The Horse Forum banner

1 - 13 of 13 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
551 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've got another bit of a question for you guys. This time it involves working with a trainer/riding instructor.
I have a riding instructor that I've been working with August and I literally have barely improved. So I'd just like a bit of an outside opinion on this since I've been thinking about it lately and just how much I really want to move forward.


Basically, since August, I've made exceedingly little progress in my riding. Now, I know this is due to a few things.
1 - the mare I had constantly tossed out her back and hips and didn't enjoy work so she was retired. So little riding ever happened with her.
2 - new gelding. Managed to ride him a decent amount in September when I got him, but then he lost a lot of weight when it started to get colder to the point for October to November, I couldn't ride because of how much weight he'd dropped.
3 - Once he gained weight, I managed to get in 2 rides before I got so sick I couldn't really leave home and a nasty cough that lasted a few weeks.
4 - had a family get sick and pass away 10 hours away so spent a week away to deal with that
5 - Got better, managed to have another 3 ish rides before we got -50C weather and it was waaay too cold for me or Sam to go for a ride.



So there have been a few road blocks that have made it hard to work on riding. However, I have managed to get in a few sessions of free lunging, ground work, and just generally hanging out with the horses.
But on the other hand, every time I have a lesson with my riding instructor, there's nothing new. Just lots of walking and trotting and doing the exact same turning and such every single time. Like, it's basically that there's nothing new going on. It's the exact same lesson each time.

I understand wanting to nail these things down before moving too much forward, but I don't even get tips of things to necessarily work on in between lessons. If I ask, I'm just given vague responses. Example, I asked how to help his muscling and topline, and she says walk and trot and poles. But no suggestion or recommendation of how to set up the poles or how to build it up as he gets in better shape or if I should ride straight or do lots of circles and turns when riding at the walk or trot. I've had to look things up myself or ask people on FB or here for answers, because I don't get much from her.

On the other hand, she has taught me a lot outside of the riding aspect, such as which feeds to give my TB so that he would gain weight. She's helping with finding a saddle that fits my guy properly. She's taught me how to use my leg and seat for steering a bit more and some basic stuff like that.


But that's it. It's been basically 6 -7 months of lessons with her, and I've made 0 improvement since the first lesson. I even made a side comment to her about how it felt like I wasn't improving at all (not quite outright, but easy enough to comment on if she wanted) and while she didn't say much and the way the topic change said it loud and clear that she pretty much agrees that there's been 0 progress.





One reason this frustrates me is because there's another guy around here that I've had 3 lessons with in the past. First lesson, we did walking and trotting and I did learn a bit more about using my seat and such. Second lesson, I learnt a bit more about posting on the correct diagonal and even started to work on cantering. By lesson 3, we did a warm up in the arena before heading out on a trail ride and even cantering while out there and he said I'd improved quite a bit since the second lessons canter session and I'd had no way to ride between lessons.
With him, I improved! I was making progress and it was exciting.

Then things happened and he got busy and incredibly hard to get a hold of, so I went onto to use the lady I have now, and in comparison, in the last 6-7 months, I've made thousands of times less progress than I did in the 3 simple lessons I got from the other guy. She also tends to "take over" when it comes to saddling up versus just letting me do it myself or telling me what I need to do better or fix. But when I was with the other guy, first day he did himself to show me how it's done and such (I already knew but it was also a way for him to refresh me an such) but then the next 2 times, it up to me to catch the horse he had for me to ride, to groom it, and tack it up all on my own but would give out pointers if I did actually need them.




It honestly feels like right now, with my TB, I've gotten so little help in figuring out how to condition him or to improve things, that I've taken up watching youtube videos and seeking advice on here (which I'm forever grateful for) to figure out how to retrain my boy, than to seek out her help. I've been working my boy consistently this last week to work on his lunging skills, ground work, and when I do ride, sticking ONLY to the walk cause he's being bratty and needs a refresher on what the correct answer is. And I'm finally starting to see some progress which is only AFTER I decide to figure these things out myself and not getting any real tips from my instructor. What I'm doing with my boy now, she never told me to do other than walking and trotting and poles help with topline. That's it. I've taken it a step further to literally go back to ground work with him and only now am I seeing things get better.



I don't know. Am I at all justified in being so frustrated in my lessons with lady? Or am I missing something?
I mean, I know part of the lack of progress is my fault since I haven't been able to ride as consistently as I wanted to through the winter, but it still feels like I should've made at least a fraction of more progress instead of being stuck or even going in reverse. I mean, 3 lessons with the guy with 2 -3 weeks in between lessons without having a way to ride in between them, I made decent improvement! But months with this lady and more riding than before, and I've not cantered once and have gone waay back in my skills and even feel a little like my confidence in the saddle has dropped.


With that said, what are your guys thoughts on all this?

And if you actually read all that, I appreciate it lol. I've been working on changing my life (losing weight, working out, and more consistent work with horses) and now that I'm becoming more proactive in my own life, I'm just getting fed up with feeling like no matter how hard I try to improve, I get no where and keep getting knocked down a little more. For the first time ever, I actually even a small shot of anxiety when I went to hop on Sam which has NEVER happened before. In fact, one reason why I got him was because he calmed my nerves and I never got anxiety when it went to hopping on him. But after the last "lesson" I had, I actually got minor anxiety when I went to hop on Sam and I don't want that to happen. I don't want to go back to getting anxiety so bad that I physically shake just thinking about riding a good 10 mins before I even go to the barn. That's not fun and I don't want to go back to it.



Another minor example is the fact that in this pic, it's fairly obvious my feet are too far forward. My current instructor never told me about this. I only noticed it once I saw the pics/watched the video I recorded of my ride.



And this is a pic of when I had lessons with that other guy where I actually felt confident and actually was having fun riding where is the fun in riding has almost been zapped out of me now.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,439 Posts
Go back to the other guy. It sounds like your current instructor isn't really a riding instructor. Sounds like a gal who may know how to ride but doesn't know how to teach.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
551 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
it can also be that the different horse made you feel more confident. But, well, yeah, don't waste your money on a person who isn't pushing you forward. Encouraging you to push yourself forward is what I mean.
It wasn't the horse. The paint I rode with the guy, it was my first time on her. I also rode a different horse each time with the guy (he owns over 50) and the TB I own, one reason I got him was for the specific reason that he made me feel comfortable and riding was fun. It's not till I started lessons with him and this new trainer that my confidence started to slowly get worked down to the point that now I'm semi starting on anxiety. But ya, the lady isn't very encouraging to work with.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,043 Posts
Sounds frustrating!

I think it would help if you wrote down your personal goals, and then take the list to your next instruction and share it with your instructor so she knows what you plan to achieve.

She may not be aware that you are serious about improving your riding skills.

Ask yourself, what specifically do you want to be doing a year from now? Do you want to be showing? Trail riding? Jumping?

Or are your goals more horse specific? Do you want your horse to be able to do perfect transitions? How about bridle less work? Liberty work?

There is so much to learn, and I think it would help you to set some goals.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
551 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Sounds frustrating!

I think it would help if you wrote down your personal goals, and then take the list to your next instruction and share it with your instructor so she knows what you plan to achieve.

She may not be aware that you are serious about improving your riding skills.

Ask yourself, what specifically do you want to be doing a year from now? Do you want to be showing? Trail riding? Jumping?

Or are your goals more horse specific? Do you want your horse to be able to do perfect transitions? How about bridle less work? Liberty work?

There is so much to learn, and I think it would help you to set some goals.

This is one of the reasons why it is so frustrating. I told her from day one, that my goals are to be able to ride a walk/trot/canter well. That was/is my first goal since it's step one. I'm not sure about competing, but I do want to train horses in the future as a career or at least be able to do well enough that I only need a part time job on the side. I'd love to learn to jump (one of my other main goals) but learning some dressage would be good too, and it'd be fun to play around with barrels and pole bending as well just for fun.

She knows this. I've told her at different points through the months this is my goal but the first step that I truly want to accomplish is to be able to ride the different gates confidently. And as I mentioned above, it feels like the exact opposite is happening and I'm pretty much going backwards in my skills, instead of improving.


To put this in a bit more context, 3-4 years ago, there were 2 horses I rode. One was a green mare and I would occassionally canter her around. Not much, but some. Then I rode a gelding who'd been semi abused and left to run wild for 2 years and had no respect for personal space. Well, by the end of it, he was safe enough for a 10 year old to ride. But I would ride him at a canter and LOVED it. At first, he'd get so excited and worked up about going faster, that he'd buck the full arena length down before he'd settle into a canter. This got better with every ride, but that's where I was at.

Then I moved and I had lessons with that guy I mentioned and by lesson 2 and 3, he had me cantering. I was riding bigger horses so they went faster than I was used to so yes, I was wobbly in my abilities, but apprently I was good enough that he trusted I'd be able to handle it.

Then I go to this lady, and 0 canter work and I don't even want to try cantering even more. I barely even want to trot. And that is with her knowing my goals as well. And due to a combination of my confidence going down, inconsistent work, my gelding now has to be started fresh where for the last week, I focused solely on ground work and rode him once at a walk and it took him 15 mins to finally settle down and walk nicely. She's seen this plenty of times but instead of helping me to find ways to relax him at a walk, she has me going into a trot and because he's already fussy and bratty at a walk, he's even worse when trotting which takes the fun out of it.

So while she has taught me things outside of riding and minor things such as using my seat and leg while riding, everything else feels like it's falling a part and I'm now starting to see a tiny bit of improvement that I've started to look to myself and online for answers and suggestions, instead of going to her and she can actually see these things in person where is you guys can't.

Sorry, I kind of went on a mini rant there ><
It's just been kind of building up and driving me nuts now that I'm thinking about where I was a few years ago, and where I'm at now. It's rather disheartening to see how it's all "fallen apart" so to speak.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,498 Posts
I understand you're frustrated with your perceived lack of progress, but just how many lessons did you have with this instructor? It sounds like you weren't able to ride very much at all. I don't think it's fair to think you should be cantering if you aren't able to do lessons consistently.

You may also perceive that you aren't progressing, but some instructors believe that it's better to perfect the basics and have a good position before moving on to more advanced riding. My daughter's jumping coach says "Practice doesn't make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect." In other words, doing the wrong thing over and over again only solidifies bad habits, getting it right is important to develop muscle memory and good habits. I can't say without seeing you, obviously, but it may be that with the issues you identify, and the inconsistent riding, you just haven't progressed because you haven't completely committed.

You say you progressed a lot more with this other guy, but how do you know? Because he told you? Some instructors love telling their riders how much better they got so they'll keep coming back. Makes the riders feel good about themselves. I've seen instructors do this, and it's unfair to the rider. I also don't see the point of riding with an instructor that only gives you positive feedback - how can you improve that way? Not saying that's what's going on here, because again, we can't see you, but amazing progress in 3 lessons is a bit hard to believe. Or are you basing it on the fact that he let you canter? Again, that doesn't mean anything. Better to wait to canter until riders have a good, solid position. Rushing it is pointless because you will bounce all over the horse, making it very uncomfortable on the horse who then develops a negative association with cantering.

If you really want to progress, commit to riding at least weekly or bi-weekly. I ride in the cold, in the snow, in all kinds of weather. It's easy to find reasons not to ride. And maybe consider a good off-saddle training program as well to keep the momentum going!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
551 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I understand you're frustrated with your perceived lack of progress, but just how many lessons did you have with this instructor? It sounds like you weren't able to ride very much at all. I don't think it's fair to think you should be cantering if you aren't able to do lessons consistently.

I've had lessons pretty much every other week, with the exception being when we had such cold temps that builds weren't working anymore and cars weren't starting and the little bit I was sick. Otherwise lessons generally were every other week and I wasn't necessarily expecting to be cantering, but to feel like I'm actually moving forward versus same thing every time. Even if she explained it to me that there were things we needed to work on first before I could move forward and what I could do outside of lessons in order to help progress. Example being, my guy is currently having trouble listening when at a walk. Instead of telling me "you know, he's not doing too great at this so lets take a step back and work on this for a bit and here's what you can do to prepare for the next lesson and here's what you need to do to communicate with him better as well" or something similar to that, she instead says nothing and has be walking and trotting around that's getting me a bit discouraged. I've even asked her outright at times what I can do to get better or things that really need practice, but I get vague responses.

You may also perceive that you aren't progressing, but some instructors believe that it's better to perfect the basics and have a good position before moving on to more advanced riding. My daughter's jumping coach says "Practice doesn't make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect." In other words, doing the wrong thing over and over again only solidifies bad habits, getting it right is important to develop muscle memory and good habits. I can't say without seeing you, obviously, but it may be that with the issues you identify, and the inconsistent riding, you just haven't progressed because you haven't completely committed.

Ya, I understand that, and I know there were a few times where I wasn't committed, but those moments were due to the fact he'd lost weight and I couldn't ride, then my grandma passed away and I was gone for a bit, and being sick myself when I got back. However, during the times I could ride, I did my best. Before all that happened, the first month I had him, I was riding a couple times a week and we did decent. And I wonder sometimes how I could solidify good habits when she doesn't always point out the bad ones. Like a few times, I was riding with my legs too far forward rather than correct position, and she never told me about it and I only figured out once I started to record my rides and watched them back. But I do understand that my lack of progress isn't 100% her fault as there were other things that got in the way as well. But it's now during this last week where I'm doing things to work on my gelding listening to me better on the ground and stepping back to only ride at a walk to master that, now I'm starting to see progress since she didn't tell me anything I could do to improve when directly asked.

You say you progressed a lot more with this other guy, but how do you know? Because he told you? Some instructors love telling their riders how much better they got so they'll keep coming back. Makes the riders feel good about themselves. I've seen instructors do this, and it's unfair to the rider. I also don't see the point of riding with an instructor that only gives you positive feedback - how can you improve that way? Not saying that's what's going on here, because again, we can't see you, but amazing progress in 3 lessons is a bit hard to believe. Or are you basing it on the fact that he let you canter? Again, that doesn't mean anything. Better to wait to canter until riders have a good, solid position. Rushing it is pointless because you will bounce all over the horse, making it very uncomfortable on the horse who then develops a negative association with cantering.

I know I was progressing because I could feel it and see it. He did give me positive feedback, but he also told me what I was doing wrong and how to fix it. And when he got me cantering, I wasn't expecting it since I figured it'd take a little more before he'd get me cantering, but I was doing well enough walking and trotting and using the cues he taught me that I moved into the canter and while I didn't ride it perfectly, I did get into the swing of it and managed well. He would actually ride his own horse during the lesson with me as well so if I wasn't understanding something, he'd do it on his horse to show me what he meant, and it made it much easier to figure out what he wanted me to do. I've also been riding on and off through the years, so it's not like I had 0 experience before going to those lessons either. And if I was doing something wrong, he would get me to do do it repeatedly a few times until I got it. So he wasn't just praising me, he was correcting me as well. He's also a well known breeder and trainer and is very hard to get a hold of which is why I haven't had more lessons with him and am with this lady now instead.


If you really want to progress, commit to riding at least weekly or bi-weekly. I ride in the cold, in the snow, in all kinds of weather. It's easy to find reasons not to ride. And maybe consider a good off-saddle training program as well to keep the momentum going!
That's exactly what I'm working on doing! I'm going back to groundwork and riding at a walk and have a bit of a game plan on how to move forward with my boy and manage to do things regularly. And I appreciate your feedback since it did make me think a bit more. I think the biggest reason I'm struggling with her, is because I ask her questions, and she doesn't give me much of an answer, and I'm left wondering what I need to do to work on to be better and to be able to help communicate to my boy better as well without any clear direction. And that's one reason why I've wanted a riding instructor so that I can learn from them and know what to do, whether that's step back a bit and take things back to square one, or it's to push forward more and get out of my comfort zone. Just some sort of direction is the biggest thing I ask for and it feels like I get little to none of it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
551 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Is there a reason you can’t go to a different instructor?
I live in an exeedingly little town. There are 3 other instructors. One only provides lessons if you can get to her home with your horse. I don't have a truck or trailer so can't go to that one. Second one, I had arranged lessons 2 seperate times and both times, she couldn't make and the third time I asked about it, I never got a response back ever again. So can't go with her.
Last but not least is the guy I mentioned in my post. He's a well known breeder, trainer, and gives riding lessons. However, he's also very hard to get a hold of because he is so busy all the time. So sometimes I get a response to a message that says he's more than happy to give me a lesson, but then he disappears cause he's busy and never responds to set a date and time for said lesson. So while I'd love to learn from him again, it's quite hard to get a hold of him.

The lady I currently get lessons from is the only person who comes out to my stable to give me lessons.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,043 Posts
I live in an exeedingly little town. There are 3 other instructors. One only provides lessons if you can get to her home with your horse. I don't have a truck or trailer so can't go to that one. Second one, I had arranged lessons 2 seperate times and both times, she couldn't make and the third time I asked about it, I never got a response back ever again. So can't go with her.
Last but not least is the guy I mentioned in my post. He's a well known breeder, trainer, and gives riding lessons. However, he's also very hard to get a hold of because he is so busy all the time. So sometimes I get a response to a message that says he's more than happy to give me a lesson, but then he disappears cause he's busy and never responds to set a date and time for said lesson. So while I'd love to learn from him again, it's quite hard to get a hold of him.

The lady I currently get lessons from is the only person who comes out to my stable to give me lessons.
Sometimes, one just has to work with what they have.

I would try some more specific goals, and just focus on them while you ride.

Ex: trot three circles in a row in both directions.

Also, there is a book called 101 arena exercises that you could try. It has some specific, detailed instruction that might help you learn.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,949 Posts
I live in an exeedingly little town. There are 3 other instructors. One only provides lessons if you can get to her home with your horse. I don't have a truck or trailer so can't go to that one. Second one, I had arranged lessons 2 seperate times and both times, she couldn't make and the third time I asked about it, I never got a response back ever again. So can't go with her.
Last but not least is the guy I mentioned in my post. He's a well known breeder, trainer, and gives riding lessons. However, he's also very hard to get a hold of because he is so busy all the time. So sometimes I get a response to a message that says he's more than happy to give me a lesson, but then he disappears cause he's busy and never responds to set a date and time for said lesson. So while I'd love to learn from him again, it's quite hard to get a hold of him.

The lady I currently get lessons from is the only person who comes out to my stable to give me lessons.
Ok, I thought something like that was likely- otherwise you wouldn’t be asking online.

I am in a very similar situation. The instructor at my yard is very similar. I have figured out that she has burnt out on lessons, she just can’t make herself care any more.

So what I did is the following: I bought two books with ground pole and traffic cones excersises and jumping patterns. I copy two excercises per lesson and give them to her, set up the parkour and she just supervises in case I’m doing something wrong. I also work a lot on my own but it seems like you are not there yet.

When I organize the lesson, my instructor is much more engaged than her usual self. Find a few easy excersises online and ask her if she would be willing to incorporate them in your next lesson. If she says no, ask her (very nicely) why not - she might have a very good explanation.

I would say your instructor is bored out of her mind. You will need to take initiative. Don’t fret about it - this is the situation you have to work with and you will be pleasantly surprised when you see how much fun it is to take charge.

Good luck!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
591 Posts
Sounds like the first instructor is more suited to your learning style; however, Acadianartist makes a good point. There are so many different methods to teach, and not all are going to suit you. It sounds like your current instructor's teaching just doesn't click with you. So, I would go back to lessons with your previous instructor, if you believe you are not learning as well with your current one. To do this, you will have to accept lessons that are spaced farther apart and accommodate for this with maybe take home exercises to work on and reading/ watching youtube videos. Another alternative could be to take lessons with both instructors to get consistent riding (if there is no rivalry going on). The downside to this is you may get conflicting advice, but you could also learn different methods to approach situations, which can be very useful.
 
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
Top