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"Cheating on" my trainer??

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  • Original Poster

    #21
    Core 6430, You make good points and I don't disagree with you in theory... But the fault for not advancing lies with me and my priorities. I have my horses at home and have no arena, so I can't REALLY practice dressage much on my own time. Plus the fact that during those six years, I've had two kids, so I've taken LONG hiatuses from riding, and so have my horses. My horses are also not really suitable for dressage, breed and temperament-wise, so it's not like I started with a nice 5 year old Warmblood and have taken six years to get to Training because my trainer stinks.

    As far as the running reins... Yeah, I thought it was really odd. They are what I would call draw reins (coming from a H/J background) but she swears they're not draw reins because they connect to the sides of the girth rather than between the horses' legs (??? Is that a thing? They still seem like draw reins to me). And she uses them alone, without a primary pair of normal reins, which I also found unusual and somewhat concerning. I guess it is something her BNT trainer suggested to her for one particular horse and it worked well, and she started doing it on many of them, including mine. The idea was when horse and rider were having problems with contact and connection, to use the running reins to get the feel and build muscle memory, and then take them away and hopefully still be able to find that same feel.

    Nevertheless, I have e-mailed the other trainer to see if I can get into her April program and hopefully some good will come of it.

    Comment


    • #22
      I would absolutely do it if you want to. One of the reasons I chose the stable I'm at is because you can bring in outside trainers. I love to take clinics and I've had a couple working student positions. I am not comfortable with being stuck under a trainer who doesn't want me training with other people at all. I do take regular lessons from the same two people, but I also trailer out or get clinics at my barn from other people. No one person can know everything, and sometimes when a person sees a rider every week they don't notice little flaws sneak up.

      Comment


      • #23
        Originally posted by AllWeatherGal View Post
        Originally Posted by Core6430
        If you aren't moving up a level every 2 years then something is wrong! You should be training at least Second by this point, possibly Third (depending on the horse).
        I don't think this statement is universally true for all riders with all horses and all trainers.

        "Whatever you need to do in order to advance ..." sometimes requires resources that are beyond peoples' reach: financially, logistically, and schedule-y. All sorts of circumstances from not living near enough to a talented instructor/trainer to take regular lessons to not being able to find a horse in their price range with whom they have the chemistry necessary to go up the levels. And honestly? not all horses are suitable. If they can't carry weight behind for whatever reason (often hocks in OTTBs), the horses are limited.

        Nobody's doing anything "wrong," they're just doing what fits into their lives at the time.
        I agree, there's nothing wrong with someone who can't fit dressage into their lives.... However, own the reason. Stop blaming the horses. it's not like these people are competing at Third or Fourth. Most of them are at Training Level, and have been at Training level for 3 or more years. Yet they're still blaming the horse.

        I rarely see a horse that can't at least dabble in Second level training (some should-in/haunches-in). They might not be great at it, but good enough to teach the rider the timing and aids. Even mules are winning at Second. I seriously doubt these horses are built worse than a mule.

        I hear one more person (who isn't training at Third or above) tell me it's their horse, I will bop them on the nose with a rolled up newspaper. Blaming the horse just masks the real reasons for the lack of progress. If people admitted they don't make the time for the sport, then at least they can choose whether to continue to not make time, or find ways to carve out the time they need. When they blame the horse, it becomes hopeless. Why bother trying to eek out 2 hours when the horse can't do it? It's a self-defeating mindset. It becomes easier and easier to cave to failure, the blame game grows until you're so swamped with how there's nothing to be done that you can't do anything to reverse it. I'd like to believe that people participate in dressage because they enjoy it. If we removed the false reasons for the lack of progress, then the real reasons can be addressed (busy schedule, lack of or bad trainer, seat issues, etc). Understanding the reasons allows you to control the outcome and modify it so the person can really enjoy the experience. But by blaming a bunch of stuff that's either out of your control, or out of your budget, immediately kills off any hope of changing the outcome. The rest of the time with the horse becomes a chore that is lead by conflicting feelings of guilt and resentment. No one will willingly put in 2 extra hours a day, on top of a grueling schedule, to have to experience guilt, resentment and a lack of hope in the future.

        Comment


        • #24
          Originally posted by Core6430 View Post
          I agree, there's nothing wrong with someone who can't fit dressage into their lives.... However, own the reason. Stop blaming the horses. it's not like these people are competing at Third or Fourth. Most of them are at Training Level, and have been at Training level for 3 or more years. Yet they're still blaming the horse.

          I rarely see a horse that can't at least dabble in Second level training (some should-in/haunches-in). They might not be great at it, but good enough to teach the rider the timing and aids. Even mules are winning at Second. I seriously doubt these horses are built worse than a mule.

          I hear one more person (who isn't training at Third or above) tell me it's their horse, I will bop them on the nose with a rolled up newspaper. Blaming the horse just masks the real reasons for the lack of progress. If people admitted they don't make the time for the sport, then at least they can choose whether to continue to not make time, or find ways to carve out the time they need. When they blame the horse, it becomes hopeless. Why bother trying to eek out 2 hours when the horse can't do it? It's a self-defeating mindset. It becomes easier and easier to cave to failure, the blame game grows until you're so swamped with how there's nothing to be done that you can't do anything to reverse it. I'd like to believe that people participate in dressage because they enjoy it. If we removed the false reasons for the lack of progress, then the real reasons can be addressed (busy schedule, lack of or bad trainer, seat issues, etc). Understanding the reasons allows you to control the outcome and modify it so the person can really enjoy the experience. But by blaming a bunch of stuff that's either out of your control, or out of your budget, immediately kills off any hope of changing the outcome. The rest of the time with the horse becomes a chore that is lead by conflicting feelings of guilt and resentment. No one will willingly put in 2 extra hours a day, on top of a grueling schedule, to have to experience guilt, resentment and a lack of hope in the future.
          I really hate it when people blame the horse...however, there are a few instances when the horse and rider are not a good match, and they do cause a set-back in progress. For example, my first horse was a lovely, but very green and very hot arabian mare. I worked with her for close to 7 years, and we never made it past intro level. She has the talent and the ability, and has been trained to 2nd level...but, I can't ride her. She's too hot and too much horse for me to handle, and because of that, I'm fearful riding her. I'm not ashamed to admit it and it took a lot of awareness on my part to admit that we just were not a good match, and no matter what, I was not going to progress on her.

          I also don't feel that 3 years for an adult amateur, who has a tight schedule is too long to be at any one level. It takes time to learn dressage, and some people catch on much quicker than others. Add to that, body issues, seat issues, etc. And, truth be told, some horses take longer to develop. Just because a gifted, talented horse (not necessarily a warmblood), can reach 2nd level in a few years, doesn't mean a less gifted horse can reach 2nd level in the same amount of time. There are too many variables to say that you should be at such and such level in X amount of years.

          Back to the OP. Based off of your statements, it does sound like you feel an obligation to your current trainer...there is nothing wrong with that. BUT, don't let it hinder your education, or your fun. I have learned so much from going and auditing clinics, and riding with other instructors...I really wish I had ridden in more clinics in the past. Sometimes another instructor will say something in such a way that will click, when your current instructor has been saying the same thing for years. You might find that some of the things you have been taught, just don't work and you might discover better ways for doing things.
          Unashamed Member of the Dressage Arab Clique
          CRAYOLA POSSE= Thistle

          Comment


          • #25
            I found my current instructor based on the referral of a strange man in breeches I met in RadioShack. I bought my current horse literally 2 weeks before finding out I was pregnant, so I definitely understand the time restraints and layoff time.

            My instructor has been great, and I have no plans to change. That said, I do love to read, watch, and learn from other sources. Luckily, she has no issues with that. I've taken a few lessons with another instructor around me, as well as gone to a couple clinics when I could afford them. The fundamentals were the same, but with a different pair of eyes, there were a handful of statements said to me that made a big difference. I was able to take those statements back to my regular lessons and make improvements.

            Hearing things phrased in a slightly different way can make a huge difference. Have fun at your other lessons.

            Comment


            • #26
              Since the trainer in question goes to clinics a lot, as OP said, it would actually be a good idea to tell her, 'hey I just heard that clinician/trainer so and so is doing a special thing soon, do you think I might learn something from that?' and for all you know, she might be intending to go too. At least, mentioning it to her accomplishes a few good things:
              1) establishes that you are interested in learning from multiple sources
              2) she is aware you are thinking of going, so there should not be any 'flak' from her if you go
              3) the way she responds to your mentioning it will be informational
              That is great she helps with your home-bound horses when you go out of town, but if you needed to find someone else to do that, you probably could either by getting to know people at the clinic, and/or by posting a note on a tack shop or feed store bulletin board.
              Jeanie
              RIP Sasha, best dog ever, pictured shortly before she died, Death either by euthanasia or natural causes is only the end of the animal inhabiting its body; I believe the spirit lives on.

              Comment


              • #27
                Sure!! No one trains under just one person and every rider has had multiple influences.

                I think the thing to remember here is that even if T#2 offers something different than T#1, that doesn't mean T#1 has been wrong.

                Many, many roads to Rome. If you & your horse have done well, and you are happy with your horse's attitude towards work (and your own, of course...but it's harder to communicate with the horse) than it's obvious T#1 has been "right" about her direction.

                But in most things there are different ways to do the same thing and different horses may respond in different ways; so it's ALWAYS great to have several different tools in your tool box!

                It could be your teacher is smart enough to realize SHE still needs to learn and by trying "weird" stuff on a whole group of horses she is finding out for herself if it works (for her) or not. Again, I think this is an admirable trait in someone -- they are willing to explore options.

                It is a sad fact of Life that people grow & move on, and this is true especially in a Teacher/Student relationship.

                However, what I would do, and I'm sure others have mentioned this, is to TELL T#1 you are going -- even ask her if SHE is going, just to "check it out". You don't have to be sneaky. If it's the typical 'small world' dressage group, she will find out anyway.

                Good luck!

                Comment


                • #28
                  A couple of comments;
                  First, though it is certainly possible for a horse and rider to advance a level or more in a year, that isn't always the norm, especially as horse move to higher levels. To maintain that type of progress takes ability on the part of rider and horse, commitment (time and money) from the rider and a certain amount of luck. It is not a huge red flag if you aren't making that kind of progress.

                  Second, r
                  unning reins and draw reins are the same thing. They have a place in dressage. For the record, I don't use them. From your description, it sounds like they are being over or poorly used.

                  So do you need a new trainer? Idk. But there are practical issues to consider, imo.
                  Your current trainer has lesson horses available for your use. Other trainer? How important is that to you? Also you said you don't have an arena of your own to ride in, how is that going to work out with the new trainer?


                  My point is; You can use any trainer you want for any reason and it's fine. But regardless of your trainer's personality, you will be signaling a change in your relationship and your trainer will respond.

                  That may be positive or negative.

                  So think it through and have a plan. It seems like concrete goals might help you make progress.
                  See those flying monkeys? They work for me.

                  Comment


                  • #29
                    OP...thanks for this post. You have given me the courage to try someone new

                    Comment


                    • #30
                      I second the remarks that state that someone else might have a different way of expressing a thought that makes more sense to a student. My own coach and I often have this conversation -- and I've discussed it with students of my own.

                      Some of my "early" instructors (old European Military guys whose first language was NOT English) had only one way of explaining something. Variations were delivered in a louder voice, sometimes with swearing or name-calling. Amusing to recall years later, but not helpful at the time!

                      Yes, even simply auditing a clinic can spark ideas to solve a training problem. A good clinician is a blessing.

                      Blkarab, I also had a mare that I could. not. click. with. Believe me, I tried! There are marriages made in Hell as well as Heaven. We eventually thrashed our way through a 2nd level test. Pretty bad, too. Then I gave up. The current horse is schooling 3rd & 4th and I (finally) earned my Bronze on him last year. A much easier horse to ride and train.

                      So sometimes it IS the horse, but that doesn't mean the horse can't excel with another rider. It's a partnership, and the partners need to be compatible. I don't pressure my students to advance up the levels at any particular rate. Most are career people with limited time and less than ideal boarding situations. No indoor arenas or lighting for night riding, for instance. That'll show you down.

                      Comment


                      • #31
                        Go for it their are so few new learning opportunities out their and your current trainer might appreciate it, get some spice and enthusiasm back into you riding with her to..
                        One day you'll wake up and there wont be any more time to do what you've always wanted to do. Do it NOW!

                        Comment


                        • #32
                          I completely agree with the post below and am glad it was mentioned, since no one was really pointing out that the OP should discuss the whole issue with her trainer before going.

                          A healthy trainer-student relationship must be based on communication and trust.

                          If you can't trust your trainer to direct you in the best possible way and communicate when you don't feel this is happening, something has to change. It is not unusual for people to clinic with a different person ... but they keep their current trainer in the loop and talk about what they learned when they return and how it fits into their program. This will keep communication and trust alive. Don't go behind her back - the dressage world is small and in trying to protect her and/or yourself, you are only setting yourself up for problems when (not if) she finds out. If I read this post I would probably feel hurt that my student was afraid to tell me how she was feeling. Have a chat with her and she will be happy you involved her in the discussion and/or it will make you realize where you stand with her.

                          Hope that helps!


                          Originally posted by sdlbredfan View Post
                          Since the trainer in question goes to clinics a lot, as OP said, it would actually be a good idea to tell her, 'hey I just heard that clinician/trainer so and so is doing a special thing soon, do you think I might learn something from that?' and for all you know, she might be intending to go too. At least, mentioning it to her accomplishes a few good things:
                          1) establishes that you are interested in learning from multiple sources
                          2) she is aware you are thinking of going, so there should not be any 'flak' from her if you go
                          3) the way she responds to your mentioning it will be informational
                          That is great she helps with your home-bound horses when you go out of town, but if you needed to find someone else to do that, you probably could either by getting to know people at the clinic, and/or by posting a note on a tack shop or feed store bulletin board.
                          www.mooredressage.com
                          www.alsikkanfarm.com

                          Comment


                          • #33
                            I would be honest and open about your plans, don't hide anything from current trainer. Its likely to backfire.

                            Comment


                            • #34
                              Originally posted by In hiding View Post
                              OP...thanks for this post. You have given me the courage to try someone new

                              Me, too! I finally got up the nerve to take a lesson from another trainer. Learned a lot and finally had some fun during a lesson.

                              As my "punishment" from my trainer, I was "not allowed" to stable in the same barn with her at the show last weekend. Had to stall by myself.

                              Oh, well......

                              Comment


                              • #35
                                Wow. I'd fire that trainer and hang out with the "fun" one.

                                Comment


                                • #36
                                  Originally posted by ThreeFigs View Post
                                  Wow. I'd fire that trainer and hang out with the "fun" one.
                                  Well....she states she is considering firing me!

                                  I was open and up front about taking this lesson from a visiting trainer (one-time event).

                                  Comment


                                  • #37
                                    Sounds like a a control freak! Run away! Run away!

                                    Comment


                                    • #38
                                      Definitely try out the other trainer. I would be open with both trainers that you want to try out something different. I ride with two different trainers on a regular basis, and have had a few lessons/clinics with others. I frequently tell my main trainer about other ideas from "trainer B" that I would like to try out. Sometimes she seems to think it is a really good idea and incorporates it into out lessons. The most negative response I have ever gotten was "Hmm, how did that work for you." but never any complaints.
                                      Trainer B is a much younger, up-an-coming trainer, without the show record of my main trainer (who is quite well known). There was a point where trainer B seemed a bit intimidated and said something like "I'm not sure how much help I'll be. I'm sure trainer A has done this already." I replied "well, she is such a good trainer that once she has said something to me, I always remember it, have the skill mastered and don't need any more teaching." That broke the ice, we both laughed, and I went on to get some really great lessons from trainer B, and it often helped to get a different perspective even though she isn't as well known as my main trainer.

                                      Comment


                                      • #39
                                        Originally posted by Core6430 View Post
                                        I hear one more person (who isn't training at Third or above) tell me it's their horse, I will bop them on the nose with a rolled up newspaper.
                                        That would have been smarter than finally blurting out my thoughts after listening to whining for months

                                        Additionally, I think "not clicking" is also a rider problem -- if it's not working out have the decency to help the horse find a better partner. Especially when his/her trainer says the same thing.

                                        Also, FWIW, the I noticed that my trainer said the some of the same things during cavaletti work that the jumper trainer said about approaching and going over real jumps
                                        *=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=

                                        Comment


                                        • #40
                                          Running reins in dressage? Time for some sunshine.

                                          Comment

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