Questionable trainer behavior....help! - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 118 Old 04-13-2016, 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Scubasmitten View Post
She's the dominant, aggressive type that would surely have a problem with me questioning anything.
I forgot to mention earlier but this is another fialing in any teacher. Any teacher that refuses to or shows an air of refusing to answer questions or challenges with regard to methods is a poor teacher. It generally shows a lack of confidence and understanding on their part and often underlines how there are gaps in their own understanding that they are not willing to confront.

Teachers should be encouraging of questions; they should welcome them even if they question the methods they use and should always be willing to answer in more depth to the curious student.

A teacher who can't or who fails to or who discourages (directly or by indirect mannerisms - like cussing/swearing and being dismissive/insulting) is just setting you up to fail.
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post #12 of 118 Old 04-13-2016, 12:20 PM
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I'm not going to jump on the "find another instructor" bandwagon just yet, there's 2 sides to every story.

I have been known to slap the fire out of a horse who needs it. But to earn a real good face slap from me, they have to have bitten or in some way convinced me that they will be biting soon and generally be acting REALLY aggressive. Since I wasn't there, I won't say the slap was inappropriate but, since I also own 10 horses and can't recall the last time I slapped one all the way to Texas, it probably is inappropriate if it happens frequently.

As for kicking the horse......yeah....I don't like it but I don't necessarily think that in itself is abusive. I don't belly kick my horses, or chest kick them either, mainly because they'd practically have to be a mini in order for my short legs to reach. Again, if it happens a lot, it's probably inappropriate. There are other ways to discipline, better ways.

Slapping a stallion on the penis is an accepted (not by me, btw) way to get them to 'put it away', it's been taught for years. Again, I don't do it, but I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of horse people I know who don't. And they do it to a gelding who gets too comfortable too. I tell my stallion, "Quit it, you're not getting paid." and redirect his thoughts to work and that solves it.

First time posting and leaves you to try it out for 80% of the lesson. She introduced the concept, let you try it out to get the hang of it and at the end let you know it wasn't perfect. So? She probably didn't care if you were on the right diagonal, she just wanted you to get the hang of going up & down with the footfalls. Now that it's been introduced, she can start giving you refinements.

Yelling at the other students....well, if they're like me they tend to get focused and forget she's there. If she wanted my attention she'd yell and probably have to pull me in to the center to get it. If she's not yelling at you, don't worry about it.

Being insulting to the other students. I had a trainer tell me once that I looked like a 'monkey doing something (you insert the expletive) to a football'. Not very nice, but I got the picture (oh boy did I!) and fixed my equitation, PDQ.

And ditto what Chasin' Ponies said about this, " 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 won't even go there.

THIS right here, "I have a lot on my plate right now and my life is a mess," tells me you're in an overly sensitive place right now and probably way over reacting to what's going on around you at the barn. For right now, just concentrate on you and learning to ride. Tune out the other stuff until your own life settles down and straightens out. If, after you're on a more even keel, you still feel she's inappropriate and you're not enjoying yourself then go find another trainer and barn. I don't think she's totally insensitive as you say she's aware of your turmoil right now and has offered you a trail ride rather than a structured lesson. It sounds like she is trying to accommodate your needs right now.
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post #13 of 118 Old 04-13-2016, 12:27 PM
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I hesitate to wade into this debate because I know I'll be crucified for it, but I don't think OP is wrong to be concerned or feel guilty about using horses (though perhaps it wasn't phrased in the best/most accurate way, as "pasture puff" is a common option for them besides labor/death). Yes, it's a different viewpoint from most of us, but at the heart of it, it shows concern for the proper treatment of the animal, which I for one appreciate.

I would also go so far as to say that our justifications for keeping horses are just, well, justifications. IMO, there are very few jobs that require the use of horses anymore. At the end of the day, they mostly exist for our entertainment, and it's not wrong to question the ethics behind that. (Look at what's happening with Sea World).

And on that note, I'm going to run and hide now.
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Last edited by Surrealle; 04-13-2016 at 12:35 PM.
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post #14 of 118 Old 04-13-2016, 01:57 PM
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OP - You're paying to learn and you're paying to enjoy doing something and you're getting neither from this facility
Time to move on and look for something better
I do agree that private lessons will help you more but I've taught quite large groups of beginners successfully so I can't excuse her failure to teach you

I think I'd feel guilty about riding horses that were being subjected to that sort of treatment from a woman who's just a bully. I'm sure if she was given a really difficult horse to deal with she wouldn't have a clue, she's just taking advantage of horses that are quiet and placid natured
Its not as if her actions were going to actually sort out any problems or teach the horse or you anything productive - she just got pleasure out of it
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post #15 of 118 Old 04-13-2016, 02:08 PM
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such a place/instructor is not suited for a person with anxiety issues in particular. I would hate that sort of environment.

find another place.
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post #16 of 118 Old 04-13-2016, 03:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Surrealle View Post
Agree with the others, I would find someone else and not talk to her about why. It will not change her mind or methods and I for one am always reluctant to burn bridges unless I have no choice.

Find someone else whose methods you're more comfortable with. They do exist (I've got one, myself).
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You can talk politely and honestly and not burn a bridge. Even if she doesn't change it will set a good example to other students that may not know better.
I can't imagine wanting to go back anyway. Everyone gets a bad lesson but I would not tolerate the treatment of the lesson horses so I wouldn't care about that bridge personally.
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post #17 of 118 Old 04-13-2016, 03:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by churumbeque View Post
You can talk politely and honestly and not burn a bridge. Even if she doesn't change it will set a good example to other students that may not know better.
I can't imagine wanting to go back anyway. Everyone gets a bad lesson but I would not tolerate the treatment of the lesson horses so I wouldn't care about that bridge personally.
The only way it would set an example is if you confront her (however politely) in front of the other students, which is the absolute worst approach for this kind of thing. If it's done at all, it should be done in private because people are less defensive when there isn't the added factor of being embarrassed in front of others.

I wouldn't bother, personally. She doesn't sound like the type that accepts being questioned, especially by a beginner. It's not worth the drama, esp if this is someone you might run into down the line (which is why I don't burn bridges).
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post #18 of 118 Old 04-14-2016, 01:51 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chasin Ponies View Post
Hi Scuba
You had my sympathy until you made this statement "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." You need to understand that a horse is a prey animal, ours are domesticated and that their only true motivation is the instinct for food and safety. A good horse owner/handler provides both for them. Being a domesticated horse is not normally a miserable existence and if you use statements like the quote, 99% of horse people will be turned off and discount anything further that you have to say.

That being said, yes this does sound like a situation that is abusive and uncomfortable. Excessive punishment and losing one's temper with an animal is never acceptable and it's even less acceptable when teaching others. A quick correction once is expected and necessary but when it goes on and on for the sake of a temper tantrum it's counter productive. A trainer like this leaves a legacy of abuse letting students think that it's how to handle horses, in fact virtually all of the angry, abusive trainers I know learned this from a relative or previous trainer. This trainer sounds burned out and probably picked the wrong career from the start.

I will also say that I don't believe that group lessons are worth a penny for beginners who actually want to advance their skills. Group is more suited for established riders who need a tune up, not the intensive, one-on-one attention that beginners need. For your situation, being mostly ignored and then yelled at is pretty much throwing your money away even if it's only $35.

Thanks to the internet, it's a lot easier these days to go exploring and switch barns. Listen to your instincts-this is not a good situation and you need to vote with your feet walking right out the door.
Thank you for your honesty and input. I would like to be honest as well...even if it means 'turning people off.' I'm new and out of my element. I'm a scuba instructor--not much of a land dweller! To clear things up, the purpose of my post was not to seek sympathy and in no way am I trying to offend folks. I understand they are prey animals and realize this is their place in society, but sometimes I feel guilty for expecting them to perform their function. I love animals and am empathetic towards them. I surely don't want feel selfish or make them resent me. Regarding group lessons, I agree. She offers those on Sundays. I normally attend on Saturdays. Even if she has no other students, she uses that time to accomplish other things (training horses and such--doing her own thing for the most part). I wondered if her behavior was adopted from someone else. Physical punishment seems like the easy route, and if I fall off my horse out in the middle of nowhere, I'd like for my ride not to leave without me. :) Best wishes.
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post #19 of 118 Old 04-14-2016, 01:56 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by franknbeans View Post
I would be looking for a new place for lessons. That behavior is not something I would want any part of.
Thanks. I thought I could handle it, but now it's seeming as if she wants me to do the same and I can't. It's eating away at me. I'm looking into other options, but I loathe the poasibility of drama. How would you all word it if in my situation? Best wishes.
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post #20 of 118 Old 04-14-2016, 02:00 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by churumbeque View Post
Take private lessons where ever you go and be honest why you are leaving. her behavior won't change unless she sees it is costing her money. She is setting a bad example for other students that will act like her because they think it is ok.
Thanks. I agree, but I just know it's going to cause a crap storm. I saw my friends 7-year-old daughter slap a horse in the face for no reason yesterday, and that is wrong on many levels.
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