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Am I nuts, or is this trainer just the new normal?

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  • #61
    I have no clue where TX Hill Country is (please give me a clue by mentioning what large city you are near), but one other option is to broaden the focus beyond H/J barns. The child can return to jumping later if she really wants to, but if the Mom wants DD to live long enough to do that later on, she needs to get the child into a SAFE environment NOW.

    Some other options include a stable with a dressage focus, or one that does saddle seat. It seems to me that what is most needed now is for the child to acquire a solid seat, improve leg position/strength etc.

    No offense meant to the person who suggested Western, but if the 'western' style being taught is crank and spank/spur stop, no way!
    Last edited by sdlbredfan; Mar. 6, 2013, 08:03 PM. Reason: typo
    Jeanie
    RIP Sasha, best dog ever, pictured shortly before she died, Death either by euthanasia or natural causes is only the end of the animal inhabiting its body; I believe the spirit lives on.

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    • #62
      First off, there must be a reason Mom has kept kiddo in lessons for two years with this trainer.

      Second, by what you describe (and you do sound like a knowledgeable horse person) YES this child is unsafe and riding with a poor instructor.

      But as a friend and not the kiddo's parent, all you can do is be supportive to your friend (the Mom) and would suggest she talk to her daughter about what the "daughter" (kiddo) wants to do.

      Having five children of my own it's pretty amazing at how much kids know and want to be involved but we as parents have to take the time to talk to them.
      Live in the sunshine.
      Swim in the sea.
      Drink the wild air.

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      • #63
        What I find interesting by looking at the similar threads below is how many COTHers think they're nuts ... LOL

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        • #64
          I have to ask if this is the norm at the barn for all trainers? Or is she the only trainer? If she answers to anyone, its time for Mom to have a convo with that person. Not just for the sake of her own kid (she needs to get out of there regardless), but for the safety of all. This person has no business teaching anyone...and from a business perspective, is a lawsuit waiting to happen.

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          • Original Poster

            #65
            Originally posted by showidaho View Post
            Since you are in Texas...and you describe your friend's child as not so athletically inclined, but super horsey...perhaps a western barn would be a good option? There are some top, top AQHA people in Texas that could perhaps find her a new niche that could get her riding in a safe, confident manner...and even perhaps showing, if that is in the cards for her. She can always take up fence work later, but perhaps a little more saddle and a little less speed would help her in this case?
            Yes! I, too, thought this would be a good idea, but young Lucy is besotted by Saddle Club and is adamantly opposed to the whole Western aesthetic. Also, I have heard some pretty frightening things about the quarter horse barns around here. It's like some bizarre marriage of Clinton Anderson and the Mexican mafia. Is it just me, or does the horse business in general seem pretty rife with abuse and deceit?
            Dreadful Acres: the chronicle of my extraordinary unsuitability to country life

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            • #66
              Originally posted by The Crone of Cottonmouth County View Post
              Also, I have heard some pretty frightening things about the quarter horse barns around here. It's like some bizarre marriage of Clinton Anderson and the Mexican mafia. Is it just me, or does the horse business in general seem pretty rife with abuse and deceit?

              It seems that way to you because you choose to listen to the HEARSAY.
              If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.

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              • Original Poster

                #67
                Originally posted by Goldie locks View Post
                It seems that way to you because you choose to listen to the HEARSAY.
                Well, when you're new to a discipline, and you don't have any firsthand experience with the trainers, and you don't have any trusted friends in those circles, hearsay is pretty much all you do have. It might not be right or fair, but it's almost impossible to make an educated decision about professionals if you're a novice in the sport. In my experience, you have to weed through a bunch of duds and con artists before you finally luck into a good situation, and it gets really discouraging.
                Dreadful Acres: the chronicle of my extraordinary unsuitability to country life

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                • #68
                  "If you don't know any horse people who are crazy, it means you're the crazy one."

                  Certainly good barns aren't as easy to find as one might hope.
                  If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket

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                  • #69
                    Originally posted by The Crone of Cottonmouth County View Post
                    Her mother is pretty discouraged, because the other big lesson barns in the area dope the lesson horses, which she is definitely not down with.
                    Any chance that this overgeneralization is something that the current crappy trainer has planted in mom's brain rather based than reality? I think it is just possible…

                    Edited to add: There are also probably plenty of "little" lesson barns in your area that you or the mom aren't aware of that offer excellent quality instruction programs that would do great by this kid at this stage. They might be small, private, or/or don't have commercial show presence, but that's not the point right now, anyway, right? You and the mom will have to ask around to find them, because some of the best ones don't advertise at all, and also be willing to consider that popularity and a big local name isn't necessary at all for a beginner kid to learn to ride. The crappy current' trainer sure ins't going to mention them, so be prepared to do the legwork on your own!
                    Last edited by freshman; Mar. 7, 2013, 03:19 AM.

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                    • #70
                      Originally posted by The Crone of Cottonmouth County View Post
                      Well, when you're new to a discipline, and you don't have any firsthand experience with the trainers, and you don't have any trusted friends in those circles, hearsay is pretty much all you do have. It might not be right or fair, but it's almost impossible to make an educated decision about professionals if you're a novice in the sport. In my experience, you have to weed through a bunch of duds and con artists before you finally luck into a good situation, and it gets really discouraging.
                      ^THIS! times a million. Argh!
                      Disclaimer: Just a beginner who knows nothing about nothing

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                      • #71
                        She should definitely move barns, at least take a look. My niece was at a lesson barn for quite a while and her confidence was lacking. I watched her lesson and saw mostly chaos and not much teaching going on. My sister bought her a new pony and she changed barns and she has progressed leaps and bounds in a year with the new trainer. Wouldn't waste my time or money with an instructor like that.

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                        • #72
                          Texas Hill Counrty is near Austin

                          Get a new trainer or at least try a lesson somewhere else
                          http://community.webshots.com/user/summitspringsfarm

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                          • #73
                            Originally posted by The Crone of Cottonmouth County View Post
                            Yes! I, too, thought this would be a good idea, but young Lucy is besotted by Saddle Club
                            Oh, those were the days!

                            Maybe dressage instead of the AQHA people? She just needs to find a safe place and kiddo will get over the type of riding it is if it means horses. I did. I wanted to jump. My dad didnt want me to jump so I didnt jump but I rode

                            Anyways, I HATE the texting generation. Its SO RUDE! I met a friend for dinner at a nice restaurant and she kept her phone out on the table the entire time, checking it everytime it beeped. Really???? It cant wait one hour??? Raarh!

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                            • #74
                              Originally posted by The Crone of Cottonmouth County View Post
                              Yes! I, too, thought this would be a good idea, but young Lucy is besotted by Saddle Club and is adamantly opposed to the whole Western aesthetic. Also, I have heard some pretty frightening things about the quarter horse barns around here. It's like some bizarre marriage of Clinton Anderson and the Mexican mafia. Is it just me, or does the horse business in general seem pretty rife with abuse and deceit?
                              Hahahaha! Well, there are definitely lots of bad apples out there, but my thought was maybe a working western trainer...like reining, cow horses, ropers, etc would have really broke and easy horses for her to establish a good sense of confidence, seat, leg, etc. If she is really dead-set on a SaddleClubesq riding experience then her mom will have to scour the area for a different h/j trainer. Are there any local Texas COTH residents that can recommend a legitimate, safe, effective program in that area?

                              As an aside...your blog is a clever, witty escape for me! I'm so glad to see you are back at it. I was genuinely sad when you hadn't written for a while!

                              Comment


                              • #75
                                A different thought...

                                When Little Sister and I were, well, little, we had zero money but a lot of luck. There was a couple from MD/DE area with their grown children's USPC pony - they moved in nearby. The mom was a horsewoman, kids had finished out their ratings pretty high, very knowledgeable folks. What started as us asking if we could pet the pony and bring it apples & carrots turned into an arrangement of "lessons" every so often. These folks had a little land and a lot to share and were very generous. We never showed, never had things on a regular basis but for a foundation in horsemanship and safe basic riding skills...well, it couldn't be beat. We later went on to lessons at other venues but my point in bringing it up is that maybe there is some sort of similar situation available to Lucy for the time being? It might be a good interim plan to get her some solid skills (if nothing else, on the ground), give her a horse fix in a safe situation, Mom a chance to breathe while the child is learning in a safe place...

                                I think there are lots of outta the box solutions - they're just sort of tricky to find if you can find them at all. A lot of horse owners aren't open to this sort of thing b/c of the liability/being burned/time constraints, etc.

                                Laughing over the "hearsay" comment. If you've done this long enough, you know there's usually something to the hearsay...Lord knows the actual facts about naughtiness in the horse world are enough to give us all pause on occasion. Good luck to your friend and Lucy.

                                Comment


                                • #76
                                  Originally posted by DMK View Post
                                  The phrase "Big Show Barn" and regularly uses ace does not compute in my world. Either we have a different definition of a big show barn or the USEF uses a different drug test in your part of the world.

                                  But to clarify, in my world a "Big Show Barn" is a barn that regularly competes at the recognized level and would find it challenging to regularly use ace and not find their names splashed all over our favorite link on the USEF website.

                                  But it does sound like a) you were talking about a barn instead of all the barns, and b) the information was "confirmed" by the trainer with the unsafe horses/lesson program, so that strikes me as perhaps not the most complete sourcing. I still think your friend's best bet is to go out and watch several lesson programs, talk to people and educate herself on what to look for.
                                  I agree OP, it sounds like your friend was referencing *one* barn.

                                  And it is not the norm for "big show barns" to drug their lesson horses. Bute, yes... Ace, no.

                                  It is also not the norm to see kids flying over jump willy nilly and an instructor in flip flops on her phone.

                                  There are all kinds of lesson programs and none is like the other. There are also all kinds of instructors who come from a variety of backgrounds. You have to look around to find the program that works for you and your kid.

                                  I teach beginner lessons at an H/J barn that has a healthy and competitive A circuit program. I'm not the most gifted rider and I come from a mixed background of dressage, AQHA, and hunters, but I have a penchant for teaching beginners and was taught to do so by BHS certified trainers. The emphasis is on safety first, always. Kids stay on a longe line, on very suitable ponies, until they have mastered the basics. For a kid who rides every other week, they may be on a longe for a loooonnnggg time. The benefit being that when they DO come off, they have good position and a decent seat. Kids wear helmets the entire time they are in the barn or on a horse. They are also never unsupervised or left to deal with a horse on their own, unless they have demonstrated they are entirely capable to do so.

                                  Are all programs in the area like ours? No. But I can think of 2 or 3 that are comparable... not all necessarily H/J barns.

                                  Which leads me to another point, have your friend consider Eventing barns which may have more of a pony club/BHS flavor, if the H/J programs in your are are not of the best quality.
                                  We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.

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                                  • #77
                                    Another alternative would be to stop lessons for right now and find a really good summer camp to send her to. I know she's young (and some little kids aren't ready for camp) but if she could get 2, 4 or 6 weeks at a really good camp, that focused on horsemanship and daily or 2x daily lessons she would have a strong base for where ever she starts up again then.

                                    Comment


                                    • #78
                                      Originally posted by freshman View Post
                                      Edited to add: There are also probably plenty of "little" lesson barns in your area that you or the mom aren't aware of that offer excellent quality instruction programs that would do great by this kid at this stage. They might be small, private, or/or don't have commercial show presence, but that's not the point right now, anyway, right?
                                      That is my preference for lessons, for both myself and my young son. There are a couple of big "lesson barns" near us, with a string of school horses, rigidly scheduled group lessons and multiple instructors. That's just not my thing, I like a more personal situation. I've found several small, private barns that do not advertise lessons per se. They are primarily boarding/training/show barns, but the BOs and/or trainers do have a handful of personal horses that they can teach lessons on, a couple have a single pony suitable for beginners. I've had a couple of good situations...where I can part lease and lesson on a decent quality, privately owned horse, and my son can have lessons on the BO's pony. It means private lessons, which are more expensive than the big groups, but I think the "bang for the buck" is much higher. I'd rather pay $60 for a lesson where my son has the instructor's SOLE attention and can work at his own speed than $45 for a lesson where he's one of 4-5 or more kids and the instructor has to teach at the mid-point, which might not work best for him.

                                      If the horses/ponies used for lessons in a tiny program aren't really "school horses", they are generally ridden by a variety of riders. If pony is only doing a couple of beginner lessons a week and is otherwise beng ridden by stronger riders and even the trainer, the pony is much less likely to acquire really bad habits and attitudes.

                                      I found situations by calling around. I Googled and found every hunter/jumper barn within a reasonable driving distance and just started calling/emailing, telling them what I was looking for (part lease horse for me, lessons for the kid). Several barns that certainly did not advertise lessons offered them when asked.

                                      The other plus is that it's more flexible than a "lesson barn", I can arrange for lessons at a mutually convenient time and not based on the big group lesson schedule and rescheduling is much easier and doesn't incur a penalty like the big barns do.
                                      Last edited by Canaqua; Mar. 7, 2013, 10:35 AM.

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                                      • #79
                                        Originally posted by showidaho View Post
                                        Are there any local Texas COTH residents that can recommend a legitimate, safe, effective program in that area?
                                        Yes, but it's a big area. I drove 1.5 hr round trip for 7 years to ride at one barn, but I know not everyone is willing to do that. With a more specific location I might be able to recommend something.

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                                        • #80
                                          Originally posted by The Crone of Cottonmouth County View Post
                                          Well, when you're new to a discipline, and you don't have any firsthand experience with the trainers, and you don't have any trusted friends in those circles, hearsay is pretty much all you do have. It might not be right or fair, but it's almost impossible to make an educated decision about professionals if you're a novice in the sport. In my experience, you have to weed through a bunch of duds and con artists before you finally luck into a good situation, and it gets really discouraging.

                                          Is it just me, or does the horse business in general seem pretty rife with abuse and deceit?
                                          I read your posts and you write as you are not a novice or new to the sport. Then you ask if horse business in general seems pretty rife with abuse and deceit as you now go on to explain being new you must assume.

                                          Example: If you were a trainer, a good one, and jealous people spread rumor you drugged your horses so "their" riders wouldn't go to you happens so I would take that in to consideration. Don't believe everything you hear.

                                          Of course there is nonsense at every level and every sport but why be a part of those rumors is my response. And if you want Lucy to be a part of a good, safe barn, there is no room for gossip and rumor.
                                          If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.

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