What makes a good trainer?

Ambers Echo

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Wow so if you don't like lessons then the reason is either because you are having a cr*p trainer or you are 'in it for the glory' - what a condescending viewpoint?!!

If I wasn't enjoying my lessons it was because I could see nothing productive about going around in ever decreasing circles in walk. I was told this was because my horse wasn't moving correctly and I needed to improve on the walk work before I could 'go up a gear'. As a matter of fact this was inaccurate. The horse (and probably rider) couldn't really see the point of the never ending walking so probably switched off, but at a competition as soon as the bell went and my horse started the approach up the centre line she enjoyed herself and she 'came alive' for want of a better phrase. So did I.....
I suspect this s what JFTD-WS may have meant by the wrong lessons? If you have a quality horse who can produce lovely work then you should be able to get that quality in lessons and enjoy seeing your horse develop and flourish.. If you and horse are switching off I doubt your RI was a good fit for you.
 

Ambers Echo

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I can't imagine not enjoying that sort of training - where you really improve and everything comes together with your horse, and you feel a new movement / more power / softness / quality / jump a tricky line / course / height for the first time. That's really exciting, even if you're not in competition.
I have had some (many) rubbish lessons but training like this is a totally different thing. I love competing most of all but achieving something new or overcoming a difficulty comes a close second for me.
 
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I suspect this s what JFTD-WS may have meant by the wrong lessons? If you have a quality horse who can produce lovely work then you should be able to get that quality in lessons and enjoy seeing your horse develop and flourish.. If you and horse are switching off I doubt your RI was a good fit for you.
Thank you for explaining AE.

Shame JFTD-WS couldn't have put it in a less provocative way. Or maybe that was the idea.
 

ycbm

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They must discuss with me what we are doing and why, not just issue orders. I need precise instructions and timing as in 'put your right leg an inch further back right now ' not 'use your inside leg more on a circle'. I like at least a pretence of liking my horse (only went once to a trainer who couldn't find one nice comment to say about two lovely GP bred warmbloods and used a one way earpiece to bark instructions at me). Every lesson must be different, not just one lesson repeated each time (my record was seven before I cottoned on that the trainer only had one lesson plan!).

I have two great trainers. One has all the exercises ever invented in her head and is very skilled at running a fun group lesson. I go to her with the ex racer who isn't expected to set the world on fire. I enjoy the outing with a group of friends and pick up some good tips for training at home.

The other is a GP rider who began his career in a horse dealing family and has ridden every kind of horse. He has an amazing eye, timing, and clarity of communication about what he wants me to do. I go to him with my four year old who I've been told has huge potential for a dressage career, because I need one on one attention if I'm to do him justice.


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Sussexbythesea

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I’ve just started having lessons again after 5 years! I couldn’t believe it was so long. After my old boy had an annular ligament op at 19 I decided that I didn’t want to risk further injury and neither of us enjoyed schooling, him because he found it difficult, me because he was so naughty and hard work to keep his attention and as a result I began to loathe it.

Last year I bought a new horse but it’s taken me nearly a year to get around to lessons. Partly because going in the school had become miserable with my old boy and I hated the thought of it but also because I just couldn’t decide who I wanted. For me they have to help me to help my horse physically and mentally. I don’t want someone who doesn’t want to take the the time for both of us to develop ourselves so that we are strong enough for whatever we are doing. No drilling or forcing. Luckily I found that person already teaching another person at my yard and am starting to really enjoy my lessons again. I’ve also realised that my old boy was actually very difficult (much as I love him) and new boy is pretty good and genuinely tries to please and work out what it is you are asking of him.
 

AML

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For dressage I like an instructor that I can interact with easily. I like to chat, laugh and discuss within the lesson as I want my horse to be soft and relaxed and if I’m not how can I expect the horse to be so. As long as they are of the same or similar “school” and our temperaments are compatible I can make it work.

As for jumping.

I accidently had a lesson with an instructor that showed me a whole new world.

The new way of jumping I call it, although I realize that it isn’t, I just had never met anyone who could teach it. I’m not young anymore and I had to forget everything I thought I knew and just trust the instructor and their methods. Progress was made and a dream that I had shelved as impossible became a possibility, a long-term possibility, a maybe, a not totally ridiculous!

The Instructor is one of the very few people I have met that talk the talk and walk the walk. They have been there and done it riding wise and pay as much attention to their teaching skills.

My jumping is unrecognizable to what it was, but do I enjoy the lessons? Not always. On more than one occasion I've driven home blinking back the tears. Is it the instructors fault? I doubt it. I think there is a personality clash and we don’t read each other well. The instructor has admitted they don’t find me easy to teach and I’m frequently frustrated by the fact that here is a whole new world of information and knowledge that I’m failing to access.

Do I find dressage lessons easier because I have greater knowledge in that area and it is a subjective competition and anyone that knows me, knows what I think of most peoples opinions and do I struggle with the jumping lessons because of my lack of knowledge and because I do actually care about my instructors opinion?

Perhaps the instructors on here would like to start a thread on the people they have taught! You have my admiration for putting yourselves out there and dealing with the many characters that make up the horse world.
 

Bernster

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Ooh, interesting perspective daffy. You’re right ofc but overall it’s about having the right mix in terms of the trainer’s approach and style and the pupil’s one. I was always a bit of a teacher’s pet at school and I suspect I try to be the same in lessons even now !
 

milliepops

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I think threads discussing what makes a good trainer are quite common, but threads on what makes a good pupil are far less common, its a shame, because for lessons to work to their maximum potential it makes both trainer and pupil (and of course, horse!)
be interested to hear what you think makes a good pupil :)
Like Bernster I was a teachers pet at school and I really try to be a good riding student too :p I think I have a pretty good fit with my trainer but always good to hear the dos and don'ts from someone else.
I can think of the obvious - turn up on time, and pay on time etc. And put in the work in between lessons. I hope I'm not too difficult to teach. Lessons are what makes my world go round!
 

Alibear

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Over the years I've found I get along well with most instructors and I can have good lessons with instructors whose style varies drastically.
The best jumping instructor I've ever had who sounds not very different to AMLs , had a very different approach to dressage work than my horse and I had so we avoided flat lessons with them once that became obvious.
I can get on with shouty types and quiet types and those who constantly tell you what to do and those who give you advice then keep quiet and let you try and implement it.
Current instructor is un erringly positive and not shouty at all, which is a new experience but I'm getting used to it :)
Thinking aout it the only times I haven't gone back are either where their approach and mine are opposite ends of the spectrum and I felt my approach was working and I could progress staying on that tack with a different instructor.
Or where the instructor is the one who gives you a lot of information but I felt I didn't know enough to be able to process that at the time, those I've planned to go back to once I'm not so novice.
The best whatever their approach ar those who overtime enable you to make the changes before they have to say anything so that you can start to ride as well out of lessons as in. I do think you have to get to a certain standard before that can start.
 

J&S

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You are all discussing lessons with instructors as being something that happens in an arena of some sort (inside/outside/grass area.) Surely the best instructor/teacher you ever had was the person who made you fall in love with riding ponies or horses in the first place!
For me this happened out on the New Forest on a little bay NF pony called Velvet, starting on a lead rein and then progressing to riding out with the lady off the lead rein. I was probably about 7 - 8 years old, I could not have been happier. When ever I have the opportunity to introduce a young person to riding I would love to think they would be on the first steps to a lifelong journey, it may only take them holiday hacking or it could take them as far as they would like to go. The journey with horses is endless.
 

oldie48

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I love my lessons but I also love watching good trainers train. I learn so much and it's interesting to see how the same themes tend to occur regardless of the rider and horse combination. It's taken me a while to appreciate how important the basics are, it's easy to fudge things at the lower levels, especially if you have a horse with good natural paces but once you start asking for more collection etc the cracks start to appear. I think it's the same with jumping, the horse can happily jump round a course up to a certain height with very little rider input, then struggles to progress. I really respect riders with good feel, it's a proper skill, but I need "eyes on the ground" and tbh I think most of us do.
 

JFTDWS

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I have had some (many) rubbish lessons but training like this is a totally different thing. I love competing most of all but achieving something new or overcoming a difficulty comes a close second for me.
Yep, I've had loads of rubbish lessons. I don't stop training, I try another instructor - I find one whose ethos fits more clearly with my own. I'm very much of the "competitions are won at home" theory, so competitions without training is a very peculiar concept to me.

I suspect this s what JFTD-WS may have meant by the wrong lessons? If you have a quality horse who can produce lovely work then you should be able to get that quality in lessons and enjoy seeing your horse develop and flourish.. If you and horse are switching off I doubt your RI was a good fit for you.
I presume you're quoting something I can't see as this doesn't make sense out of context... I didn't realise it was possible to misinterpret the sentiment that if the lessons were rubbish, they weren't the right lessons, but some folk on here are quite spectacular at reading things strangely!
 

Auslander

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I presume you're quoting something I can't see as this doesn't make sense out of context... I didn't realise it was possible to misinterpret the sentiment that if the lessons were rubbish, they weren't the right lessons, but some folk on here are quite spectacular at reading things strangely!
I guess HB has blocked you, even though she was replying to you (and giving you a good telling off!)
 

JFTDWS

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be interested to hear what you think makes a good pupil :)
Like Bernster I was a teachers pet at school and I really try to be a good riding student too :p I think I have a pretty good fit with my trainer but always good to hear the dos and don'ts from someone else.
I can think of the obvious - turn up on time, and pay on time etc. And put in the work in between lessons. I hope I'm not too difficult to teach. Lessons are what makes my world go round!
I'm an acquired taste. At school I was an over-achiever - not exactly teacher's pet, but worked hard and wanted to be at the top, but equally a bit loud and in your face, in an educational sense. I always had an opinion, but I also made sure it was factually defensible and I could argue my case. I'm probably similar to teach on a horse - slightly melodramatic, slightly absurd, quite opinionated but very, very keen to succeed. I'm pretty good about turning up on time (disasters aside!) and paying though...
 

J&S

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OK, to be more in line with what you are all talking about, I have had some serious training from serious trainers, with at least three of them I have felt moments of shear elation when my horse (which ever one it was on the day) actually attained a few perfect steps of collection. Those moments live with you and are the driving force that makes you carry on. Working a horse well is very hard work and takes massive concentration and dedication. A good trainer will recognise your efforts, keep you enthused and progressive but not over strain the physical ability of your horse. A good pupil listens, makes effort to practice between sessions and respects the ethos of their trainer.
 

daffy44

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I think the training relationship works best when your personalities gel, as do your respective teaching/learning styles, its not so much what is right or wrong, more what is right or wrong for you eg a shouty trainer is one persons perfect trainer, someone elses nightmare!

I think turning up on time and paying on time are both a brilliant place to start, also to turn up with a reasonably healthy horse and rider, of course, if either of you have physical or mental condition that needs to be taken into account, thats absolutely fine, as long as you make the trainer aware of it. I mean, dont bring a lame horse or one with terrible teeth etc. Also a rider who is open minded enough to try what is suggested to you, and a rider who communicates, dont sit in silence if you dont understand or if it feels horrible, and if you are given homework, do it! Dont come back for the next lesson having not ridden since the last one etc. These things are so much more important than what horse you are on or what how good your riding is.
I'm sure I can think of a lot more, but those are brilliant basics, and they are what make teaching someone a pleasure. MP, having met you and knowing your trainer I'm positive that he loves training you.
 
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I guess HB has blocked you, even though she was replying to you (and giving you a good telling off!)
I've not blocked anyone and I've not given anyone a telling off. But you could always try running to admin and get me an infraction. Because thats what normally happens doesn't it? If anyone dares disagree or has another point of view.

One day someone will actually wake up and smell the coffee.
 
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I didn't realise it was possible to misinterpret the sentiment that if the lessons were rubbish, they weren't the right lessons, but some folk on here are quite spectacular at reading things strangely![/QUOTE]
No. I haven't misinterpreted anything. You think i can't see what you are doing? 'Oh if I phrase things in a certain way i can have a dig at HB but i can do it in such a way that i will look to others that butter wouldn't melt in my mouth. And when HB eventually tires and retaliates we'll be firing a PM off to admin to get her barred. Job done'.

You knew damn well what you were saying. Do you honestly think i am the only one who sees it?? Everyone can see through you. They wont admit it as they know you will turn on them. Strength in numbers.

And the patronising comment about glory seeking to get rosettes. Really????

Why don't you be honest for once and admit I'm right.
 

Auslander

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I've not blocked anyone and I've not given anyone a telling off. But you could always try running to admin and get me an infraction. Because thats what normally happens doesn't it? If anyone dares disagree or has another point of view.

One day someone will actually wake up and smell the coffee.
Steady on! I've never reported anyone to admin. I also can't recall ever having a disagreement with you. I simply thought that you'd blocked JFTD, but it turns out that it was the other way round. Guess that means she wasn't picking on you in her post, as she no longer knows when or what you've posted, so it's all good, eh?
 

DressageCob

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Back to the topic, I love my lessons. I very rarely travel off the yard for lessons because the instruction is so good at the riding school where my boys live.

I like my instructors meticulous. A thousand corrections, and all that. I've got the basics, and my boys will both do a good elementary test and get in the late 60s for it. But in photos I look slumpy, or my hands are low, my heels are up. I need someone who will call me out on all of those things so that it becomes second nature to make sure I'm sitting straight and upright, with my hands in the right place, my leg on and my heels down. It's not just about the photo, of course. The boys go so much better if I'm sitting properly.

Having instructors that have ridden or will ride my horse is also a bonus. Then they know what I'm feeling and they can test out things to sort out the problems (which are usually of my creation!)

I don't mind being shouted out if it is useful shouting. I once had an off yard lesson with someone who just shouted "no, no, no, no, no" with no instruction then on what was so offensive.

For jumping, I need an engaged instructor. I once had a lesson with a very big name, which I paid good money for, and it was rubbish. All he did was point out jumps in an arena eventing training area and go "jump that one, that one and that one", with no comment on how to ride it, whether I was riding correctly, position, positivity, leg on etc. That was with my trickier horse for jumping, and we had refusals but again no comment on what went wrong. That was a waste of money.

With my home instructors, they dissect everything. My position, the quality of the trot or canter, the turn, the approach, the take off, position in the air, straightness on landing etc. And again, I need that so that at a competition it is second nature to be aware of those things. I also like that they quietly and sneakily put the fences up, rather than announcing that they are increasing the height. it means I have no chance to get nervous...I've already turned and it's too late 😁

I don't have transport, so I'm so lucky to have quality instruction on tap.
 
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Seems that way Aus :) hopefully we can get back to what is an interesting thread, leaving the handbags at the door. 👜👛👜
Handbags at dawn and all that ;)

As I said before I've had the odd lesson. But its normally been when I've been struggling with an issue or I couldn't get out to compete for whatever reason.
I never really enjoyed them because I was always yearning to be elsewhere. Some people like lessons. Some don't. We are all different.

I can see what people might gain out of them. I think group lessons have been more fun and I have enjoyed those more because the attention is divided between the riders and I don't feel like I am being pushed to do something I don't want to do or something outside my comfort zone.
 
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I have two coaches, and they both work together and train together. One is my 'daily' coach (I don't have lessons daily but she lives here) who I have had since I was at pony club and the other is my coach who is based over east and comes every 6 weeks. My daily coach will always try and watch my lessons with my visiting coach.

I love both of them, they are both completely in it for the horses, they are passionate and always improving themselves. My lessons aren't one way, we have discussions and for me it really helps put the pieces together.

Both of my coaches are teachers, and teach in other fields. I think this is the key for me as they actually know how to teach and can change how they say things so I understand.

Both give me worlds of confidence and can talk me though things when it's all going pear shaped. They are patient and kind, but also firm. They ask me how I think things went, and what I felt before they give advice or instruction so they know I know whats going on. Jonna will also always ask me if I felt what he saw because he knows things feel different to how they look.

Not to blow my own trumpet, but they also enjoy teaching me because I want to learn, I want whats best for the horse and I work really hard to improve. They know I can feel and make changes as required, and that if they do tell me to do something, they only have to say once and I'll do my best to make the change.

I definitely have developed more of a mentoring relationship with my coaches over time and it really works for us. I know I can ask them questions anytime and they love hearing how things are going out side of my lessons.
 

scats

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I actually haven’t had a lesson for a couple of years now. My health issues mean that I have to stop a lot for rests and I found that it became too difficult to try and push on through it so I would have to stop and cut it short and it was just a waste of money. It’s a shame as I would like regular training and I think I’d probably progress with the horses much quicker. Such is life though, I’ll just muddle on through as I do.
 

JFTDWS

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Seems that way Aus :) hopefully we can get back to what is an interesting thread, leaving the handbags at the door. 👜👛👜
Yes, I'd like to hear more from daffy about good students, because I reckon there's more stuff I can work on to be easier going forward. (Shutting up occasionally and not correcting my own grammar in real time are probably up there)

Steady on! I've never reported anyone to admin. I also can't recall ever having a disagreement with you. I simply thought that you'd blocked JFTD, but it turns out that it was the other way round. Guess that means she wasn't picking on you in her post, as she no longer knows when or what you've posted, so it's all good, eh?
This is fairly confusing only seeing half the posts, but I'm working on the presumption that someone is showing exactly why I have them on UI...!
 

Dyllymoo

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I'm still trying to find the right one if I'm honest. I've had some good instructors, and some not so good (I got off in the middle of a lesson as she was shouting at me saying I should be up in trot but my mare was about to bronc me off because a child on a pony was cantering around at full pelt for no reason other than she wanted to canter. Worst group lesson ever!).

Its so hard especially now as I have an extremely green little coblet that I want to make sure I do right by
 

Leo Walker

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I don't think blocking works both ways on here ;)
I only wish it worked like that! I find myself having to click view ignored content far more than I would like, so I can work out what on earth is going on"

One day someone will actually wake up and smell the coffee.
Most of us did that sometime ago ;)
 
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