Saturday, March 20, 2010

Trainer Showdown

My trainer suggested a few weeks ago that I have another trainer ride Denali. She has been this trainer to break her young horse since she can't right now. I thought it would be a good idea, she's been going really well for her lessee but I always like the opportunity to have someone different ride my horse.

My husband decided that he'd want to come watch her be ridden so we headed out and got there right before this other trainer. I went and got Denali who nickered at me, made me feel good. Got her cleaned up just as the trainer showed up. She was all business and did no small talk. It took me a second to get her attention to introduce myself.

I went to get her bridle, and wasn't sure if she'd want the running martingale so I grabbed that too. When I got back over to her, my trainer, and Denali I asked her if she wanted the martingale and she said no, but then questioned me why I was using a running martingale and a French Link boucher bit. She said they contradicted each other and that I shouldn't be using both (which I didn't know, and that's fine for her to tell me.) THEN....THEN my trainer said, "That's what I've been telling her?" WHAT THE FUCK! Seriously? When did you ever, EVER say anything about my bit/martingale combo? Ugh. I just met this woman and already I look like an idiot. Not only do I not ride my horse, I use the wrong bit/martingale on her. I was PISSED to say the least. I informed her that she had NEVER, EVER told me to not use those in conjunction with one another (also, side note: I never ever have cranked Denali's face using the running martingale, it usually just hangs there unless she takes off.) She said, "Oh, I have." Really? I respected you. I obviously would NEVER do anything wrong for my horse, especially if it could confuse her.

It gets better. I was pissed and stood on the side of the arena refusing to talk to my trainer, she was trying to make small talk while we watched the ride and I gave low grunts as responses. We watched the ride, and Denali looked beautiful. She doesn't open her stride up as much as she could, and at one point the other trainer said, "You can tell that she hasn't had much formal training, she doesn't loosen her back up." My trainer said, "yeah, I only put 2 months on her." Yep. March, April, May, June, July. That's definitely 2 months.

I don't understand trainers? I really like mine, aside the whole throwing me under the bus thing. My husband said on our way home that he's been to lots of conferences and he hasn't seen as much posturing there as he did at our barn today. Yes hunny, sometimes horse people are crazy.

She was asking me about what I feed Denali, and she told me that she doesn't know much about Cocosoya oil, but she wondered it's fat content and if she was getting enough to be the 20% of fat that she needs. I don't know. Frizzle, do you know how much is in it? She (trainer 2) thinks she needs more fat to build muscles. I'm going to e-mail her and discuss her thoughts. I also and going to remind her that I was told it was fine (actually a good idea) to ride her in both the martingale and the boucher.

Denali will be getting a loose ring french link snaffle soon. We'll see how she goes in it. I talked to Denali's lessee tonight and vented to her about my experience. She made me feel better, she said, "Funny, because she (our trainer) specifically said to ride her in the martingale." Thanks!

My hubby leaves tomorrow for a week for work. I have when he leave. The bed is cold, and empty and I have no one to talk to. Hopefully I get to the barn more this week.

There is so much to learn about with horses, and I'm pretty sure I know 1% about it. Ugh!

Also, LBR posted links to everyone's horses in the post from Friday. Thanks LBR! I was only able to find Laz on It's fun to see how much everyone's horses won. Denali, squat!


Frizzle said...

Uuuugghh. Trainers. They can be the WORST! :-)
I don't see why she would say that a boucher and a running martingale contradict eachother. A lot of people think that a boucher exerts poll pressure, but it does NOT. The boucher is simply very "stable" in the horse's mouth and does not move around (it's almost the opposite of a loose ring). If I were you, I would ask her to explain, in detail, exactly how they contradict eachother. If she sayd anything about the boucher exerting poll pressure, she is wrong.
As for the Cococsoya...hhhhmmm, let's see...I'm pretty sure Cocosoya is 100% fat since it's an oil. You'd have to do a pretty in-depth analysis to see if she has 20% fat in her diet. What feed does she eat?

Anonymous said...

Cocosoya is pretty good stuff - we use it for all the horses at the barn (the trainer should have know about it!) - look on the Ukele (I think I'm spelling that right) web site for info - I believe it's 100 fat and also is very high in vitamin E and the Omega 3/6 balance is very good. There are a couple of good higher fat horse feeds - Ultimate Finish and some others. They're all a little bit different - read the labels carefully.

Trainer posturing is the worst.

Sunshower said...

If I were you I would begin to look for another trainer. If she is misrepresenting the amount of time she has trained the horse maybe its because the horse should be farther along, she knows it and knows the new trainer would realise it. I don't let anyone throw me under a bus and get away with it. I move on and maybe thats what you might need to think about. There are always lots of trainers, no one trainer is going to do everything right/correctly and they will all question something you have learned some place else.
Good luck.

Denali's Mom said...

Frizzle, I did ask. She said that it was for a horse that wanted to lean on the bit, and so therefore it kept the horses head up. The running martingale is to keep the horses head down (but I used it only when she'd take off) if that makes sense.

Maybe she meant does she have 20% of fat in her diet. That's what I assume. I'm not sure of the feed (sad? yes! I know that my trainer gets it made somewhere) I'm going out today to figure it out. She looks good, and it makes me stress out when I think she could have it better. Does that make sense? The other trainer (trainer 2) said that she just thinks with a higher fat diet she could have better muscle development. I did remind her that she's still recovering from EPM, and that she had 0 muscle tone in December, and so you can't expect that much muscle in a few months. How much Cocosoya oil do you give Salem?

Kate-I agree, it drove me insane! Ugh! I had to laugh a few times, tried to let it roll off my back, but it's hard.

Sunflower-I agree with you. I have already told her how I felt, but for what I can afford for boarding this is it. She has a huge turn out and I don't ever need to worry about her. I'm going to have this other trainer put some more rides on her to see what she thinks. It's hard, there are so many options around Seattle, BUT there are so many that are just horrible. If they're not horrible they're more than I can afford right now.

Thanks everyone! You make me feel better!

Jay Jennings said...

The great thing about horses is that you never stop learning. I'm always leery when someone acts like they know everything and are un-open to learning something new or more.

Trainers are human too; they have there own issues and stumbling blocks. Many have issues with admitting they don't know everything and just like everyone else they don't like to admit when there wrong.

I would also say; try as many trainers as possible. There are so many things to pick up and you don't have to agree 100% with the person your currently training with. Just find the best that that person has to offer, and when you think you've gone as far as you can with that trainer move on.

I have trained with 7 trainers in 6 years. Some I really like others not so much. But I learned what I could from each one; and some I made mad because I felt there style didn't work with my horse, or I felt they were pushing my horse beyond there limit.

Anonymous said...

As a trainer/instructor myself I find what your trainer did reprehensible. Along the lines of me thinks the lady doth protest too much. Personally we use training journals at our barn. Every ride is logged with when, what happened and what we did. At the end of the horses stay with us a copy goes home with the horse and one stays with us. Hard to get around that one, AND we can go back and say ah yes...she did have trouble with that ...and this is what worked and what didn't. Just a thought. By the way she is YOUR horse and YOUR responsibility. Stick up for her, she depends on you.

Kristen Eleni Shellenbarger said...

Hey..I just looked at my container of Coco and it says it's 98% fatty acid. The recommended dose is 2-4 oz daily:

So about your trainer..WTF?!??! I mean..that still shocks me the way some trainers act. Is she NOT a paid professional? Then BE professional and TEACH meaning, explain!! I don't know..the attitude and ego u can do without. If she can't help you find a resolution then maybe find someone else. Why doesn't she (trainer 1) ride Denali? Why did she bring in another person to do that? Is your trainer 1 also the barn owner?

Denali's Mom said...

Thanks Kristen, also, she hurt her leg so she can't ride right now. I do really like her, and she apologized tonight multiple times.

Anonymous, that's one thing that I like about my trainer. She does the same thing, but it's not that intense. It's on the calender. She writes down what she did, how it when and what they need to work on next time. I usually watched each training lesson. I mean, she might have had 60 days put on her, but it was over an period of time. My trainer did bring her from super naughty and crazy to a proper little horse. She has done a lot for us.

SprinklerBandit said...

Wow, that is pretty awful. I'd have been livid... you actually dealt with it really well.

Frizzle said...

I've never heard any arguement taht a boucher is for a horse who leans on the bit. ??? Nope, not right. They're extremely popular in dressage, as they are a very gentle and stable bit.
She might be mistaking it with a 2-ring or 3-ring elevator, which IS for horses who pull down. Since the boucher has the ring on the top like the other two bits, a lot of people think that they use leverage. But they do NOT, I promise!
I'm not a trainer and I know this, I wouldn't have much respect for that "trainer."