It's been awhile since I've posted on here...I lurk often, just don't post much.
I had a situation come up recently where I need a little advice.
I have an AWESOME horse...he's fantastic for my amateur self, and we have made great strides the past year in both his training and my own. I have him in regular training with my instructor, and I ride him both in lessons and on my own.
Here's the situation. About a month ago, my trainer approached me about having another student take a lesson on him, because the school horse was being ridden by the woman who leases him for a clinic. No problem...I thought that it might be good for him to experience another rider for the time, and I was unavailable to ride him for the week because of my work schedule.
Well...trainer then approaches me about letting this woman ride him "occassionally" in her lessons. This, I'm not comfortable with. So, I told her that's I'm not comfortable with the idea of him being ridden regularly by someone else. Now, she is pressuring me to give in, and trying to put the guilt trip of saying that it won't be that often, it will never conflict with the times I want to ride him, that the woman is more comfortable on him than the lesson horse, and that I agreed it would be good for him to experience another rider. (taking my words and throwing them back at me.).
I spend a lot of time and money keeping him sound, and quite frankly, I don't want him to be a school horse. I didn't purchase him for that and that is not the direction I want him to go. I know that's a bit selfish on my part, but I've waited a very long time to find a horse that I'm comfortable with, and I think I'm just feeling like I'm going to get the short-end of the stick in this arrangement. He's not a young horse, and I want to make the best of the years I have left with him.
Does anyone have any words of wisdom (Besides switching trainers...btdt). Anything I can counter with?
I need to be very careful with any and all wording with this person...she is going to try and pressure me into this, and I need to be armed with good reasons and answers.
Reasons and answers? The reason is he is YOUR horse and the answer is NO!! You do not have to provide school horses for anybody, nowhere in your post did it say you were giving lessons. You are not required to make everybody in your world happy.
Your trainer is being a bully and a cheapskate. She doesn't want to invest in good schoolhorses, so she wants to make $$ off your horse, putting wear and tear on him without worrying about vet bills since they won't be hers.
The problem here is your trainer. She's out of line. I'd be shopping for a trainer, if I were you. It's one thing to ask, it's quite another to pressure and not take no for answer. Major red flags.
ETA: I see you BTDT on switching trainers...but this isn't healthy. Especially when you have to word things perfectly to get her off your back. Why? He's your horse, and you said no. Period. At the very least you need to stand up to her, or more bullying and bulls$%t will follow.
I think your concern is very legitimate, and it is down right rude of the trainer to try to use guilt trip on you. At the very least, you should be properly compensated financially, if you feel comfortable about this situation.
I myself will never let anybody less skilled than I am to ride my "main" horse regularly (even with compensation). Yes, I have allowed my 7 years old niece, a total beginner, to hop on my show horse and I gave her a pony ride but she is family and it is just something once in a long while. I didn't allow her to touch his mouth and she learnt how to steer and stop the horse with her seat and legs alone. She had a ball and I'm happy that she did. Now I have other horses, horses I don't have time to ride, and don't plan to take them further. Those I don't mind.
What I said? (Yup, been there, down to the pushy trainer) Just what you wrote here."No. I've changed my mind. I don't want to lend him out again." Its none of her business WHY, its enough to just say NO.
Your horse, your decision. As to needing to choose your words, just use the minimum. "No, I don't want to do it again. " As your trainer is being paid for her work with you and your horse, it behooves her to keep you happy. Remember that when you speak to her. Don't allow her to drag you into a big discussion. Also, I would initiate the conversation. Just be short, definite, and to the point.
When someone shows you who they are, BELIEVE THEM.
No, you don't even need to have good reasons and answers.
You could have bad reasons and frivolous answers yet this trainer should have nothing to say about YOUR decision.
My horse my rules.
Even if your trainer is innocently asking w/o any hidden agenda and honestly feels your horse would benefit from the other rider's occasional use.
As Alibi says:
Your horse, your rules.
IIWM, I'd put it exactly this way to trainer and if that caused a problem, then I'd be looking for a new trainer.
*friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon: Steppin' Out 1988-2004 Hey Vern! 1982-2009 Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
I just wanna chime in here ... (in case Bella's mom is reading, THANK YOU AGAIN!)
Last weekend I had a wonderful ride on a lovely mare at the invitation of her owner. I've coveted the mare for a long time and was overwhelmed at the invitation to "catch a ride on her".
The woman had said she thought it would be good for the horse to get some different experiences and that she's not ridden as much as she could be. My mind went awhirling to asking if I could take a weekly lesson on her and then I realized, it didn't lighten her load any unless I paid for some of the lease.
We did this without the involvement of our trainer (but I'm pretty sure the woman checked in with her about it) and I would be mortified if the trainer tried to pressure the woman into letting me ride her more regularly.
Now, to answer your question:
If it was me in your situation, I'd probably be apologetic about it (cuz that's how I try to avoid), but say just what you said here: "I'm very attached to my horse and simply not willing to share right now. I appreciate you think he's a solid citizen and will let you know if I change my mind."
Dressage becomes art when it is a joy for the horse. -KBH
AllWeatherGal...thank you especially for your input. Part of what makes this so hard, is knowing how the other person feels, having been in a similiar situation. I know my guy is wonderful, and I really treasure him for that. However, I ride very regularly (2-3 times a week) and the trainer rides him another 2-3 times a week. So, it's not like he is lacking for work. Plus, he had to have hock injections earlier this year. I'm just wanting to maintain his soundness for as long as possible. In addition...the student who rode him has only been with my instructor a couple of months. This is not a person I know well, or one that I know her riding style. Yes, I feel that the ride was a good experience for my guy...but I am also not really keen on making this a regular event. I am worried that an "occassional" lesson is going to morph into "regular" ones...like once to twice a week, instead of the trainer riding him, or the student riding the lesson horse. No mention of compensation was mentioned, and I feel a little bit "used" by this.
I really appreciate everyone's input...I felt bad for saying "no" initially, and I'm rather put-off and upset that the trainer is trying to guilt me into this. I know her intentions are honest ones, however, this is not the first time I have been pressured into something by her, and I need to make it stop. She threw all of this on me, right in the middle of a very stressful event in my life, and I just don't have the energy to think it all through. I told her I am not comfortable making this a regular thing...and that should be good enough. I haven't responded back to her after her last message, and thought I would get some advice from here first.
I like AllWeatherGal's suggestion. Polite, well put, and to the point. If your trainer still would not back off, well, you may then need to get ugly about it but let's hope she is an adult and know when to stop.
I stuck with mine despite the pressure to change vets, farriers, saddles, etc that she tended to put on her students. Sometimes I went with the change, often I didn't. She got a bit ruffled when crossed, but she got over it. She was quite addicted to getting her way, and playing the Queen of Dressage role at our barn, QDQ as it were. One time she changed one training ride date too many, and I suggested pulling Horsie out of training until her schedule permitted a regular schedule. Never had another missed ride.
Don't let yourself stress. You bought your horse for YOURSELF to enjoy, and by doing so you have the right to do or not do anything you choose to with him. Period.
When someone shows you who they are, BELIEVE THEM.
You don't need to offer any reasons for your answer - in fact the less reasons you give the easier it will be for you to end the conversation. If you don't feel comfortable saying just "no" then you could add "I've thought about it extensively and it's not going to work out."
Offering reasons for your decision invites conversation about them. So don't offer your reasons.