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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan. 7, 2009
    Posts
    45

    Default Ride a great horse with a terrible coach?

    I have recently been given the opportunity to ride a talented young horse in the 2010 season. The mare has has pro-training from Day 1 and in her first season eventing placed in the top 5 (ridden by pro) in every event she went to at the P-T level.

    The owner/coach want her to do P-T then T this year, and both (owner is a family member of mine) think I would be very successful with this horse.

    My problem is the coach. While he a former Olympian, and a very well-regarded coach, he is also extremely "tough" on his riders. For example, owner was taking lessons last year (a small, slightly nervous AA on a big, young horse) and coach kept pushing her and pushing her to repeat an exercise over a series of fences..... finally owner was exhausted, mistakes were made, and there was a fall and owner broke her wrist. He is just not someone you can say "No" to.

    Owner wants horse to continue with coach, because obviously coach has many successful students. I have ridden regularly with coach when I was younger and don't remember him being "that bad" however now I am a good 10+ years older and a lot more cautious then I was before!

    My only other options is to keep plugging away with my current horse, who has not seen a show ring in almost 3 years due to on/off soundness. However, I can use the local UL coach I really like riding with, even if we don't actually get to compete.

    What would you do?



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug. 17, 2004
    Location
    Rixeyville, VA
    Posts
    6,521

    Default

    Take a couple of lessons with this coach and see what you think. It doesn't sound like this coach was necessarily "terrible" in the past for you. You can always try and say no thanks. It would be a shame to pass on the opportunity without giving it a try.
    Where Norwegian Fjords Rule
    http://www.ironwood-farm.com



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun. 17, 2001
    Location
    down the road from bar.ka
    Posts
    31,499

    Default

    Based on what you posted, I'd pass.

    A bad or even a good coach that is a mismatch for you can do alot more harm then they can do you any good.

    In my case, I cliniced with a leading and very well known GP rider/trainer at the time. Yeah, I did the excercise. Finally after about 10 tries-it was a big coop off a very forward bending 8 stride line landing what seemed like head on into the wall in a tiny indoor.

    Supposedly it was an adjustability drill to open up and then shut down and balance into that tight corner. I did not feel any sense of accomplishment, I was scared. Way overfaced me and right at the top of the horse's ability. And he berated me repeatedly for not pressing hard enough to that coop in the corner....me at age 45 and the old Hunter in late teens.

    I STILL get scared sometimes riding a diagonal with an oxer out right into a tight corner-so what did that prove? It's been 15 years for gosh sakes but bad memories can be hard to shake.

    One thing to push the envelope a little to build confidence but another to badger and berate in the name of pushing out of the comfort zone. Look what happens.

    No, you will more likely end up dreading your lessons then looking forward to them. There are lots of horses.
    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec. 27, 2006
    Posts
    320

    Default

    I'd grab it! You may or may not be able to work with the coach. I have worked with many different instructors, and what I have learned over the years, is speak up. Talk to the intructors. Some of them don't want to hear from a rider, are just overbearing, my way or the highway types of people, but I think many of them are happy to help you sort out your individual needs and concerns, and that is what they are there for, to help. The best intructors I've worked with are ready to recognize that horses are individuals, as are riders, and some things work better than other things, and that it pays off to adjust the approach to find what works best. To go into a situation expecting the worst, sets everybody up for a bad experience and to avoid because of preconcieved ideas can prevent you from acheiving your goals. Give it your best shot, and if it doesn't work, then walk away.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug. 2, 2001
    Location
    Ft Worth, TX, USA
    Posts
    3,901

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by sunhawk View Post
    I'd grab it! You may or may not be able to work with the coach. I have worked with many different instructors, and what I have learned over the years, is speak up. Talk to the intructors. Some of them don't want to hear from a rider, are just overbearing, my way or the highway types of people, but I think many of them are happy to help you sort out your individual needs and concerns, and that is what they are there for, to help. The best intructors I've worked with are ready to recognize that horses are individuals, as are riders, and some things work better than other things, and that it pays off to adjust the approach to find what works best. To go into a situation expecting the worst, sets everybody up for a bad experience and to avoid because of preconcieved ideas can prevent you from acheiving your goals. Give it your best shot, and if it doesn't work, then walk away.
    Exactly! One good thing I've gotten from getting older (ok, OLD!) is I'm not as self conscious as I used to be. I don't have a problem speaking up, or even saying no, to an instructor if I feel like the exercise is beyond our comfort zone. You can still be respectful, and not argumentative. Not all instructors are the same with each of their students either. Just like a good trainer doesn't ride each horse the same way.
    "Everyone will start to cheer, when you put on your sailin shoes"-Lowell George

    What's the status on Tuco?



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct. 9, 2009
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Posts
    53

    Default

    I'd say at least give the new opportunity a try. The coach not being a good fit for the owner does not neccessarily mean that he couldn't end up working well for you. Make sure you go into the situation with an open mind!

    Is there a reason that the owner/family member is oppossed to using the UL trainer you say that you are happy with? I'd encourage them to consider that route as well, especially if they are describing their own coach as terrible.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct. 2, 1999
    Location
    Mendocino County, CA: Turkey Vulture HQ
    Posts
    14,447

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Alternate Realityyy View Post
    Owner wants horse to continue with coach, because obviously coach has many successful students. I have ridden regularly with coach when I was younger and don't remember him being "that bad" however now I am a good 10+ years older and a lot more cautious then I was before!
    It sounds like you didn't witness the accident, and are relying upon the rider's account. I think you might also consider that since you have a history with this coach that he might be OK for you. Or not. The only way to know is to try.

    I'd give it a try, and if you're being pushed out of your comfort zone in a way that feels unsafe, then walk away.

    I'll say that my favorite coach was terrific about being able to see my mistakes before I made them, and correct me before I got into trouble, which gave me tremendous confidence.
    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



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec. 18, 2009
    Posts
    270

    Default

    I find if you both talk to each other then you can overcome many difficulties. I spend probably half my lesson talking asking questions and asking how things can be changed. I think if you are there willing to soak up information trainers really like it and will work with you better. My current trainer has a rep as a dragon but I really like her as she wants improvement and I want to get it.
    The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct. 24, 2003
    Location
    The rolling hills of Virginia
    Posts
    5,892

    Default

    Can you go watch a couple of his lessons first? This might jog your memory of your own experiences and put them in perspective with who you are now.

    If you decide to try it, just leave yourself an out in cas you decide it just isn't right for you. No need to burn bridges. Good Luck.

    SCFarm
    The above post is an opinion, just an opinion. If it were a real live fact it would include supporting links to websites full of people who already agreed with me.

    www.southern-cross-farm.com



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug. 21, 2000
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    2,612

    Default

    "Terrible coach" seems a little overstated, given even your own description of the person. I agree, try it.
    Also, can you not continue to ride your own horse with the coach you like and ride the family's horse with this other person?
    Riding with two coaches can be confusing or can be super helpful. He may use language that makes sense to you or focus on something helpful that your regular coach has overlooked.
    I evented just for the Halibut.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan. 3, 2010
    Posts
    881

    Default

    Also, you're an adult (I think) if you had this guy 10 years ago. You can say. "Please don't talk to me like that. It's clearly not working. Can we approach this another way."

    Sometimes trainers need to be managed because they can be bullies. But if you stand up to them they will generally back off. They do need to make a living (usually!)

    Remember you're the one writing the cheque.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec. 26, 2008
    Location
    Indianapolis, Indiana
    Posts
    604

    Default

    I agree that "terrible" doesn't sound accurate...

    I know many AAs that get talked into doing things they are very scared of because they don't SAY anything. Lots of ladies just nod, swallow and try again, and again, and again. If you stop, say, "I have a question..." and talk it over. Most likely the trainer will be appreciative. Trainers are not mind readers . sometimes they need some feedback that isn't just blank stares.

    If I were you I would definitely do it (if you like riding the horse and there are clear "rules" about everything). Sounds like an invaluable experience.
    Proud former owner of a Wee Dee Trrr
    Proud half-owner of a Picasso Pony



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan. 5, 2006
    Location
    Northeast, MD
    Posts
    603

    Default

    I agree you should give it a try. Take a couple lessons and if you don't like the way they teach then walk away. You never know you might be a better fit with this trainer then the owner was.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    May. 9, 2005
    Location
    Chattanooga, Tennessee
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    3,561

    Default

    I'd give it a try, especially since you have some sort of "history" to go on. Maybe try a 1mo trial period to see if it works for all of you. Can't really hurt, and you may find that you are a great fit. Who knows until you try.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb. 28, 2006
    Location
    The rocky part of KY
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    9,311

    Default

    I thought by "terrible" you meant incompetent-no, you mean more like Ivan the Terrible. All other things being positive I would certainly give this guy a trial. Back in the day he didn't bother you, you are describing a bad event that happened to somebody else (even if it was a family member).
    Best of luck.
    Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
    Incredible Invisible



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec. 15, 2005
    Posts
    3,386

    Default

    Try to maintain the attitude that you are paying him; he is not paying you. Therefore, you have the right to pleasantly explain to him what you would like. You can start the lesson by explaining that you would like to stick with lower fences, or that you would prefer to not jump over 3'6" or whatever it is that you feel you need. If he says that he would like you jumping a grid of mis-spaced 4' oxers followed by a roll back turn to a 4'6" skinny over a liverpool, it is your job to speak up. Explain that safety and fun are important to you at this stage of your life, so that isn't what you plan to do.

    Try a few lessons and you will know if you can make this work.



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug. 3, 2001
    Location
    Hagerstown, MD
    Posts
    3,610

    Default

    Like many others have said, give it a try and see how it works out. Just because your friend wasn't comfortable with the coaching doesn't mean you won't do famously. Also, don't be afraid to speak up and say something if you are not comfortable with what you are being asked to do.



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan. 16, 2002
    Location
    West Coast of Michigan
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    Default

    If you're a "small, slightly nervous AA" you might not do well with The Olympian. Otherwise, you may do fine. If you're not willing to speak up for yourself and say "no" to a coach who's pushing you, then maybe it won't be a great fit. If you know this about yourself already, I'd pass. If not, give it a go.
    Click here before you buy.



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