Ugh--Should I just drop my trainer completely? What would YOU do?
2011-02-10 18:54:51 UTC
My "trainer" (not to be mistaken with my instructor) hasn't been out in over a month.

She won't answer my texts or IM's on Facebook. Sometimes she will say "Yeah I'll be out tomorrow" and never show. Drives me nuts.

I've stopped tying his head down because all its taught him is to drop his head and get on his forehand more. He was actually learning something but he's not encouraged to move by the lead rope anymore, and he flips out when I bring a whip around him.

When I asked him collect he always goes into a trot now for the slowest gait. Ugh. He's just... going back in training. I honestly think I was doing better with him by myself.

I thought "Well some type of help is better than nothing" but obviously not so! He is pretty good for HER, but she doesn't exactly explain what or HOW she does it.

She also does these little "face checks" where she pops his mouth which kind of bugs me. For a week every time I would put pressure on the bit he'd throw his head. He hasn't done it in a while now, though.

It will be a while until I can take Tango to the barn... should I just continue to work with her? Yes, we HAVE learned a lot, but then again we've went back on the things, too.

What would you do?
Seventeen answers:
2011-02-11 04:59:47 UTC
One step forward and two steps backwards ;-)

I think most people have experienced a trainer that either did not know what they were doing, or was so far up themselves, that they did not care about their clients.

It is a shame and it is disappointing... but it is also just a sign to move on.

People are in our lives for a reason, a season or a life time. When their job is done they move on from your life.

Your able to work with him at home alone, you have learned many new skills over the past year. I would continue to do what you are now. Have a lesson on Maggie (or who ever) and then go home and practice the lesson on Tango.

Pick your instructors brains as much as you can and discuss options to work on with Tango. If you go home and try X and it does not work, next time at work say to her... well I did X and then Y, S and W happened???

Where did I go wrong and how would YOU fix that........... OK...... Now how should "I" fix that... LOL

It is always nice to hear what the professional thinks and then adapt things to your level and Tangos ability.

If you take a step back and look at your training notes, you will see he was going really well (reaching from behind and working kindly for a month). Then she began tying down his head and it "worked" for a while, but has now created other problems.

It is an unfortunate fact that each time we prop something up, that it creates another possible flaw.

I remember clearly several years ago that a top qualified instructor (teaching other instructors) and trainer told me to use a 3 ring elevator on Zig (from an eggbutt snaffle). I told her I did not think it was a good idea and she told me "SHE" was the professional.

He hated it, then subsequently worked hollow and short. My hands are fine, my horse just hated that bit. I used it in a lesson with her and the minute I got home I took it off the bridle. Next lesson I returned her bit and told her he did not need it, he needed more leg!! So my short legs had to get more oomph... ;-)

Check your notes and see what you were doing with him when he was going well. Chances are it was simple and basic stuff, which is usually what works!

Don't over think each session, keep it simple and put lots of positive energy into your work with him. He needs a leader with a strong mind and you need to be consistent with him.

The bonus you have is, that you know where your going wrong. Work backwards, think of the end result you would like and then work out what steps are needed to achieve it.

To answer your question - I would leave it alone. No point in burning bridges. Don't chase her and keep trying to make contact. Currently she is telling you (by ignoring) that she is either, not interested or simply does not have time to be out regularly.

The reason why I say not to burn bridges is because you never know when you might need help in an emergency. Unless the person is really detrimental, simply leave her as a mentor that to associate with occasionally.

Good luck ;-)
2011-02-10 21:34:02 UTC
I would definitely stop working with her, however it sounds like she's already dropped you so it may not be an issue for you at all. You already state that you have disagreements with her that are more than just little "her way" type things but are fundamental differences and that Tango isn't better for you, but worse now- it should be the opposite. She hasn't given you any tools so that he doesn't regress. It would be better to work with your instructor with him and do the work yourself. There are also some red flags, with him freaking out about the whip and not being encouraged by the lead rope, that suggest she is overly aggressive with your horse. In the end, it's your decision but if you have to ask this question then the answer is almost always no, don't use her, and find someone else.
2011-02-11 09:59:09 UTC
Drop her, definitely. A good business person takes care of their clients- listens to them, explains what they're doing and why, and will listen and answer your questions honestly and respectfully.

I had a similar problem a couple years ago. My mare had been acting up and I got a trainer to help me, but she didn't listen to what my goals were and she didn't explain what she was doing. And when I'd scheduled a time for her to come to my barn (where I board), I asked her to tell me when she'd be there so I could watch, and she didn't. I found out afterward (when I got her bill!) she'd been riding my horse every day for a week, but not telling me! So there I was that week, going out later on in the day and riding my horse, confusing my poor horse no end no doubt because she didn't know what to expect anymore or what cues meant what response. My horse bucks when she's confused -also when she's being stubborn- which is what I wanted help with in the first place. She just ended up bucking more because of that trainer.

Also, she was apparently training my horse to be a western pleasure horse, which is not even remotely what I want to do, but not even in a good way, just by forcing her head down constantly. My horse already had a bit of a problem with being too much on her forehand (she's young and was just starting to learn not to), and then this "trainer" goes and screws with everything she'd learned before. My horse doesn't do well with endless repetition- if she gets something, best to stop right there or she gets pissed off and bored and pretends she no longer knows what you're asking. And all this trainer did was ride her in tiny circles with her head cranked down, sawing on my poor horse's mouth to make her drop her head, over and over and over.

So, my advice, drop this trainer now.
2011-02-11 08:01:00 UTC
Drop her.

Apart from having a very bad business practise and lack of respect for clients, she's not going to be of any use to you if she isn't turning up consistently and by the sounds of it she's not a particularly good trainer either.

Stick with the qualified instructor that you already have, you don't need another on top of that and likely what they are teaching will only clash and confuse you as a result. You can take what you learn on lessons home to practise until you're able to bring Tango to lessons, don't be afraid to ask your instructor for tips and ideas of what to do at home, that is after all what they're there for.
2011-02-10 19:04:50 UTC
She's not commited to you, obviously. Doesnt care if she cant answer your messages. And mate, if someone 'popped' my horse on the mouth, for any reason, I would bloody flatten them! Thats just abuse.

If you have an instructor, you shouldnt need a trainer as well. Your instructor should work with you on your horse, so your riding is being improved while you and your horse work together. It makes no sense to have a trainer work your horse while you work on your riding on another one. Do it all with Tango, with ONE person who wants to see you two working as a team. Thats how it should be.
2011-02-10 19:05:49 UTC
A true trainer would be dedicated to you and the horse.

She obviously isn't helping you at all.

In my opinion, I would drop her because she doesn't seem to help or care.

Go with your gut though, you can always find a trainer who actually care that can replace her.

She's playing these childish games, when you really need her help!

That sounds more like a child than a trainer.

Hope I helped!

Good luck! (:
2011-02-10 19:43:03 UTC
Do not tie his head down anymore. It sounds like he's learned that he can evade the pressure by slowing way down, and he's probably lost all momentum from behind (which, if I remember correctly, is one of the things he had going for him in the beginning). Vally did the exact same thing. A trainer--who didn't deserve the title, and I was too young and naive to know any better--stuck a big bit (corrective kimberwicke) on him and basically told me to seesaw his head down and hold it there. There was absolutely no instruction on how to push him forward with my seat, ride him from behind, etc. As long as his head was down, she was happy. So my typically energetic, rhythmic, beautiful moving Arabian (whose only real problem initially was a high head) turned into this slow, pokey, on-the-forehand horse with his nose tucked to his chest. We finally got help from a good dressage trainer and turned it around.

As a dressage turned WP rider, I realize that WP horses are stereotyped as having their heads forced down and made to go slow--but most people don't realize that there's a difference between a horse that's built to move with his head lower and who is still trained to move from behind, with hind end propulsion, and into the bridle--regardless of where his head is, and a horse who is simply forced to carry his head low no matter what. Tango is not built to have his head on the ground. He needs to learn to give to the bit, not avoid it backwards. When you ask him to come into the bridle, use steady pressure on the reins. If he thinks the bit hurts, he'll avoid it--either put his nose in the air or tuck it to his chest. Instead, teach him that it's a safe place.

I'd find another trainer...maybe one with some good dressage basics.
2011-02-10 19:11:05 UTC
I'm right there with you, I dropped my saddle seat trainer a couple months ago for doing the same thing. My horse went from always placing first to anywhere from third-sixth.

Now my horse is doing great again,

definitely drop the trainer, sorry /:
2011-02-10 19:04:41 UTC
Leave the trainer. In order for it to be productive environment, you need a trainer who is consistent. You arent going to progress with an off and on trainer. Find a new trainer.
Peanut Palomino
2011-02-10 19:03:00 UTC
I'd find a trainer who respects my time and treats me like she actually gives a damn about me and my horse.

Your trainer isn't treating you with respect. Even if she was, she doesn't sound like she's worth your money.

Look for someone better.

And when it comes to business, no IMing or texting. CALL, always call when it's a matter of business.
Ehawlz's Ghost
2011-02-10 18:59:03 UTC
Yes, drop her. She hasn't done either of you any good from what I have seen. She has been unable to address the simplest of things, and I think that it's time that you part ways.

Just keep trying to be able to get Tango to where you take lessons, I think that would be the best thing for you both.
2011-02-10 19:10:20 UTC
Drop her. Actually it sounds like she has already dropped you. Ask your instructor to work with him, or if she can recommend someone who is willing to come out to your house until you can get Tango to her.
Greg B
2011-02-11 11:18:15 UTC
Sounds to me like your trainer does not value your business. I'd recommend trying to fins a new one that does.
2011-02-10 19:08:00 UTC
She sounds like a really crappy trainer, if i were you i would definitely find a new trainer. One that's worth your time and money. one that will actually teach you something.
2011-02-10 19:00:29 UTC
Well, if shes doesn't show up when shes says she will, than i would definitely find a different trainer.
Ron Sr
2011-02-10 20:07:06 UTC
Sounds like your trainer has dropped you.
Leggo My Eggo
2011-02-10 18:58:26 UTC
She doesn't sound very dedicated to helping you. I would drop her. :/ Sorry!

EDIT: If she really cared she would talk to you... O.o

Tia Marie: check your email please! :D

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