Moving from long-time school/instructor? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 07-12-2020, 09:57 AM Thread Starter
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Moving from long-time school/instructor?

Hi all,

So for context: I'm 17, and once a week for the past 4-ish years, I've ridden at an English trekking centre near me (aside from a year out, some of which I fostered a rescue horse). The centre, which also focuses on therapeutic riding, is a very small, relaxed atmosphere, where I got on well with my instructor and horses, one of which was, so far, my all-time favourite horse I've had the pleasure to know in my life. Since it's a casual hacking yard, I haven't really progressed in my skills. I can walk and trot alright, but I'm very poor at cantering, my general skills are very unrefined, and I've jumped three times in total. I've always wished I could learn to ride properly, but I really loved this centre and it holds so many of my teenage memories. I'm also a very shy and nervous rider, and the two other centres that I could have chosen from are much bigger and more intense.

Due to lockdown easing up in my country, I started going back to the yard for the first time since March- for non-ridden activities only (grooming, hand-walking, liberty etc.) On the second/most recent session, my instructor told me that she had sold off half of her horses (including my favourite) and was now going to change her business completely to non-ridden, therapeutic services. She told me that if I wish to ride every now and again, I can ride one of the other horses I used to ride (second favourite horse). Now, I do enjoy working on the ground with horses, but I feel like doing so in a planned session takes the fun out of it, and when I've only got one hour a week to spend with horses, I'd rather spend my money and time on riding.

The thing is, I don't think my instructor realizes that I wish to continue with my riding, at a level she no longer caters for. I appreciate that she offered occasional rides, but doing so just a handful of times a year just won't do it for me, and I have honestly really wanted to progress properly for a while now, and learn to canter properly and jump. The thing holding me back from pursuing this was the idea of leaving everything I loved about my current centre, and with said circumstances changing I'm wondering if it's a sign. Is it selfish of me to think this? If I had hours every day and the money to do so, of course I'd love to ride at another stable and continue groundwork lessons with my current instructor at the same time, but I realize that with my current situation, if I want to learn to be a good rider, I'm going to have to change to a different yard. I'm happy that my instructor is following her dream, but if I want to really follow mine I have to go.

I just don't know how to tell my instructor this. Perhaps I can suggest that during school holidays I can take an occasional lesson with her, because I don't want to lose contact and such, but I don't know if this will offend her? She's told me that she expects her client base to change, but I'm one of her longest regular clients, and since I'm such a nervous rider she probably assumed this change would actually suit me better. If anyone here has had a somewhat similar experience, or is an instructor themselves, please let me know how I should go about this!

Thanks!

TLDR; How should I tell my long-time instructor that I need to quit lessons with her due to her changing her business from riding to non-ridden activities without causing conflict or offense to her?
Spirit3106 is offline  
post #2 of 6 Old 07-12-2020, 10:16 AM
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Your instructor already told you she expects her cleintele to change as she decided to change her program to suit her.

Honestly, not many people are going to stay and pay to groom her horses not having riding lessons too.
She knows and she is hoping you will stick around, but if that does not meet your needs and goal then go.
Tell her you want to progress as a rider and as she has changed her program you lost the option of riding with her at her facility.
Ask her to suggest another facility and instructor for you she thinks you would be comfortable at and excel in their program and tutelage.
Tell her you would still like to come as you are available to say hi and maybe help groom if she has need of extra hands...but you want, you need to ride and learn too.
Then based upon her answers or lack of them you will know where you stand with being welcome or not..
But, to me...time to move on unless you want to brush a horse and pay someone to clean their dirty horses.
...

The worst day is instantly better when shared with my horse.....
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post #3 of 6 Old 07-12-2020, 07:00 PM
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I would just go find another place to take lessons. I would probably send her a thank you card for the training and opportunities she gave you. That way you keep the friendship and the doors open. Honestly though - people change lesson barns all the time. Some barns do really well with beginner and intermediate riders but can't really go further. Some barns are excellent at teaching a rider to look pretty but never actually show them how to RIDE a horse. It really sounds like you need a change. Good luck!
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post #4 of 6 Old 07-12-2020, 07:40 PM
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I would go, too.

Running a stable/yard is a business. The woman where you are offers a specific service and understands some people will move on. Some may never want anything different, too, and be customers for years.

Since I have traveled and moved a ridiculous number of times, I've said a lot of good-byes. Oft times I bring a baked item when I leave in thanks for what they provided.
boots is online now  
post #5 of 6 Old 07-13-2020, 05:11 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies so far, everyone's been very understanding! I felt so anxious about it because I had such a close connection to my instructor, and we live in a fairly small town, but I do forget that she is running a business, she knows the risk she took and I need to focus on what I want. Really like the idea of giving a card and baked goods to say goodbye!
Spirit3106 is offline  
post #6 of 6 Old 07-13-2020, 04:14 PM
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Changing barns as one progresses is a relatively normal occurrence and I think that your instructor would understand your perspective, from the sounds of it. I really like @horselovinguy 's suggestion on how to approach this situation. If things go well, then you keep on good terms and be able to explore new opportunities. If things don't go well, then you really have lost nothing because things would remain the same whether you have a conversation with her or just left.
Jolly101 is offline  
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