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Approach the coach

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    Approach the coach

    I’m the typical position of the amateur. I love my farm (boarding barn starting to become a show barn), but need some help in conflict resolution. My BM is the fiery type and very good at training horses. But her people coaching skills aren’t as strong. Along with a flair for some hot tempered words which don’t always fly with me. BM has done limited UL stuff but very strong young horse and naughty horse training skills.

    Recently I went to a 5* rider for a long weekend “boot camp” where I learned a lot from an excellent coach. His style just spoke to me and my horses and he is able to break every problem into baby steps. Since my trainer has never interacted with this rider (I’ve known them for a bit) she is very distrustful of them which is misplaced. I found out she vocalized her dislike of the fact I went to him and that he out “crap in my head” to our dressage coach right before my lesson.

    Mind you I let my BM know well in advance about boot camp and did not broadcast nor fanfare this adventure. Before nor after. But man my seat and hands softened on the flat big time with this guy.

    Another gripe is that I am a very good client. I pay for my horses in time key fashion, come prepared, show, and am not a drama mama. I actually pick out a fair amount of the lessons, show values, and schooling’s and pay for BM to haul and coach. However she keeps complimenting, congratulating, and featuring the other horses/riders esp on social media. I’m the most consistent client of the bunch. She also dislikes my smaller horse because she is, small, and a little older. To the point where in group events we sometimes get our needs mildly ignored in light of the bigger fancier horses. My younger horse does get plenty of attention but she’s in BM’s pro training.

    All this requires is some communication skills but I don’t know the best way to approach it. Especially because I’d like a ride to the 5* rider again which will inevitably irritate her, but also make her some $ from hauling fees.

    How do I broach all this?

    #2
    I don't know how you're going to change her attitude, but the first thought I had when reading all the way through that is that it really seems like it's time for you to think about getting your own trailer and something to tow it with. If you choose to stay at this barn, that would make your life so much easier and less dependent on the BM.

    Comment


      #3

      She sounds as though she has a massive case of sour grapes.

      The fact that you feel so dramatic an improvement in such a short time indicates to me that you would be best elsewhere, with another instructor. Sounds like 5*, can not only walk, the walk, but also effectively talk the talk.

      Time to do some walking, and saving of your breath.
      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.

      Comment


        #4
        Yeah, I agree with merrygoround that you should start looking elsewhere. You are a good client with very reasonable and fair demands in your business relationship. It sounds like you and your smaller horse don't fit the image/clientele she is working toward and your repeated mention of her temper and snide remarks gives me little hope that she will respond positively or productively to a conversation about your complaints. Shop around for another boarding barn/trainer. Give your required 30 or 60 day notice and take your money elsewhere.

        Comment

          Original Poster

          #5
          So far I’m feeling Mango20’s suggestion most keenly. I love the care my horses get and I appreciate her as a person. However I don’t like feeling trapped and unappreciated. 5* is located far away, but I’m more than willing to go about 1x/mo, especially given that he happily answers my dumb questions over texts over about literally anything horses.

          Comment


            #6
            My thoughts too, time for your own trailer and truck.

            Comment


              #7
              Finding the right instructor is the one thing you need.

              Finding the right instructor is the hardest thing to do, because you don't know what you don't know, so a bad instructor looks good when they know more than you do.

              Have the most talented horse with a mediocre instructor you won't get there.

              Have a mediocre horse with the right instructor and you will go far.

              The right instructor is worth paying for. Whether it is in $'s or by buying a vehicle and trailer and commuting.

              Or move your horse there and you commute in your car.

              The right instructor you are better off with weekly lessons, not monthly lessons,

              .... or daily lessons

              .... or several lessons a day!!!
              It is better to ride 5 minutes a day than it is to ride 35 minutes on a Sunday.

              Comment

                Original Poster

                #8
                Def can’t do weekly, I’m not made of that kind of cash... Agreed that good instructors are incredible and hard to find, Ive been fortunate in finding a few that really speak to me. Monthly will have to do until I marry into the royal family and can quit my job

                Comment


                  #9
                  I think both you and your barn manager are mirroring each other's feelings. You feel like she doesn't appreciate you and your older horse, she doesn't feel you respect her. I say that because of her behavior when you went to the 5 star trainer Both of you need a mediator so you can air out your garbage! JMO. I don't have any great ideas. Maybe take her to dinner as a thank you for how far she has brought you along. Do a big social media post about how her help has made you a better rider and competitor. See if that makes her reciprocate. Insofar as the older horse in lessons, take it as a compliment if you don't get corrected. This is a good thing! Maybe make a deal that if she says nothing, you get half off the lesson. If things don't get better, make sure you have options to move. So ultimately no matter what, get your own truck and trailer. With two horses, you might need it in a vet emergency situation if nothing else, and it makes you less a target when you go out for other trainers. Good luck.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Sounds kind of like someone describing an affair and when they complain about their spouse. There’s much more invested in the current marriage. It’s a more complex relationship and requires skill to cultivate. If your trainer is doing good work with your youngster, that is not something to toss away unless you can become totally independent or have a rock solid backup.

                    Also paying on time and not being dramatic are kind of bare-minimum standards. Maybe you could give your trainer a nice review online.

                    Also don’t text 5* dumb horse questions.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Most of this doesn’t require communication skills, it just requires you to be an independent adult and not worry about what others are saying/thinking about you or who posts what about whom on social media. Why do you care if she posts more about other clients on Facebook? How do you even know about the comments about the 5* trainer if she didn’t say them directly to you? Whoever told you about them is just trying to create drama. If they do it again, just let them know that you would prefer them not to gossip about you and that if BM has concerns, she can talk to you directly.

                      The only thing that actually sounds like an issue is the comment about getting your needs ignored in group events. I’m not sure there if you’re talking about group lessons or coaching at shows or something else. There, I think you just bring it up matter of factly with a recent example. “At the last show, I felt like mare and I needed more of your time in warm-up to do our best. I know you’re quite busy coaching all of the riders at the show, but is there a way we could work with your schedule to get a bit more of your time at the next show?”

                      Comment

                        Original Poster

                        #12
                        Garden hose, totally agree on many of your points. You’re right that it’s silly, but I’ve also realized I’m still human with feelings, and it is okay for me to have those feelings. I’ve tried laying those sentiments aside for months , ignored them, and here I am still thinking about it. I’m not a worrier by nature but recently the training at the farm makes me more anxious than happy, which is very different from other coaching situations.
                        Her comment about the 5* trainer wasn’t hearsay. She said it to my face in front of another boarder. That was super disrespectful, to bad mouth me and the 5* rider to my dressage coach, then to talk about how she did so to me in front of another boarder.

                        Idk man but I’m too busy for this stuff. I’m just here to improve my skill set and have fun with it. I love love love learning and developing my riding.

                        Argo, Let me clarify and rephrase. I already did all that stuff (online reviews, take her out, thanking, etc). And for the 5* rider, he actually texts me regularly asking how me and the horses are doing, he’s super cool like that. He genuinely opens the door for questions and conversations, he likes to teach. To me that’s incredible, and also a trait of the UL eventing community that I have been privileged to meet over time.

                        At the end of the day I think we can all agree I need my own transportation. That is in the works, thanks folks.

                        Again, thanks all for your opinions far and wide.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by Gardenhorse View Post
                          Most of this doesn’t require communication skills, it just requires you to be an independent adult and not worry about what others are saying/thinking about you or who posts what about whom on social media. Why do you care if she posts more about other clients on Facebook? How do you even know about the comments about the 5* trainer if she didn’t say them directly to you? Whoever told you about them is just trying to create drama. If they do it again, just let them know that you would prefer them not to gossip about you and that if BM has concerns, she can talk to you directly.

                          The only thing that actually sounds like an issue is the comment about getting your needs ignored in group events. I’m not sure there if you’re talking about group lessons or coaching at shows or something else. There, I think you just bring it up matter of factly with a recent example. “At the last show, I felt like mare and I needed more of your time in warm-up to do our best. I know you’re quite busy coaching all of the riders at the show, but is there a way we could work with your schedule to get a bit more of your time at the next show?”
                          This. Your BM is a piece of work. Stop caring what she thinks. You can't please this kind of manipulative and back stabbing person.

                          Your choice is to remain at this barn and 100% disengage with the middle school theatrics (ranking popularity by social media posts, back stabbing you to other people). Or if you can't do that, because after all who wants to be in Grade 8 again, then you need to move to a neutral barn.

                          Sometimes 13 year old girls can outgrow their bullying, back stabbing, mean, competitive behaviour and by the time they are 18 they are lovely well spoken young ladies.

                          But when adults are still acting like grade 8 mean girls to their paying clients, there's no hope. This is who she is. She has shown you who she is. I would not be paying a dollar more to someone who treats me like this. It's not going to get better.
                          ​​​​​​
                          ​​​​​

                          Comment

                            Original Poster

                            #14
                            Scribbler, you are always very insightful. Thank you.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              You're basically mirroring what I was recently going through, with the only difference being I keep my horses at home and was in the middle of repairing my trailer so I needed to pay for hauling.

                              I was working with an eventing coach who hated the fact that I was also working with a dressage trainer. The eventing coach is fantastic with OTTBs and green horses along with being a solid rider, but she is slightly aggressive and I would approach some lessons feeling sick to my stomach at what was possibly going to get said to/about me or my pony. The dressage trainer is able to communicate with me in a way that worked with my horse and I, along with just being less aggressive and much more encouraging. She also assigns homework and constantly provides me with article, video or book recommendations that have greatly assisted in my understanding of the bio-mechanics of riding. The eventing coach would consistently put down the dressage trainer and make me feel terrible about working with her. It basically blew up a few weeks back when the eventing coach found out the dressage trainer had received a copy of my last dressage test and was working with me on each individual note the judge had left. To make a long story short we've parted ways and I feel that I'm approaching my riding from a much better head space than I previously had been.

                              My recommendation is to just part ways with your current coach and figure out a way to make the 5* work. If that means finding a new boarding facility then I would do that. If it means finding a friend who can haul for you then I would do that (you can always post to a local facebook group for recommendations or ask the 5* coach if he has a student in your area who can help). My take on this is that if your BM is unwilling to accept that you want to clinic or occasionally work with other trainers then they're not someone you should stay with. Riding should be an experience you enjoy, you shouldn't be stressing out about what a trainer thinks or says about you. You can't change this trainers behaviors or attitude but you can change your own situation. Hopefully this helps a bit.

                              Comment


                                #16
                                ^can’t agree more with what Abookworm said about if you trainer is unwilling to accept you want to clinic with someone else. I’ve been in that situation too and it starts to take the fun out of riding all together. In my case, the trainer basically forbade people from training with anyone else, trying any other methods, and even told me that if I left for 1month and decided to come back, that they wouldn’t teach me anymore. I remember coming to the barn/lessons with a feeling of dread too. I ended up leaving that trainer on bad terms years ago because they were overly controlling and consistently talked trash about other trainers in the area. I’ve come to find that although they held their own strengths in training, they weren’t all they talked themselves up to be. In fact, many had left before me for similar reasons. The absolute best trainers I’ve ridden with have had no resistance to me training with someone else, in fact, they encouraged it. I think they probably have enough clientele to keep them happy long-term and people keep coming back because it is a positive experience.

                                Comment


                                  #17
                                  I hear you about not being able to move your horse into 5*'s barn, but my suggestion is that once a month lessons with him (and especially if he'll support with texts!) may be more productive than weekly etc lessons with your current trainer. I have done this before and it was a very productive and smart move for me at the time.

                                  Find a home base that will be supportive of this, even if it means you are based in the barn of a dressage or jumper trainer. Your own trailer helps a lot, but you don't want to be in a caustic environment.

                                  It sounds like your dressage coach is a different person than your BM, and you might be able to talk out your situation with that person as well, if the dressage coach works well with you. But it sounds like maybe you need to move on from that person too, possibly.

                                  One of the best situations for me was when I was based with a dressage coach and hauling out for clinics with an elite eventing trainer monthly. I was especially fortunate because both had worked with the same Grand-Trainer (that's my term of art) and so their basic philosophy came from the same root. It probably also helped that they weren't in competition for my business, and they were very supportive of this path. I learned a lot during that time.

                                  In general, I think a trainer who doesn't doesn't go out for clinics and doesn't want to work with other professionals is not a successful fit for me. I need to be with someone who is themselves still working to learn and grow, even if that person is coaching at the top of the sport.
                                  If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket

                                  Comment

                                    Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Abookworm, are we the same person?

                                    Comment


                                      #19
                                      Originally posted by poltroon View Post
                                      I hear you about not being able to move your horse into 5*'s barn, but my suggestion is that once a month lessons with him (and especially if he'll support with texts!) may be more productive than weekly etc lessons with your current trainer. I have done this before and it was a very productive and smart move for me at the time.

                                      Find a home base that will be supportive of this, even if it means you are based in the barn of a dressage or jumper trainer. Your own trailer helps a lot, but you don't want to be in a caustic environment.

                                      It sounds like your dressage coach is a different person than your BM, and you might be able to talk out your situation with that person as well, if the dressage coach works well with you. But it sounds like maybe you need to move on from that person too, possibly.

                                      One of the best situations for me was when I was based with a dressage coach and hauling out for clinics with an elite eventing trainer monthly. I was especially fortunate because both had worked with the same Grand-Trainer (that's my term of art) and so their basic philosophy came from the same root. It probably also helped that they weren't in competition for my business, and they were very supportive of this path. I learned a lot during that time.

                                      In general, I think a trainer who doesn't doesn't go out for clinics and doesn't want to work with other professionals is not a successful fit for me. I need to be with someone who is themselves still working to learn and grow, even if that person is coaching at the top of the sport.
                                      I completely agree, ultimately, if a trainer have for whatever reason imposed on themselves some ceiling limits and is unwilling to overcome them, then it would inevitably be felt by the student. You can only improve yourself by 'competing' with someone who is better, otherwise it is a sure path to stagnation !

                                      Comment


                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by tikkamasala View Post
                                        Garden hose, totally agree on many of your points. You’re right that it’s silly, but I’ve also realized I’m still human with feelings, and it is okay for me to have those feelings. I’ve tried laying those sentiments aside for months , ignored them, and here I am still thinking about it. I’m not a worrier by nature but recently the training at the farm makes me more anxious than happy, which is very different from other coaching situations.
                                        Her comment about the 5* trainer wasn’t hearsay. She said it to my face in front of another boarder. That was super disrespectful, to bad mouth me and the 5* rider to my dressage coach, then to talk about how she did so to me in front of another boarder.

                                        Idk man but I’m too busy for this stuff. I’m just here to improve my skill set and have fun with it. I love love love learning and developing my riding.

                                        Argo, Let me clarify and rephrase. I already did all that stuff (online reviews, take her out, thanking, etc). And for the 5* rider, he actually texts me regularly asking how me and the horses are doing, he’s super cool like that. He genuinely opens the door for questions and conversations, he likes to teach. To me that’s incredible, and also a trait of the UL eventing community that I have been privileged to meet over time.

                                        At the end of the day I think we can all agree I need my own transportation. That is in the works, thanks folks.

                                        Again, thanks all for your opinions far and wide.
                                        Unfortunately, you can’t change other people. The only person you can change is yourself. If you’ve tried to ignore her behavior and not let it bother you, but it’s still making time at the barn not fun, then agree with others that it’s probably time to look for a new barn or at the least to become less dependent on her by getting your own transportation. Good luck!

                                        Comment

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