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  1. #1
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    Oct. 14, 2006
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    Default Could Our Teaching Professionals Be The Weak Link In Our Training System?

    There are a few current threads right now on The COTH Bulletin Board that have generated good discussion and some possible solutions to the low level of training and riding we're seeing at some shows. Mostly, they seem to go around and around, touching on issues that contribute, but don't solve, the problem.

    One thread, that is a response to Bill Moroney's article in The Chronicle where he stated that many of the Final's riders were not experienced enough to answer the questions asked at a Finals competition, is particularly interesting, and, I think, true.

    In life, as in riding, humans follow trends, often without realizing the long term consequences. Students imitate their trainers, and trainers imitate the BNT and riders who win. Sometimes, copying something without understanding it's source morphs into something else entirely.

    If the trainers made the time and had interest in teaching better prepared riders, the standards would rise. Local qualifying classes that lower the fence height, trainers who don't know enough to teach beyond the crest release or are too busy getting to too many shows to read, or go to clinics, etc, need to want to open their eyes.

    Could our professional trainers be the weak link in our system? Is a lack of standards, education and growth for those that teach riding in the USA the reason that so many riders aren't prepared to show at their level? What could be done to turn this trend around?



  2. #2
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    Feb. 8, 2003
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    Austin, TX
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    Default

    Don't have an answer on what we can do, but I agree that a lack of completness in the training in America is a big issue. However, the horse world is very expansive and hard to cohesivly change.
    ~ Kimberlee
    www.SpunkyDiva.com



  3. #3
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    Mar. 13, 2003
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    Default

    I think everything, in some measure, is the weak link, actually. Great trainers with kids who are over-scheduled, great riders without the funds to get great training and good horses, parents who want perfection without putting in the time so their kids can get there, our culture of instant gratification, trainers who are under-qualified and who over-charge, a lack of affordable but competitive and high quality shows, etc. etc. etc.
    You can take a line and say it isn't straight- but that won't change its shape. Jets to Brazil



  4. #4
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    Jan. 17, 2006
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    Arygle, Texas
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by foursocks View Post
    I think everything, in some measure, is the weak link, actually. Great trainers with kids who are over-scheduled, great riders without the funds to get great training and good horses, parents who want perfection without putting in the time so their kids can get there, our culture of instant gratification, trainers who are under-qualified and who over-charge, a lack of affordable but competitive and high quality shows, etc. etc. etc.

    well stated



  5. #5
    Join Date
    May. 26, 2005
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    1,498

    Default BNT's

    I know for a fact that there is a local (to me) BNT (and I mean big) who hates teaching, thinks that people who can't get it on the first try are stupid and only teaches because he has to teach the clients in his barn (whose board pay the rent thus allowing him a facility from which to be based). As well, he is known for loving your horse when you first bring it to him, only liking it when you move in and then within 6 months deciding it is unsuitable for you. Then he finds you an amazing horse that you actually can't ride and only he can. And of course, to increase it's value he has to campaign it leaving you to be an owner not a rider (but then he doesn't have to teach you!) At horse shows his clients are left to their own devices and end up schooling each other in an effort to get around. Why, you may ask, do people stay/go with him? Maybe so they can say " I ride with.....".

    Sadly, I think that there is more of this going on then is commonly discussed. Maybe not to this extreme, but we all know that the clients are the bread and butter that make many a professional's riding career happen. It takes a wise, mature, non-glory seeking person to put the needs of their clients over their own aspirations. And many professionals may be great riders and/or trainers but less than wonderful teachers.



  6. #6
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    Aug. 26, 2006
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    What I notice is the system " Trainer trains students how to ride at a show, trainer fixes in between all that they don't teach the riders like developing toplines, and so on. So it is always you need the trainer.
    Ofcourse not everyone is this kind of trainer , but I do think real riding is lacking , it is hard to do and yes you are always learning , but it is worth it. And yes aaahhh to whoever said overcharging what in the bajeebies has gone on here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



  7. #7
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    Nov. 12, 2006
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    North East
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    Default

    I have thought for a long time that trainers and horse sales agents should be licensed in our country. The instructor trainer should have to pass a course and continue with education courses to keep his or her license. As for selling horses it should be like a realtor there should truly be a board of ethics. It seems absurd that in a sport where horses are valued at $100,000 or more anyone can jump in and be a trainer or agent with no governing body to regulate their actions.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug. 26, 2003
    Location
    New England
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    264

    Default

    There are a lot of 'sketchy' trainers like those described above out there. However, speaking from the other side (as a very, very LNT ), I really strive to teach traditional horsemanship 'old school' style & I can't tell you how many clients I have lost to trainers who will promise to have them jumping around the ring in 3 weeks. Now, I don't have access to the $$$$$ horses who will pack someone who is perched on top in a pretty pose (& I'm not saying all riders do this--I am sort of entry-level & VVLNT in hunters, as I said), but I don't really want to teach that way. Students in my barn must longe if they need work on their position, no matter what their 'level', they must be able to ride in 2 point, or with no irons, or with no hands; everyone gets low-level dressage; everyone must have solid flatwork before progressing to jumps, & decent jumpwork before progressing to courses, etc. They must also accept their own responsibility for the ride they get--it's not the horse's problem, it's not the way he was prepped (or not prepped) for them--it's THEM. You get the ride you deserve. But, people just don't have the time. Parents want the kids in the ring yesterday, & there darn well better be ribbons every time they ride out, or there's h@#l to pay. After all, that's why they're spending all this money. The kids want to get out there & show, & it's "Well, Susie over at MNT's barn was jumping in her second month." & "Riders over at BNT's place don't have to be able to ride in 2 point for 15 minutes, why do I?" After all, bombing around over fences is way more fun than learning to have a solid leg in 2 point. Mom doesn't want to hear that if little Pumpkin would sit up straight, stop stiffing the pony in the face, & pay attention to her diagonals she might place better--it's poor Pony who's a piece of crap & no good as a ride. After all, if s/he was a better horse, s/he'd be winning.

    Now, I do get my share of gems. I have a small following of riders (mostly older teens & young adults) who have previously been with Bigger NTs & have left to come to me because they want to solidify their position or develop the ability to bring along their own greenie, & I dearly love them. I also have a group of friends in the training community who see things the same way as I do & are struggling to bring along riders of the quality of those in days gone by. But it's tough to pay the bills & feel optimistic about the future of riding when you see riders changing to barns where they are allowed to sacrifice the traditional basics for a chance to have speed & glory. It's even more painful when you hear through the grapevine that the kid/horse has had a major accident/injury that you know could have been prevented by proper horsemanship & attention to detail.



    Whew! Sorry for the rant--pet hobbyhorse of mine. Back to lurking!
    ""I'm a believer that there's artistry in everything from a lawn gnome to a desk chair to a symphony to an Andy Warhol painting. There's art in absolutely everything." --Darren Criss



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec. 3, 2006
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    126

    Default

    Isn't "a teaching professional" an oxymoron?



  10. #10
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    Oct. 14, 2006
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    84

    Default

    Teach. I couldn't agree with you more. I am a trainer in New England also, and have the same rant. All the time. As you said, it's hard to feel optimistic about the future of riding when there isn't a clear reason why the system of teaching from "the days gone by", a system that produced solid, complete riders and horsemen and women, has dissolved into what it is today. Yes, money, greed, ignorance and other negative qualities have reared their ugly heads these days in a horse world that is run like a business without much regard for the horse or client. The clients you mentioned act the way they do because they have been abused in the past. When exposed to good training, the kind you described you offer, I find most students are excited and relieved to finally find someone who will teach it.

    The question that remains is how could trainers be encouraged or even forced to be more educated, more caring, and more motivated to take the time to help produce better riders? If this could change, every other aspect of riding and showing would improve.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov. 13, 2003
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    NJ
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    1,785

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Teach View Post
    There are a lot of 'sketchy' trainers like those described above out there. However, speaking from the other side (as a very, very LNT ), I really strive to teach traditional horsemanship 'old school' style & I can't tell you how many clients I have lost to trainers who will promise to have them jumping around the ring in 3 weeks. Now, I don't have access to the $$$$$ horses who will pack someone who is perched on top in a pretty pose (& I'm not saying all riders do this--I am sort of entry-level & VVLNT in hunters, as I said), but I don't really want to teach that way. Students in my barn must longe if they need work on their position, no matter what their 'level', they must be able to ride in 2 point, or with no irons, or with no hands; everyone gets low-level dressage; everyone must have solid flatwork before progressing to jumps, & decent jumpwork before progressing to courses, etc. They must also accept their own responsibility for the ride they get--it's not the horse's problem, it's not the way he was prepped (or not prepped) for them--it's THEM. You get the ride you deserve. But, people just don't have the time. Parents want the kids in the ring yesterday, & there darn well better be ribbons every time they ride out, or there's h@#l to pay. After all, that's why they're spending all this money. The kids want to get out there & show, & it's "Well, Susie over at MNT's barn was jumping in her second month." & "Riders over at BNT's place don't have to be able to ride in 2 point for 15 minutes, why do I?" After all, bombing around over fences is way more fun than learning to have a solid leg in 2 point. Mom doesn't want to hear that if little Pumpkin would sit up straight, stop stiffing the pony in the face, & pay attention to her diagonals she might place better--it's poor Pony who's a piece of crap & no good as a ride. After all, if s/he was a better horse, s/he'd be winning.

    Now, I do get my share of gems. I have a small following of riders (mostly older teens & young adults) who have previously been with Bigger NTs & have left to come to me because they want to solidify their position or develop the ability to bring along their own greenie, & I dearly love them. I also have a group of friends in the training community who see things the same way as I do & are struggling to bring along riders of the quality of those in days gone by. But it's tough to pay the bills & feel optimistic about the future of riding when you see riders changing to barns where they are allowed to sacrifice the traditional basics for a chance to have speed & glory. It's even more painful when you hear through the grapevine that the kid/horse has had a major accident/injury that you know could have been prevented by proper horsemanship & attention to detail.



    Whew! Sorry for the rant--pet hobbyhorse of mine. Back to lurking!

    WONDERFULLY stated. I absolutely agree. I tell my students up front that they won't be cantering for at LEAST 6 months (at 1x a week lessons) and if that 6 months happens to end in winter, then bank on not starting until Spring (our indoor is small, so if you don't have your act together at the canter by then, no canter for you!). Jumping doesn't start for at least a year. The "leasts" are for the talented kids. They have to show me that they are in absolute control (99% of the time anyway) before they are allowed to move on to a new level.

    Our BO who doesn't have time to teach on a regular basis, but is an excellent teacher holds clinics whenever I'm off property with shows for the newer kids coming up. Her last one was on horse behavior and safety. It was great! The kids learned how to handle the horses safely, all the time. How to anticipate and prevent accidents. Next she's doing a tack clinic in January.

    We're a little nothing barn too. VVLNT (LOVE that by the way) but as the kids develop, they go in the ring and kick some serious butt. They get noticed and do well and parents are happy.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun. 20, 2001
    Location
    Glenns, VA USA
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    1,970

    Default Change starts at home...

    and this is a great start. If all of us, LNT, stick to our "guns", then we might be able to make a ripple, and eventually, a wave!

    There isn't a one thing that will fix it all. It is up to each of us, to make the difference. The results may not be noticeable or even tangible immediately, or even for several years, but eventually, it will!

    Keep up the great work!!
    www.brydellefarm.com ....developing riders, NOT passengers!
    Member of LNHorsemanshipT & Proud of It Clique
    "What gets me up every morning is realizing how much more there is still to learn." -GHM



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct. 31, 2001
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    West of insanity, east of apathy, deep in the heart of Texas.
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by Nigel View Post
    Isn't "a teaching professional" an oxymoron?
    Only if you suck at it.
    In loving memory of Laura Jahnke.
    A life lived by example, done too soon.
    www.caringbridge.org/page/laurajahnke/



  14. #14
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    Cool

    Cheveaux, I think that some of the blame can be laid at the door of the trainers. The bad ones, that is. But my experience has mirrored Teach's in that I have trouble finding students who actually want to learn to ride, rather than being stroked and told how wonderful they already are. You can't learn anything like that, and you'll never progress. And my students progress, because I teach. I don't babysit. Riding correctly and well takes a lot of time, effort, blood, sweat and tears; if you're not willing to put in that effort, go play tennis or take piano lessons. And put the rest of the blame where it should be - on those who take the "fast food" approach to everything in their lives, and think that a hefty bank balance is the only thing necessary to allow them to show and win.

    JME.
    In loving memory of Laura Jahnke.
    A life lived by example, done too soon.
    www.caringbridge.org/page/laurajahnke/



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct. 14, 2006
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    84

    Default

    But my experience has mirrored Teach's in that I have trouble finding students who actually want to learn to ride, rather than being stroked and told how wonderful they already are. You can't learn anything like that, and you'll never progress. And my students progress, because I teach. I don't babysit.

    ESG: You, Teach and I may have to form a LNT Enlightenment Force. From 3 to 3,000, our ranks will grow!

    As I said earlier, I find students who had been previously trained in the school of quick fixes and the "rush to the ring" method, are thrilled to have a really well constructed old fashioned lesson. They learn, step by step, how to ride track, pace balance and rhythm, and ultimately ride with workmanlike confidence and style. From past responses on this board, it seems that a majority want to be trained properly, but have given up and accepted what's offered.

    Did you see another current thread on the COTH Hunter/Jumper BB,
    Attention Hunter/Jumper Lovers (pics). She's a student of Mike Hennigan's and posted these older pictures (link below). One rider after another with beautiful basics. It can be taught, just as it always used to be taught. Trainers just have to care enough to bother, or bother to learn more so that they can pass it along.

    Here's the link to the pictures:

    http://pets.webshots.com/album/556381503quEHbj


    And thanks for the reply to the oxyMORON.



  16. #16
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    Sep. 5, 2005
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    Mass.
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    Question

    I have absolutely no idea where all these barns are where they don't teach people how to ride and just plunk them on $50,000 horses. These comments are absolutely baffling to me, and I'm not being sarcastic. I'm privileged to be associated with an eventing barn owned by a nationally-ranked eventer, and a h-j barn where the kids go to A-levels and Florida as well as local shows for the pony kids. At BOTH barns, the riders WORK and LEARN, whether or not they're adults or kids. At the h-j barn, if a rider is just standing around, they're told by someone to pick up a broom or a hose. At the eventing barn, at LEAST 10 minutes of each lesson is mandatory no-stirrups - more if you start making mistakes.

    Where are these barns where they let people ride a horse without teaching you how? I just don't get it.



  17. #17
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    Jun. 20, 2001
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    Glenns, VA USA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chevaux View Post
    As I said earlier, I find students who had been previously trained in the school of quick fixes and the "rush to the ring" method, are thrilled to have a really well constructed old fashioned lesson. They learn, step by step, how to ride track, pace balance and rhythm, and ultimately ride with workmanlike confidence and style. From past responses on this board, it seems that a majority want to be trained properly, but have given up and accepted what's offered.
    This has been my experience. I keep my student #s low and am selective who I teach, so I can have these types of students, as they are the only ones who will thrive in my program, as I require the work that is needed to be a great rider, a true horseman.
    www.brydellefarm.com ....developing riders, NOT passengers!
    Member of LNHorsemanshipT & Proud of It Clique
    "What gets me up every morning is realizing how much more there is still to learn." -GHM



  18. #18
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by Guin View Post
    I have absolutely no idea where all these barns are where they don't teach people how to ride and just plunk them on $50,000 horses. These comments are absolutely baffling to me, and I'm not being sarcastic. I'm privileged to be associated with an eventing barn owned by a nationally-ranked eventer, and a h-j barn where the kids go to A-levels and Florida as well as local shows for the pony kids. At BOTH barns, the riders WORK and LEARN, whether or not they're adults or kids. At the h-j barn, if a rider is just standing around, they're told by someone to pick up a broom or a hose. At the eventing barn, at LEAST 10 minutes of each lesson is mandatory no-stirrups - more if you start making mistakes.
    Your third sentence explains it - you're "associated with an eventing barn". Eventers have to learn to ride, or they die. It's that simple. You're required to ride a dressage test. Want to take a guess at how many of the kids doing the equitation classes could do even a decent First level test? How 'bout "none"? There is a world of difference between the requirements for an event rider and a hunter rider (which, I ASSume, we're discussing). And because the H/J barn is in association with the eventing barn, sounds like some of their better practices have rubbed off. And no flames, please.

    Where are these barns where they let people ride a horse without teaching you how? I just don't get it.
    A better question would be, "Where aren't they?".
    In loving memory of Laura Jahnke.
    A life lived by example, done too soon.
    www.caringbridge.org/page/laurajahnke/



  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brydelle Farm View Post
    This has been my experience. I keep my student #s low and am selective who I teach, so I can have these types of students, as they are the only ones who will thrive in my program, as I require the work that is needed to be a great rider, a true horseman.
    <ESG applauding Brydelle>

    Me, too. And, sadly, I've had all too many would-be riders who come, take one lesson, and never come back. Probably because, unless they can demonstrate some level of proficiency, they don't get past a trot on a circle. Tends to dissuade the dilettantes...................... Yes, my schoolmaster can jump a gorgeous 3'6 course (as you've been claiming you've been doing), but you have to ask him properly. Yes, my old dressage schoolmaster can do two tempis and canter half pass, but you have to ask him properly. "Schoolmaster" is not synonymous with "push button"; too many people can't make that distinction........or ride well enough to make a true schoolmaster perform.
    In loving memory of Laura Jahnke.
    A life lived by example, done too soon.
    www.caringbridge.org/page/laurajahnke/



  20. #20
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    Jun. 20, 2001
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ESG View Post
    Yes, my schoolmaster can jump a gorgeous 3'6 course (as you've been claiming you've been doing), but you have to ask him properly. Yes, my old dressage schoolmaster can do two tempis and canter half pass, but you have to ask him properly. "Schoolmaster" is not synonymous with "push button"; too many people can't make that distinction........or ride well enough to make a true schoolmaster perform.
    Exactly!! You mean they aren't just suppose to do it!
    www.brydellefarm.com ....developing riders, NOT passengers!
    Member of LNHorsemanshipT & Proud of It Clique
    "What gets me up every morning is realizing how much more there is still to learn." -GHM



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