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Fellow instructors, advice needed...

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  • Fellow instructors, advice needed...

    Obviouosly, an alter to protect the innocent....or not so innocent.

    I have an adult beginner student (mid 30's) who has been riding only about 2 months. He takes 2 lessons a week and leases a lesson horse from the barn and rides 3 more days a week. Up until this week he has been very enthusiastic and fun to work with but all of a sudden his attitude has changed. He is complaining about his lease horse not being up to his standards, can barely canter but feels he should be jumping 2 feet now and over all has a "too big for his britches" attitude. This is my first student with this sort of diva attitude and I'm not sure how to handle it. Any suggestions and advice would greatly appreciated.

  • #2
    I would simply tell him matter of fact my opinion of the lease horse if it differs from his, which I assume it does. I don't know the horse, but possible, have him watch while someone else who can get more from the horse shows what the horse is capable of...

    Also, make lessons harder. Introduce no stirrups work. Put him on a 30 meter circle and have him do trot/canter transitions at "12 oclock" and "6oclock"... then have him do it in 2 pt. If he brings up the fact that he feels he should be jumping 2 ft. ask him point blank, "If you can't do trot/canter transitions with the correct timing while staying in 2 pt how do you except to go over a jump in 2pt?"

    Put him on a more challenging horse. This may give him a new appreciation of the lease horse.

    It's time for some humble pie to be served up.

    *shrug*
    2016 RRP Makeover Competitor www.EnviousBid.com

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Definitely need some humble pie Our lease/lesson horses are not the fanciest horses in the world but they are jewels and as safe as can be. This rider is certainly not up to anything other than a very forgiving sweetheart horse at this time. I think the trouble is that our lesson horses are very easy to ride and he thinks he is much better than he really is. I have thought about no stirrup work but he is quite unbalanced and I'm worried he might take a tumble.

      Comment


      • #4
        I have to confess I don't really understand why this rider cannot trot over a few crossrails or small verticals, even if he cannot canter well yet. Have him trot in 2 point, grab some mane, and do a few. It may help maintain his interest.

        Serving "humble pie" to an adult client doesn't sound like a good plan to me. If the rider is bored or feeling that they are not progressing fast enough, there are certainly ways to mix the lessons up a bit without putting either horse or rider in jeopardy.
        **********
        We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
        -PaulaEdwina

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          We did do small x rails for the first time yesterday at the trot...he felt he should be jumping higher. But I explained how his balance wasn't where it needed it to be to go any higher at this time, apparently we have a disagreement there

          Comment


          • #6
            Perhaps if he saw pictures and/or videos of himself riding, he could see that he still needs to work on his basics.

            Comment


            • #7
              Give him more challenging flat work. Find something that is a little above his skill level (maintaining the canter on a 20m circle? 4 transitions per lap on a 20 m circle?) and then work on it until he can do it.

              When jumping on a straight away put a cone at the end of the ring so that he has to ride around it.

              Insist on precision, promptness and straightness in his halts after the jump.

              "Trot over this and then come back to a walk somewhere" is easy.

              "Trot in, decreasing your stride an inch each step to the base, land CANTERING, canter three strides and halt straight" will give him something to do.
              Yeah it's advanced for a beginner but that is the point. Give him something interesting to learn.
              The Noodlehttp://tiny.cc/NGKmT&http://tiny.cc/gioSA
              Jinxyhttp://tiny.cc/PIC798&http://tiny.cc/jinx364
              Boy Wonderhttp://tiny.cc/G9290
              The Hana is nuts! NUTS!!http://tinyurl.com/SOCRAZY

              Comment


              • #8
                How about setting some challenges for him instead of your knowing that he needs to be steadier and him thinking he is fine?
                Trot xx laps of the arena in two point.
                Canter xx laps of the arena in two point.
                Trot a series of trot poles at an even pace xx times.
                Putting up a small vertical that is the same height as a crossrail will make a lot of horses hop over it instead of a big step. Getting hit in the butt with the saddle can make you rethink how much work you need to keep doing. Try to get across to him that he needs to be able to keep his own balance on a moving platform and not depend on the horse for balance.

                I bet that someone with no knowledge has made comments to him about how he has been taking lessons for MONTHS and is not jumping big jumps. People listen to that stuff. :-(
                Nina's Story
                Epona Comm on FB

                Comment


                • #9
                  I admit I am torn between the two options stated. Both could work, the end result of the "humble pie" option is you may lose a client. The end result of lucassb's option is you keep a client happy, while not putting his safety in jeopardy.

                  I have seen top pros teach people who have problems learning to canter, by teaching them a cross rail first as most horses will land in a canter. This was used more on those that were too tight/nervous to canter, but were more than able to in their skills.

                  I have this issue with a teenage student of mine. She had been riding for 8 years when she started riding with me, never had cantered and no one taught her diagonals. I have two older ex-showhunters that I teach her on. She can now canter safely around cross rail courses and get her changes (horses are automatic). She now thinks she is a star and complains about riding the old horses. I am torn between the humble pie option and putting her on a green horse, but I am afraid that she might take a spill. I have tried talking to her, but she does not get it and is in a competition thing with the other girls. So I feel your pain and offer you my sympathy...

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    You mentioned that his attitude change was sudden. I'm wondering if someone he knows is giving him a hard time - telling him he should be doing more or just generally teasing him about riding. You know, in the 30 years I've been with my trainer, I can count the number of adult male beginners we've had on one hand and our lesson program is pretty big. Why not just ask him why the change in attitude?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by susie09 View Post
                      You mentioned that his attitude change was sudden. I'm wondering if someone he knows is giving him a hard time - telling him he should be doing more or just generally teasing him about riding. You know, in the 30 years I've been with my trainer, I can count the number of adult male beginners we've had on one hand and our lesson program is pretty big. Why not just ask him why the change in attitude?
                      This is what I was thinking...(Which is not to say that he will tell you! )

                      Men (the very few I've taught, back when I was teaching beginners in a lesson program, years ago) tended to be more unrealistic when it came to their abilities (or lack thereof), and less open to constructive criticism. They were more often of the opinion that they were "better than they actually were", unlike the female beginners, who were generally honest with themselves (and more often than not, overly self deprecating!)

                      I think it's a pride and ego thing. Teenagers are often similar, though in their case it's more often a result of competitiveness and insecurity; they are easily influenced by "what other people say", as opposed to heeding that inner voice (and listening to their trainer.) I have had a few of these along the way, too. (Fortunately, all of my students at present are wonderful: teens, young women, and middle aged women; I am incredibly lucky.)

                      Is there any way you could have this guy do a semi-private with another student of yours? Not that you want to show him up, but maybe demonstrate for him the skills he needs to work on before he progresses to the next step? Other student could demo skills, he could then practice them, you could troubleshoot and explain specifically what he needs to do? Most men like a challenge, so put him to work. I agree with the other posters, he needs to practice some of those exercises that emphasize balance, timing, and skill--if he finds this difficult, it will prove to him that he needs to work harder at those basics before tackling something more challenging.

                      Good luck!
                      "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


                      • #12
                        Men (the very few I've taught, back when I was teaching beginners in a lesson program, years ago) tended to be more unrealistic when it came to their abilities (or lack thereof), and less open to constructive criticism. They were more often of the opinion that they were "better than they actually were", unlike the female beginners, who were generally honest with themselves (and more often than not, overly self deprecating!)
                        This is very, very true. I find that adult male, amateur riders, especially if they are successful in their occupation, tend to be some of the toughest students to teach! They often think they are far, far better than they are and/or they will be natural riders and be very successful at it, because that's how the rest of their lives are. Guys (and most guys will admit it, too) also forget that they aren't teenage/early 20s boys any longer, and probably aren't as athletic as maybe they once were.

                        How do you deal with it? LOTS of patience and ignoring the "I am so much better than this" type comments. Challenge them without hurting them. Put them on saintly horses that feel challenging (maybe a little forward, etc). Remember that they guys aren't kids or perfectionist women. They aren't going to be the next top equitation model, so don't spend endless amounts of time on nit picky details. If he can stick to a horse and can use his hands and legs somewhat properly, let him move along.
                        Amanda

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by yellowbritches View Post
                          ...

                          Remember that they guys aren't kids or perfectionist women. They aren't going to be the next top equitation model, so don't spend endless amounts of time on nit picky details. If he can stick to a horse and can use his hands and legs somewhat properly, let him move along.
                          This, several times over.
                          madeline
                          * What you release is what you teach * Don't be distracted by unwanted behavior* Whoever waits the longest is the teacher. Van Hargis

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I haven't read all the responses. He sounds quite dedicated taking two lessons a week, leasing a horse, and riding 3 additional times. I would have loved to ride that much when I started out. I would discuss his goals and what the skills he will need to achieve them. If there are any analogies that can be made to something that he might understand that could be good. Like you when learning to drive a car you start of starting the car, learning to use your mirrors, accelerating, braking, turning. You practice in a big empty parking lot before driving on city streets, you drive on side roads before hitting the freeway, you drive an automatic before you drive a stick shift. And you don't start out on the Autobahn : ) I am sure he is just ignorant and doesn't understand why he can't just go out and jump two feet. Also may help to explain that by getting his basics down really well, he is going to be a much more competent rider. Good luck. hope he continues riding.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Yes, to challenging him so that he can see how full of holes his riding is, but please don't let him ride roughly or poorly while trying to prove he can jump as high or canter in 2-pt or whatever as he thinks he can('t) do. His ego can't be taken out on the horse.

                              He almost sounds like he's wanting to pick a fight. Am wondering if speaking directly to him, as in, "It seems as if lately the lessons aren't meeting your expectations. Would this be true?" might open a door to discussion. And it puts you in charge and being pro-active, vs. reacting to the student.

                              I have a philosophy in my teaching, and students need to adhere to it, or move to another teacher. One of them is knowing that the horse is not a toy and that their riding can't be abusive -- it's OK to be clumsy while trying a new exercise, but unnecessary roughness is never allowed. Also, I have set standards about moving up in skill level, and the students do know this. They are pretty airtight, so no fake riding lets them slip through.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                " I'm sorry my training program is no longer suitable for you. I am sure there is a trainer out there whom could fast track you to the jumping ring, I'm just not that trainer".
                                Students , especially Beginner students , adult or children (or the childrens parents), should never call the shots in how they are taught. If you don't get a handle on it now your sacrifice your integrity as a trainer.
                                We have a huge problem with our sport today , in that everyone wants to be an expert in a two months and showing in 3. If that's the kind of barn and training program you want to put forth, by all mean take his money and give the student what he wants, what does it really matter anyway, he did after all sign that realease waiver.

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Yep, will definitely video...that may help. And yes, cyberbay, no rough riding allowed on our sweetheart lesson horses...another reason why I won't have him jump higher, not fair to the horses. I do want him to continue riding, but I have had so little experience teaching adult men (just not that many out there) that all my reasoning tactics aren't working with him.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Men think differently then women and they have to be taught differently. Men like a direct approach and to be challenged. Also don't be afraid of him falling off. Most guys aren't worried about things like that. If they have ever done any type of sport, they are used to bumps and bruises. Just ask him directly why the change in attitude. Maybe he could go through a easy gymnastics with the last jump a 2' vertical. Have him grab mane or a neck strap.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      This is where I get out my pile of marked-up books and set out my curriculum, as it were, which I've worked so hard on by this point I actually enjoy defending it: You have to meet these benchmarks before we get off the lunge, these before we canter, and these before we jump. ( For jumping is entire lunge circle standing tall like a string out of the head, arms out, at trot and canter, no falling into seat, including transitions; flawless 2 point for 5 lunge circles and then over cavaletti 5 lunge circles, all with arms out; 5 lunge circles each direction w/no stirrups no hands WITH transitions down and up; plus doing cavaletti on the lunge without stirrups nor hands and staying in good seat).

                                      Using tips in this thread I think I will start to video to document progress (and lack thereof).

                                      I explain that this is because I expect you to have the body strength and balance necessary for a strong seat and to have entirely independent hands. I explain that using the hands to balance even a couple times is ruinous to my saint of a horse, and so I won't rush the curriculum. My own kids follow it. If it comes to it (and it never has): If you want to rush these foundational steps and ruin a horse's mouth, you need to buy your own horse to do it on, and you can find another trainer.

                                      I would never put such a student on a more difficult horse (of mine) because I seriously do not want uneducated hands hitting them in the mouth. I do offer to refer them to other trainers with different horses available.
                                      At all times, we are either training or untraining.
                                      Flying Haflinger blog: http://flyinghaflinger.blogspot.com/ Flying Irish Draught blog: http://flyingirishredhead.blogspot.com/

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        We had an adult rider who had ridden in another country and she would let everyone know that she jumped 3 feet in .... Well she was put on my saint of a horse who had evented up to the Preliminary level in eventing and was a VERY SAFE horse for her to learn on both flat and jumping.

                                        She came off of him during a canter-trot transition over his shoulder-he did everything in his power to keep her on.

                                        The first time she jumped him over a crossrail and small (18") vertical-he slightly tossed his head bcause he was happy to jump-she started to bounce out the saddle, he stopped and put his head up and boink over the shoulder she goes again.

                                        Horse looks at her and just sighs-starts to eat grass. She came off a couple of more times and the last one was a xc schooling where the clinician told her to get him front of her leg & forward-she trotted as slow as molasses to the jump and if Sam is not forward he is not going to jump-doesn't stop nasty but lets you know waaaaaaay ahead of time he isn't going to jump-she fell of over th shoulder again and hit the jump. Sam just looked at her and sighed again and was like damn are you off of me again??? Jeez-then started to eat grass.

                                        I have to say the last fall made her realize-you know what? Maybe I don't know everything and maybe I am not ready to jump-I have to say she never blamed my guy and she was teachable and wanted to learn but it humbled her.

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