Questionable trainer behavior....help!
Greetings! New horseback student here and this is my first-ever forum, too. At 32 years old, I'm a very late starter at getting formal lessons. I waited so long that I pushed my desire aside and focused on other things....like obtaining a scuba instructor certification...another dream hobby I set aside for many years. It should probably be noted that I have some health problems, including an anxiety disorder. I weighed the benefits and love learning new things (exercise, posture correction, confidence & stress relief to name a few). It's been very relaxing up until the last few lessons. My instructor taught me how to lunge, tack up, groom, mount/dismount, basic commands, basic form and rein handling (english). As soon as we started on posting the trot, she stopped paying attention to me and instead worked with other students, so I found out at the very end of the lesson I was doing it all wrong. We're talking 80% of lesson, completely on my own. She's the dominant, aggressive type that would surely have a problem with me questioning anything. My lesson horse became quite stubborn and she said "she might take your crap, but I won't", cursed him out, yanked his rein, slapped him in the face and kicked him in the belly. I started seeing more and more concerning behavior...kicking some horses in the chest (I'm not even sure what the horse did wrong), slapping them, and when she and her staff groom an un-fixed (sorry--I don't know much terminology!!) male and he begins to unsheathe, they literally slap his privates and yell "put it away!" I can't afford much at the time. My lessons are only $35 each (one hour) and it seems like a really well-kept facility. I feel guilt, as part of the human race, for removing them from their natural setting to be given only the choice of labor or death. I don't think inflicting fear and pain is the best approach, but I'm totally green at this so I don't know! I have no problems with her pushing me to succeed. A challenge is healthy. But she can be harsh towards some people...screaming at the top of her lungs and making somewhat insulting comments. If it IS highly inappropriate, another concern is that she is breeding new riders that do the same. I'd like for the lessons to remain constructive and not stress-inducing. I have a lot on my plate right now and my life is a mess, so she gave me the option of a trail ride last session. I'd like to avoid any unpleasant interaction. Pertanent advice would be appreciated. Thanks for taking the time to read this and happy trails to you all!