably a bit cloudy since I go there once/twice a week.
I don't normally argue with anyone more than 5 years older than me (unless they're related or a guy), so what I actually meant was more like..well, I don't know. But not really disrespectful argueing, but still argueing about something I don't feel comfortable doing to the horse.
I admit, I have a hard time holding my tongue when I feel someone is mistreating anything, animal or human. The only reason I haven't brought up how she treats her horses, is because that's the only place that I could board within an hour from me when/if I do get my own horse.

Delfina and just sambam08, I don't think I explained the thing about my heels/leg position well. >.< I apologize.
I see completely where you're coming from, and that's mainly what I do..
And I have finally gotten the memory muscle stuff down this past 6 months.
What I meant about my heels/leg position is:
She'll end up watching me, and as soon as I move them to stretch my knee or ankle (because my knee gets sore and my ankles are pretty much horrid from a few falls and such, not horse related) she hollers at me about it and doesn't give me time to let them go back after I finish stretching them and such.

Also..I've been told by other people that ride (who don't go to her/know her) that I'm a pretty good rider compared to who they usually see trying to pass off as skill/ability. I mean, I'm not normally an arrogant/outspoken person, especially with something that no one can know every, single thing about. I know that I have a whole lot to learn about horses and riding, but I don't think I'm as inexperienced as she thinks.
I'm not sure how to bring this up to her without offending her either..
The only time she sees me ride is on a 4.5 yr old that acts as if he's a 12 yr old with all the same training and on a 12 yr old that has small issues, that don't bother to do anything really.
I'm pretty sure the only time she saw me ride a horse that normally has problems was on my first trail ride there (because she didn't have another horse for me to ride) and it didn't make a matter that I kept her calm, because she was just being a good girl that day, even though she had been hyper in her stall before I brought her out to get tacked..I mean, shouldn't I have gotten atleast a bit of credit, coz it's not everyday that a horse goes straight from hyper, to a whole lot calmer after I warmed her up and stood her a little before we went out.. I'm not saying that I made her perfectly calm, but I know that it wasn't just that she all of a sudden got really calm. ;-;
I feel like I'm being arrogant..but I'm really not trying to be. >.<

Iseul is offline  
post #6 of 11 Old 05-18-2010, 10:25 AM
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If you are paying for it, find a new instructor. You aren't getting the maximum enjoyment for your dollar, so you are wasting money there, even if it seems like a good deal.
ptvintage is offline  
post #7 of 11 Old 05-18-2010, 11:13 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
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I'm not paying for what I do now though..
I usually go up once or twice a week to help out with the run-in (which my friend is in charge of, as well as the horses), and I usually get to do puff around riding on either his horse, or the BO's horse that no one normally rides or does much of anything with..
I'm also thinking about a summer program another of my friends brought up..
I'd take a 2 week training course (so that I'd be certified to handle the horses and ponies at their two barns) I could most likely get lessons here, but they'd be from more experienced riders, free, and I'd get daily experience, as I would ride and help out some of the kids that go there for summer riding camps and pony clubs.. and next summer (if I go to two 2 week training courses, I could get paid to ride everyday and just help teach the kids how to tack, groom, lead, etc etc a horse/pony.. any ideas on if that sounds like it could work? I think the training courses are $20 for each set, but my friend said that she could most likely get me in them either free or with a discount..
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Iseul is offline  
post #8 of 11 Old 05-18-2010, 11:57 PM
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I think you should take the lessons at your barn just as your dad said. You may actually learn a thing or two if you open your mind and drop the attitude that you don't need to be told what to do. What do you think is going to happen at a different barn? If you find an instructor worth their salt, if they see you riding in a incorrect position they are going to be telling you to put your heals down, etc. I think she is just trying to help you. I think the whole personality clash is bull. A good instructor is worth listening to and learning from, even if she doesn't say things like you think they should be said or if she says things that you don't want to hear. I think a lot of times people just want to be petted and told what great riders they are...wether it's true or not. If you are lucky enough to find a good instructor, they won't be stroking your ego, but instead helping you improve your riding and horsemanship skills.
sandy2u1 is offline  
post #9 of 11 Old 05-19-2010, 08:27 AM Thread Starter
Green Broke
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o.O I didn't realize that I had an attitude..?
It's not just about her telling me about my legs and heels, my main point was about how I'm not too fond of how she treats her horses all the time..
I know that she does have good to say, and I don't turn my nose up and go about plundering around like I know everything; I know for a fact I don't, as well as everyone else.
I mentioned another barn for lessons because if I take lessons from her, and we end up getting into a fight because I won't do something that I think is detremental to the horse, then I'd be upset with both myself and my BO.
I'm not saying that I don't need to be told what to do, when I said about my leg/heel positition, I didn't fully explain it and it sounded different than what it is; I've explained that on another post..not sure if you read that or just the OP.
I've told other riders that have called me really good that I don't think I'm an amazing rider and argue with them all of my faults..almost everytime I go for a (what was suppose to be relaxing, but I end up getting one of their attitude/problem horses) trail ride out at a different stable that is just trail riding.

If I do 4H this year (meaning the foster boy that's leasing the horse I rode gets pulled by his foster mother) I will be taking a lesson for free from her once a week, although I'll have to approach her about certain things she does..
I won't post the latest thing I'm worried about with much detail, but it's also worrying me a great deal about how great of a horsewomen she is. If what was discussed at the meeting last night goes on, I'm going to have to talk to her about it; and I'm hoping that she won't do that and have enough compassion, even if she doesn't have the common sense.
The oldest horse there is 26 or 27 years, and he's not doing well at all, he won't keep weight, you can see his ribs, hip bones, vertebrate, etc etc and one of the riders in the 4H brought up riding him in a novice class instead of her TB that's she too afraid to ride, which in turn makes him a dangerous horse overall when she's handling or riding him. That horse is not fit to have a saddle anywhere near him, let alone a rider on him. I wouldn't even put a pad on him and let a kid the size of his head be lead around on him while being held in place..It scares me to think that she had actually contemplated letting this girl ride him...

Iseul is offline  
post #10 of 11 Old 05-20-2010, 07:13 PM
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I think that you do have a right to have a instructor that is helpful and especially not overbearing, like this one seems. I had an instructor once, all he did was shout "CONTACT!" and so in the first ten minutes I decided I wasn't coming back. If the experience is unpleasant then it's not worth it, because you're not really going to learn anything. You'll only remember the unpleasant parts.
You can't change things people do, so if the instructor is good, but you don't like the way they handle one of the horses, then there's nothing you can do to change that. People will think that you're nosy and know-it-all. You're probably not, but it can come across that way.
I do agree that this instructor sounds not right for you. Instructors have a responsibility where your safety is concerned. Laughing at you when you fell off is irresponsible both because she didn't check that you were okay first, and because it's damaging to a rider's confidence.

If you are at all uncomfortable with an instructor, bring it up with her, or change to a different one.

Kind, Confident, Consistent Leadership = Trust, Obedience and Respect
There is no such thing as natural horsemanship, because nothing we do with horses is natural. There is only good and bad horsemanship.
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