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For those who train regularly with someone...

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  • For those who train regularly with someone...

    ...do you generally have them help you at events? for example, do you have them help you prepare for your dressage test, then get the horse you ride into stadium warm-up (not always feeling like the horse you ride every day at home ) prepped for your stadium round, and then walk the XC course with you and then support you for the XC phase warm-up? Just thinking about this after returning from Pine Top Farm Thanksgiving Horse Trial...watched some successful events from riders with their trainers, some mediocre events from riders without, some disasters from both, and some nice rounds from folks doing things on their own with support from their friends.

    How do you decide how to go about this? How do you analyze if things go well or what went astray...either way, how do you make things go better next event?

    Just wondering...
    ~ it no longer matters what level I do, as long as I am doing it..~ with many thanks, to Elizabeth Callahan

  • #2
    Yes, but I board at a barn with my trainer. I wouldn't hesistate to go to an event alone, if she weren't going for some reason, but I certainly wouldn't not use her if she were going.


    • #3

      I trained with the same trainer for years growing up through the YR's and yes, I trained with him at shows (although, only warmed up for dressage if he had the time- usually was too busy) but trainer was always there for stadium and xc warmup and walking. Was well worth it.

      Now, many years later, eeekkkksss, I still train regularly with a trainer. Sadly, not the same trainer due to living 20+ hrs away from them, but I do train regularly with my new trainers. To be honest, I have not trained with anyone at shows since returning to competing last year. Granted, I'm only competing up to Prelim right now, so don't feel that I'm lacking on knowledge (since previously competed to ** level before my break). I'm sure once I move the young guy up to prelim I'll start training again with a trainer at a show. And to be honest, it also comes down to finances too. Most trainers charge $75+ and don't have the money for that going novice/training/ prelim now.

      I have to say it is a personal opinion, but would recomend it to people over not- especially if your new to showing or your trainer just giving you a confidence boost. My mom events too, and I would always recommend that she trains with a trainer at shows. Actually, she has since moved away from our trainer of many years, and the new trainer doesn't "support" her enough at the shows, and I've noticed it reflects in my mom's confidence and overall show experience/ competition.

      As for your last question, how do I compare if things went well or not. Placings- but not so much. IMPROVEMENT- I look at the things that we have been working on at home and see how much progress we have made carrying that over to the event. Currently, my new guy, took him to our first show, the dressage was okay, the xc was a nightmare (thought I had no brakes), and stadium was in a mud pitt that we managed to survive--- so overall not a great experience. Made a list of things I needed to work on, 1) dressage, being accurate, relaxation, my position 2) um, rhythm on xc, horse's confidence in himself/ and in myself- more xc schooling 3) stadium- go to trainer and work on getting horse again confident in the colored pole ring, not bolting after fence and landing in a heap.... didn't train with anyone at the event, but didn't feel like that would have mattered.

      Took him to our next show, I kept my head on straight- thinking instead of just being, and continued on as if I was schooling. Well, won the dressage, stadium was much much improved over the last event, but still room for improvement and the elusive "hunter" round, and xc was 100 times better than the last time out- and I had a lesser bit in the horse mouth (a snaffle), with no brakeing issues. I felt the horse was more confident all the way around in both himself and in me- so that is how I judged the weekend, and the blue ribbon didnt hurt . Again, didn't train with anyone at the event, but didn't feel that i'm at the point where I need it, yet. Went to third event, and again still a ton of improvement, and I still know exactly what we need to work on through this winter, but I'm continually working with my trainers on a weekly basis.

      Sorry for the long post...


      • #4
        It depends for me. For various reasons, I was at the Novice level for a good couple of years with my mare. We went to the same venues every year and knew the routine. I did not need my trainer there. I even went to some new venues without her. Except for my one and only training level event with her, when I was going to my first event at a new level, I preferred her to be there.

        After breeding my mare this last Spring, I started riding a sale horse of hers. It took us a little bit to get on the same page and I am learning a lot from her. Between the fact that she lives at my trainer's (trainer trailered her and another student) and that it was my first show with her, my trainer was definitely there warming me up in each phase. She did not get my horse to each section, but was there talking me through warm up. It helps calm my nerves and make sure I don't do anything stupid. We ended on our dressage score and got 4th! I probably would have psyched myself out of a clean cross country run without her. If the mare is still around next summer, I may be able to take her to some shows without my trainer, but we will cross that bridge when we get there.


        • #5
          I've done all of the above! And you have seen some of the results too

          I think it varies for me and it varies day to day too. Certainly it would be awesome to have a coach at every warm up at every show, but.... financially that's too hard!

          Now.. I've almost gotten to the point where I can "hear" my trainers advice as I'm riding... I'm thinking the results aren't quite as good, but... I'm actually thinking when I ride instead of just sitting on top of Fleck and smiling. My test this weekend wasn't great at all... but our warm up felt pretty good considering. I honestly don't know if it would have gone MUCH better with a coach there. I think that's just where we are at in our training....and we're going to have to work through a few things before it really starts falling into place.

          I definitely like having someone to walk the courses with. There are certain lines that I like opinions on, but... there are a few people that are VERY good at course walks and aren't my trainers. One friend in particular is very good! Sometimes a bit too good as she analyzes into extreme detail, but...

          And in the end.... I know my horse better than anyone else and have to trust in that!

          Of course when we make the move up, you can BET we'll have someone there


          • #6
            I'm hoping that when I find my trainer, she'll be accompanying me to events. My guess is it depends on your experience, your horse's experience and whether or not you feel comfortable to deal with the show atmosphere and your horse. I'm pretty new at the whole showing deal, so I'm still working on keeping myself under control, making a plan for the event and my horse.
            May your tall boots be shiny, your breeches spotless, and your show shirt ironed, but watch out for the horse slobber on your shadbelly.


            • #7
              Yes, I normally do all of those things if I happen to be at a show with my trainer. However, I often go to shows without her, too, so I'm sort of used to both.

              Generally any "rehashing" takes place after we're all done for the day and can sit around and talk about stuff. Or on the drive home. Or at next week's lesson.

              Making things go better at the next event . . . well, all of that happens at home, as far as I'm concerned.
              Click here before you buy.


              • #8
                I prefer not to have my instructor help me out at events. I find that having someone on the ground instructing me takes away from my ability to take the horse I have that day and get the best performance I can given that.

                I'm good with a well-placed piece of advice or two (and have generally followed them to good results when my instructor has been around instructing others), but I can't do that "lesson in the warm-up" thing.

                My last trainer didn't charge at events where she had lots of students and would be going anyway, so I would walk the xc course with the group (even if I wasn't competing, just to learn from it) - but I would walk it again on my own (if I was competing), because, again, I have to be able to make my own decisions given what comes up on any specific ride.

                I think beginners should definitely have a knowledgeable instructor helping them (otherwise how do you learn effectively what to do at a competition?), but once a rider has passed that stage, I think the need becomes more fluid.

                Nothing against those who like to have a trainer along all the time (or some of the time), mind you - everyone has to figure out what works best for themselves and their horses.
                Proud member of the EDRF


                • #9
                  All of the above - I have worked with the same trainer for many years and love it when she is available to help me warm up - however, I'm a big girl and if she's not there, I'm ok. I do like to know in advance, though, because if I'm going to get help, I can get on knowing all I have to do is follow the plan, not create it! I think my dressage rides are better if I have help warming up, and for jumping I know I ride a little better even if the score ends up being the same.


                  • #10
                    It's not really an option for me. I can just about swing regular (2-3/ month) lessons with my trainer, and I love her, but there's no way I could afford her. Even if I could, she's usually competing 5-6 horses herself, and doesn't really have the kind of setup that allows her to be there and warm me up for each phase. And even if she could do it and I could afford it, I grew up in pc with a no coaches allowed mentality, and I'm very hardheaded, and I turn into a total bitch when I'm nervous.

                    So while I'm sometimes a little jealous of the riders who are getting a mini-lesson and total focus from their trainer while I am trying to keep my horse from spooking violently and trampling spectators--it might be for the best for our relationship that she just waves as she goes by.

                    BUT, we definitely talk beforehand about strategies for how to warm up and what to do in a given situation--if my horse feels flat, if the course is very tight, etc.-- and I can always text her or track her down and ask questions if I need to.

                    I think it's great, if you can swing it, to have a trainer there for you. But I that should be gravy (after the first few times, anyway) and if you can't do it by yourself when it's necessary you are not doing it correctly. It's like a liberal arts education--it's not so much about what you learn as it is about learning to think.


                    • #11
                      Since I don't have my own trailer, I rely on my trainer for rides to events. She is always competing at least one of her guys and usually pretty busy. As far as getting ready and stuff, we help each other out if we can. And if our ride times don't conflict we try to be there/ videotape the other person's ride.

                      I personally warm up better in dressage by myself. I usually come up with a plan beforehand, but sometimes end up winging it depending on what tantrum the 4 legged animal decides to throw that day.

                      Cross county has been different with every horse. Some were very basic, just get over the fence babies and there wasn't much to be said in warm up. Charlie could be difficult sometimes and the ideal warm up consisted of trotting down to warm-up, cantering once around each way, jumping a few and trotting through the box at go. In that case my trainer was a huge help in checking the status and keeping me focused.

                      Stadium is usually the phase I like a trainer there for most. Its my most stressful phase (stupid seeing as I did eq and hunter for years...).

                      Honestly, the most helpful thing for me is to have someone to bounce ideas off the night before after I've walked courses. Like: The bending walks a 7.5, swing out or jump more direct, ect.
                      RIP Charlie and Toby


                      • #12
                        Nope -- one, I can't afford it and two, to me, the horse trial is just that, a TRIAL and I feel like I should do it on my own two (six?) legs. I think one of the marks of a great trainer is that they have prepared you so well that you already know exactly what they would say in your head. So as I walk my courses or prepare for my test, both my trainers are there with me in my head because I already know what they would tell me (breathe in the dressage arena, dammit!).
                        Life doesn't have perfect footing.

                        Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
                        We Are Flying Solo


                        • Original Poster

                          helpful ideas as I start back up...

                          I am lucky to be working with a talented pro who took my relatively green OTTB last year into training and now is bringing me back into riding after breaking my neck. Finances are an issue for me as for most of the people I know who event. Quite frankly, I would much rather just take lessons and enjoy the journey of becoming "better" (and that adjective is very dependent on the day and moment it's used ). However, I love the fun of going to an event, all the cameraderie, and the after event stuff of looking at what went well and what needs cleaning up...

                          So, hope others share their thoughts... I loved watching Fleck and her precious guy this weekend at PTF Thanksgiving...she and her many, many friends, as well as my fine horse Rasta Mon, ridden by my great friend Lellie Ward, made my weekend AWESOME!!! Looking forward to dealing with my nerves, finding $$$$, and if Lellie isn't with me, depending on what she's taught me, thinking, and riding better to just get it done.

                          Merry Ho HO!!!!
                          ~ it no longer matters what level I do, as long as I am doing it..~ with many thanks, to Elizabeth Callahan


                          • Original Poster

                            Originally posted by wildlifer View Post
                            Nope -- one, I can't afford it and two, to me, the horse trial is just that, a TRIAL and I feel like I should do it on my own two (six?) legs. I think one of the marks of a great trainer is that they have prepared you so well that you already know exactly what they would say in your head. So as I walk my courses or prepare for my test, both my trainers are there with me in my head because I already know what they would tell me (breathe in the dressage arena, dammit!).
                            I sooo wish COTH had a LIKE button!
                            ~ it no longer matters what level I do, as long as I am doing it..~ with many thanks, to Elizabeth Callahan


                            • #15
                              In the early 2000s I boarded at my trainer's barn.
                              I went to shows only that she went to and used her for all of the above, partly because I needed it at the time, and partly because that'a what everyone did. It cost me an extra $135 at HTs to do all above listed with my coach.

                              Then I moved 70 miles away to my folks property to keep my horse with me instead of a boarding situation.

                              I was forced to go alone at that point. -- area V is a hard one to come by good coaches. We have Mike Huber..and that's it. I live Mike very much though! Kadi Eykamp just moved here and I would love to work with her!!!

                              It was hard the first time out alone but I did it. And thankfully it went really really well!!! In fact I think Boomer won 80% of HTs that year. I also made the scary Prelim move alone. (I cried in the start box!)

                              I have not had a coach since. I do have certain coaches that I will clinic with but I do the shows and everyday living alone.
                              I will say, sometimes that helping hand is really great and missed.

                              If had, had a coach in 2008, I would not have TE'd at my 1st and only CIC.
                              Horses are amazing athletes and make no mistake -- they are the stars of the show!


                              • #16
                                I don't think I've ever had a trainer at Events I go to. I usually have a average of two lessons a week depending on the cost of the trainer. After that I SHOULD be prepared for going by myself and I don't have the extra money for paying my trainer to go. My husband goes to my lessons on weekends, records them, watches the video, asks me questions about comments, etc. and tries to help me at shows besides the moral support. He's definitely not my trainer but he'll catch some mistakes and correct me plus keeps me laughing, calm and relaxed (poor guy but he likes playing bartender for our friends who go with us). He really wants to learn to ride but I don't have a horse that can carry him!


                                • #17
                                  I lesson with my eventing trainer 2x a week. She's 5 minutes down the road so it is conveinent.

                                  I also take a dressage lesson once a week. She's 15 minutes down the road so that is also conveinenet.

                                  When I first started eventing, I was competing a pony that belonged to my eventing trainer. Therefore, she trailered me to the show and trained me. (Of course, there were trailering and training fees that went along with that.)

                                  Then I took a pony for 8/9 months on a free lease. I took her to two events. The first, my trainer gave me a ride too and trained me. The second, we had bought our own trailer, and she did not take us and she did not school us. There was some tension between me and my trainer at this point anyway because I also had bought my horse I have now while I still had the lease on the pony and my trainer thought I shouldnt have "wasted my time" on the pony and should've brought my horse but he was nowhere near ready. This was really an awkward time for me because me and my trainer were not on the same page. I ended up getting eliminated at that show in stadium (mare + going into heat = pony saying she's not jumping today, how dare you ask her to!). My trainer then proceded to tell me that if she had been training me, I wouldn't have gotten eliminated, even though she never offered schooling to me. (I also honestly believe I still would've gotten eliminated because she jumped everything in warm-up just fine, then got into the ring, and started stopping, which she had never done before)

                                  When I started eventing my new horse, we generally will school with her if she's at the show we are at. I would actually rather not school with her but with the aforementioned issues behind us, I don't want to cause any trouble. If I'm at shows where she does not school me, or she is not there, we do just fine also. We made our first move to Novice without her there and we came in 2nd. I feel like I know my horse so much better than she does, and although she can have amazing advice that works wonders on him, I feel like at a show, it is the test of the work we have put in before, and we shouldn't be "learning something new" in a "lesson" at the warm-up. (Of course, this is just what works best for me, and if having your trainer there helps you do your best, then go for it!)

                                  Sorry this was so long!


                                  • #18
                                    If my trainer can be there, awesome. If not, I am perfectly capable of going at it alone. When I move up a level, I definitely want my trainer there and I like it when she's there for stadium and XC; dressage I usually prefer to warm up on my own (although she warmed me up at Rubicon and we got our best Training dressage score ever!). Like someone else said, I have gotten to the point where I 'hear' my trainer's voice in my head as I walk a course or ride. Of course, it's usually screaming at me because I've done something dumb !!!


                                    • #19
                                      [QUOTE Like someone else said, I have gotten to the point where I 'hear' my trainer's voice in my head as I walk a course or ride. Of course, it's usually screaming at me because I've done something dumb !!![/QUOTE]

                                      At least it's screaming in your head, the worst part of the warm-up area is hearing all the screaming going on, I hate hearing a really loud lesson going on while I am trying to warm up,love to have a couple helpful comments but as a trainer myself the full blown lessons need to be done at home, and if you have to SCREAM ,something is amiss (or your student is hard of hearing). When I am coaching at a event I discuss what the warm-up stratagy is then if things are going wrong will try to be quiet about helping to make a quick fix, no reason all around has to be part of it, and you can only warm a horse up for so long. I myself love to have a set of eyes on me but you can only expect your horse to go as well as his training is and the warm-up area is not the place to do a full lesson, it disrupts everyone else's warm-up. And don't get me started on lounging in the warm-up area......


                                      • #20
                                        I have had the same coach for 12 years and she helps me at events when she can. She doesnt charge for it, because she often has a number of students with time conflicts, so she helps out who needs her the most for whichever phase but doesnt want to feel obligated by a fee to pick someone over the other. She knows us all well and knows who needs her for what and tries her best. Once she almost missed my xc warmup, and she saw me jump a fence from a distance while she was hurrying up to the warmup, and yelled "do one more and hit him!" as she ran because I was about 30 seconds from my time. She made it up just as I was leaving the box. Thats all I needed, she knows me and my horses really well and has an eagle eye for our weaknesses even from far away.

                                        She also walks the courses with us, again if she can. We are all close to most of the events so she will come out the day before to walk xc, but if its far she will just have a talk with us about it.

                                        You will see her on show day with a sheet of paper, with all out times for every phase, and ideal stadium coursewalking times for each level. She is a machine.