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Picking a trainer?

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  • Picking a trainer?

    So I am finally able to start lessoning again. There are some really good trainers with in an hour or so from me. There are some mediocre trainers within 20 mins of me. A good one that I have trained with before is one of them. She likes my horse and understands her a lot, but she isnt competing really anymore, and that kinda bugs me. She has trained and competed through grand prix dressage and done prelim eventing. I like her and I have easy access to her. If I decided to ride with her I could lesson almost every week.

    Other trainers that are a bit farther away that are actively competing are a bit more expensive and I could only lesson with them once a month.

    Which would you pick? Both are decent riders, one just doesnt do it for a living and isnt as experienced as she used to be with things, if that makes sense...

  • #2
    Firstly, just because a trainer has chosen to no longer compete does not mean they are not qualified to teach and train. Jack LeGoff took our riders to the top of the world standing and no longer competed. It in no discounts their experience. Not competing does not eliminate what experience and knowledge they have gained!

    If you can work more often and progress at a rate comfortable to both you and your horse, then that would be the best option.

    I guess I got my dander up a bit on this because I am such a trainer. Competing is out of my financial ability right now, but it does not change what I know, continue to learn and the experience and understanding I have. It's a mistake a lot of students make. Some of the best instructor/trainers are the one's not focussed on their own string.

    And some trainers just don't like to compete, but are excellent coaches.

    So, your comment, "just doesnt do it for a living and isnt as experienced as she used to be with things" doesn't make sense. Just because she is not competing doesn't erase her experience. I would go with her because she knows you and your horse and likes you both.

    I know some locally BNT that have fancy-schmancy resumes, but can't teach their way out of a paper bag. And I know some trainers very happy to fly under the radar whose students and their horses excel. Some great trainers are not good at the communication needed to teach. And some teachers have an empathy and ability to understand the rider and horse as a partnership, but may not have the physical skill set. The best of both worlds is a trainer who can ride and work with the horse's issues while at the same time be able to "SEE" and "FEEL" what the rider is. They are rare, but gems.

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    • #3
      I completely agree with runnyjump, a good trainer you can work with on a more regular basis will keep you on track better than one you only see once a month. If she is familiar with and likes you and your horse, you have a running start.

      Are you concerned that she wouldn't travel to coach you at an event because she no longer competes? If that's the case, perhaps she could help you choose one of the more distant trainers whose teaching integrates well with hers. You could work with that one occasionally and meet him/her at the competitions. There are plenty of people who work regularly with a good local pro and clinic with another trainer as well. Good luck & have fun!

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      • #4
        My advice would be to watch a couple lessons from each of the trainers. Follow that with trial lessons from a short list. See whose style jives best with yours.

        I think only then can you figure out the best way to balance quantity with quality. In this case however, quality may not necessarily correlate with being a BNT depending on what you want to learn and what style works best for you.

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          My point with the other trainer is she doesnt have the experience with multiple horses. To me, thats important. I have two very different horses. I want to be 100% certain that whatever horse I have that time she can help me with. And the other reason is because I want someone to travel with me to compete and due to what her day job is, that isnt possible.

          I love her, She works well with the horse I compete on now, but like i said, I ride lots of different horses all with different personalties.

          Comment


          • #6
            I know that I work with a bunch of kids and am committed to compete some but I find that my life is so crazy busy - partly because I have so many kid students and I am a mom of two small kids - that I just have a couple of fixer upper greenies that I am bringing along. Competing is something that really takes focused committment and sometimes people have too many things going on. That is just my defense there - I remember when I worked for a big mucky much trainer last - he was off showing all the time and I often was the more senior trainer who ACTUALLY gave the lessons - lol.

            SOUNDS to me like since you are just getting back into lessons - that you need an educated eye on the ground to help school you and then someone with the experience to help you help move along your horse. That is often the starting point when getting back into it. My HUNCH is you may want to take a lesson every other week with the woman you know already - for a while and then take a lesson with each of those competing trainers (see it as an adventure) and then once you have taken with each - then you can decide.

            I shopped around for a trainer to inspire me along - and I took 4 lessons from the ones I thought would help best - I ended up with a dressage-only trainer I trailer 1.5 hours to 2x a month. And I am setting up clinics at my barn to get her to travel here because that is so hard for me and this could be a win win!

            But I need to find a jumping trainer too.

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            • #7
              First question is are you capable of riding/schooling your horse(s) yourself or will you need someone to hop on from time to time? If you don't need a professional ride then stick w/the trainer you know and have good access to. I completely agree that just because a trainer no longer rides or competes doesn't rule them out as good trainers. I can name a slew of excellent trainers who haven't ridden for years but their clients are top riders. Many trainers who don't ride or compete will have an assistant or another good rider who is capable of giving a client's horse a good school or tune up.

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              • #8
                There are a lot of good instructors out there who no longer compete. Does that mean they have forgotten everything they ever learned, and are now no longer capable of teaching?

                There are also a lot of instructors out there competing who shouldn't be, does competing make them a better instructor. You can't teach what you never knew. But they compete so they must know something, or so the thought seems to go.
                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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                • #9
                  I think the important aspects of a trainer are experience and compatibility. If you are going to ride in a specific discipline then pick a trainer that does the same thing. Obviously in eventing you can also use specialists for dressage and stadium. The second thing for me is having someone that is personally compatible. If there teaching style and personality don't mesh with yours then you are going to get nowhere fast.
                  A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it.

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                  • #10
                    I can see the advantage to having a trainer who currently competes. Obviously if you wanted them to compete your horse, or go to shows with you. But even with the sport changing so rapidly, current experience (not necessarily as a rider, but being involved with events, seeing local courses at each level, etc.) might be more relevant than older experience.

                    (Yes, I know, there are some really famous and really involved coaches that do not compete, but there are also people who went prelim 20 years ago and haven't hung around the events much since, and I'm not sure which situation the OP's is closer to.)

                    Either way, I'm not sure it would be a huge deciding factor for me, since in this situation this trainer sounds like otherwise the best match. But I don't think it's a crazy criterion to consider either.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Ready To Riot View Post
                      My point with the other trainer is she doesnt have the experience with multiple horses. To me, thats important. I have two very different horses. I want to be 100% certain that whatever horse I have that time she can help me with. And the other reason is because I want someone to travel with me to compete and due to what her day job is, that isnt possible.

                      I love her, She works well with the horse I compete on now, but like i said, I ride lots of different horses all with different personalties.
                      Why not ride with her and someone else also?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Having a coach that will travel to shows with me is huge right now. I can and do show on my own, but I much prefer to do it with a trainer.... Just having someone to walk the courses with me and tell me where I might run into problems makes it all worth while.

                        I know I would have had issues in SJ at the show two weekends ago if my coach hadn't drilled some information into my head about the course that I would have otherwise overlooked. The course rode great for the upper levels, but at BN and N, it was really a train wreck for a lot of riders - not unmanageable, but it took a definite decision one way or another if you didn't want to pulll rails, and having the more experienced eyes there to drill that thought home was key for me.

                        My coach doesn't have upper level horses at the moment and she is not a BNT but she has produced several advanced horses. It actually works out well for me that she's not gone showing all over the country every weekend. Her prices are reasonable enough that I can afford at least one lesson a month, and she has the time in her schedule to plan XC schooling outings, schooling shows, as well as to travel to recognized shows with us.

                        It could get really easy to get caught up in the idea that a BNT would be better, but honestly I think I'm getting way more attention & time where I am, and keeping that crucial real world experience factor.

                        Also as an aside, unless you have to sign some sort of contract, you don't neeed to commit right away. Make a checklist of what you need and want in a trainer, and try out a few. Discuss your goals and expectations up front.
                        The rebel in the grey shirt

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by merrygoround View Post
                          There are a lot of good instructors out there who no longer compete. Does that mean they have forgotten everything they ever learned, and are now no longer capable of teaching?

                          There are also a lot of instructors out there competing who shouldn't be, does competing make them a better instructor. You can't teach what you never knew. But they compete so they must know something, or so the thought seems to go.
                          There also are good riders who are, or would be, terrible instructors. The "naturals" of the horse world are often like that; they have the talent to just do stuff but not necessarily the ability to put it into words for a student, or the empathy for someone who isn't a natural.
                          You have to have experiences to gain experience.

                          1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            A trainer who is actively competing multiple horses might not have much time to help you at events. I ride with a pretty BNT who often rides 5-6 horses and usually the only time I see her to talk to is if we are in the same division

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by runnyjump View Post
                              ..." The best of both worlds is a trainer who can ride and work with the horse's issues while at the same time be able to "SEE" and "FEEL" what the rider is. They are rare, but gems."
                              You know, this is not something easily found.

                              A trainer only needs to know more than the student.
                              Proud & Permanent Student Of The Long Road
                              Read me: EN (http://eventingnation.com/author/annemarch/) and HJU (http://horsejunkiesunited.com/author/holly-covey/)

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                What would stop you from lessoning with this person weekly and one of the other folks once a month or so. You could make sure everything was on track, etc. I would let both trainers know the plan.
                                OTTBs rule, but spots are good too!

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Besides the ability to handle many different kinds of horses, I'd also make sure that the trainer has both your, and your horse's best interests at heart. I haven't heard you mention this as a factor in your decision, but I'm not sure most trainers do.
                                  https://www.facebook.com/SugarMapleFarm
                                  Follow us on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/peonyvodka/
                                  www.PeonyVodka.com

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Both trainers have my best interest at heart. One I know very well on a personal basis and the other trains most everyone I know in middle TN. I can't ride with both because riding with the one takes up my entire lesson budget in one lesson when you include the gas and the lesson

                                    Comment

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