View Full Version : Do you work with multiple trainers/clinicians?

May. 10, 2012, 05:56 PM
Just wanted to do a little informal poll:

How many trainers or clinicians do you work with at a given time?

Trainers: Do your students work with other trainers? Do you encourage or discourage this? (no judgement either way)

We were having a very interesting discussion at the barn about this last night. I personally don't care if my students ride with other people, as I have always done better working with multiple trainers. But my friend (another trainer at my barn) prefers they work only with her, and encourages them to put their horse in training (even though some of her students ride with me from time to time as well, and she at least pretends to be fine with that:)). Just wanted to put it out there and see what everyone thinks!

May. 10, 2012, 06:54 PM
My trainer encourages us to ride in clinics with trainers whose training is complementary/supplemental to hers. When it's someone she doesn't know who we want to try, she asks what we know about the person and gives us advice on things to watch out for if she thinks we may be confused, and asks our opinions afterward. She also watches us in clinics when she can.

I take a couple lessons a week with my trainer when I can (hopefully I'll soon have horse-wheels and be able to get to her any time), and in fall/winter/spring have ridden with an out of town trainer for two rides during her nearly monthly visits. That instructor is a biomechanics instructor, and has been able to help me fix things within my body with descriptions my trainer simply doesn't have. On top of that, there are a couple trainers who are much more horse-focused with whom I will ride in clinics when I have the chance. The one thing I do is make sure I am not reducing rides with my trainer to ride with other people, as I want to continue supporting her role as my primary help.

May. 10, 2012, 06:59 PM
I mainly ride with one trainer, but will attend a clinic with someone else occasionally.

May. 10, 2012, 07:18 PM
I work with two trainers. One that visits monthly from Florida and another on a weekly basis that is local...they could not be any more different than night and day but for some reason it works for me and my horse and it is very complementary.

The Florida trainer gets me mentally and physically- she knows how to drill down to some basic problem or issue that we have and then we work it until we've got it down and I know what I have to do for the next month. Then I go into the weekly lesson and that trainer is really happy with our improvement.

May. 10, 2012, 07:26 PM
I ride with my local barn owner/trainer 2 or 3 times a month. We both ride with our uber coach Pierre Cousyn who comes to our barn from Florida about every six weeks. We all also spent two months with him in Florida in Jan and Feb riding 5x a week.

Before we got to know Pierre, I would take about the same number of lessons with the local trainer and then take clinics with almost every clinician she brought to the barn. I have to tell you that for someone new to dressage and riding a green horse - random clinics really were not helpful. It has been much much better to ride with the same person all the time. Pierre has a system, and following his approach has allowed us all to make a heck of a lot of progress.

Maybe some time in the future I'll ride with someone else, but for now this approach is really working. I don't care to fix what ain't broke!

May. 10, 2012, 07:36 PM
In previous geography, I rode w/ one trainer weekly and another monthly. It worked because they were close friends and communicated w/ each other regularly. Weekly trainer was a lower level skill set, monthly trainer was more experienced and had broader training capabilites at upper levels.
In current geography, the monthly person mentioned above is now my full time trainer for 6 months, w/ maybe 3 visits over the summer months. This year will be my third attempt to find a satisfactory solution to the summer situation, and I think this one will work; he will be weekly or every other week.

I'm personally not a fan of riding in clinics, particularly if they are only one day. I've never found that I've gotten anything that beneficial; this is not to say that I wouldn't clinic in the right circumstances, just that its not my cup of tea.

May. 10, 2012, 07:44 PM
I ride with two, but I dont really feel like its a big deal since ones a h/j and the others a dressage trainer.

May. 10, 2012, 08:02 PM
My trainer encourages me to ride with like minded clinicians. If I brought up a name she was not comfy with, we'd talk about it and decide what to do.

Trust is a two way street- I need to work w/ someone whom I trust to 'share' me responsibly with others, and she needs to trust that I'm not shopping when I express interest in another set of eyes. If you don't have trust, you have nothing.

May. 10, 2012, 08:09 PM
One main trainer who has the overall plan for the horse. clinicians who fill in as extra eyes. It's great to get the info from the clinicians and understand it's the same. Often it leads to the Ah ha moment. sometimes the clinicians just say it in a way that then the main trainer's words start to make sense or vice versa.

I haven't found one trainer to be perfect in every aspect, some clinicians are better than others but even having a ho hum clinician helps to cement loyalty to the importance and accuracy of the main trainer.

generally I have found trainers who are confident and competent are not threatened by the additional input from clinicians. It gets talked about and incorporated into the main trainers plan.

love those extra eyes.

May. 11, 2012, 10:34 AM
I have a trainer I work with regularly, a clinician that I see once or twice a year, and I would consider another clinician in the mix, if the right one came around and fit in my schedule/budget.

Edited to add: There is just so much value in hearing things a different way. For months, my fabulous regular instructor was battling with getting me to raise my hands. But my clinician started with a lecture on the importance of bending my elbows. Same end goal, slightly different approach, frustration SOLVED.

May. 11, 2012, 10:48 AM
I ride with two. One is a jumpers trainer with a good dressage background; the other does dressage only. They speak with each other regularly and I find that overall, what we are working on in lessons corresponds very well. We only do flatwork with the jumpers guy, but he sets up some tough courses of poles for us and I find that very useful in learning adjustability and keeping the mare listening (she finds anything resembling jumps to be very exciting!)

Also do the occasional clinic, though I am trying to focus more on biomechanics when choosing them, as that's a tough area for me and neither of my regulars specializes in it. In fact, for clinics "for the horse" I want the same thing as she has her own set of biomechanical issues.

May. 11, 2012, 10:56 AM
I ride regularly (2-4 times a month) with the trainer who owns the barn at which a board. I ride once a month/once every-other month with a regular clinician with whom my regular trainer also rides.

I wouldn't hesitate to try a one time clinic with someone I respected. That said, I would prefer to have audited a clinic first to be sure I liked what happened in the lessons, and I would like it to be a clinic over 2-3 days. :)

May. 11, 2012, 11:02 AM
I ride with a lot of different trainers, on both the h/j and dressage sides of the fence. I keep my personal horses at boarding barns, as opposed to a particular trainer's training barn, so that I can trailer to whomever I want without ruffling feathers. (And also to maintain full control over my sale horses, but that is another kettle entirely.)

I gravitate towards trainers who all have the same fundamental approach so things don't tend to conflict. If there is a difference of opinion, I let my horse's performance and how he wears his ears tell me which he prefers, but for the most part everyone miraculously seems to harp on the same things, such as lowering my hands (perennial favorite). Do they confer secretly or do they just all know their mcshizzle, I wonder. :lol:

I am perfectly fine with people I teach taking lessons from others as well, and happy to watch if I have the time and they are ok with it.

You can always learn something, whether if its about how to ride, how to teach, or what not to do. :lol::lol:

May. 11, 2012, 11:03 AM
I ride with my local trainer one or two times a week and monthly with a GP trainer that comes up from Kentucky (I'm in Ohio). I also ride with various clinicians from time to time to get a different perspective. I do not necessarily only ride with people that my trainer knows of or agrees with because some times that outside perspective can offer very valuable insight into a problem that you didn't have before. I feel like only riding with my trainer and her approved clinicians means I only see one side of things, and don't get a full perspective of training and can lead to a closed minded view to training and other techniques. She is very open to other clinicians however and I have brought other trainers to her barn to teach me a lesson. She's very open to the whole thing and understands the different perspectives that other trainers can bring.

May. 11, 2012, 11:06 AM
I think the most important thing is consistency of system. Fresh eyes on the ground never hurts, but eyes from a conflicting system sometimes causes, doubt, chaos, confusion, and a discombobulated horse; which leads to a waste of time. One has to try to pick a road to Rome and stick to it to make progress. JMHO

May. 11, 2012, 11:24 AM
I used to be exclusive to one trainer, but I told the latest one that I don't consider myself as 'belonging' to only one. However, as the current one has been more effective than all the others put together, I am now staying with his instruction and system. I will ride with other people, but it is important to have a consistent approach that is not undoing progress for either me or my horse.

The current trainer I work with the most doesn't mind his students working with other people in principal. His one caveat to his students is 'don't undo the progress you have made' with inconsistent information.

In the past I have gone to clinics with a number of different trainers who have great reps as clinicians. I have trimmed that to stay consistent with a system that is working very well.

Another aspect to variety is timing. I once went to a clinic a week before an event. The trainer's clinics had been helpful in the past. But this time she was teaching major changes to what I had been doing. I realized that one week from the main performance was not the right time to try to adapt that much change. Or, in this case, even to assess if the change was an improvement, as that wasn't immediately obvious.

May. 11, 2012, 11:47 AM
I think the most important thing is consistency of system. Fresh eyes on the ground never hurts, but eyes from a conflicting system sometimes causes, doubt, chaos, confusion, and a discombobulated horse; which leads to a waste of time. One has to try to pick a road to Rome and stick to it to make progress. JMHO

This is true. My trainer doesn't profess to a "system" and really neither do the clinicians with whom I ride. Just correct work, correct riding, etc. After every clinic I've ridden in, I've come out with a key point which really stuck - and was something I've heard for quite a while from my trainer, just worded in a different way.

May. 11, 2012, 11:59 AM
I think the most important thing is consistency of system. Fresh eyes on the ground never hurts, but eyes from a conflicting system sometimes causes, doubt, chaos, confusion, and a discombobulated horse; which leads to a waste of time. One has to try to pick a road to Rome and stick to it to make progress. JMHO

This is so true. I always try to audit an instructor or clinician before I ride with them. The one time I didn't, it really screwed some things up for me and my horse, and a piece of the advice she gave involving the use of a gadget led my horse to have a massive meltdown and nearly killed me when she flipped over backward. I thought it would be fine because she is widely regarded as one of the best trainers and riders in the world and I liquidated a good portion of my savings to ride with her after going through an extensive application process to ride in the first place! I am normally very opposed to gadgets, even relatively minor ones, and forcing the horse past things that clearly frighten it, but this is what she recommended. When someone at the very top of the sport tells you something, you usually listen! Luckily I had another clinic a few weeks later with an almost as highly regarded person who I'd ridden with before who set us straight. But it still compromised the trust between my horse and I and it took months of going back to baby basics to undo that damage.

I think if you know what works for you and your horse, you need to "vet" your trainers to make sure you will be on the same page. Even top trainers don't work for everyone. And don't necessarily take the word of someone's many admirers as confirmation that a person's system works for you!

May. 11, 2012, 12:02 PM
Edited to add: There is just so much value in hearing things a different way.

100% agree - this has helped me throughout the years too. Just hearing it a different way, and all of a sudden LIGHTBULB moment.

I ride with a handful of clinicians as regularly as possible. Don't like to add a new one to the mix until I've audited them and feel like they "fit" into my existing support team! One that I ride with is an amazing biomechanics expert - she can make small changes to my position - and explain WHY, so my mind can grasp it... One is a piaffe/passage expert - total focus on the horse, and often in-hand, but they FEEL so much better afterwards.

I don't recommend just shotgun blasts at clinicians - I know people who ride w/ every clinician that comes into the area, and I think that just becomes confusing. So riding with multiple trainers/clinicians in a planned way is great, but just clinic hopping doesnt' tend to work.

May. 11, 2012, 06:18 PM
Right now I have a coach coming up every couple months for me and my students to ride with. Outside of that I would like to take in a clinic or two each year, although it didn't happen this year.

I have two students that like taking "outside" clinics, so when they come back we sort through what was learned and take what we like, and put the rest away. Sometimes the lessons aren't super applicable to them, but are something I can use for other students.

I like when my students clinic as it is a way for me to learn as well...I just try to make sure my students are able to be advocates for themselves and their own horses. Some clinicians can be such bullies (particularly the H/J ones).

May. 11, 2012, 06:29 PM
I'm in full training with my trainer. There are several clinicians I really love and try to ride with regularly. Last year I rode with a random selection of big name people and found that more than half either didn't fit in with my training system, or just weren't nearly as good as teachers as they were as riders. I truly believe you can take something useful from most everyone, but when I'm paying big $$$$ per hour, I want to get more than something. From now on, I will definitely audit before riding with someone I don't know.

ETA: Trainer is fine with it, and will come along and watch if logistics work or if it is in house. She'll give me as much info as she has about the person, positive or negative, but won't tell me not to sign up.

May. 11, 2012, 06:35 PM
I like when my students clinic as it is a way for me to learn as well...I just try to make sure my students are able to be advocates for themselves and their own horses. Some clinicians can be such bullies (particularly the H/J ones).

I think this is really important as well. And I try to remind my students that they are paying (sometimes a lot) to be taught, so getting screamed at or made to feel inferior because they are not at the same level or have as fancy a horse as someone else is not acceptable. I like to think part of my job on the rider/horse's team is to warn them of the people who have a reputation for being rude or screamers, but also to impart them with enough confidence that they don't crumble to pieces when their curiosity overcomes them and they just have to ride with that person anyway. As we all know, there are jerks in every profession, and equestrian ones are certainly not immune!