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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
How much does a trainer's show record matter to you when trainer shopping? Would you be okay with a trainer that's proven in local/unrated shows or only if they have medals?

Purely curious :)

I was bored while waiting for work to appear and looked up some of my old trainers on the USDF centerline scores website and found:

- one had zero record (her accomplishment was getting to novice level as an eventer. Knew that going in but I was a re-rider and mostly just wanted saddle time)
- one has about a quarter of the way to a bronze after 20+ years of rated showing. Her students usually place locally (this was the trainer who was adamant that my horse was three legged lame even though he wasnt so much as head bobbing)
- one claimed to be a 4th level rider but centerline has her at first level at the highest with perhaps 1/4 of the way to a bronze medal (she did live overseas for many years and centerline only has US shows)

Apparently I suck at choosing trainers, LOL.

So what about you guys? Does the trainer's show USDF show record matter to you? What about their local level? Overall experience?

What do you look for in a trainer?
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I don't really care fi a trainer can show or has all the ribbons in the world or is a international winning jumper/shower/etc.
I want a trainer that knows what she/he is doing with horses, knows how to correct things, keeps good communications and helps the owner to make sure they know what to do to keep their horse well an show them how to correct it.

I would like a trainer with some experience - but once I see for a few days if she seems to know what she is doing and works very nicely with horses I will keep them.

I want to be a trainer but I don't plan on showing or anything. But this is what I look for in a trainer and hopefully I can become a good one in time!
 

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It would depend what my ultimate goal was. If I only wanted to compete at the local level then I would be less fussy about their accomplishments. If I wanted to go the world championships their record would have to reflect their ability to get me and my horse there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
But without the ribbons, what do you use as a measure of how skilled/knowledgeable they are? Aside from word of mouth. One of my trainers I could have sworn knew what she was about until she started insisting my horse was "three-legged lame". (When I called the vet out, the vet said my horse was healthy, sound and sassy and looked like a fun ride. She felt so bad that I was trying to do the best I could for him that she didn't charge me for the visit.)

Even if you don't have the desire to show, awesome training is awesome training. Wouldn't you rather ride with the ability of a GP rider if you could?


(Just playing devil's advocate to keep conversation moving)
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Like I said before - I would watch them work with my horse a few days.
You don't need ribbons to prove you are the best. There are some people out there who have their trainers do all the work for them so the horse knows that to do. All the rider has to do is jump on and look good.

My mom and I saw this girl who gave her horse to her trainer to prepare for a show. The trainer got the horse ready and went over the pattern with the horse multiple times and by the time she got it back the horse had the pattern memorized. The girl got on the horse and in the ring and the pattern ahd been changed last minute. Her horse did the orignal pattern and the rider had no I dea what to do. but if the pattern was not changed then she would have gotten first place.
So maybe she becomes a rider but doesn't improve on your horse with all these ribbons she has won? In my opinion - i don't think so.
 

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I switched dressage instructors earlier in the year. The first one had competed at training level and first level plus had all around horse experience. She was able to help me re-establish some very basics but did not pick up nor correct subtle faults.

My current instructor is a USDF Gold Medalist, has competed at FEI level and graduated from the USDF judges program - she totally transformed my riding from the ground up. Many of her students have bronze medals and a couple of earned their silver medal. All those things matter to me so that's why I like riding for her.

If I never wanted to compete, or only compete at training level, then the first instructor would have done a fine job.
 

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Everyone does have their own opinions - like most people want a trainer with a hosue of ribbons, but I want a trainer who I have seen work in person with horses and see how she works.
 

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Do you want to learn French from someone who is learning the same lessons as you? Or someone who knows the language and is fluent?

I would highly, highly recommend looking at a coach/trainers personal accomplishments as a #1 to short list them. Then look at the success of their students, then watch a lesson.
Someone incapable of training a horse is not going to be able to teach you to train yours!
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I don't care, per se, what an instructor's accomplishments as a rider are. Some can ride well and not teach for beans, so more important to me would be, "Where are their other students placing and competing?" Obviously, I would want an instructor who had at least competed to the level I want to be at, but it would mean far more if not only that, but they also had several other students competing at the level I wanted to be at, as that would prove to me not only do they know their stuff on the horse, but that they know how to communicate, translate, and apply that knowledge to other horse and rider combinations.
 

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There are some brilliant riders who cannot teach for toffee.

I think there is a difference in what you look for if you are just wanting to train with your horse, or if you aim to compete and win. If you want to compete, you need to look for. Trainer who has the background, but is also known to take students where they need to be and not hold them back, or have the lack experience to take them where they need to be.
 

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Personally a good trainer is one with happy horses who can teach me to the fullest of her capabilities. For instance, I got the opportunity to ride with a really accredited dressage instructor. I figured it would be a nice change of pace from my normal one who's a woman who shows locally and takes lessons to get high up in the levels (though let me say, she can ride like nobody's business). After two lessons with the accredited dressage instructor I began to wonder if she really deserved all those ribbons and trophies or medals or if the judges had a thumb up their butts when they watched her ride.

To me showing and winning is just something done on the side. It's so political nowadays that the worst riders can place high if they're on the right horse with the right bloodlines imo. I'd much rather have a no name trainer who taught me and the horse well then a big name trainer who could barely ride and solely relied on her achievements to get students and teach.

Heck, my trainer right now I didn't know had won several grand championships, has enough ribbons and trophies to kill a horse (pun intended lol) and guess where they are. In a dusty closet ready to be thrown away, or donated to local shows who need awards to give out. She told me that showing does not define a rider or horse, and it doesn't make you any better or worse off, all it is is marketing. Give me a no name rider who can actually ride, and train me and the horse any day.
 

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When I was looking for a trainer, I went on BD's Website, the first thing I looked at was what level have they ridden to, second thing and arguably the more important thing was what level have thier students ridden too.

I got lucky and found a trainer who has ridden at Grand prix (and scored well) and who has had students that have ridden to GP (in juniors, young riders and adult classes) and advanced eventing.

I believe that just being able to ride to that level is not enough, you must be able to teach! however I dont want to be taught by someone who has no provable experianceat a higher level than I am riding at.
 

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I do like a trainer that has won. To me it shows dedication to their discipline.

I do like a trainer that still takes lessons themselves to make sure they have not developed any bad habits.....which are easy to pick up.

I like a trainer who goes to clinics to learn.

I like one who does hold a judges card.

I like a trainer who is good with horses.....even when they are riding my little Arab and they laugh at his antics.

I like a trainer that communicates to my level and that I can understand.

I like a trainer who is willing to ride your horse in order to show you your horse can do things, but you as a rider need work...lol

I live in BF western PA and have some how been graced with two dressage trainers that have all of the above! And the hour lessons do not break my bank.

And no yellers. I'm 53 and do not need someone screaming insults my way. I'm also red headed and would probably do bodily harm if someone did.
 

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I look at what the trainer's students and horses are doing. That is how I pick a trainer for my horse and a riding coach for me. Not everyone that can do it, can teach it, teaching is a skill.
 
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@ Incitatus32: I agree with you completely.

@ sarahfromsc: You said you like a trainer who has won because it shows dedication to their dedication.
I agree with you, but I don't agree with you.
I do know that ribbons show how well a person ahs doneand how hard they have worked to get there, but maybe something happened to another amazing rider and that small reason put them so they couldn't place. WHat aobut in big state events where they only do grand and reserve grand camp and to third place where there is so many entries.
I do see your point, and like I said - I do agree but I disagree.
I got reserve champ two years in a row with different horses. The first year I used Golley and the Second year I used brisco. The year I used Brisco I let one of my friends use Golley - she didn't place at all, but she also had no idea what to do because even though I taught her everything i knew, she didn't listen and did things her way - she was a first timer at this as well.
 

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I didn't wade through all of the responses but agree with others. Not all good trainers can ride and not all good riders can teach. My current trainer can ride and teach to at least Grand Prix level but he has never shown in a recognized show as far as I can find. He has brought my horse and I very far in the 10 weeks or so I have been riding with him.

Another trainer I use occasionally has his gold medal but his teaching style is geared probably more towards people riding the upper levels; he has a hard time bringing down things to a more basic level for those, like me, generally just starting out with dressage. I believe he shows at the Intermediare and FEI levels but can't confirm as Centerline is down...again.

I watched a recent video of another trainer I have had, a good instructor, but, I was very surprised at her actual riding; it wasn't the level of riding I would expect from her based upon her knowledge.
 

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How much does a trainer's show record matter to you when trainer shopping? Would you be okay with a trainer that's proven in local/unrated shows or only if they have medals?
When I was looking for one I looked at 1) years of experience teaching and training (and riding of course), 2) level of riding (yes, that includes showing :) ), 3) recommendations.

If we talk dressage here (or jumping) I'd always go with someone high level over low level. Simply because in my experience (so please no offense to anyone, I/my horse was a tough case to work with :) ) such trainers know so much more that they can address your problems and help you to progress. I had no luck at all with trainers riding low levels. But it's just me...

BTW, if you are interested (I'm not sure how close you are though :wink: ) I can PM you my trainer's name. I found her by recommendations and she's absolutely awesome.
 

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Interesting.

I don't see why someone should nessecarily be judged by their "accomplishements." Accomplishments are all relative.

It's already been said that some judges barely even consider the rider and skill level, and soley judge based off the horse and pedigree.

Also, not all people have an interest in showing - but that doesn't mean they don't know their stuff. Someone could ride just as well as any Gold medalist out there, but just not be interested in showing. Not everyone wants to deal with the politics of the show world, or the cost.

I played very serious competive volleyball in highschool. During the school year, I learned from the hired Coaches and staff that were available. During the off season, I trained on a team that was coached by a Bronze Medalist volleyball player. You know what? In the end, they all knew the same exact amount about volleyball. While one had the "accomplishments" of the olympics, the others were just as good as teaching as she was. They, however, just had no interest in being an Olympic athlete - their lives just didn't take the same path.

With that being said, I would train with a trainer that made me feel comfortable, let me enjoy my time riding, and allowed to move as high as I liked -or just plod around the arena every lesson for years to come. After all, I am paying for their service.

Awards and ribbons are nice, of course, but I wounldn't discount someone just because they didn't show an interest in that lifestyle. Doesn't mean they can't help direct someone else to the proper means it takes to get to GP level, or even an Olympic medal.
 

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Interesting.

I don't see why someone should nessecarily be judged by their "accomplishements." Accomplishments are all relative.

It's already been said that some judges barely even consider the rider and skill level, and soley judge based off the horse and pedigree.

Also, not all people have an interest in showing - but that doesn't mean they don't know their stuff. Someone could ride just as well as any Gold medalist out there, but just not be interested in showing. Not everyone wants to deal with the politics of the show world, or the cost.

I played very serious competive volleyball in highschool. During the school year, I learned from the hired Coaches and staff that were available. During the off season, I trained on a team that was coached by a Bronze Medalist volleyball player. You know what? In the end, they all knew the same exact amount about volleyball. While one had the "accomplishments" of the olympics, the others were just as good as teaching as she was. They, however, just had no interest in being an Olympic athlete - their lives just didn't take the same path.

With that being said, I would train with a trainer that made me feel comfortable, let me enjoy my time riding, and allowed to move as high as I liked -or just plod around the arena every lesson for years to come. After all, I am paying for their service.

Awards and ribbons are nice, of course, but I wounldn't discount someone just because they didn't show an interest in that lifestyle. Doesn't mean they can't help direct someone else to the proper means it takes to get to GP level, or even an Olympic medal.

WHAAAAAAAT?? Seriously?!? Dressage judges don't have easy access to your horse's bloodlines. They aren't Googling you during your once around - flatter yourself as much as you would like.
They judge what is in front of them and if it's crap - you're getting a crap score. Nothing to do with that your horse isn't by De Niro.

That's just something that people who do poorly say. It's called being a bad loser. I've earned every single one of my 40% tests by riding like a sack of flaming dog poo. And I've earned all my 70% tests as well, by riding well.


I think it's silly to think that someone who can't go out and ride a test in front of an FEI judge and earn a decent score has any right to be telling others how to ride. It's called earning your stripes. It's why lawyers have to pass the bar, engineers have to go through a rigorous certification process, vets are tested, doctors go through agonizing practicums etc.. etc.. You have to EARN the right to be a professional in whatever you do. And just because your mum thinks you are a great rider is not a good reason to hang a shingle. We have a responsibility to raise the level of riding knowledge in NA. Because right now it's severely lacking.
 

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I show so a good show record is important to me. It let's me know that the trains actually has the chops to ride and train at a high level and they aren't all just talk.

But personality, method, and many other factors also affect who I'll choose as a trainer.
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