|Plz send halp|
I have a dressage trainer who I LOVE. I rode with him way back in high school through Pony Club. He had Zing doing passage with me on him. He brought us up to second level with shockingly few lessons. And when we struggled with canter-walk transitions he hopped on, put him in a collected canter, dropped the reins to the buckle, maintained the collected canter, and then did a beautiful canter-walk. Okay yeah, I knew I was the problem, but you really drove it home. Anyways, once I got my own rig last summer, I looked him up again and started hauling J, the warmblood mare, up to his farm for lessons. Yoshi got to go twice pre-lameness. When I was only lessoning with him intermittently in clinics with Pony Club, I struggled with replicating lesson quality at home. He really rides every stride with you, providing feedback on what you should be doing and also making sure you feel when it is right and when it is wrong. With more frequent (q2-3 weeks) lessons, I started being able to replicate that feeling and timing at home. By riding every stride with me in lessons he really teaches correct feel and timing. I wish I could share a video, but he requested no videos or pictures at his farm be posted online.
I haven't found a jumping trainer in the area who I love, and honestly I'm a lot less experienced vetting jumping trainers. The area I live in is a mecca of trainers though, with TONS within an hour haul. I don't mind paying a decent amount for a lesson, but the more I pay, the more I need to get out of it to take home because the less frequently I can lesson.
I've been trying to ponder what makes me LOVE my dressage trainer and have come up with:
- Correct training: maybe where I struggle with finding jump trainers... I have a much better eye for correct dressage work than correct jumping. I can see striding and pace, but beyond that unless things are horrendous or perfect I struggle to figure out the effect the riders position is having on the horse as well as the technicalities of the jump itself. When I have overlapped with my dressage trainers other lessons, they are riding at a level I want to ride at with beautifully correct horses. And as noted above, he can also do the damn thing himself. He has ridden grand prix so clearly knows how to do it and also, his students show he knows how to bring a pair up the levels. I don't necessarily need a trainer who can still get on and do the things, but I do want one who has done them at some point in the not too distant past. Does this mean though that since my eventing dreams/goals are much more limited than my dressage goals (no desire to go more than training level... ever... if that) that I only need a trainer who has competed through training level? Something tells me no... but I'm really not actually sure.
- Enthusiasm/timing: dressage trainer is a cheerleader for you but also will nail you when things are incorrect... Not in a mean way, but you don't get to toodle around the ring with a hollow, stilted horse. I like in the moment corrections, both in dressage and jumping. I don't want to do a whole course then dissect it, that's harder for my brain to breakdown and respond to in a better way the next time.
- Availability: My work schedule is all over the damn place. I love being able to text the week before and choose a lesson day and time. I can't do a weekly scheduled lesson. I can schedule much further in advance than one week, but I cannot commit to the same day and time each week.
- Exercises at home and freedom: I am independent, and I've been riding for 25 years at this point. I am so, so far from an expert or an advanced rider, but dressage trainer encourages me to ask for more at home. The amount of confidence he instilled when he said "I'm giving you the exercises, you have the feel to know when you need to use them" was awesome. And helped me feel confident in asking for correct work at home. The flip side of that is when I was giving Yoshi a head tilt to the right, we scheduled a lesson for that week, and he helped me figure out exactly what I was doing and how to fix it.
Alright dear readers, if you're willing to take the time to share, what made you click with your trainer? What things did you look for? What were definite red flags?
Also, how does one go about trainer shopping? Is it strange to ask to watch someone else's lesson first? I could try to stalk trainers at shows more and watch their students ride there first.
|Pico meeting Uno. Totally unrelated, but it's a reward for making it through my rambles.|