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"Cheating on" my trainer??

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  • "Cheating on" my trainer??

    So I've been with the same trainer for six years, through lots of ups and downs. There are a lot of things I really like about her. She has helped me and my horses come a long way, and I rely on her for horse-sitting when we go on vacation (sounds silly, but having someone I trust is so important!). But there are a few down-sides... for one, her facility is lacking, with inadequate turnout for the number of horses she has, and there's no indoor. Also, as a relative dressage newbie who reads a lot, I sometimes question her methods. She has been VERY successful showing regionally with horses she has trained herself, and she clinics regularly with BNTs, but then she'll do strange things like start putting everyone in "running reins" all of a sudden.

    I have never ridden with any other trainers in this area since we moved here, and sometimes I get curious. I haven't ridden at all since fall. Another area dressage instructor is offering an April "Get In Shape" special and I'm tempted to take the opportunity to take a few lessons with her. I just kind of feel weird about it. Am I being dumb? I should just do it, right?

  • #2
    Yeah you should just do it...
    Boyle Heights Kid 1998 16.1h OTTB Dark Bay Gelding
    Tinner's Way x Sculpture by Hail to Reason
    "Once you go off track, you never go back!"

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    • #3
      Ditto, just do it.

      This reminds me of the worm that lived his whole life in a bottle of vinegar and thought it was the sweetest place on earth cuz he'd never been anywhere else. Wink.
      "There is no fundamental difference between man and animals in their ability to feel pleasure and pain, happiness, and misery." - Charles Darwin

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      • #4
        Sounds like time for a little sunshine. So go!

        No trainer owns a student.
        Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

        Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.

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        • #5
          Why not? You might miss a great opportunity to meet new people/theories/training techniques and have fun.
          Who knows, maybe you won't like it and end up thankin your current trainer ever more! The grass isn't always greener in the neighbors' paddock!
          ~ Enjoying some guac and boxed wine at the Blue Saddle inn. ~

          Originally posted by LauraKY
          I'm sorry, but this has "eau de hoarder" smell all over it.
          HORSING mobile training app

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          • #6
            Go for it. It helps to get a second opinion. Get out and meet other people and other ways of doing things. You might find a better place for the horse and yourself.

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            • #7
              Totally go for it! The only way to continue learning is to try new things. And nothing says you can't have lessons with more than one person at a time.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Alter Already! View Post
                ... she clinics regularly with BNTs, but then she'll do strange things like start putting everyone in "running reins" all of a sudden.
                First, I'd like to address this observation. It does seem like when trainers come back from a clinic they like to try out the new ideas they just learned. I can always tell when Bo Jena has been at the farm because there are new techniques in play. Likewise, she just rode with Conrad Schumacher and we all were doing exercises that I recognize from auditing his clinics in California a few years ago. I think it's a GREAT thing when trainers work with a new idea and see how it fits into their own methodology.

                Secondly, I agree with everyone who says "go!". I'm doing the same thing with my horse this weekend ... however, especially if your horse is boarded at your trainer's facility, I think it's courteous to let her know your plan.

                I agonized over this for a while but finally just said "I'd like to do this clinic with yadday next weekend. Do you have any concerns about it?"

                She recognized the trainer's name and said she thought it would be a great idea. I don't know how I'd've handled it if she'd been strongly against it. I might have taken it under advisement and audited the clinic instead, not sure. However, I've had a handful of regular instructors and clinicked with lots of folks, including BNTs, so I know my trust in my current trainer is well-placed.
                *=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=

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                • #9
                  Just don't come back and start trying to "teach" your trainer or telling her how wrong she is about something or how she could do it differently. THAT's one very real reason that some trainers get touchy about a student going off to a clinic. Students can come back "instant experts" and that really gets in the way of further learning.

                  If a student does figure out that their trainer is not as good as they had thought, or even that the trainer is no longer the right one for them, then the student should just move on.
                  "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain" ~Friedrich Schiller

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Just a thought... I agree absolutely that no trainer 'owns' a student, and that you are free to enter whatever clinics, etc that you please. One hitch - since you board at your trainer's barn, and currently are relying on her for help in more than one area, it might be a good idea to first go and audit some lessons with this other trainer, to at least get an idea of whether you'd even like her style of training. I'm guessing your trainer would know if you trailer off property for lessons, and you might be risking 'rocking that boat'. I'd want to test the waters first to make sure it's worth the potential risk! Then if you decide you want to partake of some lessons/clinics, I agree that you should mention it to your trainer - doesn't have to be confrontational, just, 'I'm trying to learn as much as possible so I'd like to benefit from the expertise of as many good trainers as possible, including yourself!'.
                    While you are nobody's 'property', being courteous and considerate of your trainer will help to ensure that you don't burn bridges unnecessarily.

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                    • #11
                      If your horse hasn't been in work for several months, then I would not go to a clinic nor even have a lesson with regular trainer.

                      Otherwise, I'm all for trying out different clinicians.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Alter Already! View Post
                        So I've been with the same trainer for six years, through lots of ups and downs. There are a lot of things I really like about her. She has helped me and my horses come a long way, and I rely on her for horse-sitting when we go on vacation (sounds silly, but having someone I trust is so important!). But there are a few down-sides... for one, her facility is lacking, with inadequate turnout for the number of horses she has, and there's no indoor. Also, as a relative dressage newbie who reads a lot, I sometimes question her methods. She has been VERY successful showing regionally with horses she has trained herself, and she clinics regularly with BNTs, but then she'll do strange things like start putting everyone in "running reins" all of a sudden.

                        I have never ridden with any other trainers in this area since we moved here, and sometimes I get curious. I haven't ridden at all since fall. Another area dressage instructor is offering an April "Get In Shape" special and I'm tempted to take the opportunity to take a few lessons with her. I just kind of feel weird about it. Am I being dumb? I should just do it, right?
                        Wow! I cannot believe that someone else is in the exact same situation as me! I read this post and thought, "Oh no, I didn't mean to write it down.....oh wait...."

                        All I want to do is take a lesson from another visiting trainer. I don't board with my trainer, but do board at her barn when I travel (it is important to have someone you trust).

                        But, I do feel stuck in a rut. I do well at the shows, but think I could do better. Maybe I'll get up the nerve to take the lesson.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          As someone who just came out of a 10 year boarding/training relationship, here is my advice:

                          GO!!! Have fun! Soak up all that you can, and then evaluate where you are currently in the present training situation. Some things you may agree with and others you may not. Watch the horses and learn from them. What makes them go better? What makes them look more comfortable. Take those things home with you.

                          After I left, I have discovered just how much I have missed out on the past several years. Not just in training, but just in genearl enjoyment with my horses. I'm also discovering how much my horses have missed out. I had become a recluse, because I was so afraid of angering my instructor that I was afraid to step-out and attend these clinics...even as an auditor. I fully wished I had looked at other options during my 10 years and attended more clinics and the clinics that I did attend, I wish my mind had been more open to their methods and not so closed because of what my instructor was pushing.

                          If your current instructor gives you push-back or grief over attending...just ask her if she would stop attending clinics with the BNT's? It's your education, your horses and your journey. Don't let anyone ever tell you that you shouldn't attend more educational opportunities. Something that is being said by the clnician may click with you in a way that doesn't with your current instructor.

                          OP, I wish you lots and lots of luck and courage. When I read your post, I almost thought that I was reading about my former instructor. No trainer owns you.
                          Unashamed Member of the Dressage Arab Clique
                          CRAYOLA POSSE= Thistle

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                          • #14
                            I LOVE my trainer, and I board with her. She has helped me bring along my greeny OTTB, and been invaluable. That being said. I regularly (like twice a month) take lessons with another trainer who has some "school master" dressage horses. This has helped me work on just ME without worrying about training my boy. I also regularly go to clinics (dressage and jump) given by other trainers. I have been very open about all of this with my trainer, and she has absolutly no issue with it.

                            Everyone teaches differently, everyone explains things differently. It can be so helpful to expose yourself to various methods. Not saying any one trainer is better than any others, just different. I almost always pick up at least one new thing at every clinic I attend. I would just be open and honest with your trainer. She shouldn't feel "threatened" by another trainer, if she does, I would wonder why...

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Thanks, all! Let me clarify a couple of things--I don't board with my trainer, I have all my horses at home. I sometimes bring one horse at a time there for a couple of months at a time to have use of the arena and be able to take lessons on my own guys, but right now they are all at home.

                              Because of the horses being out of shape, I would be taking these April lessons on school horses with the other trainer.

                              Also, my trainer isn't controlling at all... This hesitation is all coming from me. I just feel bad about it I guess!

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Go for it. You should never feel owned by a trainer, especially if they are not controlling!
                                "Choose to chance the rapids, and dare to dance the tides" - Garth Brooks
                                "With your permission, dear, I'll take my fences one at a time" - Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I feel blessed to have had the trainer I did before we moved to Colorado. She always encouraged me to go to clinics with my mare. There was never any concern/drama. Thanks, Mary!!

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Alter Already! View Post
                                    So I've been with the same trainer for six years, through lots of ups and downs.

                                    Also, as a relative dressage newbie who reads a lot, I sometimes question her methods. She has been VERY successful showing regionally with horses she has trained herself, and she clinics regularly with BNTs, but then she'll do strange things like start putting everyone in "running reins" all of a sudden.
                                    After 6 years of training, you shouldn't be a "relative dressage newbie", unless your cumulative training was approximately 1 year. Dressage isn't that hard. 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).

                                    Running reins are never acceptable in dressage. Just never. The horse should seek the contact with the bit. Running reins disengage the horse's topline, makes the horse "break" too far back in their necks, disengages their hind ends. You will never, ever, have a properly trained dressage horse by training them with running reins. Not for dressage, ever.

                                    You do need to find a new trainer. The only way you will be able to do that is if you start trying out different trainers. Be upfront with your trainer about it. A good trainer will encourage you to expand your learning. A good trainer will realize that just because they said a million and one times to you to let go of that right rein, it might take that one key word from a different trainer, said a different way, for it to really sink in. The best thing you can do is to get more exposure to different teaching methods, different training styles. If your training is teaching correct basics, then there shouldn't be anything different taught (just different ways of teaching it). You should be able to go to a clinic, hear the same concepts taught in different ways/words, go home and integrate that into your trainers teachings. If you can't do that. If the teaching you get from everyone else (more than just one person) is so different that it won't integrate with what your trainer is teaching, then you need to take a good hard look at what you're doing and determine if it's time for a big change.

                                    I've been with my trainer for 2 years. In that time I've gone from Training Level to Second, and we're training at Third right now (I rode as a kid, but had 20 years before two years ago). I progress a LOT in a year. And so do the rest of the students my trainer teaches. One lady went from having scores in the low 50's at Intro, to Grand Champion of Intro classes in one show season. Another has moved up from Second to Third over the winter and is now doing beautiful flying changes (the lady is almost 70 this year).

                                    You SHOULD be progressing. Do what you need to do in order to advance you and your horse. And don't use those running reins. It's a waste of your time, and it'll be harder than heck to retrain the bad habits out of your horse after using those. Jumpers... fine. They aren't looking for the same thing as dressage is looking for. Dressage - never.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Core6430 View Post
                                      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.
                                      *=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        OP, it's good to hear your current trainer is not a controller. I would take the opportunity to go and explore other trainers' approaches.

                                        For years I rode with a woman who constantly told me I was a "poor" rider because "I had a long waist/back". She NEVER would OK showing or riding in a clinic with others. I showed anyway and did ONE clinic with Gwen Stockebrand. THAT clinic, my instructor OK'ed. Go figure.

                                        I missed out on many opportunities riding with this ONE teacher. It wasn't until years later that I learned about "core strength" and riding with a shorter stirrup. Both of these things helped me advance and ride with better body control -- but sticking with my original teacher? I'd have NEVER known.

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