Rebuilding my confidence. Long post! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 08-05-2020, 11:03 PM Thread Starter
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Rebuilding my confidence. Long post!

If you don't want to read the whole sob story, the gist is; a trainer crushed my confidence, how do i get it back?

Now if you want the sob story, here it is...

I've been taking riding lessons since I've been able to sit in a horse independently. I bought my first horse at 15, broke said horse and helped with my then trainers project horses. I have still been handling horses on a daily basis since an injury took me out of the saddle for good when I was 18.

I'm 23 now, and about a year and a half ago I obtained another, unbroke project pony just for fun. I just wanted a cool horse friend that I could hang out with. He's the horse that uncovered my love of groundwork, and I always have fun trying out new training methods with him. I love listening to training audio books while I drive, and then trying stuff out when I get to the barn.

I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder a few months into owning this horse, and as a result was told to ride as much as possible if my old injury wasn't interfering. So a few saddle fitting nightmares and a lot of ibuprofen later, I rode! It was rough, I was rusty, but my horse didn't seem to mind. I rode very inconsistently thanks to said disorder making like kind of miserable, but my rides were almost always good. This very green horse has been an absolute saint for me, despite being so rusty.

Then I heard through the grapevine that this horse wasn't as unbroke as his owner said he was. He had 30 days of training when he was two, and had developed a serious bucking problem shortly after. He was never ridden again until climbed aboard, when he was 10.

Now he has never offered a buck with me, but I thought about how much I loved taking lessons and decided to sign up for some. I wanted to fill training holes as a bucking prevention measure and teach my horse could use his body more efficiently.

Well, to say this trainer reamed into me is an understatement. I admit, I had done no training to get my horse to understand contact, my Lateral work in hand was still shaky, and it's never something I've attempted from the saddle. That's what I thought the trainer would help me with.

I was torn apart for not being able to do these things from the saddle, for being unbalanced at a trot, for buying such a green horse, and how I was wasting their time. Prior to the lesson, I told this person everything about my medical history, injuries, being out of the saddle for years, my horse's training level, and said to essentially treat me like a beginner. I really thought I'd get SOME leeway.

That was months ago, and I still haven't worked up the confidence to climb back in the saddle. I know I'm a big girl, and I should be able to handle some scathing words, but I'm being quite the wimp about all this! I feel like trying to ride my own horse would be a disservice. I want to ride, I have my doctors blessing to ride, but I just can't bring myself to do it. I keep buying tack to try encouraging myself to use it on a ride, but the only thing I could will myself into doing was some in hand work. I always tell myself that I need to ride, but I never do...

Short of checking myself into the looney bin for being so butthurt, what can I do? I like to think I wasn't a beginner horse person, but I also didn't know my horsemanship had become so atrocious. I know this trainer was right in a lot of ways, I want help, but I'm too scared to ask now.

Reading this over sucks, this is probably one of the most pathetic things I've ever put online! But this is a problem I have to resolve, and it sure isn't getting any better on its own! I owe it to my pony be better, but I don't know where to go from here.
Ratlady is offline  
post #2 of 16 Old 08-06-2020, 12:02 AM
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Baby steps.
Tack up and ride around the corral at a walk. Do this till you feel comfortable. Gradually broaden your speed, distance, etc.
To date I have rarely gotten to ride with anyone or work with a trainer in any way, shape or form. If I waited till that day happened I would never get to ride. Heaven knows how many things I do wrong “technically” ya know what though my horse and I get along famously and she tries her best to figure out what I am trying to teach her.
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post #3 of 16 Old 08-06-2020, 05:56 AM
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Find a different trainer who understands differences in people as well as differences in horses. Good riding is based on good communication between the rider and the horse -- two way communication. Good training is also based on good communication between the trainer and the trainee -- two way communication in which the trainer listens to the trainee and adjust training methods accordingly.

Training riders and horses to work in harmony.
www.quietriding.com
www.quietriding.org
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post #4 of 16 Old 08-06-2020, 07:10 AM
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Wow...
To me, this "trainer" went overboard on you...
To me, what you encountered was not a "trainer" but someone with a ego issue taken out on you...
Ego got in the way of being able to recognize the job you had started was good but needed some help to put touches on you were unsure of, so you sought out help and went to the "professional" who in this case bombed big time.
The "professional" to me showed how much he did not know how to fix those missing spots but by belittling you is not a professional...that is just a jerk.
You did nothing wrong but seek help from what you thought was going to be a resource of value, instead became a resource of poop.

Find a different trainer....
Again, take the time to explain your situation and do include you tried a trainer and they did nothing but destroy what you thought you were working toward decently to now make you feel you know and can do nothing...

Give yourself credit for what you have done on your own...

You are far from being the only one who did not do all those things with the animal first...did it ruin the forward progress of learning for the animal...no.

I always find it interesting to see a "trainer" rail at someone who is doing a decent job of putting basics on a riding animal to get on a green horse they are training and see how the holes are yet to be closed in and finished..its a work in progress.
The idea of the trainer was to get the help in finishing touches, advance the knowledge of you and the horse...instead a muddled mess that person made of you..
You deserved better than what was done to you, for that I'm sorry.
Indeed, find someone who takes it back a notch and approaches this calmly and with attitude of putting a puzzle together...find the misplaced piece and make that part of the puzzle more complete, now work the next area till you fill in the open spots and a complete picture of accomplishment presents...
A work in progress none of us in honesty ever finish putting our puzzle together.
Finding the right teacher, trainer or instructor who can see a work started, where some of the pieces are missing and fill in the blanks is indeed a professional trainer.
Maybe a bit harder to find, but they are out there...
Give yourself a hug, seems to me you did a lot more right than "wrong" especially since it was you who recognized you needed to find someone to help with what you don't know and want to...
...
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post #5 of 16 Old 08-06-2020, 09:00 AM
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If you had split ends and went to a hairdresser who did nothing but berate you for having split ends - what exactly would be your conclusion? That you are a bad person and that the hairdresser was correct in taking your money, destroying your confidence and not giving you a haircut? I really, really doubt it. You would most probably walk out without paying and find a different hairdresser.

You seem to have run into one of those "I am so good, I should be teaching Grand Prix level" trainers.
Well, if they were so good - they would be teaching it.

Please don't let other people's ego issues get to you. This is literally all there is to it. Just go tack up your horse, mount and dismount immediately. You will feel so much better. Tomorrow, tack up, mount, sit there for a few minutes, dismount. It will get you on a roll and you'll get back into in no time.

Also, goes without saying, find a trainer which has their ego issues under control. Sheesh, the nerve of some people...
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post #6 of 16 Old 08-06-2020, 10:02 AM
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Perhaps try signing up for a few lessons with a NICE trainer, using their kindest school horse. That would help build your confidence back, and get you working on just your riding without having to worry about the horse's training at the same time. And when you're ready, you could start riding your own horse again. And the experience of working on just you will have benefits that will carry over when you're ready to go again with your horse.

Just remember that there's no rush to any of this and that it's up to you how you ride, whom you ride, and how often. I can't imagine you were so "bad" that your horse was taking issue with you. It sounds like you and your horse have a good relationship. Which is far far far more important than whatever some (bad word) "trainer" makes of you based on one lesson.
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post #7 of 16 Old 08-06-2020, 12:55 PM Thread Starter
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I'd love to find a different trainer to help me, but unfortunately my area is pretty void of decent trainers. I've asked around with some of the horse people I know, but many of them are too far out of my area.

The trainer I had used is a fantastic rider with very well behaved horses who taught lessons casually, but not someone who did it full time. This trainers horses were absolute gentlemen, I was hoping they'd impart some of that knowledge onto me.

I have definitely considered taking lunge line lessons with a pro trainer and an old schoolmaster. That's something I've been looking into, but I'm not entirely confident they won't rip me a new one either. I've become pretty gun shy, to say the least.

In this trainers defense, like I said, they were right in a lot of ways. It was probably pretty frustrating to see a horse that would stop dead when you tried to take up contact, or not understand how to get off your inside leg and go faster with every bump. His steering isn't great and he likes to drop his shoulder in on turns.

The part where this trainer lost it on me was when they asked me to dismount. They hooked my horse on a lunge line, and made him run until he was dripping with sweat. I asked why they were doing this, and in a very long and colorful way explained that this horse needed to be dead tired if someone like me was going to ride... That hurt.

The lunging didn't help much, but for weeks after that he would scoot sideways when I put the saddle pad on him. I still kick myself for not sticking up for him right then and there, I wanted to see if there really was a method to lunging a horse to that extent. That doesn't excuse allowing that, but it's the truth.
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post #8 of 16 Old 08-06-2020, 01:52 PM
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Can you give us a idea of where you are located?
This forum reaches internationally and people in small towns that might be of assistance to you may be closer than you think...
A state, maybe a county or regional area and can you, are you willing to travel and how far?
Do you have access to a truck and trailer to go to them or do you need to come to you?

So many contacts possible, not all good horseman advertise. I know of some who are "retired" but come out and help locals if they feel like it, want to and desire a challenge may be just next door and you not realize...
...
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post #9 of 16 Old 08-06-2020, 03:51 PM
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@Ratlady (I assume you keep them for pets?) . .

you said: But this is a problem I have to resolve, and it sure isn't getting any better on its own! I owe it to my pony be better, but I don't know where to go from here.

I cannot state strong enought that you do not OWE anyone, anything. Even your horse is not owed anything more than a quality of care that is reasonable, and not abusive.
You certainly don't owe any trainer a darn thing, and as to yourself, you only owe yourself the same thing you owe your pony; reasonable and non-abusive self care. That's rock bottom. You could up the ante by saying you owe yourself some self love, too, but I'm not gonna go any more into shrink-like talk.


So many trainers only train from a certain position. They are all about which leg to put on, how much contact to have, where you should be looking, where your knees are, how your elbows are positioned . . . etc. That is all good and well, but when a horse demonstrates that they do not understand leg pressure concepts, or are physically not able to bend, or flex . . YET, the so-called trainer should know to abandon this kind of refinement, and go back to real basics, trying to help the horse, and by GOD, running him on a lunge line until he's scared and exhausted is so far from 'help' that I'm steamed up just writing this!!!


Your own passion , curiosity and enthusiasm for groundwork learned from videos and books far outweighs any 'benefit' you think you would get from this trainer.


Go back and journey on your own, with your pony, . . you were doing fine, as far as I could tell.
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post #10 of 16 Old 08-06-2020, 05:49 PM
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"...in a very long and colorful way explained that this horse needed to be dead tired if someone like me was going to ride..." - @Ratlady

That has got to be one of the DUMBEST excuses for abusing a horse that some trainer has ever given!

Meanwhile - ever considered western riding? Riding with constant contact is not essential to either horse or rider. A horse dropping a shoulder in a turn? It is how a horse turns most efficiently. Perfectly normal and it ought to be perfectly acceptable. Football players do it all the time....and so does Bandit. It is only an issue in some sorts of riding, but normal in others:


We have often had total beginners ride one of our horses on a trail ride. It isn't a problem. The horses are not harmed by it. And I sure as heck don't need to get them "dead tired" first!

Honestly? If you can't find a better person to learn from, don't ride until you do. You'll just learn bad things.
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Riders ask "How?" Horsemen ask "Why?"
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