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Trainers - What do you do when parents start "teaching" your lessons?

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  • #21
    I haven't done many little ones... most of my problem parents have been parents of teens and older (shocking). I just go to the other end of the arena. Walking in, I just point to some barrels and say they can sit right there, we mount there, get settled and then promptly go to other end.

    I gave a small lesson to a youngster and her mom wanted to keep directing her and I just looked mom in the eyes and kindly said that she needed to focus on HER horse and HER riding (double lesson) and that because I'd agreed to lesson her kid, that the kid is solely MY problem... that's the joy for her of hiring a trainer. She got a lightbulb look and enjoyed the rest of the lesson.

    So really, honesty almost always works.
    Kelli
    Horse Drawings!

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    • #22
      Thank goodness I live in an area with excellent trainers that actually WELCOME an informed, knowledgeable parent/horseperson with a vested interest in their children's riding. I began teaching my girls to ride beginning at age 3. I'm as aware, if not more aware, of each of their individual strengths and weaknesses. I have attended between 60-70% of their lessons since they started riding with a trainer. I don't have all the answers, but I have plenty of them. I will provide an encouraging pat or a growl when needed. And I will coach them at and in between lessons. And I will coach them at shows, with or without the trainer.

      As soon as a trainer tells me what I can and can't do, the trainer is no longer part of OUR program. Just because I pay a trainer, doesn't mean I abdicate all "authority" to the trainer....EVER.
      "I always remember you as quite the desk chair contrarian." - APirateLooksAtForty

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      • #23
        Originally posted by Bent Hickory View Post
        Just because I pay a trainer, doesn't mean I abdicate all "authority" to the trainer....EVER.

        Uh... no one's suggesting that a trainer should tell you how to raise your child. But you ARE paying them to instruct your child and they probably have their own set of ideas and way and going about things. Their own curriculum, you could say. If you want to coach your child don't pay someone else to and then try to do it with them. They didn't sign up to co-teach. They also didnt't ask for a parrot to repeat everything they say.

        Would you go into your child's classroom and tell the teacher "You can start off teaching Sally about hibernation, but then I'm going to assign her homework and decide what she should do during class."? Your coach is no different.

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        • #24
          Originally posted by alternate_universe View Post
          Uh... no one's suggesting that a trainer should tell you how to raise your child.
          Yes, but what you (and others) are suggesting is that, as a parent, I abdicate "all things riding" to the "all-knowing" trainer. And I'm saying "No, I will not." If you as a trainer, aren't willing to be a partner and part of the team, you have no place in OUR program.

          Originally posted by alternate_universe View Post
          Would you go into your child's classroom and tell the teacher "You can start off teaching Sally about hibernation, but then I'm going to assign her homework and decide what she should do during class."? Your coach is no different.
          No, I don't tell their school teachers what to teach or the curriculum. But I do fill in the gaps left by the teaching, provide further instruction in areas that I feel are important, explain (many times using other words) concepts that the teacher didn't effectively communicate, help the children with their homework including assigning them additional problems and make sure they're prepared for the tests. And if necessary, I will teach them another way of finding the answer or solving the problem if the teacher's way isn't sufficient. Ask ANY school principal what a parent can do to ensure a child's success in school and they will tell you "BE INVOLVED." NONE of them will say "Leave it to us, you pay us, we know best...."
          Last edited by Bent Hickory; Nov. 20, 2012, 06:50 AM.
          "I always remember you as quite the desk chair contrarian." - APirateLooksAtForty

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          • #25
            Originally posted by Bent Hickory View Post

            No, I don't tell their school teachers what to teach or the curriculum. But I do fill in the gaps left by the teaching, provide further instruction in areas that I feel is important, explain using other words concepts that the teacher didn't effectively communicate, help the children with their homework including assigning them additional problems and make sure they're prepared for the tests. And if necessary, I will teach them another way of finding the answer or solving the problem. Ask ANY school principal what a parent can do to ensure a child's success in school and they will tell you "BE INVOLVED." NONE of them will say "Leave it to us, you pay us, we know best...."

            Then you do that when your child is riding between lessons. Being knowledgeable is great, but it doesn't mean you should interrupt your coach's teaching. Being involved and trying to do the trainer's job when it's supposed to be their time are two different things.

            Just my opinion. Scheduled lesson time means the coach is talking. Other rides can be parent teaching time. Otherwise, what's the point of paying the coach if you feel comfortable and confident enough to teach your child?

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            • #26
              Originally posted by alternate_universe View Post
              Scheduled lesson time means the coach is talking. Other rides can be parent teaching time. Otherwise, what's the point of paying the coach if you feel comfortable and confident enough to teach your child?
              The world is neither black nor white - it's all shades of gray. It simply doesn't have to be one way or the other and in reality, seldom is. I fail to see why trainers feel so threatened with the active participation of a parent.

              Again, I'll end in the same way I started - I'm thankful I live in an area with excellent trainers that WELCOME the participation of an informed, knowledgeable parent.
              "I always remember you as quite the desk chair contrarian." - APirateLooksAtForty

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              • #27
                I have some clients that are experienced horsepeople. I appreciate their knowledge. I include them in any management issues and welcome their input about such things. I DO NOT welcome their "active participation" in my lessons. I think that a parent "actively participating" in the instruction is disruptive and not so subtly communicating a lack of respect and trust in the instructor. You are hindering your child's full attention to the lesson. You are undermining your trainer by making it appear that they can't conduct a class without your expert help.

                Bent Hickory, do you also stand in the kitchen when you eat out at a restaurant and "help" the chef prepare your meal? More salt, there.... Do you plop yourself down in your lawyer's office and "help" him? Do you "help" the pediatrician take your child's vitals?

                Really, it's your child's lesson. It should be your child's experience. You should allow a relationship between your child and the instructor to develop without mommy being in the middle all the time. Sure, watch. Make sure you are comfortable with the curriculum. But I'd be very surprised if your trainers are as thrilled as you imagine with your behavior. If you want to instruct your child at home, that's fine. But if you pay for a lesson with a professional- step away.....
                http://patchworkfarmga.com

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                • #28
                  Brent Hickory: It's just plain rude to interrupt an instructor while they are teaching your child. Let me tell you, if I were riding in a group lesson and some parent kept interrupting and instructing their child while I was in the lesson and is now interferring in what "I" am also paying for from said instructor, I'd be damn well telling you to shut up and let me have the lesson I am paying for in peace! Really, you sound like one of those over-bearing parents that hand hold and think nobody else matters but their perfect child!!
                  Go Ahead: This is a dare, not permission. Don't Do It!

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                  • #29
                    Originally posted by Jsalem View Post
                    I think that a parent "actively participating" in the instruction is disruptive and not so subtly communicating a lack of respect and trust in the instructor. You are hindering your child's full attention to the lesson. You are undermining your trainer by making it appear that they can't conduct a class without your expert help.
                    It is precisely because the trainers and I share MUTUAL respect with one another that it works. The fact that you don't acknowledge that the parent might have something to contribute communicates an equal "lack of respect."

                    Originally posted by Jsalem View Post
                    Bent Hickory, do you also stand in the kitchen when you eat out at a restaurant and "help" the chef prepare your meal? More salt, there....
                    No, because I know nothing about cooking. And one meal without enough salt is no big deal. One bad lesson with a controlling, poorly communicating, condescending trainer having a bad day can crush a child's confidence and ultimately ruin their desire to ride -- I've witnessed it.

                    Originally posted by Jsalem View Post
                    Do you plop yourself down in your lawyer's office and "help" him?
                    I am a lawyer. And I have knowledgeable/sophisticated clients who (you better sit down for this) regularly provide insights/advice/comments/corrections/additions/experience to the advice they otherwise pay me for. Some of them actually come to my office and "plop themselves down" to convey their thoughts and guess what, challenge my advice -- because that IS what happens in the real world. And at the end of the day, the end product is always better as a result of the interaction.

                    Originally posted by Jsalem View Post
                    Do you "help" the pediatrician take your child's vitals?
                    No, because that would require a specialized license to actually practice medicine in such an environment and I'm quite sure the medical malpractice carrier won't permit such things. But I have sufficient training to take a child's vitals -- it's not rocket science.

                    Originally posted by Jsalem View Post
                    But I'd be very surprised if your trainers are as thrilled as you imagine with your behavior.
                    Our trainer just told me last weekend that she wished she had a barn full of clients like me. It's amazing what can come out of a relationship based on mutual respect.
                    Last edited by Bent Hickory; Nov. 20, 2012, 11:09 AM.
                    "I always remember you as quite the desk chair contrarian." - APirateLooksAtForty

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                    • #30
                      What makes you think I don't respect my clients? Because I want to teach my classes without interruption? I welcome questions, comments, concerns- from my STUDENTS during the class and from the Parents before or after the class. Interrupting is just not appropriate. And like another poster mentioned, I wonder if the other parents appreciate having you pipe up during their class time.

                      I'm glad it works for you. But it wouldn't work in my program. That's not the kind of class environment that I want to create. It isn't so much a matter of whether the parent knows what they're talking about. That isn't the point. I'm very grateful and flattered when a knowledgeable parent trusts me to instruct their child. I want the student to concentrate on his own riding and I want the student to engage with ME. I don't want the student working for parental approval. I don't want the student looking to mommy for water every 5 minutes. I'm trying to produce a horseman, an athlete. And in terms of the children, I'm trying to help produce an independent, responsible, articulate and knowledgeable person. My role as a coach is an important one that I take seriously. If it's a match with the student and they stay with me for years, I want to be an important role model and mentor as the child matures. I can't do that if the parent won't stop "nursing the child".

                      The OP asked what I do. I don't permit it.
                      http://patchworkfarmga.com

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                      • #31
                        Bent Hickory, the other thing that you may not realize is how your relationship with the trainer (actively participaing in the classes) may affect the trainer's business and your child's relationship with the other students.

                        Whether you realize it or not, if your trainer includes you in the instruction, you are subtly a part of "the program". That could create friction in the barn amongst the other "Pony Moms". Even if you're only piping in with instruction for you own kid, that can be seen as "who does she think she is?"

                        And Pony Moms don't like the trainers playing favorites. Your child may be perceived to be getting "more attention". That really can create problems for her. I would tread carefully.
                        http://patchworkfarmga.com

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                        • #32
                          Originally posted by ultimateshowmom View Post
                          I am now the silent parent but have been known to occasionally quietly say "diagonal" when my daughter passed. Why would a trainer allow several passes on the wrong diagonal? A well sorry to all our past trainers. For the most part I tried to stay quiet and help set jumps! At show I was in another county from the in gate. My job was to take pictures and keep quiet!
                          Because sometimes there are other things to work on and the diagonal doesn't matter. If I'm asking the kid to think about where her hands are, or to feel the horse's rhythm and see if she can tell me when he just starts to speed up, I don't care what the diagonal is. And having the parent chime in from the rail and distract the student can effectively undo 10 minutes of work.

                          Please let the teacher teach. If you have a question, ask at the end of the lesson or during a walk break: "Hey, I noticed you weren't correcting her when she was on the wrong diagonal, I was wondering why that was?"

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                          • #33
                            In a group lesson situation??? So...it's OK for knowledgeable parents to offer sideline coaching-that may contradict or confuse other students as well as their child- and not for other parents?

                            Must get noisy. Rather like teaching via commitee. It's a long way from hissing diagonal as they pass to shouting instruction over the trainer lie the OP was complaining of.

                            My trainer had a good line..."Old Moe can be ready in 5 minutes so you can join the lesson". Moe, of course, was the old schoolie reserved for beginning adults-nobody ever took her up on that offer and it kept the unwanted coaching to a minimum.
                            When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                            The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

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                            • #34
                              I think it sounds rather unprofessional for the trainer to permit it.....
                              http://patchworkfarmga.com

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                              • #35
                                Originally posted by Jsalem View Post
                                I think it sounds rather unprofessional for the trainer to permit it.....
                                I'll tell her you challenged her professionalism. She'll get a kick out of that! if I know her, she'll consider it a compliment!
                                "I always remember you as quite the desk chair contrarian." - APirateLooksAtForty

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                                • #36
                                  I'm afraid I don't know who your trainer is. Perhaps he or she is way better than me, so forgive my ignorance. I assumed that she was young because that's what it sounds like- I just can't wrap my head around an experienced professional who would permit a parent to teach over him or her..... and welcome it happily.
                                  http://patchworkfarmga.com

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                                  • #37
                                    Originally posted by Bent Hickory View Post
                                    I'll tell her you challenged her professionalism. She'll get a kick out of that! if I know her, she'll consider it a compliment!
                                    I don't know of any trainers who let observers yell at will during a lesson..which was what the original post complained of- multiple people shouting at the kids during the group lesson.
                                    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                                    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

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                                    • #38
                                      Conversational half halt

                                      The OP was talking about basically "soccer moms" not being able to let go of the habit of parenting (parenting is simply another type of coaching anyway) their children during a lesson.

                                      Bent Hickory is talking about being a fairly experienced equestrian parent who has probably listened and learned from watching a lot of lessons (or riding herself, no matter) and now puts what she has learned to good use. She probably is a pretty good reinforcer of good coaching, thus the reason that her coaches like her.

                                      The OP case and the BH case are fundamentally different and therefore suggest a different response from the instructor. I agree with her that there are shades of grey.

                                      If I get a soccer mom/dad coaching, I usually keep teaching the lesson and work my way over to the speaker and make a friendly suggestion, with a big smile, that they speak up so the whole class can hear them as I can use all the help I can get as my voice is giving out. (or some other joke.) Some have actually played along for a bit, coaching the whole group for a minute (and it has been hilarious), some have become sheepish, all have stopped the behaviour.

                                      If I have a BH case, where the parent has absorbed the fundamentals of good horsemanship, whether from their own experience or from auditing quality instructors, I ask for their input and make sure I hear them correctly by repeating back to them what I think they are saying. They are some of the best observers there are. When I respect them, they don't feel the need to keep proving they know what they are talking about. I believe them and we're fine.

                                      I could be wrong, but that's my take on it.
                                      http://www.camstock.net/

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                                      • #39
                                        Camstock, can I give you 10 thumbs ups for the use of "conversational half halt," please?
                                        http://www.youtube.com/user/supershorty628
                                        Proudly blogging for The Chronicle of the Horse!

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                                        • #40
                                          Ha ha ha ha! 10 thumbs up gratefully accepted. Feel free to use the term as you wish in return.
                                          http://www.camstock.net/

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