Saturday, March 25, 2017

Second opinions

Here's a fun quandry.

I contacted a farm about 1.5 hours away from me because they have an adult dressage summer camp.  Three days with other adults that love dressage?  Sounds like fun!  The trainer was happy to hear from me, sent me the dates, but had a suggestion for me.  In my introductory email I mentioned that I was trying to make the leap from First to Second.  While I'd be at the right level for her camp, she thought that I might get more of what I wanted if I just came out for some focused training over two or three days.  A lesson on Theo, a lesson on her confirmed Second level horse, and possibly a lunge lesson if I can handle three rides in a day.

She's a PSG level rider, as in scoring mid 60's at PSG on her horse she brought up through the levels.  I looked up her scores for 2016 and she had a good season.  She's got the credentials.  She also trains eventers so I might even be able to go out to school jumping to clear mi papi's brain.  Her references check out, the adult ammies in the area love her.  She knows her stuff and knows how to teach.

I could, theoretically, go up to visit her on a semi-regular basis for tune ups if we jive.

But that would be me shipping out to train with another local trainer while training with someone.  That starts to skim a line.  When I hauled out for three days with Mary Wanless, that was for a clinic with a trainer that's based in the UK.  It feels different to haul out to a trainer's barn for intensive training.

Am I being paranoid?  Is this cool? Do other riders do this?

As much as I love Trainer A, and she's done amazing work with us, I feel like we're going to need more experienced help as we move up the ranks.  I want that Second Level.  Theo gives me glimpses of what he can do and I know he's knocking on the door.  But we're not there.  He's not an easy horse when it comes to technical things, he's the king of evasion.  I can shoulder in, but it's only going to get me a 6.  Or a 5 if he's distracted since we're at a show and the aliens are going to land any second. Love that horse but he's obsessed with the aliens.


I haven't done this.  I haven't tried to branch out for more specialist training.  I'm not sure what the etiquette is.  Of course Trainer A will say everything is fine, she's a professional and Theo is my horse.  But I worry that I'm being rude.

Is this a thing people do?


  1. I've always been really casual about who I train with. I always have a main trainer, but I'm completely open to riding with other people whenever I feel like it. It's not a slight in my mind, and all I'm trying to do is get better, but most people do not see it this way. You're not breaking any unspoken rule by having 2 (1.5?) trainers, but you have to be upfront. You might even benefit from a full on switch, but that's a completely personal decision.

  2. I'm sure some trainers are weird about that, but I've always made a point to train with folks who appreciated that other opinions are important and valid too. I have a main trainer, I also haul out to a different trainer who is not SO far different from my main trainer that they're telling me two different things. There's something important about a second set of eyes that doesn't see you every day.

  3. I think that it's fine as long as you are open about what you are doing.

    And to weigh in on the camp- you might find it fun and useful anyway to go.

  4. I agree with Teresa -- while I only train with one person, my trainer has clients who take lessons with other people and it's never bothered her as long as everyone is open and honest about it.

  5. Yowsa. I can see this going so many ways: great idea, conflict, starting as a great idea but finishing as a trainwreck, or even vice versa. The horse world can be such drama factory. I have no help to offer other than a) you are right to consider the ramifications, b) only you can judge the personalties involved, & c) Teresa is right about being open. Take the high road & let the rest sort themselves out.

    Good luck. Keep us posted.

  6. In some ways my position is different bc I've never boarded with any of my trainers, so none could reasonably feel "possessive" or territorial or whatever. But I'm not sure I would care. I LOVE riding with multiple trainers and have three that I've used regularly over the years as a "team" to great (IMO) effect. I think the key is making sure that the trainers have matching philosophies so that one isn't always undoing the work of another, or that you're not at risk for confusing the horse or yourself bc the trainers want things done drastically differently. Really tho I would say give it a shot!

  7. If you're chasing performance goals, you need to train with people that can help you.

  8. I think that its a lot more common in Dressage and Eventing to haul out to specialists than it is in the H/J world, its really taboo there.