Saturday, February 11, 2012

Why do We Choose Certain Trainers?

At my barn, we have three trainers. The first is pure western/huntseat pleasure. The second gives lessons in jumping and low level dressage. The third trainer (mine), is a Grand Prix level dressage trainer.

Recently, a new boarder was out riding while I tacked up. While shooting the breeze, I asked her what disciplines she rides. She mentioned that she wants to learn dressage. Immediately, my ears perked up and that little thrum of excitement whirrled in my head. Yay! Another convert to the dark side! (You have to be a masochist to enjoy the challenges of dressage.)

So while I'm mentally preparing my speech for why she needs to set up a lesson with my trainer, the girl states that she's going to take lessons from the jumper/dressage lady (trainer number 2).  I was a bit confused about her choice and, in shock, I dropped the ball on the conversation. But the situation nagged at me.... And set off an internal debate about the moral/ethical implications of bullying a person to make a different choice from the one they've made.  ;)

What makes people choose the trainers they choose? When you have a choice of several different trainers in your area, what drove you to attach your success to a specific person?

I'm not implying that trainers One and Two aren't good trainers. From what I've seen, trainer One is knocking it out of the park at shows, and her students do well too. Trainer 2 is a great person, and she seems to know her stuff about jumping (horse's are calm, rider has good control, etc.). But if you want to learn dressage, and the option to take dressage lessons from a GP dressage trainer is there, why would you choose to take lessons from the HJ person?

Partly, I'm a bit demoralized due to the fact that she never even asked me who I train with. Obviously the other rider who trains with the HJ is the person she wishes to emulate. She's seen both of us ride on several occasions..... I feel like the fat kid who wasn't picked for the basketball team. :(  I wasn't chosen. *sob*

I'll live. Just wait til show season. *evil grin*

So why did you choose the trainer you chose, and are they still the right fit for you?


  1. I lOVE this topic! A dear friend and I are having having this very same conversation. There is one NAME BRAND trainer here in town. She's quite expensive, has a limited schedule, and works more on the horse than the rider. After two lessons, I decided I wasn't right for her.

    I started riding with my current trainer, a very knowledgeable jumper trainer who can also do low level dressage. She believe in BASICS for everyone so it is a perfect fit for me right now. A new trainer has moved into the area, but riding with her requires at least a 45 minute trailer ride. I am considering taking occasional lesson from her just so we can work on specific dressage things.

    Here's the interesting thing ... a rider new to our area asked who "we" (meaning my friends and I) ride with. When we told her about JL, she promptly went with another friend for lessons to LA, more than an hour and a half away. The trainer there was very young, early 20s, with little to show as far as accomplishments, and quite pricey. A month or so later, the rider decided to "try" our trainer and had a great time.

    So, you're right. What do people think as they choose their trainer? Take this gal's choice with a grain of salt. It bears no reflection on your skills, or your trainer's. The woman has an agenda different from yours and one that only she can see. Look at it this way - less to interfere with your scheduling!


  2. Thanks, Karen. I like the fact that you tried other trainers. I think people should, at the very least, watch a few lessons before making a decision. IMO, choosing a trainer is a HUGE decision. Putting in the effort to learn the different instructors styles, time limitations, and beliefs (about training) can really decrease the time spent with the "wrong" trainer.

    From what you've said about your trainer, JL sounds fantastic. And no one could ever say you aren't on the right track.. not with the overwhelming positive feedback you've gotten from judges this past year. Also... the numerous ribbons and the year end award you earned on a non-traditional dressage horse show you've got solid training in the basics. You've definitely found a good trainer! I wish everyone would make as informed a decision as you have.

  3. I do like her and know that we are heading in the right direction. Our scores are improving, but my expectations are also riding so I don't always appreciate the improvement. :0)