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

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  • #41
    Bent Hickory,

    Your trainer is a saint. She deserves a raise. And a backbone.


    • #42
      There's a difference between helping a kid with homework (good) and sitting in the classroom interrupting the teacher (undermining non-parent authority figures.)
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      • #43
        Agreed, danceronice. BlissTate, I think Bent Hickory's instructor (based solely on this thread, I don't know any of you) has a nicely flexible backbone, rather than a rigid, defensive one.


        • #44
          I have to say that I totally disagree with parents constantly chiming in during lessons. However there are situations where the parent DOES actually know what they are talking about and can be a help to the child. I will probably get slammed for this but i have stopped my daughters lesson when I noticed her pony acting very out of character, only to determine there was a saddle fit issue that went unknown by the instructor teaching the lesson. Thankfully I stopped the lesson because our chestnut mare was telling us in no uncertain terms that she was unhappy and it could have ended in someone getting hurt. I do not talk to my dd during her lesson, other than emergencies like that where I feel something is about to go very wrong, and to say "that was beautiful" when she stops for a water break

          Otherwise, I totally agree that chitter chatter from the sidelines is very disruptive but I also believe that the parent is the paying customer and trainers should tread lightly. I would not publically embarass them, I would pull them aside and explain why you'd like them not to talk to the kid during the lesson and if they cannot watch and stay quiet, maybe they should watch from their car or read a book etc. But do it gently, they are your paying customers and deserve respect as well.


          • #45
            Helicopter parents aside (though I could tell you the doozey from last night where mommy called the po-leese because bad ole teacher didn't let snookums talk about Twilight in class), when I taught lessons, I did NOT allow parental coaching.

            I generally only had to say once that it wasn't allowed, said something along the lines of it being confusing, etc, but I had one parent I had to "ground" from the arena and she had to stay in her car. She could not shut up, which must have been genetic because her children were the same way. I just gave the daughter taking lessons a stick of gum on the way in the arena. But this mom apparently though I spoke another language, and had to translate everything. She repeated EVERYTHING I said. EVERYTHING. Me: "Push your heels down," mom, "Zoe!! Push your heels down Zoe!! Heels DOWN!" I'd given her several warnings and finally just had to tell her to go away. I thought I'd lose her business, but I didn't. I think the same thing probably happened at any other extra curricular events the kiddo did. The family was perpetually peppy and happy, like a pack of beagles. And I mean none of this in a derogatory fashion at all, they truly were a neat family, but dear lord they were ALL chatty!
            COTH's official mini-donk enabler

            "I am all for reaching out, but in some situations it needs to be done with a rolled up news paper." Alagirl


            • #46
              Originally posted by findeight View Post
              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.
              Certainly as a kid, but even now as an adult-- I find it VERY confusing to have more than one person directing me at a time. This is part (not all) of why I have a hard time in schooling rings-- so many people yelling stuff all at once. I would have a very, very hard time concentrating in lessons if I was getting direction from the trainer in the center and also a parent/friend on the rail-- no matter how experienced that parent/friend was. I can only focus on myself and listen to one person. I suspect a lot of kids are no different.
              "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"


              • #47
                I think we are talking about two different types of "sideline coaching"....that of which parents yell out instruction from the rail during a lesson and that of which happens discreatly from the rail or even during non lesson rides.

                I think it also can be said that just because a parent THINKS they are knowledgable about riding, training, teaching...doesnt mean they really ARE. I know my Dad can be charged with whispering "heels down" or "change" from the rail at a horse show...not sure that he really KNEW what that meant, but he picked up the lingo from years of watching lessons. But, he, nor my mom, never, in a million years would have even thought of yelling out coaching tips from the rail...they would have found their rear ends in the principles office in a heart beat...and I would have wanted to crawl under my pony if they did that!! How imbarassing as a kid!!!

                But...on non lesson rides when I was doing my "homework" you bet they would have stood by the rail and made sure I was doing what I was supposed to and offered input based off of what the trainer had told them I was supposed to be doing...

                As a trainer...I think I would be really offended if a parent coached from the sidelines in a lesson or show setting...you are paying the trainer to train...if you are needing to coach from the sidelines, maybe then you need to change trainers....or train the kid yourself. As a trainer I would think I wasnt doing my job well enough if you needed to pipe in.
                Never Ride Faster Than Your Guardian Angel Can Fly
                Way Back Texas~04/20/90-09/17/08
                Green Alligator "Captain"


                • #48
                  Nothing good to add, but Oh Lordy I had no idea what y'all were putting up with.

                  I can't imagine my mom being such a back seat driver. Back in the day, kids took lessons and were turned over to the pro in charge. In fact, parents looked forward to some time off from watching/entertaining kiddo.

                  Oh, and parents doing or checking homework? That's anathema to me. School was my job, just the way each of my parents had jobs. Were there a huge problem with my work life, the 'rents would have heard about it and stepped in. Otherwise, hands off.

                  It really helped me in my work life to have had the experience of taking direction from many adults other than my parents from a young age.
                  The armchair saddler
                  Politically Pro-Cat


                  • #49
                    I often tell my daughter to change diagonals during a lesson, because usually her trainer doesn't notice that she is wrong (can't figure that one out). It has created a bad habit for my daughter--she forgets to change diagonals when she changes direction--I think she has gotten into this habit because her trainer never notices and corrects her. I just started telling her myself--someone has to. Otherwise I stay pretty quiet during lessons but I have no problem talking to the trainer before or after lessons to go over issues I see or teaching methods that work best for my DD.

                    At shows I don't coach DD when she is in the ring, but I have been known to remind her of a few things before she goes in. Her coach has many riders to focus on, and I only have one, so if I see an issue that I don't think her coach addressed, I will address it, or just remind her of little things she may not remember (like checking her diagonal).


                    • #50
                      Let me ask a question...to those of you who are saying you will correct the child because the trainer doesnt...or while at shows you will remind of things, etc because the trainer has too many other riders to focus on...do you talk to the trainer about why "xxx" happens during lessons or that you feel your child is not getting the needed attention at shows? If so...whats the response?

                      I grew up riding at a LARGE show barn...at shows it was nothing for my trainer to have 30 or more horses/riders going throughout the day or weekend...but each and every one of us got the needed schooling time and pep talk before we entered the ring...she was there when we walked into the ring and there with input when we walked out, even for flat classes. I honestly have no idea how she managed it all, but she did and still does.

                      I also know that if there was something major that my trainer was missing (such as the diagnol), my parents would have inquired as to why this was happening and would have found instruction elsewhere if a reasonable answer was not provided or the problem was not corrected. I can understand a trainer not seeing EVERYTHING, just as a judge doesnt see everything...but if its happening on a regular basis I would think there would need to be a chat before or after the lesson with the trainer.

                      As a junior I had a NASTY habit of not paying attention and blowing a flat class because I was either on the wrong diagonal or would blow my right lead canter...my trainer knew this and would not correct me (although I would change the lead to the correct one)...I knew why I didnt pin, I just didnt pay attention and it did her no good to correct me from the rail. However, once home from the show or the next time in a lesson, the stirrups came off my saddle and I did posting trot and canter the entire lesson without them. A few times of that and viola!!! So, while she didnt correct me right then, there was a method to her madness and...it worked!

                      I dont know...I guess as a parent, if I felt the need to coach my kid from the rail all of the time, that to me would mean we had a trainer issue and might be in need of a change...
                      Never Ride Faster Than Your Guardian Angel Can Fly
                      Way Back Texas~04/20/90-09/17/08
                      Green Alligator "Captain"


                      • #51
                        Ah, the diagonal. When I teach a beginner about diagonals, I explain the concept, why, when, how. Once the student is proficient, I fully expect the student to become responsible for forming the habit of being on the correct diagonal. I want the student to learn to think for themselves, not just be a little robot. I DO NOT want helpers on the rail to constantly remind the students about their diagonals.

                        The horseshow is a wonderful learning opportunity. The first time or two, I will remind the student when they pass by me on the rail. I specifically don't like to post "helpers" along the rail to remind the student. Losing a class because of being careless about diagonals is a wonderful learning opportunity. So here is one small example of how a "helpful" parent can actual impede the student's progress. "But Suzy will lose the class," mommy says. "No, Suzy will learn," says trainer.


                        • #52
                          Preach it JSalem!
                          <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.


                          • #53
                            Originally posted by superdon View Post
                            I often tell my daughter to change diagonals during a lesson, because usually her trainer doesn't notice that she is wrong (can't figure that one out). It has created a bad habit for my daughter--she forgets to change diagonals when she changes direction--I think she has gotten into this habit because her trainer never notices and corrects her...
                            There are many trainers teaching young kids who will let something like a diagonal go until the child masters certain other skills (stopping, turning, halting etc) to avoid discouraging them with constant fault finding. It may be trainer thinks she is progressing fine and does not need to be badgered about every mistake until she is more secure with the more basic skills-like getting the Pony to trot, period. Seen many a tyke finally kick the Pony into a trot and gain approval from trainer only to have parent eagerly find fault with them.

                            Or trainer may want her to learn to recognize her own mistakes...which sometimes takes a lap or so...and not depend on somebody to tell her. Riders do need to learn to feel diagonals on their own-sometimes it takes missing them at a show to motivate them to stop waiting to be told...by trainer or parent. Mistake to develope riders who only learn to listen, not to feel on their own.

                            Or maybe this kid needs a new trainer? If she really never teaches her anything or corrects her, sounds like a waste of money.
                            When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                            The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


                            • #54
                              I posted one of the initial replies to this thread and I feel that I am uniquely qualified to comment on it as I am the barn manager, I manage the staff instructors, I am the liaison to the parents, I am a rider and horse owner and my daughter has been riding at this barn since she was 4 (she's now 14). I understand how difficult it is to keep your mouth shut especially when you think your kid is simply not listening. There have been times (especially when DD was younger and rode with a staff instructor) when I have talked to the instructor after the lesson to give her some clues to my child's behavior and personality in order to help both the instructor and my daughter. Quite often, in the car on the way home after the lesson, DD and I will discuss the lesson and I will get her "take" on the lesson and what was said. If she was having an especially difficult time with a concept or with the word choice used by the instructor, I would let the instructor know about it. However, and here's the take home point, it was not during the lesson. I feel that if you as a parent feel that you need to coach from the sidelines during the lesson, then you probably don't have the trust in the instructor that you should have (and yes, you should trust your child's instructor - especially when DD is jumping big, big fences that make you slightly nauseous to watch!) and you probably need to find an instructor that you do trust.


                              • #55
                                I have coached my daughter numerous times from the sidelines at shows when the trainer is busy with other clients,


                                • #56
                                  That's different.

                                  Helping out at shows in one thing. Interrupting a lesson (however quietly), talking over or around the teacher, that irritated the heck out of me when I was teaching. I have a plan, I can see as well as you when your kid is checking out on me, and maybe I want to let her check out to make a point. Maybe I can see something good happening that you can't.

                                  Let me do my job!

                                  And if you don't think I'm doing a good job teaching your child, please set up a time outside of the lesson hour to discuss it. Or we'll let your kid have a supervised free ride time while we sit on the side and have a mini PTA meeting. Or ask me questions about what I'm doing/seeing/aiming for while she's tacking up or cooling down or taking a break.

                                  But for the lovamike, butt out when I'm in the middle of something. Please.


                                  • #57
                                    Originally posted by findeight View Post
                                    There are many trainers teaching young kids who will let something like a diagonal go until the child masters certain other skills (stopping, turning, halting etc) to avoid discouraging them with constant fault finding. It may be trainer thinks she is progressing fine and does not need to be badgered about every mistake until she is more secure with the more basic skills-like getting the Pony to trot, period. Seen many a tyke finally kick the Pony into a trot and gain approval from trainer only to have parent eagerly find fault with them.
                                    This... My students are children aged 5-9. There are times where, when we are working on a new skill, and you have to be a little more lenient with things like diagonals or a certain aspect of their position or something. Just like with young horses, I guess. Parents on the sideline may not realize or understand that there is a method to the madness.
                                    We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.


                                    • #58
                                      And some kid's brains just CAN'T grasp the concept of diagonals - they literally can't see or process them. It's counterproductive to hammer on them at the expense of other skills until the whole thing makes sense to a young'un.


                                      • #59
                                        At the barn where I boarded in Arizona, the owner taught beginning kids lessons. She had a rule that parents were allowed to say "Good job!" from the rail, but saying anything else would cost them a $1 fine.
                                        ... and Patrick