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Poor Trainers = Poor Performance at Show

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  • Poor Trainers = Poor Performance at Show

    Please note that I am not posting this as a vent or rant - but in the hopes that it will raise awareness with parents of horsey children.... and am hoping others will post their experiences as well.

    Okay - so, I manage a number of schooling shows throughout the area, for different organizations. I also manage rated shows - but my observations here are based primarily on what I have seen at schooling shows - and this is from just this fall. And I'm talking about a majority of the children's trainer's I've seen at these competitions - not just one or two here and there.

    1. Trainers sending in incomplete entries. Yep - I can tell which are going to be the poor performing riders based on the fact that the trainer can't even pull complete entries together. Ummm - not that hard to submit a signed waiver, entry and coggins (usually coggins are the item not included) - even for multiple riders (so far, no more than 4 riders per trainer). Yes - there has been a direct correlation between this and the poorly scoring riders - at every show.

    2. Trainers who observe no rules of the ring in the warm-up. A simple left-to-left as a rule of thumb - especially after the show manager has given you a verbal warning - should be elemental knowledge for all trainers. Riders careening about as trainers shout directions - hazardous to all.

    3. Trainers coaching kids over the fences with no regard to "red on right" posted on jumps. Yes - show manager has to again give you a verbal warning (because you ignored jump ring steward's warning). All of the kids in question were almost hazardous in their competition jumping (racing at fences, careening around corners)- and most were eliminated (refusals).

    4. Trainers who don't understand that just because a kid had a clean jump round doesn't mean that kid should win class. Ummm - its a combined test - so even though kid A may have had a clean round, she also had a significantly worse dressage score, so while kid B may have had a fault, kid B's dressage score was sooo much better (not excellent, btw, just better) that the jump faults did not place her behind kid A. The trainers *should* understand how the scoring system works (and I have to say that when I have to repeatedly explain it to you, *I'm* not the one that looks foolish.... despite your rolling eyes).

    SERIOUSLY - if the children are the future of this sport, then we need to be cognizant of the trainers working with them - and parents need to be aware that if the trainer they are working with fits into two or more of the above categories, and/or if their child is consistently getting poor scores, then its quite probably time to stop and reevaluate training methods.

    Just the safety issues alone concern me. When I (as manager) have to go intervene on a regular basis because the coaches won't use basic common sense (much less courtesy) - then there is a problem. When the dressage and jump judges are making comments to me about the behaviors they've witnessed - there are problems.

    Its disheartening to watch these children try and just not really have a clue why things aren't coming together for them. I'm just glad that so far, we've had no serious injuries.
    Originally posted by SmartAlex

    Give it up. Many of us CoTHers are trapped at a computer all day with no way out, and we hunt in packs. So far it as all been in good fun. You should be thankful for that.

  • #2
    Originally posted by oldenmare View Post

    1. Trainers sending in incomplete entries. Yep - I can tell which are going to be the poor performing riders based on the fact that the trainer can't even pull complete entries together. Ummm - not that hard to submit a signed waiver, entry and coggins (usually coggins are the item not included) - even for multiple riders (so far, no more than 4 riders per trainer). Yes - there has been a direct correlation between this and the poorly scoring riders - at every show.

    .
    This is sort of weird to me... why does a person who is able to show not able to complete and send in their own entry?

    My parents always had the sort of rule that unless I was able to handle all the aspect of showing I wasn't allowed to show. I had to be able to braid my horse, clean my stall, make sure I had everything in my the closing date (or that I had signed up for the right divisions if it was a hunter show).

    They were the sort of parents that never let me do leadline I had to "just keep taking lessons until I could steer on my own" Don't get me wrong, they helped. The were always there to hold my horse if I had to use the porta potty or wipe a boot !

    My trainer had the same views, if it was a hunter show she'd highlight the classes we could do and then let us us go from there.
    http://www.clarkdesigngrouparchitects.com/index.html - Lets build your dream barn

    Comment


    • #3
      Agree with Meredith, but this kind of mentality is much more common among those from (ahem) a different discipline--might these trainers in question indeed be from this very discipline?

      And yes, it's pretty inescusable (and clearly there is a link there, as you say.) Some folks are rather obtuse when it comes to self-analysis and the ability to understand "cause and effect." And the need for patient, proper preparation, and how important it is to know the rules...Etc. etc.
      "Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."

      "It's supposed to be hard...the hard is what makes it great!" (Jimmy Dugan, "A League of Their Own")

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      • #4
        I'm not disagreeing with you but in my own case (as an adult just out of college), looking back I find it absolutely flabbergasting to realize how much I didn't know I didn't know!! I thought the trainer I was with knew her stuff. She talked a REALLY good game! It was only after several years (we moved up through Training level even!!) that my eyes began to open. I came back from a clinic and started talking about how the clinician wanted me to do this or that and I had never done that and her reply was "yes you have". It started me questioning her and that continued through the summer.

        Anyway... I am getting a little off track. My point is that especially when it comes to parents who have no horse sense, no desire to have horse sense and only want to see their prince(cess) happy, how are they to truly understand that even though their little one is riding and is happy (and hasn't had a bad accident yet), the trainer they're with is only talking a good game and truly couldn't ride or teach their way out of a wet paper bag??
        ************
        "Of course it's hard. It's supposed to be hard. It's the Hard that makes it great."

        "Get up... Get out... Get Drunk. Repeat as needed." -- Spike

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        • #5
          well, what they do in England, is they have a system of training for instructors, then you know what level of instructor you're paying for. I don't prefer that arrangement, for many reasons, but it does have a big advantage for non-horsey parents, that they have at least some fixed scale to compare their trainer against.

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          • #6
            Yeah, I've heard a lot of people talk about instituting a system. USEA has it. Other places have it. In my case, the "trainer" had "gone to college" for horses... and she was still crappy.
            ************
            "Of course it's hard. It's supposed to be hard. It's the Hard that makes it great."

            "Get up... Get out... Get Drunk. Repeat as needed." -- Spike

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            • #7
              I've been advising newbies to look for a trainer who at least has a solid record competing Prelim a season or two minimum. Still not a guarantee, but we know then at least they should have a handle on the rules and on what riders are getting into.

              A local barn is excited about their new young trainer who claims to have competed Training level eventing. A few things I heard raised my eyebrows (schooling a clearly lame horse over jumps, teaching a weak legged rider to sit into jumps and bury her hands in the pommel, hitting the horse over every jump) prompted me to look her up.

              No record of competing at all, recognized. Asked my friend if she perhaps competed under a maiden name? No one has gotten back to me on that, but I think I know they answer. They had no idea this stuff was now public. They are still in doubt though, wowed by her brave cowboy antics on their crazy horses so far. But these poor students will find out the truth if they actually try to compete in an event, beyond unrecognized "Elementary" (they all just did that, and not well, but blamed the horses and the weather, sigh).

              So anyway, for anyone who cares, I think that my baseline is a sanity check - if you want to event, ride with someone who has a proven record they can get around a Prelim course at least, safely & competitively!

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Arcadien View Post
                I've been advising newbies to look for a trainer who at least has a solid record competing Prelim a season or two minimum. Still not a guarantee, but we know then at least they should have a handle on the rules and on what riders are getting into.

                A local barn is excited about their new young trainer who claims to have competed Training level eventing. A few things I heard raised my eyebrows (schooling a clearly lame horse over jumps, teaching a weak legged rider to sit into jumps and bury her hands in the pommel, hitting the horse over every jump) prompted me to look her up.

                No record of competing at all, recognized. Asked my friend if she perhaps competed under a maiden name? No one has gotten back to me on that, but I think I know they answer. They had no idea this stuff was now public. They are still in doubt though, wowed by her brave cowboy antics on their crazy horses so far. But these poor students will find out the truth if they actually try to compete in an event, beyond unrecognized "Elementary" (they all just did that, and not well, but blamed the horses and the weather, sigh).

                So anyway, for anyone who cares, I think that my baseline is a sanity check - if you want to event, ride with someone who has a proven record they can get around a Prelim course at least, safely & competitively!
                Good point Arcadien, and re: this story...*sigh*

                The fact that that irresponsible folks like this are making money "preying on the ignorant" is truly disheartening...
                "Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."

                "It's supposed to be hard...the hard is what makes it great!" (Jimmy Dugan, "A League of Their Own")

                Comment


                • #9
                  I can' get past the personal responsibility point

                  I agree, growing up, I was allowed to show if I was able to get it all done, entry, braid, etc. It never even was an issue. My father was by no means militant, but entry, prep, homework, BEHAVIOUR, it was all part of the package. Yikes, my Dad even taguht me to say "good morning" to the dressage judge when I walked around the outside before the test!
                  I can't fathom having the trainer fill out the entries - but that's just me
                  My big man - April 27, 1986 - September 04, 2008-
                  You're with me every moment, my big red horse.

                  Be kinder than necessary, for everyone is fighting a battle of some kind.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by tle View Post
                    Yeah, I've heard a lot of people talk about instituting a system. USEA has it. Other places have it. In my case, the "trainer" had "gone to college" for horses... and she was still crappy.
                    This reminds me of the man I rode for as a kid. His favorite hobby was to put such "graduates" on the worst horse in the barn when they showed up looking for work. Watch them crash and burn and then gleefully call over one of us kids so we could show the poor hapless soul how it "was really done" - such fun.

                    As for trainers filling out the entries - I think the reasoning was that if they went in as a group then the times would be assigned closer together making it easier to get everyone schooled. I usually sent ours in myself, but I think I was one of the few.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Dr. Doolittle View Post
                      The fact that that irresponsible folks like this are making money "preying on the ignorant" is truly disheartening...
                      So here's a question.... If we are worried about people preying on the ignorant, yet are concerned with personal responsibility... is it better to put a system in place to protect the innocent or is it better to have education out there for the ignorant? I'm on the fence to be honest as I can see the benefits and drawbacks to both.

                      For the trainer system -- obvious benefits are that anyone can simply look up a record like a grade card and decide. It becomes more or less idiot proof. But it also mandates expenses on the trainer (I know some GREAT trainers who don't have the $$ to put into "additional" training - note this is not to say that they don't keep up their information and techniques in other ways). It also puts into place a governance system and sorry but I've about had it with over the top governing. Plus who would maintain it (the records and the training offerings?) BTW, no system is ever 100% idiot proof (god WILL always make a better idiot).

                      For education -- it "wakes up" the ignorant which is never a bad thing IMHO. It employs a system of personal responsibility, which I am ALL FOR!! Of course in this day and age, true personal responsibility is SO HARD to come by.

                      I get that there's a desire to help people and not endanger them needlessly... but where is the line between personal responsibility and protecting them from themselves whether they want it or not?
                      ************
                      "Of course it's hard. It's supposed to be hard. It's the Hard that makes it great."

                      "Get up... Get out... Get Drunk. Repeat as needed." -- Spike

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        A long time ago I used to have a really bad trainer, and it pains me to think how far down the wrong path I got before realizing this. Precisely because I didn't know better.

                        That said, I think the issue is many more shades of grey than greedy trainers taking advantage of the ignorant. In most cases said bad trainers ARE the ignorant too--they truly believe they are qualified and providing a good foundation.

                        There are probably a lot of decent trainers out there who do not have extensive/recent high level competition experience that are helping people new to the sport be safe and develop their riding. But it's hard to distinguish those from the less good trainers that are also not out competing.

                        I have also worked with people that had numerous successful students and were very well regarded event trainers that for whatever reason didn't really work well with my horse or whose business model wasn't right for my needs. They weren't bad trainers, just not for me.

                        I do hate to see people being steered wrong, especially those who don't know they are, precisely because they need better training, but I don't know if there really is a black and white system to identifying said trainers.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          The situation with the trainer/student relationship is so complicated.... there are so many dynamics involved. I was pretty successful in my younger days in MA but I guess I just don't have the fortitude to smile in the face of idiocy anymore. I'm tired.

                          I used to teach beginners up through getting people out to local shows at 2'6" hunter or baby jumpers and can teach basic dressage. Then I'm more than happy to tell people it's time to move on if you want to keep moving up. I have a focus on horsemanship and solid basics. Getting a good leg, good hands, good eyes, becoming a good horseperson. Getting out on the trail, doing Hunter Paces, etc. Get a bit well-rounded and then decide what direction you want to go. I'll be more than happy for you to go there. In fact there are more advanced instructors in the area who WILL come out to my barn to teach!

                          I folded up the lesson program this summer. People who have never been on or around a horse upset because I have NOT competed a lot or at high levels. People who don't like the lazy but extremely safe large pony their kid is on because "it's too much work"... people who testily inform me that they aren't coming back because I didn't let them jump in their first lesson with me which was the first time they were on a horse in 3 years. Yes, yes, go ahead to the local barn whose riders make everyone cringe at shows, I'm so glad they let you jump 2'6" your second time on a horse in 3 years. Good for you. Wear a helmet. People who leave because I won't take them out on a trail when they can't ride their own horse reliably in the arena at a trot, without having a emotional meltdown and crying that they feel like their going to fall off. Oh, how horrible of me to think you need to spend more time in the ring first.

                          Point is, there are good people out there for beginners and novices. But it seems people either have the means to start off as a beginner with a (rightly-so) more expensive instructor who has higher qualifications OR they aren't looking to do things the "right way" and want someone who is going to supply them with what seems, in the short term, like instant gratification. The good beginner instructors and I'm betting the good LL eventing instructors get burned and burned out by this.

                          I know I'm happier since I refocused our farm on boarding retirees. Anyways, I think it's better to put a system of qualification out there. You'll be protecting the ignorant beginners and also by requiring qualifications to teach you'll be protecting the resource of good instructors by eliminating or reducing the "quick-n-easy-instant-gratification" types who take business by promising things that can't be fulfilled, and who also harm the industry as a whole by being bad examples.
                          2016 RRP Makeover Competitor www.EnviousBid.com

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by tle View Post
                            So here's a question.... If we are worried about people preying on the ignorant, yet are concerned with personal responsibility... is it better to put a system in place to protect the innocent or is it better to have education out there for the ignorant? I'm on the fence to be honest as I can see the benefits and drawbacks to both.

                            Definitely education for the ignorant. For a long time I have thought that the USEA should have a pamphlet or something in publication readily available, that described exactly what to look for (and what to run away from!) with regards to potential instructors.

                            They have instead gone the route of certification, which IMO is not nearly as effective as they think it is. As many uncertified instructors are fabulous, and many certified instructors are not good, and are doing things that the hypothetical pamphlet would warn potential students away from.
                            http://www.MyVirtualEventingCoach.com

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I love this thread

                              Several years ago (about 10) I was a pro. There was another trainer at a barn I had moved my clients to. She was terrible, and down right dangerous. After about a year of teaching at the same barn one of my parents asked me "why can't her clients see the difference?" My students got better, moved up the levels, and were consistently in the ribbons. Her students never got better, even when they bought experienced horses, and never got a ribbon. I moved my students to better trainers when they got to training level, she held on to her students for dear life. I was showing my horse and some clients horses. She never even got on a clients horse, yet talked all the time about past shows she won. I have become an amateur and moved to another state but I still see crappy trainers at the shows.


                              It boils down to... if you aren't having fun and winning ribbons it is time to find a new trainer.
                              Last edited by smokescreen; Oct. 19, 2009, 04:15 PM.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I think it is a mistake to equate "winning ribbons" with whether or not you have a good trainer. Yes, sometimes doing well at shows signifies good training but not always. Eventing is not an instantaneous sport -- it is a development sport. Yes, you should be making progress but ribbons are not a perfect indicator of that progress.

                                I see lower level riders winning all the time with scary techniques learned from scary trainers.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I have another one I've seen. A child that went in and did the wrong test. Trainer didn't even know what test the kid was suppose to ride and left it up to non horsie mom to look the test up on line. Kid should have been doing beg. novice b test but trainer told her intro b and I even offered to call the test for her and told trainer that she'd suppose to do beg nov B test and she just looked at me and ignored me and kid got eliminated Bad thing is this trainer rides also and competes in training and 1 level dressage at schooling and rated shows.
                                  Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    ICP

                                    I am surprised no one has mentioned ICP. Such a great resource!!!!

                                    http://useventing.com/education.php?section=instructors
                                    Susan
                                    http://community.webshots.com/user/ss3777
                                    www.longformatclub.com

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                                    • #19
                                      But also remember......

                                      that some LL coaches have a good foundation but have never had the horse or money to compete at the upper levels. Some of us work with terrified adult riders... so look at the variety of our students. Also see that we don't try to teach above our ability level. Our students are mounted on what they can afford.... they work hard and try to improve. Some of the students will be on nicer horses or will do really well and others will plug at the bottom of the pack for a long time before they show true mastery of the level.
                                      I too am appalled at the number of coaches and trainers that don't bother to know the rules. I alwasy have a copy of the rule book with me at the schooling shows to look up and show people. We also came up with a flier to post at the shows last winter with a basic synopsis of the can and can do's for our show hunter and 4-H crossovers.
                                      Shoulders back, hands down, leg ON!

                                      https://clshrs3.wixsite.com/website

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by mellsmom View Post
                                        that some LL coaches have a good foundation but have never had the horse or money to compete at the upper levels. Some of us work with terrified adult riders... so look at the variety of our students. Also see that we don't try to teach above our ability level. Our students are mounted on what they can afford.... they work hard and try to improve.
                                        Back to say, my recommendation that a trainer should have a proven record at Prelim or higher was only meant to apply to those students who clearly want to event. Assuming (perhaps dumbly) that these are students who have a basic walk trot canter, control of steering down.

                                        The folks who teach that (the latter) correctly and safely are invaluable and should be paid so & worshipped & will definitely go to heaven (GRIN). To be clear, not saying everyone who "teaches" should have the experience & record of Prelim and above.

                                        My point is that a coach who says, "yes I will teach you to event and coach you at events" should have that experience & record.

                                        Heck I teach myself and I don't qualify under my own standards (I did compete Prelim but not by any means successfully!) I teach lower level H/J riders some basic dressage & safe jumping techniques. Nothing wrong with that IMHO.

                                        But before I took on someone who aspires to event and wants me to take them there, I expect myself to fulfill my own standards before I'd agree.

                                        I don't know what the answer in general is, either. It seems there is always one bad story about the certification process, or long revered trainers who just can't afford it or be bothered with it. I think it's a great thing and should be persevered with, but for now - I feel safer telling wannabe eventers to look up their supposed new trainer on useventing.com The information is there, it seems irrational not to take advantage of it. For example, if you were planning to be coached be someone then found out they got eliminated every other event they entered at Beg. Novice, wouldn't you decide to look elsewhere?

                                        Best defense in the states at least is to be aware, do your research, and ask questions - don't just drink the kool aid, not if you want to participate in a high risk (ask my insurance company, groan) sport like eventing.

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