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Why Do People Feel the Need to Teach From the Sidelines

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  • Why Do People Feel the Need to Teach From the Sidelines

    In this case it was during the clinic the barn hosted with a VERY Big Name, well respected clinician. He is a regular influence there and generally sets the tone for how riding and lessons are conducted for months afterwards. And he's a lot of fun and we all just love him to death.

    The primary culprit is a person, generally pleasant despite this disgusting habit. She used to trailer in for lessons with our regular trainer, and for a while her lesson time was immediately before mine. Occasionally, we would have our lessons together. So at minimum I would be warming up as she was cooling down. As long as she was in the ring with me, she seemed to feel a need to constantly be instructing/commenting/directing me as I was riding my horse. If Mrs. Trainer went to take a break, leaving me to my own devices, the Meddling Woman would actually try to begin a lesson of her own. My response depended on the circumstances at each time--either I would humor her, ignore her, or suddenly remember something really important that required my immediate attention, whatever.

    So after a long hiatus, Meddling Woman showed up on day two of the clinic to audit. At first everything was OK, but then, as I went over a jump near the "audience" side of the ring, I heard this, "now keep your eyes up and your shoulders back", which I was ALREADY DOING FOR LORD'S SAKE. I said "yuck" and kept on trying to follow the instructions of Mr. Big Name Clinician. Then the clucking started.

    Yes, people at shows will cluck at a horse who appears like he might not make it over a jump. And my horse has a well known tendency towards pokeyness, although he never actually stops in front of a jump if he can help it. And this was one of the things I was gladly paying Mr. Big Name Clinician lots and lots of money to help me get sorted out. I wouldn't pay Meddling Woman 50 cents. But every time we approached a jump, the clucking started. Whether or not we were going OK or not. No matter what, whenever we approached a jump, Meddling Woman and whoever else was around her would start clucking. And ony when it was me, not any of the other riders. And very loudly and obviously.

    When Meddling Woman saw me after I was done riding, she actually made a little joke/brag about how all that clucking "got him over the fences." Of course the possibility that maybe my riding with some assistance from Mr. Big Name Clinician might have had something to do with it was very conspicuously not mentioned.

    Meddling Woman was back on day three, with a friend in tow. And sure enough, as I approached the first jump, the entire audience was going "cluckcluckcluckcluckcluckcluck" in maddening chorus. Again at EVERY SINGLE JUMP. For a horse, that despite slowing down on approach had absolutely no intention of actually stopping.

    Finally I got Mr. Big Name Clinician aside and asked if it would be too much to ask if something could be said about people "coaching" from the audience. Mr. Big Name Clinician said that behavior drove him crazy. Apparently a man had yelled out an "instruction" to me WHILE Mr. Big Name Clinician was telling me what to do and had I done what the man had said, it would have caused a very dangerous situation. Mr. Big Name Clinician also was able to put a stop to the clucking. A single clucker remained during the next round--bet I can't guess who that was, but apparently they got "shhhhhh-ed" because they eventually got quiet.

    Why, in God's name, do people think it's OK to interject themselves when someone else is teaching--especially a known high-caliber teacher. This is very disrespectful to everyone else involved, not just the trainer who is gracious enough to be there, but the student, and other auditors in the audience who may be straining to hear what the trainer has to say. In some instance, the distraction, or the misdirection from the peanut gallery could cause someone to have an accident. Rarely, if ever, are the instructions from the sidelines any where near posses the quality or relevance of what the trainer is providing, but I suppose this is totally lost on "sideline instructors." Unwanted, unrequested "teaching" is bad enough, but doing it during a lesson or clinic is really tacky and in poor taste. And reflects very badly on the "teacher".

    I've spoken to Meddling Woman in the past about her behavior, and I suppose I will have to again, not that it will do much good.

    Have others experienced similar situations when they were trying to learn from someone specific, where a person on the outside takes it on themselves to make sure you hear whatever it is that they think you need to hear? What, if anything did (or might you have) you do to address this thing. I'm interested in your stories and experiences with the know-it-alls who feel it is necessary to be interjecting themselves into the learining experience others may choose for themselves.
    Snap Dragon's mom.

  • #2
    Kudos to you for how politely you handled it......I knowing myself probably would not have been as nice. What a bitch

    Comment


    • #3
      You're kinder than I am (no surprise there, eh?)...a quick, "Shut UP!" should have sufficed. These pains in the butt depend on the politeness of others to prevent them being handed their head in a bag.
      "Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc"

      Comment


      • #4
        And if you happen to be sitting beside one of those meddling wenches, the very manners that prevent you from commiting murder and mayhem actually encourage the brats as silence almost implies approval.(!)

        But, then there's the matter of the audience actually joining in!? Just shows the herd mentality at work.

        Too bad Mr. BNT didn't take a page out of GM's handbook and embarrass the crap out of em.

        Comment


        • #5
          Well I train at home so it's not much of an issue for me. When I do trailer out for a lesson once a month or so, I ususally go early-early a.m. so there is normally no peanut gallery to speak of. At shows I am usually able to tune out just about everything that's going on outside the ring, and I've never been much of a clinic person (maybe for that reason!)

          BUT as a horse show parent at group lessons, shows and clinics I have indeed witnessed the phenomenon. Young Samantha had an instructor who had many qualities and one of them was being able to handle sideline coaches. One evening many years ago, I remember a parent was shouting intructions from the sidelines. The instructor invited her into the ring and left her stunned, standing in the middle of a group lesson and pretended to be going to get a coffee. When the mom objected, she told her, "Oh I thought you wanted to teach the lesson! I'm sorry!" Then when the offending mom slithered back to the sidelines, the instructor made an announcement:"I made this into a joke, but anyone who thinks that they're helping their child by coaching from the sidelines, YOU'RE NOT. They need to have their focus on me, and need to trust what I tell them without question. By trying to help them, you're HURTING them. Your kids are not at their best when they're worried about what you're thinking. So my advice is to hang back, don't say anything, or even better go out and get a cup of coffee and come back when we're cooling down. Then come and cheer at the schooling show." She said it with such a huge smile, that no one seemed to take offense. And when she was done she was done. No hard feelings were held.

          Samantha is a college team rider now so those group lessons are a thing of the past. But I still stop by that barn once in a while to see that instructor stop an unwitting sideline George Morris in their tracks!
          HorsePower! www.tcgequine.blogspot.com

          Comment


          • #6
            I would love to see this woman try that at a george Morris clinic.It would be worth the price of admission.
            I have had parents who do this ,and it is really annoying.Usually when i have reached my limit ,I will stare at them ,and ask them if they would like to teach the lesson.The kids don't need two instructors.

            Comment


            • #7
              heheehhe I gotta hate those kind of people but, when my daughter rode, although I never made a peep, I swear, I rode every jump with her, I crossed every obstacle, if only in my mind.

              Not clicking for her was the hardest thing in the world LOL but................I would never ever have interfered in her lesson or anyone elses. But I RODE for them hahahhahhahaa
              Our horses are not seen as the old and disabled they may have become, but rather as the mighty steeds they once believed themselves to be.

              Sunkissed Acres Rescue and Retirement

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by tcgelec View Post
                Well I train at home so it's not much of an issue for me. When I do trailer out for a lesson once a month or so, I ususally go early-early a.m. so there is normally no peanut gallery to speak of. At shows I am usually able to tune out just about everything that's going on outside the ring, and I've never been much of a clinic person (maybe for that reason!)

                BUT as a horse show parent at group lessons, shows and clinics I have indeed witnessed the phenomenon. Young Samantha had an instructor who had many qualities and one of them was being able to handle sideline coaches. One evening many years ago, I remember a parent was shouting intructions from the sidelines. The instructor invited her into the ring and left her stunned, standing in the middle of a group lesson and pretended to be going to get a coffee. When the mom objected, she told her, "Oh I thought you wanted to teach the lesson! I'm sorry!" Then when the offending mom slithered back to the sidelines, the instructor made an announcement:"I made this into a joke, but anyone who thinks that they're helping their child by coaching from the sidelines, YOU'RE NOT. They need to have their focus on me, and need to trust what I tell them without question. By trying to help them, you're HURTING them. Your kids are not at their best when they're worried about what you're thinking. So my advice is to hang back, don't say anything, or even better go out and get a cup of coffee and come back when we're cooling down. Then come and cheer at the schooling show." She said it with such a huge smile, that no one seemed to take offense. And when she was done she was done. No hard feelings were held.

                Samantha is a college team rider now so those group lessons are a thing of the past. But I still stop by that barn once in a while to see that instructor stop an unwitting sideline George Morris in their tracks!

                It is just because of these stories that I put the following clause in my Lesson Agreement:
                Parents/guardians are more than welcome to watch the lesson. However, viewers are expected to remain silent. Failure to abide by this rule will result in only one courtesy warning by the Instructor. Repeated violation will result in the viewer being restricted to a lawn chair in the tack room, with a book/magazine and the radio.
                To the OP: Kudos for keeping your cool and not going off on that RUDE woman. The others around her were just as guilty
                <>< 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.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I applaud the fact that the OP said something to the clinician. I would have handled it myself and while I would have tried to be professional and polite I probably would have failed

                  I have no tolerance for this sort of behavior. Frankly if someone who is not my trainer felt the need to constantly "instruct" me, I would nail them so hard they would need surgery to rearrange their body parts correctly. But then again, I'm a trainer too, so I never get this treatment.

                  People need to speak up and stand up for themselves. Riding is supposed to be fun and enjoyable and you should have no tolerance for those who take that away. Period. Who cares if you come across as a *itch. It's your horse, your time, your money. End of story.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I used to kick parents away from the lessons for the kids benefits. Who can relax with a parent twitching away and giving comments from the side. If the parent insisted, their kid didn't ride...I wasn't going to mess up other riders lessons due to a twit on the sideline.

                    The fathers were the worst, they didn't have a clue and didn't know they were clueless...plus they always bitched "why isn't she jumping? Real riders can jump!"
                    "Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc"

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      This kind of thing happens alot in reining. One particular trainer in our area will call out the whole pattern to her students. While this is allowed it is frustrating for those of us who actually take the time to learn the pattern and don't get any help. Knowing the pattern is a big part of reining. There is also alot of unsolicited coaching from that sidelines in reining. I usually just ignore them unless it is my trainer who ironically rarely says anything!
                      RIP Sucha Smooth Whiskey
                      May 17,2004 - March 29, 2010
                      RIP San Lena Peppy
                      May 3, 1991 - March 11, 2010

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Scootie View Post
                        And sure enough, as I approached the first jump, the entire audience was going "cluckcluckcluckcluckcluckcluck" in maddening chorus.
                        Just had to say I loved this line. I felt for you, but the image of a group of people all clucking like demented hens... I once had a bossy fellow student in a group lesson, and though I'm not normally a direct or aggressive person, I was 1 'helpful' comment from popping her with the crop by the end of that particular lesson. An occasional "pssst, your diagonal" is one thing, but constant comments is disorienting and, as you mentioned, a little hazardous because you end up listening to two sets of instructions.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          OP, you handled the situation much better than I would have.

                          And slightly off topic: I dont think clucking from the sidelines should be allowed at ANY time, including shows. If the rider needs help from the crowd to get over a jump, then they deserve to have a refusal or have it down. Plus, its got to be distacting for the horse to have half a dozen people trying to "ride" him from the ground. Its totally inappropriate to cluck at a horse during a class.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Because it's just too easy to ride your horse for you from the sidelines.

                            $10 says meddling woman couldn't do anything with your horse. But 'helping' and 'coaching' probably just makes her feel like she is being useful. You lasted a lot longer than I would have - I'd have meandered that way while BNT was teaching the others and kindly told her to STFU!
                            Originally posted by barka.lounger
                            u get big old crop and bust that nags ass the next time it even slow down.

                            we see u in gp ring in no time.

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Eventer13, my sentiments exactly. I confess I'm a relative newbie to the horse show world, and I've never gotten the clucking before the jump routine. Sometimes I think the added distraction can actually make the situation worse, to the point of being a potential safety hazard. Whether it gives the rider an unfair advantage or an unfair disadvantage is immaterial--it is simply unfair period.

                              Thanks to all of you for the moral support. I'm not going to address everyone right now, although I would like to, since I have to leave for my lesson in a few minutes, but I will try to get back to it later.

                              What really cracked me up about the whole "clucking to get him over" thing, is that horse will get over the jump no matter what. That's one of his problems. I know how high the stinker can jump from a standstill and so does he. So he does not seem to have much motivation to move up to the jump, he will try to suck back, he sometimes stops and hops, but he virtually NEVER STOPS. That is one of the reasons I am paying people like my (very highly regarded) trainer and Mr. BNT gazillions of dollars so I can learn how to work in my own riding and my own horse to solve these kinds of problems. And why the Meddler does not get my time of day since she lacks the perception to realize what is going on in the first place.

                              And, no I'm not really all that nice. I have spoken with that woman before about her behavior and let her know I don't like it, and I will again. Unfortunately, I would get just as good results if I were simply to discuss it with my horse instead. Of course, while nice Mr. BNT did not exactly pull a GM, I do think someone felt embarassed, at least hopefully some of the [what to you call a cross between sheep and chickens--Sheepens? Cheeps?] did. The meddler just kind of slunk around after my last session and generally stayed away from me except to exchange a few basic pleasantries with her friend.

                              The picture of GM taking on the Meddler is quite delicious. I'd actually be willing to set up something like that, only GM would probably have eaten me from breakfast for my own riding by that point. Oh well, one can dream. I did think it was totally appropriate to bring this up with Mr. BNT because after all it was his show too that was getting chicken-razzed. It also made for an interesting conversation. I was totally shocked and amazed when he said he gets this all the time--what kind of people are there who think its OK to sit in on lessons of this caliber and butt in and interfere. Ewwwwwww, Grrrossssss!

                              Well, gotta go. I'll come back later. Thanks again everyone for the support, tea and sympathy and kind words. I'm off to the barn to work on my new horsie game plan with Mrs. Trainer, with no help at all from Mrs. Meddler. Poor poor Mrs. Meddler, she's gonna feel sooooo left out! BOOO! HOOO!
                              Snap Dragon's mom.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Both stunned and amused by these incidents.

                                I have attended clinics with BNTs and have my own weekly lessons where other students may hang out and watch (bi-weekly now - I can only afford two a month between the gas prices and inflation in general). NEVER have I heard anyone doing anything remotely like described above. People have chatted quietly among themselves, and I've seen (and even done myself) things like sort of rock in my chair, thinking or muttering more leg, more leg, push him..... but nothing loud enough for the student to hear (in fact, most of the time, silently to myself). Even the comments that I HAVE heard made aloud were mort often of a complimentary nature - like after someone followed the clinician's directions and did a transition, completed an exercise.... "Nice!" "pretty!" "beautiful transition" or the like. And of course, the quick gasps when someone makes a mistake at a fence, or gets a totally unasked for reponse from the horse... but actually clucking or instruction....Never. Guess I've led a "sheltered" life in the clinic world. ROFLOL

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Urgh, I feel your pain. A woman at my barn does this ALL THE TIME. Or she'll decide she HAS to talk to the instructor right at that moment and will shout across the ring to her and sound all annoyed, like the instructor has nothing better to do with her time. One of these days, I'm going to scream "SHE'S TEACHING RIGHT NOW" at her. Or she'll give the rider advice that is opposite what the instructor is saying.. like the time someone was cantering a circle over a pole, trying to get the horse to keep the lead.. annoying woman kept angrily hissing "put your hands on her neck", when she had NO CLUE what was going on. But then if you don't listen to her, she pouts about how no one likes her and no one respects her and blah blah blah.. well, people might like you more if you stopped bothering them!

                                  Bravo to you for not jumping off your horse and beating her with your crop. It's one of the most annoying things someone can do while you're riding. Really, I think you should not-so-nicely point out to her that if you WANTED her opinion, you would ask for it, so would she mind her own damn business?
                                  Against My Better Judgement: A blog about my new FLF OTTB
                                  Do not buy a Volkswagen. I did and I regret it.
                                  VW sucks.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I find coaching from the rail to be terribly distracting and irritationg -- OP, you are far more tolerant of this person than I would be -- The woman's joke/brag about helping with the cluck was an opportunity to ask her to cease trying to help -- Some people don't get subtle hints -- I'd tell her I was paying for the clinician's time, wanted to get the most out of my clinic experience, and am distracted by her coaching and clucking, so PLEASE be quiet unless she would like to reimburse me for the cost of the clinic --
                                    "I never mind if an adult uses safety stirrups." GM

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I think it's cool how you talked to the clinician and let him handle it AND that he was willing to! Personally, as a more novice rider O/F and to lessons in general, I find it all very distracting and difficult enough to listen to the person I'm PAYING let alone discern from a chorus which one is hers/his whilst still maintaining some semblance of actual riding ability.

                                      While I've not had to deal so much with chatter from the sidelines, I have a very difficult time when I'm in a "private" lesson, yet there are 4-5 other people in the arena and coach starts coaching them when I THOUGHT coach was watching me go through whatever exercise. Occasionally I pick up on some crazy suggestion that I think can't possibly apply to me and I actually pull up to ask, "Are you talking to ME?"

                                      It kills me.

                                      But anyway...well done! (and lovely writing style. That was fun to read)
                                      A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                                      Might be a reason, never an excuse...

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I'm afraid I would have "saluted" her with my coveted rude finger crop and invited her to shut. [edit]. up.
                                        Last edited by Moderator 1; Oct. 15, 2008, 10:28 PM. Reason: language

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