Questionable trainer behavior....help! - Page 5 - The Horse Forum
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post #41 of 118 Old 04-14-2016, 04:00 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Surrealle View Post
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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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You are probably right, and absolutely...in private. I wouldn't disrespect her although I disagree on things. I'd still see her every Monday even if I quit. I drop my friend's daughter off there on Mondays.
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post #42 of 118 Old 04-14-2016, 04:06 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jaydee View Post
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
Good to hear that successful group lessons are possible! She admitted she has a problem with authority but it seems more like she just has an authority complex. You're right. It was therapeutic in the beginning, but now it is stressful. Thanks!
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post #43 of 118 Old 04-14-2016, 04:10 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by franknbeans View Post
OP-get over the guilt because we give them a job. Many of them LOVE having a job....and it sure is better than the "wild life" where they have to constantly wonder if they are next on the predators list, watching their herd mates get chased and eaten. I would venture to say that most are pretty spoiled.
That makes me feel somewhat better. Thank you!
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post #44 of 118 Old 04-14-2016, 05:36 AM
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If you decide to leave, and she asks why, I would just tell her it is not a good match. Honestly, I think she sounds like the kind of person who will get defensive and probably attack you for being "less knowledgeable" if you say anything about her methods. Not worth the time or hassle to argue with her, IMO.
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post #45 of 118 Old 04-14-2016, 07:54 AM
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my 2cents

IMO group lessons can work with a good instructor when you are just starting out. Not having instructors total attention on you for an hour can give you a bit of breathing space to figure things out. You will know when you need one-on-one when you feel like you haven't learnt anything new for a while.

I also would be looking for a better instructor. I can't imagine that seasoned school horses have behaved badly enough to get kicked in the guts or slapped over the head. Certainly a disgraceful example to students.

A male horse will 'hang out' when he is relaxed. Both geldings and stallions will do it. There is no need to slap them around for it, sometimes just waking them up a making them move is enough to make them retract. I am mainly talking school horses here, I will leave the discussion of stallions at shows out of it.

The seven year old you saw hit the pony. I think we can't turn a blind eye these days especially if you were the only one to see. Even to just say (something like) "that is not necessary, there is no need to be cruel to your pony". She may not like it, and if bad mannered may be rude to you but she will remember being called cruel, and she may start to think about her treatment of her pony, especially if she hears it from others as well. She will also see that other people will not accept bad horse handling.

Not sure if I understood right about grooming/ tacking up, is that part of your lesson time? Maybe it is different for you, and my riding school days are a long time behind me. We could turn up a few minutes before the lesson, ride the due time, tie up and leave. I think we did that exactly twice, then we were early and stayed late, and learned everything we could. In a very short time we were there every spare minute. Sometimes we even 'earned' extra 'free' rides.

As for the guilt thing. There are very few wild herds world-wide. So most horses now either are in domestic 'servitude' or dead, dogfood. Learn well, teach well, and be the voice of an animal that needs it, and these horses will have nothing for you to feel guilty for.

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post #46 of 118 Old 04-14-2016, 09:42 AM
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As far as feeling badly for the horse.....remember that horses are nothing if not psychic. That horse will NEVER go in the arena for you if he feels that you do not feel it.
This pattern will repeat itself....have you ever wondered why people say "horses don't LIKE me.....I am so scared of them because they don't like me" ? Horses KNOW. They know when YOU feel unsure, and that makes them unsure.
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post #47 of 118 Old 04-14-2016, 01:05 PM
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I hope you can reconcile your feelings of guilt as I believe that will inhibit your ability to ride. It can affect you being able to recognize bad behavior and correct or to even give necessary aides/cues if you feel sorry for the horse being ridden and used. I trained dogs for many years, giving classes to adults and children. Most adults I worked with were not very successful as they were so afraid of upsetting their dogs by using proper training techniques that they were very ineffective trainers/handlers. The kids were by far more satisfying to work with.

I hope you engage in conversations with good horse people who will help you over this mental hurdle. If you ever saw the conditions feral horses live in, you would recognize that the trade off for well kept horses is their great health and the care they receive at the hands of humans.
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post #48 of 118 Old 04-14-2016, 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Scubasmitten View Post
I have no issues with strict teachers (although I'm hard on myself when I underperform). It's good for you! She gives both negative and positive feedback and she has yet to really yell at me. Apparently, I have the choice of two lesson horses--I'm guessing this is due to style and skill level. I'm using the other horse now because she sold mine. :/ I can't help but feel she should be punctual like I am--even if she's just silently observing and I'm only tacking up. We are expected to tack up and groom the horse before we saddle up and groom once more after the lesson. She offers a horsemanship class which is really just children and has them feed the horses, move them around and such. Free labor. ?
This is common, as knowing how to groom and tack up horses is a necessary skill for most equestrians (unless you are heir to a fortune and can pay other people to do it for you). Pretty much everyone I know grooms and tacks up their own horses before riding, then untacks and grooms afterward. There are some show barns I've visited where grooms tack up the horses, but this is rare. I was on the fence about my feelings regarding whether or not your instructor was crossing the line with the horses until getting to this point in the thread. The fact that you consider having children take a horsemanship class where they feed and maintain horses or having students tack up their own mounts might be her way of getting free labor tilts me over toward thinking that you're probably just not very experienced with horses and, therefore, don't have an understanding of why the things at the barn are happening the way they are. I don't mean that in an insulting way at all--I just know that oftentimes beginners don't really understand what is happening at barns and mistake necessary discipline for abuse. Kind of like when people freak out because someone is riding with a crop. It may be that the horse in question who was refusing to enter the arena has a serious problem with this behavior that the instructor is trying to correct. A horse should not be struck idly, but sometimes it is necessary to strike a horse when they are exhibiting behaviors that can eventually turn dangerous. I can't think of anytime it would be appropriate to kick a horse, but then I didn't see with my own eyes exactly what this instructor was doing and, therefore, can't necessarily judge her based on one side of the story, especially when that side is from someone still learning. I am also not a fan of the "smack the junk" method of getting a horse to put it away, but like many people have commented, it's not an uncommon thing to do.

I would say, however, that if this instructor is making you uncomfortable then you should seek a new instructor. I personally wouldn't be too quick to judge her, though. No, professionals aren't always right in their methods, but I see more beginners misunderstanding things that are happening than I see professionals abusing their horses, just in general. Of course, abuse happens, but since you don't have a lot of experience I would personally suggest giving the instructor the benefit of the doubt and asking her why she does the things she does. If you don't like the answer, then leave. It's your money after all!

BTW, a little off topic, I am a huge SCUBA fan! I got my Divemaster certification in Utila, Honduras last summer!
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post #49 of 118 Old 04-15-2016, 12:14 AM Thread Starter
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The free labor was my way of joking. It was late and I tend to forget text does not convey emotion & such. My apologies for the confusion. I will also say... yes
..I am new. I have a lot to learn and I'm going to make misjudgments and rookie mistakes. I'm not trying to make her out to be a monster. Heck....as far as I knew, her behavior was normal. I just need opinons and information. I have no time to talk to her about these things with her. I wish I had more time to spend around the farm.
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post #50 of 118 Old 04-15-2016, 12:36 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Scubasmitten View Post
I have no issues with strict teachers (although I'm hard on myself when I underperform). It's good for you! She gives both negative and positive feedback and she has yet to really yell at me. Apparently, I have the choice of two lesson horses--I'm guessing this is due to style and skill level. I'm using the other horse now because she sold mine. :/ I can't help but feel she should be punctual like I am--even if she's just silently observing and I'm only tacking up. We are expected to tack up and groom the horse before we saddle up and groom once more after the lesson. She offers a horsemanship class which is really just children and has them feed the horses, move them around and such. Free labor. ?
This is common, as knowing how to groom and tack up horses is a necessary skill for most equestrians (unless you are heir to a fortune and can pay other people to do it for you). Pretty much everyone I know grooms and tacks up their own horses before riding, then untacks and grooms afterward. There are some show barns I've visited where grooms tack up the horses, but this is rare. I was on the fence about my feelings regarding whether or not your instructor was crossing the line with the horses until getting to this point in the thread. The fact that you consider having children take a horsemanship class where they feed and maintain horses or having students tack up their own mounts might be her way of getting free labor tilts me over toward thinking that you're probably just not very experienced with horses and, therefore, don't have an understanding of why the things at the barn are happening the way they are. I don't mean that in an insulting way at all--I just know that oftentimes beginners don't really understand what is happening at barns and mistake necessary discipline for abuse. Kind of like when people freak out because someone is riding with a crop. It may be that the horse in question who was refusing to enter the arena has a serious problem with this behavior that the instructor is trying to correct. A horse should not be struck idly, but sometimes it is necessary to strike a horse when they are exhibiting behaviors that can eventually turn dangerous. I can't think of anytime it would be appropriate to kick a horse, but then I didn't see with my own eyes exactly what this instructor was doing and, therefore, can't necessarily judge her based on one side of the story, especially when that side is from someone still learning. I am also not a fan of the "smack the junk" method of getting a horse to put it away, but like many people have commented, it's not an uncommon thing to do.

I would say, however, that if this instructor is making you uncomfortable then you should seek a new instructor. I personally wouldn't be too quick to judge her, though. No, professionals aren't always right in their methods, but I see more beginners misunderstanding things that are happening than I see professionals abusing their horses, just in general. Of course, abuse happens, but since you don't have a lot of experience I would personally suggest giving the instructor the benefit of the doubt and asking her why she does the things she does. If you don't like the answer, then leave. It's your money after all!

BTW, a little off topic, I am a huge SCUBA fan! I got my Divemaster certification in Utila, Honduras last summer!
Thanks! I'm going to give it some time before I make a decision. I'm really not sure if it's a common problem for the horse, but I CAN say he started doing it the last 3 lessons. As soon as I was nearing putting the saddle and pad on, I was seeing him do things that led me to believe he was like "Oh sh*t. Not this girl again." LOL I'm sure it's something I'm doing making him dread me riding him. :( I've tried strengthening my thighs and ankles, but then I end up sore for class and the lesson is a waste. Things were going great until we started trying to post the trot. She would always tell me how impressed she was with my progression. She tells some folks that they make her want to quit her job. I don't want to be one of those people. The horse is impatient during grooming. He would walk forward and back and paw. I wish I knew the names of the sounds they make! She said they were happy sounds. Do you think she would have issue with me arriving early (I'm the first student of the day) to tack up and groom to maximize my saddle time? I'm hesitant to ask. She's so irritable. You don't know how lucky you are, regarding Utila! Those guys are AWESOME and so many dive sites there! How was it?? I am so jealous. I watched their videos when rehearsing for my instructor exam! We went on a cruise just to see Roatan and the ship did not dock the port!!! It was weather related. It was my first cruise and at dinner the first night, they came over intercom to announce they just helped rescue a coast guard ship. I was like wtf!!! Nooo. Oh...great...look at those white caps. And guess what--they refunded me a total of $13 for missing the one port I paid to see on a 7 day cruise. Ugh.
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