I have done both, plus the hybrid of meeting up with a coach for clinics and competitions.
Whether it's right for you depends on your exact circumstances. If you are new to eventing, though, I would want you to go with a coach who knows you and the horse and who will make sure you have a good experience.
If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket
If my trainer can be there, awesome; if not, I am pretty capable of going at it on my own. The only times I really need my trainer there is for big deals, like move ups or other high stress situations.
i think a lot depends on your comfort at that level. to catalina's point, if you are moving up to a new level or its a big occasion like the AEC's, then probably not a bad idea to have a trainer. if you are doing novice for the 30th time and usually place in the ribbons - well maybe not such a big deal.
Also, if you had a full time coach that is not only teaching you and said horse but teaching you how ride alone.
I make it a point to ask my students questions and have them give me the answer. And I teach them the correct answer.
I actually had to do the prelim move up alone. lol. Thankfully I had a good friend also running prelim.
I was worried about one fence in particular so I went to ask the coach that I had taken a few lessons with about it. He said, 'ah, he can tap dance over that box.'
and that was that.
I think the scariest part of HT is the jumping warm up when there are so many unruly coaches out there screaming at their students. love it.
I have been doing without a trainer for so long that I have my own routine. Having a trainer there just disrupts my routine. The only exception is that it IS useful to have someone who knows me and my horse to walk the course with me.
chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).
I've done both.. used to board and ride with my last trainer so I went to a lot of the same shows. Sometimes I'd get coaching, sometimes not. Just depended on the riding schedules and my bank account at the time. If we had multiple people going, and rides overlapped then the jumping phases got the attention. I don't have a full time trainer right now though so I go alone. Usually have a friend or someone go with me though.
I have on a couple of occasions walked a course with my trainer, which was helpful. Generally speaking, though, if we are competing, we are expected to be able to go it alone at the level. So, I've never actually gone anywhere with her - it is just an added bonus if she happens to be at the same place, and she's walking at the same time.
She stood at the rail and watched a sj round once, and I am so used to doing everything myself - without an audience - that I practically had a heart attack when I saw her as I went in the in-gate and royally screwed it up. Too much pressure for me to have her watch - I was so afraid that I might embarass her that I actually did!
I really appreciate your replies. While I have shown for many many years, I have only done one HT about 12 years ago. I am just looking to do the GAG or BNR is all. I feel confident about these levels going it alone, but just wondered what most people do. I CAN go with a trainer should I choose and may just do that.
I know how my horse goes better than anyone. I have a group of friends I'll discuss things with and a very good friend 3000 miles away who has known my gelding since I brought him home as a 4 year old that didn't lead or steer. She always puts my head in the right place when I need it. I am always interested in other people's perspectives, but in the end will make the correct decision for myself and my horse. I rode with trainers when I was a kid, but even then, I made the best decision based upon how my horse was going. Even as someone who has been competing for many years, I will still find myself looking back at a ride as something I could have done differently. We have a 2* coming up and it will be the first time I've had a coach with me in over 3 years. My coach can't ride anymore and just gives me bits and pieces of insight and information as needed. She was a very big eq coach in the NE quite a while back, but now has conceeded to assisting an up and coming event rider. For me, I'd rather not have someone there to add stress to my rides, but to be there as support and assistance if I need it.
Keep your feet on the ground, but always look to the stars!
While I have shown for many many years, I have only done one HT about 12 years ago. I am just looking to do the GAG or BNR is all. I feel confident about these levels going it alone, but just wondered what most people do. I CAN go with a trainer should I choose and may just do that.
I'm another one that has/does it with and without. BUT if you have an option and this is all somewhat new to you I would highly recommend going the trainer route a few times as you're getting your feet wet again. This is a pretty complicated sport to wander into without some good guidance. It would be smart though, to go through the whole learning process keeping in mind that the ultimate goal is independence. Then you will feel happy with either option.
I'm going to publicly admit I have never had an event trainer. I've done work with hunters and jumpers though. I went to my first event alone and the people were very nice! I had someone give me some great advice when we walked the course. I'm seeking out a lady named Linda Cooper to school with on occasion if I ever find contact info.
To be loved by a horse, or by any animal, should fill us with awe-
for we have not deserved it.
The last time I went with a coach he forgot to warm me up because he was talking to a client's parents. I got flustered and distracted wondering where he was, had a crummy warm up, and got the big E. My fault, but my dressage also hadn't been measurably better with him there, he was on my case so that I was stressed rather than enjoying it, and it seemed I could do as well without him. I've since moved and switched coaches. My riding is better than ever and I have had more competitive success than ever, but I can't afford at the coaching at the shows (my instructor needs 3 riders/day to make it worth her while to come and cancel her weekend lessons anyway--and I am usually the only one who goes). So I go alone.
I would rather go with a trainer unless I am familiar with the facility, it is a schooling environment, and I am comfortable at the level.
I pay my trainer to help teach me the way to get the best out of my horse for dressage. I tend to ride differently in a show environment and my horse is a different animal at shows then at home so the coaching helps calm my nerves and helps me focus. I want the help warming up for stadium and XC jumping so I can get my pace right, be bold in the warmup, and remember to actually fold and release. It helps me ride better on course because I remember all the things my trainer said 2 minutes ago.
I want someone who says more then "jump the crossrail, jump the vertical, jump the oxer, you're done." I can do that on my own without spending any extra money.
The last few times I went with my trainer - about all that was said to me was "are you ready"? And was charged the day fee. The trainer always spent more time with the younger/beginner kids - and rightly so. I didn't need the trainer for anything.
I agree, I just can't see paying all that money just to have someone say, are you ready to go?
There is a difference between a "Trainer" and a "Coach". Sometimes one person has both talents, but not always. I am lucky to ride with someone who understands the difference, has the talent to be both, and is extremely dedicated to his students (would NEVER let someone be warming up alone while he chatted with a parent, knows how to prioritize conflicts, etc.).
While I am sure I could go it alone at this stage, I prefer to go with my Trainer/Coach and feel like his fee is more than earned.
This season will complete my third year (and maybe 8 horse trial) competing after taking 16 years off of riding. It was absolutely necessary in the very beginning to have a coach. I needed someone to help me keep my head on straight and relax. And, now... I would love to have a coach but... so far hasn't been in the cards at my last three events.
I make sure I take a friend with me... prep them to say the words I need to hear (she can step over that, that's tiny and my personal favorite, you look good
I'm moving up at the end of the season... my first Novice... and, I am going with my favorite eventing buddy... a former hunter/eq rider. I'm feeling fine and ok with out a coach. Now, if my instructor was going... I would sign on for coaching... cause I like it.
I go alone because I don't have a coach or trainer. I take lessons ocassionally when there is something I want to work on and when money allows but otherwise I do it all myself. I know how to warm up and what my horse needs and like someone else said, a trainer would just disrupt my rhythm.
Yogurt - If you're so cultured, how come I never see you at the opera? Steven Colbert
I probably should state that I would NEVER go alone - either take DH or a close friend with me!! They would be my confidence builder and cheering squad, but most important - help me not forget the course!
Coach or trainer...hell, I'm usually all alone not counting my dog.
Most of my friends have better things to do than go with me to an event...hmmmm maybe I need better friends
But honestly, I've been competing and eventing long enough that I don't need help most of the time. Sure, someone yelling at me in my warm up for dressage would probably improve my dressage.....but in the test, you have to ride alone...and with me, it isn't my warm up that is the issue..it goes to pot in the ring! And I'm fine for the jumping alone too. Warm up isn't the place to fix issues....and I don't jump many fences anyway (5-7 is normal). The few times I've been screwing up in warm up for jumping...other riders that I know have kindly helped me out (usually it is just reminding me to put my hands down and kick and KISS--keep it simple stupid). That is what is great about eventers.
But this is me...and I walked a TON of courses with trainers and more experienced riders before I got to the point in my education where I can competently do it alone. Learning to walk a course is probably the biggest skill that event riders need to learn in order to event well on their own IMO.....well that, and remembering how to ride (which we all seem to forget once in a while when the pressure is on!)
And lastely...I kind of like being alone. A lot less stressful for me than having someone with me...and then I also get to control what music is played for driving home (the dog has no vote)!
** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **