So I recently read this awesome Amateurs Like Us blog on the Chronicle. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend you check it out. In short, it praises the deserving trainers, and points out that not all trainers are made equal. I related REALLY hard to this article.
Growing up, I rode with the same dressage trainer for all of my junior years. I think I started with her around 8 or 9 years old, and didn’t stop until I left for college, so we were together for a good 10 yrs. I respected, somewhat feared, and totally idolized her. She was the BEST trainer I could have hoped for. Everything I know about flatting a horse, I owe to her. I started riding with various other trainers in high school for jumping instruction, but I always continued my dressage lessons. I still hear her voice in my head every time I ride. I will never be able to thank her enough.
But, I also relate to the author when she realizes not all trainers are created equal. In my experience, it can be hard for adult ammies to find a trainer as an adult that holds up to their idea of the infallible trainers of our youth. I trusted my “old” trainer (aka the trainer I grew up with) implicitly. I did not question her or her methods. The 10 years we spent together had proven her skills and knowledge a thousand times over. It wasn’t blind faith that I had in her, I simply had many years of proof that showed me she knew her stuff. I knew, without a doubt, that her training methods worked. She didn’t skip steps, and didn’t cut corners. I knew what she told me was correct, and that even if it felt “ugly” it would lead to better quality work in the future.
Up until now, I have STRUGGLED to find that trainer as an adult. I am not blaming the trainers, adulthood happened and I lost my view of trainers as gods. I now know a bit too much, and if I ever receive instruction that conflicts what what my old trainer taught, a red flag instantly goes up in my mind and I start to become suspicious. I trust old trainer SO MUCH that I still get a bit evasive if anyone tries to tell me something different from what she taught.
In short, I am the worst client ever. My trust level is low, and I question everything. Occasionally, I even think that I know better. In reality, a bit of blind trust isn’t a terrible thing. I think it is only fair that we give the fallible trainers of our adulthood a fair chance. I didn’t build trust in my old trainer overnight, it was a long process, and kids are pretty dang trusting. Now that I am a jaded adult, who has seen a bit of the ugly side of the horse industry, I still yearn for that “my trainer is a god mentality” even though I know it doesn’t truly exist. Everyone makes mistakes, no one is perfect, and that is OK. My current trainer is AWESOME, and we are working on building that trust together. Things aren’t always perfect, but as long as Rio is happy and healthy, and I’m having fun (because that’s why we do this, right?) then I’m willing to give a new student/trainer relationship a shot!
This post is dedicated to Debbie Cinotto, you are the trainer of a lifetime. I will never be able to thank you enough for all that you taught me.