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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys, coming out of my journal for some more general advice on an unexpected issue I'm having.

For those of you that may not know my background: I bought a 6yo pony (my first) in the summer who was green but solidly trained to the extent of being essentially beginner safe, with the approval/help of my trainer. Her behavior got progressively worse despite regular training (approx. 5 day a week, mix of ground/riding), to the extent of her bolting with me during a lesson in late November. Multiple red flags started going up between the care and training I was receiving and I moved her this past weekend into training board at a very highly recommended facility with a professional trainer.

So, I have a ton of hope and excitement, but yesterday I went to visit Coralie, just informally. I'm used to having to work with her in the dark since that's just kind of the reality of working a 9 to 5 job in the winter, and not really phased by it, but I think I shocked the trainer by taking Coralie for a handwalk just a little ways down the path of horse paddocks (I wasn't even close to the end of the row of paddocks and didn't plan to go past them) and when she saw me she (kindly, but firmly, I'd say) called me back and began automatically correcting everything I was doing - letting Cor get ahead of me, circling her as a means to try to correct it (instead of frequent halts), etc.

At that moment, I kind of felt like I knew nothing. Even what I know (yes I shouldn't have been letting Coralie get so far ahead) I realized I was letting the new environment and being with a new trainer "get to me." I didn't know how firm I should be, what type of corrections I should use and how soon I should be that firm (I mean, we moved her two days ago - should I let her kind of look around and get used to everything)?

My issue is that I'm getting so nervous to "mess up" around my new trainer I think I'm inadvertently presenting myself as a complete beginner, and not someone who has been around horses 7+ years, and worked with Coralie with a different trainer for over 6 months.

I have my first official training session with her and Cor today and I'm NERVOUS. So logically I know: This is literally what I'm paying her for (to correct me), and I should act on what I know and accept the corrections with grace.

But the issue is: I can get a bit emotional to criticism and I'm really intimidating by new trainer - she is so well-known and experienced...I'm an easy cryer (ugh - despite years of therapy and getting really stable, all things considered, I will never be able to not be), and I'm just so afraid doing things wrong, getting corrected, and ending up crying, that I'm self-sabotaging. I'd say she is kind, but I also don't know how new people will react to my easy crying, and it can be really embarrassing.

Tips of navigating a a brand new trainer/client relationship? Words of encouragement?
 

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I would try the first official session today and see how it goes. Don’t be intimidated: she’s just doing her job and this has nothing to do with how worth/capable/confident you are. I sometimes do find that excellent horse people and more... well, horse people than people people. But if you think it would be beneficial, arrive early, ask for five minutes of her time, introduce yourself and tell her how you feel openly, that you’d be interested in building a good relationship and that she can hopefully meet you in the middle. Good luck!
 

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I'm sorry. I have sensitive friends and I know they struggle with confidence and when criticized. I have hideously "thick skin" and wish I could share.

Bottom line, for me, is if you want to learn some of the skills she can teach, listen, try, wipe away tears, try again, tell your horse what a horrible person the trainer is, and show up for the next session. In other words, feel all the feelings, but don't quit.
 

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..I'm an easy cryer
So am I. I was teased mercilessly in elementary school because when other children would get in trouble and get punished or scolded, I would cry. As an adult, I decided to get contact lenses. The optician was amazed at how easily my eyes adapted to the contacts. It was a piece of cake. It was then I learned that my "easy crying" was physical, not emotional. My eyes make tears at the slightest provocation. PLEASE do not beat yourself up because you might cry easily. That would be like beating yourself up because you have one leg shorter than the other. It's just the way you were made.

I also have difficulty recognizing and remembering faces, prosopagnosia . It was so heartening to read on Horse Forum that other people have this disability as well. Here's to easy criers, there are more of us around than you might know.
 

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I think as you enter your training session you be completely honest with this new trainer and tell her- my confidence has been badly undermined. When I was here I just wanted to enjoy being in the presence of my horse and was not thinking about doing everything correctly. Tell her you know the difference but sometimes you just need to "be" with your horse. This is going to be a ground up experience for both you and Coralie - it is apparent that her confidence is shaken as well and she needs reassurance that she know things and can do them well. Just open your mind and your heart and be brutally honest with this new trainer. Tell her you expect some tearful moments as well as some joyful moments. If you are honest with her you will get the most out of your lessons and you and Coralie will shine!
 

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Well @carshon said pretty much everything I wanted to say.

I will add, the barn owner where I am is like that. I've learned to just sort of say something like, "Great, thanks for the advice," and just keep on with what I'm doing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
First of all, thank you so much everyone for your comments. They all helped in bolstering my confidence.

And - it went SO well! Yesterday's training session was a chance for me to really see the trainer in action. (I knew a lot about her style in general as I'd been following her on social media for some time.) Instead of being high pressure on me OR on Coralie, it was very comfortable as she explained all of what she was doing and why, how she was learning about Coralie. At the end, I practiced handwalking Coralie to get her mind off of the gate (usually she tries to storm it when she thinks worktime is over) with a lot of success.

I was able to ask a lot of questions and already felt like I learned a lot.
 
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