Dear Trainer/Instructor... Hurt my Feelings,but Nicely Please!
I posted this because I've been seeing some videos here recently asking for critiques.
And many of the responses have been accurate and the advice given correct, or so it seems to me.
What interests me is that many of the problems that show up are usually positional flaws that if corrected would solve most of them immediately, yet the OP's have the benefit of trainer's and instructors who don't seem to see this.
I'm not posting this as the opportunity to pile on some hapless trainer or someone who is just getting started. I'm not talking specifics here.
As a trainer or instructor, what are the things that are most important to you, that you think riding students should learn first?
The reason I am asking is that I found I was doing things incorrectly i.e. shoulders forward, gripping with calves, thighs rolled back, toes out, shoulders up around ears, fingers opened, long droopy reins. etc.
I only had one instructor ever call me out. She said to me
"You look pretty, but you are totally ineffective." She then gave me some exercises to do to help change this.
i don't want smoke blown up my behind. I don't want positive affirmations, and pats on the back.
As a student who wants to learn more, and learn correctly, i want to
a) know what the right thing to do is
b) learn to recognize when it is right
c) WHY, WHY, WHY, it is right
d) learn how to fix it when it isn't.
OTOH, I have never figured out how trainers think that I can be screamed at, belittled and humiltated into doing something that I don't understand or is beyond my physical capability.
What's up with that?
I also don't want a trainer that is going to go GI Joe on me, and run screaming at me from across the arena, "YOU ARE POSTING ON THE WRONG DIAGONAL,GOOBER HEAD, DROP DOWN AND GIVE ME FIFTY! "
So, when I go wrong, break it to me gently, just don't break me.
Trainers/Instructors please weigh in and give your thoughts.
"I can't help but think good horsemanship has to
do with the mind." Maria Bertram, Mansfield Park by
Honestly? I think it's because different trainers see different things. Some trainers are much more HORSE oriented, and want you to do whatever needs to be done, position be darned, to produce the results needed.
Others are more position related, and will really critique position and equitation.
In my asking for opinion video, I was hoping to achieve exactly what I have; maybe a different view point/different "trick" (like the posting thing). I've been told to slow down my posting, but I thought that was in relation to slowing my posting to try and slow his feet; I've never had anyone mention what TR said about the posting mechanics, and opening his trot, etc. It's all about saying the same thing, but in a differnent way that "clicks".
My dressage trainer that was working with me yesterday was really focused on his bending, and having me KEEP my leg on, and QUIT throwing away my right reing tracking left. And, oh yeah, sit back! But she was also focusing less on positon, and more on having me work on GETTING into my corners properly since I've only ridden the test in a properly sized area twice ... that was HARD for me. I am a hunter princess trying to learn how to be an eventer! I have a long way to go.
I am an instructor myself, and a perpetual student. I LOVE to listen to other trainers in the warmup ring and by the ingate at shows. I LOVE to audit clincs and take in all I can. Since I work primarily with lesson students on school horses, I'm more equitation based. Now I have something else to really look at with these kids (the timing of the posting). I enjoy reading other critique threads, and I appreciate the constructive critiques on mine.
But, that's my opinion. It's not that some people have trainers that aren't good, it's that some people have trainers that rather than nagging about heels down, they're nagging about "SEND him FORWARD!" You can be effective, but not pretty. It doesn't work when you're pretty but not effective.
Regarding rider position issues, they are very difficult to correct. Even when I'm told multiple times during every lesson to not drop my right shoulder, I still do it because I'm concentrating on different things (like do I have enough outside rein, is he dropping his inside shoulder, is he reaching with his inside hind leg, are we actually turning, has he collected or slowed down...). It takes time but if we are corrected enough, then we start to correct ourselves, and then eventually the correction becomes muscle memory. The more ingrained the habit, the harder to fix.
The other thing is that many people have physical issues that inhibit them from being correct. Often they don't even know it. For example, if you sit at a desk all day, rounded shoulders become physically rounded, not just a habit. Maybe they have pain somewhere or undiagnosed scoliosis. Maybe they're just not strong enough - riding takes more fitness than most people realize. Having to really push with your leg, throws your upper body out of alignment.
Lastly, maybe the horse is crooked (possibly from the rider being crooked). A crooked horse makes a crooked rider BUT it is up to the rider to become straight, thereby making the horse straight. However, that's easier said than done.
Just saying, "well, if they just corrected this body part everything would be fine," is easy when you are looking at it from the outside. Much harder to implement.
It could be that they see it, but are concentrating on other things. In a lesson, especially as a beginner, I could really only do three things at a time. If you tell me to keep my heels down, my hands up, and my shoulders back, that's a lot. If you then tell me to keep my leg at the girth, something is going to give-- probably I'll drop my hands when I start concentrating on where my leg is.
A lesson where the instructor is telling me ten different things to do is just going to end in frustration, I _can't_ keep track of that many body parts! So maybe one week we work on hands/elbows/shoulders until the muscle memory kicks in, and then next week it's heels/leg position/leg pressure.
It's all about saying the same thing, but in a differnent way that "clicks".
Agreed. One of my former trainers told me to "get my feet under me" about 20 times in a lesson. Finally I said "I thought they WERE under me!" She hopped on another horse and said "you look like this"....! OK, so what I thought was right *to me* wan't right. But what she *SAID* didn't help until she showed me. I think that has to happen in every lesson, all the time.
Every person has a learning style, and every trainer has a teaching style, and they may not match up. Not for everything, anyway.
And obviously, when someone has a lot of issues (me, for example)...it's probably impossible to correct them all.
It's funny, I've seen pictures of myself and videos that illustrate, very clearly, that I have major problems. Most obviously I jump ahead and flap my elbows while never offering a real release.
This is a problem.
And what gets me about it most is that I don't remember it ever being addressed in all my years of riding, at least by the people I was paying to teach me.
I got a lot of other instruction, but when I had problems jumping, all the focus was on riding between jumps, and I would just get screamed at for doing it "wrong" while never being told how to do it right.
I've since gotten some great instruction here and there - some from pros, but most from friends and fellow weekend warriors.
I'm lucky to have a really great trainer right now - I can't afford all the lessons I want, but she is magical, and I'm wondering where she was all my life And when she does yell at me, it's because she knows I can do something, so it's the first time in my life I've been yelled at and had it increase my self confidence, instead of deflating me. Need to hit the lotto. heh.
"smile a lot can let us ride happy,it is good thing"
re: the videos, we don't know the history on how far that particular horse & rider have come. so perhaps their trainers are right on, and we're just seeing the next step in their training needing to be addressed.
sometimes too, you need to work on one thing the most, and some little things are put on the backburner until the rider has mastered X.
Often the client has limited time, athletic ability, motivation, or conceptual understanding of the myriad things a trainer can teach. It's a sad state but sometimes, a trainer will just take the easy road and teach to the person's current level of skill, not to the level they are striving for. a trainer may do this not because she wants to but because it can be very frustrating to try to teach someone who doesn't put in the hours of saddle time to make it happen for what ever reason. We often have to train to horse to do it without the rider's help because the owner isn't going to get the horse there.
It's extremely frustrating but also part of the business. Not all owner's are as passionate as the trainer about giving every ounce of try at every ride.
So a trainer may just get through the season just trying to keep horse and owner together long enough to finish their classes.
i understand about some people who can't ride "perfectly" because of physical limitations. i am built all wrong for riding.
I wasn't critizing anybody, and i admire the people who post videos.
I've known a lot of instructors and trainers who get frustated with people who refuse to do the "homework" , yet keep coming back and repeating the same things all over again. how disheartening that must be.
i understand about fixing one thing at a time. I fix my shoulders, and my hands go wrong. I fix my feet, and then something else appears.
I don't think that all one has to do is just sit right and
everything will magically take care of itself. Far from it.
That's why I wanted trainers and instructors to weigh in, I don't teach so I wanted a different perspective.
Thanks for the different ideas.
"I can't help but think good horsemanship has to
do with the mind." Maria Bertram, Mansfield Park by