Trainers: Are they Gods?

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.

My old trainer aka idol in black- Debbie Cinotto

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.

Umm… did you just contradict old trainer?!?

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.

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  1. Relating so hard! I rode with the same trainer for a decade when I was younger, and my world revolved around him. We’re still in touch and I still adore him! I’ve been insanely lucky to find my current trainer- I literally googled “hunter jumper barns near me” and boom found my trainer. It’s been about 2.5 years now and she is completely stuck with me. She is SO good to my horse, she is a fantastic trainer, a great businesswoman, and all around great role model and friend. And that’s a rare and beautiful thing to find as adult, just as you said!

    1. Wow that is so great that you landed which such an excellent trainer! I think that I have found the same thing, but it definitely took me a bit longer. Cheers to the amazing trainers of our youths!

  2. Lovely post – and I can relate. I’m a riding instructor myself so I feel I have certain standards when it comes to teaching & riding. Unfortunately over the years I’ve realised many “professional” trainers are stuck in their ways or tell you what you want to hear instead of actually teaching you!
    I’ve struggled to find someone who is willing to push me out of my comfort zone. It’s only recently I’ve started with my new trainer and thankfully she’s the type you aspire to be like as a rider and instructor!

    Lovely sentiment in regards to your former trainer – I feel that way towards many of my students ?

    1. First off, thank you!! I think that’s the thing, once you’ve experienced a great trainer it is so hard to go back. You expect them all to operate at the same high standard, and unfortunately I think those trainers are few and far between these days. That’s so great that you found one of them, and that you guys are building a great relationship. Congrats!

  3. I feel just like you on a lot. I was with the same trainer until last year and I also worked for her and her sister when I was younger so my trust of trainer’s is low and I still take a lot of what they say with a grain of salt. I think when you are an adult too its easier to mentally and physically pack your bags and move on somewhere else if its not working out and that kind of independence is nice.

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