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Tale of Two Coaches

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  • Tale of Two Coaches

    I'm pulling out the alter again for the privacy of the others involved in this situation.

    I've been riding with Coach A for quite some time. Coach A has been good to me and I have made a lot of progress. I want to continue riding with Coach A. I would consider Coach A a friend.

    The problem is Coach A does not teach my discipline of interest. I learn a ton from this coach and there is still more I could learn. Yet I want to do more competing in my discipline and Coach A is not the person to help get me there.

    There are three other local coaches who teach my discipline of interest. This is where I turn into Goldilocks: the first coach is too expensive, the second coach doesn't seem like a good fit for me, but the third coach is intriguing. I'll refer to this person as Coach B.

    Coach B is younger, but with a wealth of experience. Coach B seems to be up and coming and I can see benefit of forming a relationship now while I can afford it. I like what I see from Coach B and the students. Coach B's farm is convenient to mine. An added bonus is that Coach B rides with too expensive coach mentioned above, so it is like getting the best of both worlds.

    Here's the problem: Coach A and Coach B have a bad history. They used to train out of the same facility and the owner kicked Coach A out and let Coach B stay. Coach A maintains it was Coach B's fault. Coach A had to struggle to rebuild the business while Coach B continued to thrive.

    I wasn't present for any of this. It was before my time knowing either of them. I know there are two sides to every story, though.

    I want to try a lesson with Coach B. I know if Coach A hears about it, it will damage or even permanently ruin our relationship. I think that is ridiculous and that Coach A should act like an adult, but I also value our friendship.

    What would you do?


  • #2
    You need to do what’s best for you, your dreams and your goals. If Coach A, who does not teach your desired discipline, has an issue with you taking a lesson from coach B, who does teach your desired discipline? Coach A is not your friend.

    The fact you think it might be a problem tells me that in your heart, you know it likely won’t go well. It’s a business and there is a difference between being friendly and being a real friend. If coach A objects, she is not and never was much of a real friend.

    But don’t sneak around, be honest and tell coach A you are thinking of taking a lesson with B so you can work in your desired discipline. Don’t ask her permission but just give her a heads up it’s not personal but something she cannot help you with while coach B can. Her reaction will answer your questions.

    She might be fine with it and keep it professional, you might get lucky. If she starts bad mouthing coach B and/or asking how you could ‘betray her like this after all she’s done for you”? It will confirm your feelings she’s not your friend and you have outgrown her as a coach. Which happens to us all at some point, we need more from a trainer then they can give us.

    Far as their previous dispute, coach A should never even have discussed it with you, it’s unprofessional to air disputes with other professionals with clients. Karma and all that. If their spat was anything like most of these things, they both contributed to the situation. Shouldn’t effect you or any other client of A or B at all.
    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

    Comment


    • #3
      You want Coach A to act like an adult but you value the friendship.

      1. Girl, you need to demand more of the Adult People you will have as friends!

      Just sayin'.

      B. I think you need to have a conversation with Coach A about it before you sign up for a lesson with Coach B. As a client, you get to do this. You just do. Coach A can be OK with it, give you her blessing, or suck it. All of that will be on her side of the street, not yours. Same for continuing to be friends. You be friendly (and by being up front with her, you are); let her decide whether or not she wants to continue to be friendly. And look, she gets to decide whether or not to keep you as a client and a friend. That's within her rights.

      But if you explain what you have here-- there's still you can learn from her and her discipline, so you'd like to keep riding with her, but that you also need expert help in the other discipline-- she should be able to see that there's not real conflict here.

      Good luck! I hope you get everything you want. I don't think you are asking too much from anyone. The only way that's true is if what the pair of coaches and their disciplines are asking if your horse. If you have to "change the rules" for your horse every other day, I think that can be hard.
      The armchair saddler
      Politically Pro-Cat

      Comment


      • #4
        I know I can be the bull in the china shop at times, but you can't go through life worrying all the time about hurting people's feelings at the expense of your own goals and dreams.

        So yes, by all means, tell Coach A about your desire to use Coach B and WHY. Keep it as emotion-free as you can. Explain how much you value Coach A and what they've done for you, and what that's meant to you. After all that if Coach A has a melt down or dumps you, it's their loss. However, I'd like to think that Coach A will understand, be an adult about it and things will move forward.

        Good luck!
        ~~ How do you catch a loose horse? Make a noise like a carrot! - British Cavalry joke ~~

        Comment


        • #5
          Coach A needs to understand that nobody owns a student or a friend.

          If you want to progress, you must thicken your hide, paste a smile on your face, and deal with it.
          Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

          Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.

          Comment


          • #6
            Do you board at Coach A's barn? If so, I hope you have a back up plan if things go wrong. Also, would you want to be with Coach B permanently? Because I bet Coach A will say bye-bye when you say you want to lesson with Coach B.
            You can't fix stupid-Ron White

            Comment


            • #7
              BTDT.

              Yes, you need to be upfront with Coach A. This person is your friend? Yeah. Sit them down. Thank them for all they have done and continue to do, tell them you are grateful. Then tell them you would like to try a few lessons with Coach B, because they ride in the discipline you want to do. Tell Coach A you absolutely want to continue lessons. If those lessons are going to decrease in number or frequency, though, be upfront about that, too. Remind Coach A that this is your choice, because it's your riding involved.

              Then, be prepared for the proverbial crap storm. Be prepared for Coach A to possibly kick you to the curb, or keep you and then moan and whine at every opportunity that you are a traitor and have betrayed her trust and you are undermining her program, etc.. (I really, really have BTDT!) If you get to keep both coaches, you'll also have to be on guard for Coach A to undermine Coach B's training at every turn ("They told you to do what? No. That's wrong. THIS is what you do instead. They have no idea what they're talking about.").

              And. If Coach A isn't okay with you trying one lesson with Coach B, what will you do?

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Originally posted by JanM View Post
                Do you board at Coach A's barn? If so, I hope you have a back up plan if things go wrong. Also, would you want to be with Coach B permanently? Because I bet Coach A will say bye-bye when you say you want to lesson with Coach B.
                No, I do not board with Coach A, but you highlight my greatest fear with this situation.

                I'm afraid I will be left with no coaches, because there is a very good chance Coach A will leave in anger. If Coach B isn't a good fit, then I have burned a bridge for no reason.

                I'm also concerned about the situation Alex and Bodie's Mom described, where Coach A initially accepts the idea, but becomes passive aggressive over time.

                Yes, I realize this means Coach A is a lousy friend. Coach A is also a good instructor in spite of being unprofessional in this situation with Coach B.

                If riding with Coach B isn't what I hope it to be, I may be worse off than I am now.

                The more I mull it over, the more I think I am better off leaving the Coach A/CoachB situation alone for now and trying one of the other local instructors. I have asked Coach A for recommendations in the past; Coach A's top choice is the too expensive instructor. I might try that, or I might keep exploring other options.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by PeacefulProtestALTER View Post

                  No, I do not board with Coach A, but you highlight my greatest fear with this situation.

                  I'm afraid I will be left with no coaches, because there is a very good chance Coach A will leave in anger. If Coach B isn't a good fit, then I have burned a bridge for no reason.

                  I'm also concerned about the situation Alex and Bodie's Mom described, where Coach A initially accepts the idea, but becomes passive aggressive over time.

                  Yes, I realize this means Coach A is a lousy friend. Coach A is also a good instructor in spite of being unprofessional in this situation with Coach B.

                  If riding with Coach B isn't what I hope it to be, I may be worse off than I am now.

                  The more I mull it over, the more I think I am better off leaving the Coach A/CoachB situation alone for now and trying one of the other local instructors. I have asked Coach A for recommendations in the past; Coach A's top choice is the too expensive instructor. I might try that, or I might keep exploring other options.
                  Can you mention to Coach A that you would like to use Coach A's top choice but that you aren't sure you can afford it and ask if A has any other recommendations? Could also mention that you had considered Coach B but were worried about what A would think. If A is actually a friend, I would be honest about what I was worried about, that I didn't want to upset A at all but wondered if B might be someone to try until you can afford A's recommendation, or something like that.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I would just be up front and mention that you are considering Coach B as a competition coach. I use two freelance coaches of different disciplines. I am very open about having two different coaches minimizing any awkwardness or competition. At the end of the day, I am a customer and I can chose where my money goes.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by PeacefulProtestALTER View Post

                      No, I do not board with Coach A, but you highlight my greatest fear with this situation.

                      I'm afraid I will be left with no coaches, because there is a very good chance Coach A will leave in anger. If Coach B isn't a good fit, then I have burned a bridge for no reason.

                      I'm also concerned about the situation Alex and Bodie's Mom described, where Coach A initially accepts the idea, but becomes passive aggressive over time.

                      Yes, I realize this means Coach A is a lousy friend. Coach A is also a good instructor in spite of being unprofessional in this situation with Coach B.

                      If riding with Coach B isn't what I hope it to be, I may be worse off than I am now.

                      The more I mull it over, the more I think I am better off leaving the Coach A/CoachB situation alone for now and trying one of the other local instructors. I have asked Coach A for recommendations in the past; Coach A's top choice is the too expensive instructor. I might try that, or I might keep exploring other options.
                      If you don’t board a horse with any trainer and just take a couple of lessons a week? There is a whole lot less drama as you do not represent a large loss of income for one trainer or a significant rise for the other. Some get surprised how little they are missed when they drop out of a lesson program where they don’t own or lease a horse.

                      You should try other trainers for your lessons, the more you try, the better, more informed choice you can make about where to train, And it’s easy to try many others when you don’t come with a horse. There is a positive side to not being the big client in a barn.
                      When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                      The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I feel like we may be talking about the same people. I went with Coach B and don't regret the decision at all!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          If coach A is your advocate (as a coach should be), he/she will promote you taking lessons from somebody who teaches your discipline.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Do a trial lesson with Coach C (the too-expensive one) and if you and s/he get along maybe ask about affordable lessons or something-for-something, working student.

                            You said Coach B is "intriguing". Does that mean she is a good fit for you? Does she feel you are good fit for her?

                            Either way, also ask if C or B has a stall available for you and at what price in case Coach A kicks you out the way BO kicked her out. (And I would be inclined to give her the benefit of the doubt on that business.)
                            Rack on!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              What would your horse say?

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                OP has shared she does not board a horse with A and presumably would not board one with B. That makes things much easier.
                                When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                                The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  There are a lot of good ideas mentioned here. Just remember: it’s your horse and your money. Someone another board said this sport is too expensive for it not to be fun. So true! Give it some thought and trust your gut. I feel like it’s unreasonable for trainers to think someone will stay with them for life or decades! FWIW, about two years into a new trainer, I always get a yearning for a clinic - a different perspective from smart. We only go around once in this life. Walking on eggshells worrying about egos helps no one.

                                  Comment

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