Sunday, March 22, 2015

dressage training?

One of my 2015 q1 goals is taking regular dressage lessons and it's been more challenging than I anticipated. This is probably due to a combination of weather, unusable outdoor facilities, and early dark.... plus most trainers are already booked during the times I'm free (evenings and weekends are apparently pretty busy, go figure).

We went to a fancy pants clinic just to get a lesson of any kind - even if it meant driving far and paying out the nose. The clinic was AWESOME; we got a TON out of it and continue to chip away at those concepts. 

'omg can we NOT, tho?? that shit is hard!' - isabel

Those concepts, tho... they're not exactly particularly lofty or advanced, and any local trainer worth their salt can help us with them for 1/2 the cost and 1/4 the drive time. The clinician even said as much - what we really need is a regular program.

I obviously can't disagree.. but felt a little despondent anyway. We really CAN dressage - Isabel can do it, and so can I when there's someone on the ground directing my every step. 

But things started looking up when a barn mate shipped out for a dressage lesson with a new trainer last week. The farm is about 15 minutes away and my barn mate LOVED the trainer. 



So I reached out to see if she might be able to fit us in (my barn mate's lesson was in the middle of a weekday - definitely not a time when I'm available...). And it turns out she has a perfect time slot for us already built in to her regular schedule! 


Our first lesson is set for today. We were supposed to ride in an actual dressage show at OF... but I think establishing a proper training routine might be a better use of my time and funds.


Fingers crossed that it works out!! 


Have you ever had trouble finding trainers? How do you normally find them - word of mouth? Or a google search? Stalking people at horse shows?



'best trainer is no trainer' - isabel

21 comments:

  1. How exciting! Hope your first lesson with the new trainer goes great!

    In my area, there seems to be no lack of trainers in any discipline, so I am lucky in than way. It is just a matter of deciding who is a good fit teaching-style wise.

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    1. thanks! that is lucky - tho actually it's similar here, we have a TON of fabulous trainers. but for whatever reason none of them can fit us in... or at least, not on the days and at the times that work for me...

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  2. Yay! This is awesome news! My fingers are crossed that you guys love her too! :)

    I found my trainer at a horse show. I volunteered at a big USDF show, and ended up working the warm up ring, where I could watch trainers work with their students all day and compare them. My trainer was working with a student with an absurdly hot horse and getting good results, without losing her temper. She wasn't super loud, or mean either. I liked her style so much that once I figured out who she was I sent her an email and asked her how we could fit into her program. The rest is history!

    I HIGHLY recommend that method. You get a little taste of what a trainer's style is actually like, and a little snippet of their personality. Of course, you don't have to volunteer to hang out at the warm-up ring, but honestly, you get so much knowledge out of volunteering that it's totally worth it. (You also get to meet the people behind the USDF in your region. They're usually awesome, and make going to shows that much more fun!)

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    1. yep - we loved it! and that does sound like a great idea. i feel like you can get a REALLY good sense for how a trainer operates by observing them at a show, for better or worse haha. and yea, meanness does not work for me - it's just not how i learn.

      re volunteering, my bandwidth this year is probably kinda limited, so my volunteer hours will probably go to our local eventing association (since that's the only thing i'm currently trying to earn points for at the moment), but i definitely hope to branch out in the future!

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  3. Yum, yes. Finding a good trainer is hard. The problem I had about a year ago when I was getting back into riding after a 4-year hiatus (my horse died and I didn't feel like riding) was getting people to return my phone calls! I remember thinking, "Seriously, people? This means more money for you. A new student who is looking to buy another horse. . . " I also think when you have a horse, it's easier to find a trainer. Maybe people would have taken me more seriously if I already owned a horse. Even though I made it clear I'd had horses all my life.

    Austen's comment makes a lot of sense--getting to see the style at a show. Well, I hope you have a great lesson and this new trainer is a perfect fit for both you and your horse.

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    1. i'm actually kinda shocked that people in your area didn't leap at the chance for a new horse-shopping client... glad you found a good one eventually(both horse and trainer haha)!!

      interesting points about lessoning on your own horse v otherwise too. i was actually quite open to the idea of taking lessons on someone else's horses if we couldn't figure out a time that worked for bringing Isabel... but again, nothing panned out.

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  4. I'M SO EXCITED FOR YOU! There is so much that a pair of eyes on the ground can give you. Please take video! Not for you, but because I want to watch!! :D

    (And I found my dressage trainers by virtue of 1. she's my regular trainer, 2. my trainer's trainer, 3. my mother in law. I really had to work super hard on that one!)

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    1. thanks! i need eyes on the ground SO BAD at this point in my training bc i really lack a solid 'feel' for what we're working towards (since i'm learning essentially every step of the way haha). sadly there's no video from today's lesson but i tried to take very good notes ;)

      also - i really am amazed at how you overcame such seemingly insurmountable obstacles to find a trainer lol (just kidding i'm actually totes jealous!)

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  5. My dad found my first trainer on the internet and got in touch with the Pony Club she taught at to arrange a lesson. I met Laura through her tack shop and interviewed her a few months later when I realized she went to the Dressage Finals. I kept in touch with her after that. I don't really have much advice. I hope the lesson goes well!

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    1. thanks! it's really cool that you found Laura just by your own involvement and networking within the dressage community. i tend to think that's a really great way to do it too. glad it worked out for you :)

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  6. Found my dressage instructor via my regular trainer. My trainer had used her as a chiropractor for years. I knew she traveled up and down the west coast coaching and never figured she'd do lessons for us. One of my friends rode in a clinic with her as part of her college dressage team and I really liked how she taught. I went up and asked if she'd come and do lessons at our barn and she is more than happy to.

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    1. i think it is SO COOL that your dressage trainer has that deeper knowledge of anatomy and biomechanics - i feel like it would really add a whole new dimension to the lesson.

      i work with a separate biomechanics trainer too who does tend towards dressage, but her lessons aren't really the type to prepare you for competitions ya know? but they're still phenomenal and super insightful!

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  7. I found the trainer I used to work with in NJ through an ad she had placed online for a horse she had for lease - I was looking for something to ride on my summers home from college, and the horse (and trainer!) ended up being a perfect match! I rode with her for several years and even shipped Dino up to work with her a few times after I moved to PA. When it comes to my current trainer, I had first heard of her back when I was working for USEF, and then once I was looking to get into eventing more seriously, I remembered that she was local to where I now live. I called her up, watched a lesson, and that was that! I've also watched and ridden with some trainers to try them out that just didn't work for me - and that's ok too. It's important to find someone you really click with!

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    1. i couldn't agree more. leaving my beloved trainer behind in rochester was maybe the hardest part about moving - i STILL miss her (and stay in touch). it was made worse when i had a series of so-so trainers once i moved back to MD. they weren't 'bad' really, we just didn't click.

      i still think it's awesome how things worked out with your current trainer - like you knew right from the first ride that it was going to work out perfectly :)

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  8. Replies
    1. it's definitely getting more fun the more we learn lol :)

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    2. it's definitely getting more fun the more we learn lol :)

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  9. Yay fun! Apparently no one in Idaho markets themselves. So everything is word of mouth. Which is hella annoying.

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    1. yea word of mouth can be kinda limiting... tho sometimes it pans out better than randomly picking a name from the white pages... i guess it all just depends!

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  10. Yay for dressaging and for lessons! I hope it's a good fit!

    I'm in the same boat in terms of looking for a jumping trainer. I've been going by word of mouth (don't forget to ask yor vet and farrier!) mostly and some people advertise decently in my area, so I might get in touch with some that way as well. I've also had a friend suggest that I try some local hunter jumper trainers in the area if I can find an eventing specific one.

    The dressage part had been easier for me since the trainer there is LITERALLY just next door lol.

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    1. i'm feeling pretty optimistic after the first lesson :D

      good luck finding a jumping trainer too. it actually took a couple years (including one spectacular failure and a few mediocre match-ups) for me to land with my current jump trainer - who i found via word of mouth and LOVE riding with. hopefully you land with someone great!

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