View Full Version : Two Trainers?

Oct. 3, 2011, 04:31 PM
I was wondering what everyone's point of view is on this issue I am having.

In the past few years I have ridden with two very AMAZING dressage instructors, who have done so much for me and I am very grateful for both.

The one thing I have noticed is that they both have different teaching styles, that work for me in different ways. Trainer A is better with teaching me the use of my aids and position. Trainer B seems to communicate better with me when trying different exercises, that include my horse (if that makes sense - like getting him to relax, use his back, etc..).

I am not saying one is better than the other, I just seem to learn different things better with trainer A vs trainer B and vice versa.

I feel I would benefit more with one of Trainer A's schoolhorses, while my horse would benefit better if I take lessons with trainer B -- and I have taken lessons with both trainers on my horse, so this is speaking from experience.

I don't know how most trainers feel about their students taking lessons with another trainer. I don't feel that they are teaching me different things that it will cause a conflict in my riding. Trainer A is closer to me, where as Trainer B I will have to trailer to (its only 30 minutes because of traffic lights).

Any input?

Oct. 3, 2011, 05:01 PM
My trainer is the one who I feel covers the whole big picture for me. I choose to clinic with instructors who are more like Trainer A for you - who help me pick apart and fix my issues, but don't necessarily keep the entire picture of my horse and his history and future in mind when telling me what to do. I feel as if for most of us riding with more than one person (as long as all are on the same page) is very beneficial. My trainer encourages us going to clinics as well.

Oct. 3, 2011, 05:33 PM
I was thinking about this very issue over the weekend and wondering how wacky it was.

I mostly work with one Main trainer (who is also my horse's trainer), but when she's traveling, I lesson with her Assistant (who only rarely rides my horse, but sees Main work her daily).

Although Assistant has been with Main for over 6 years (and starts her young horses), her style is vastly different.

And I also get different aha! moments from each one and am able to integrate everything just fine and make wonderful progress with the combination.

Obviously, Main is delighted that things work out for me with both (and everyone I know in the training barn enjoys working with both instructors). Still, I cannot remember an instructor who has *in principle* discouraged me from taking lessons or clinics with another professional. I say be up front with both instructors/trainers and enjoy the fast-track education !!

Oct. 3, 2011, 05:54 PM
I have been thinking about this recently as well, but with a slightly different twist. My trainer is a superb rider and trainer, and really gets the absolute best out of every horse she rides. She has done wonders training my two horses.

Butttttt..... I don't feel like I'm getting all that much out of my lessons with her. I don't think she really knows how to verbalize and communicate what I should be doing differently. There have been several times when I've stopped in frustration and asked her to clearly spell out what I should be doing with my aids during a given movement... "And what should my outside rein be doing? How about my inside leg? What about my seat--where should the weight be?" And her answers reveal that I was doing it all wrong, but she didn't pick up on it or tell me until I asked.

So, my point is, I am wondering how weird it would be to have her keep riding and training my horses while taking lessons with another instructor. This seems like it would be totally odd. Is this ever done?

Oct. 3, 2011, 06:29 PM
I don't think any trainers worth anything will mind students taking lessons from others; and if they do, why do you care?

I have horse A at trainer A's barn, horse B at trainer B's barn; I myself take weekly lessons from trainer A on horse A and attend monthly clinics with trainer C on horse C, the one I keep at home and ride regularly.

They all know they are no the "only" professionals I go to. I'm friend and respect them all; they each have something I need/want and none of them can give them all to me. None of them get pouty about it. And honestly, if they do, certainly not my concerns.

Oct. 3, 2011, 06:44 PM
My perspective on the two trainer thing: Some years ago when I was moving up to first level, my trainer introduced me to HER trainer (and good friend). I then began a process of riding with my 'regular' trainer weekly, as normal and adding in the more experienced trainer monthly in a clinic type setting - two days in a row on the weekend. This worked out extremely well, as it gave me access to a higher level of knowledge and an environment that pushed me; my regular trainer would then help me work on things in the interim.

Currently I'm in a situation where trainer is here only 6 months/year; I'm experimenting with some others for the summer months and have not found a good solution. Trainer I want is over an hour away, lessons are in the afternoon (HOT HOT in Fla) and its thus unpleasant for me and horse to deal with all thats entailed to trailer there and back.

I think it can work to have two; it takes understanding among the trainers and some similarity of approach.

Oct. 3, 2011, 08:57 PM
I have two; they are very different. The dressage trainer is young and quite strict with both me and my horse. I take a lesson from her each week and she will often get on my horse to demonstrate something. When I can manage it, she does training rides on my horse too. The other trainer is actually a jumpers trainer, but one of those who, when new to the barn, made everyone stop jumping and work on their flatwork until he was satisfied. His sister has ridden and trained at the FEI dressage levels and they often work together. I am his only non-jumping student but he loves working with me and my horse. The best thing about him is that he "thinks like a horse" and translates it very well for those of us who are sometimes baffled by why the horse just did something. The two trainers complement each other well and while their vocabulary may be different, they are very much on the same page when it comes to riding goals for me and the mare.

Oct. 3, 2011, 09:06 PM
So, my point is, I am wondering how weird it would be to have her keep riding and training my horses while taking lessons with another instructor. This seems like it would be totally odd. Is this ever done?
Not odd at all. I have lessoned with several instructors simultaneously and am upfront about it. No one has had an issue. And if they did, they would find themselves one client less.

Oct. 3, 2011, 09:13 PM
I'm not a dressage rider, but I thought I'd chime in... I have 3 trainers at the moment. None of them have a problem with it; in fact, they encourage me to try other trainers to find the best possible fit for me, and to hear different perspectives, etc.,

Oct. 3, 2011, 09:23 PM
I don't know how most trainers feel about their students taking lessons with another trainer. I don't feel that they are teaching me different things that it will cause a conflict in my riding.
As an instructor, I encourage my students to train and clinic with others when possible as long as they are from the same school of thought as myself. I find that it confuses the student if different schools are mixed, and I really don't appreciate having to defend my work because BNT said otherwise. I'll never say "no, you cant!" to a student, but I will state why so and so may be a poor choice at this time.
One of my students is attending a clinic next weekend, and I hope to be able to audit so I can help translate any gaps. Ultimately it's their educational journey, and I'm an enabler on that journey.

As a student, my BNT instructor welcomes my past instructor to audit my lessons. That's actually a fun combo. My past instructor is past due to distance (I moved) but she was my bread and butter for 4 years and knows how I and my horse think and respond. It's nice to have another intelligent brain to bounce things off of.... and for validation that I'm on the right path when discouraged.

Oct. 3, 2011, 10:23 PM
I work with two trainers. One specializes in position/biomechanics. The other is a horse training magician-great at teaching how to do this as well. I keep my horses at home and have to be able to duplicate what I learn at home which works with these systems. However, they are not from the same schools of thought. I can incorporate the biomechanics in with the other style quite well. I was riding with the horse trainer, but was stuggling with my position and didn't feel like I truly understood the depth of my position problems. I could feel my position slipping, but "shoulders back" wasn't cutting it. At the same time I moved to horse property, and the biomechanics trainer was closer to my house. That made it easy to try her. I got better, and now have access to her clinicians who really synergize well. Since then, my lessons with the other trainer have gotten so much better because I can stay (for the most part) where I need to be in order to train my horse with the more difficult work. That trainer has so much more experience training horses through the levels that I don't think I could have made the progress I have with the other. She knows how much to push and when to ask for what that yields maximum results. It does work for me, but there was a time in my riding that it might have been too confusing.

Oct. 4, 2011, 01:29 AM
it sounds like Trainer A is the best one for you...although I know nothing about your horse, I do think that having a trainer who helps you mostly with your position and aids will help you the most in the long run. If you're correct, it will be a million times easier for your horse to be correct. Have you ever picked Trainer A's brain about the exercise thing? Its easy to find exercises online, and assuming you have a solid knowledge about them from Trainer B it should be easy to continue on with Trainer A...right?

Oct. 4, 2011, 07:28 AM
I just started taking lessons with 2nd trainer on lesson horses (while I use my horses with my "main" trainer). I told my trainer about it very next day (and I told new trainer that I'm taking lessons with other trainer for over a year). Granted new trainer is eventer (while my main one is dressage). But if you plan on taking lessons with both of them, I don't see it as a big deal.

Oct. 4, 2011, 09:56 AM
For about 3 years I rode with 2 trainers - one was better for advanced movements with the horse, the other was better at hitting me up and getting me to ride more correctly.

I learned more in those 3 years than I had the previous 20! :lol: The key is that they can not conflict in their teachings. In fact both trainers saw the same issues in my horse and addressed those issues in similar, but slightly different, ways, allowing me to use 2 techniques to address the problem. So when horse would be less "receptive" to using one technique I would switch to the other and get her "fixed" again. :D

Unfortunately my mare got hurt and now that she's able to be ridden again my one of my trainers has moved. No other good trainers live in my area so I'm back to one trainer once a week.

Oct. 5, 2011, 03:47 PM
I'm glad I am not the only person who has this curiosity! Thanks everyone for your help! Both trainers actually know each other and know I have ridden with the other, so its very reassuring that others also have more than 1 dressage trainer.

Oct. 5, 2011, 04:07 PM
I have one primary trainer and 3 others I use as well. They all compliment each other but have different insights that help me. They all know I am taking from all of them and are all interested in what I have learned from the others.

Took me many years though to find this right balance of professionalism. They are:
Dorie Addy Crow
Bob Orton
Julio Mendoza
Susan Neilson