Since Pilgrim became mine in May of 2014, I’ve been training with trainer PW, who was the resident trainer at the barn I boarded at. She’s absolutely wonderful with greenies and I owe her a ton for helping me with my severe confidence issues. I wouldn’t have blamed her one bit for dumping me after a few months of w/t in endless 20m circles, but she stuck with me and was able to push me enough to build confidence, without overfacing me and my shaky ego. It took me 6 years to get back on a horse after my accident, and another 5 years to get back to eventing, but we’re doing it and I know it’s because of her support.
That being said, trainer PW has ALOT of clients, all of which board at my old barn, and 100% of them do H/J. When I boarded there, I had P in full training with her, which included 16 rides/lessons per month. So typically I would take 2 lessons/week and then on days that I couldn’t get out to the barn, I’d text her and she’d ride P for me. Very convenient, considering P is the type of horse that NEEDS a 5-6 day training week. When I moved to the new barn, I had to scale that back to the 4 lesson/month package, which costs less than half of the full training package. So when I left, her income from me dropped.
Trainer PW has never been to a show with me. This isn’t something that necessarily upsets me because I’m pretty independent and definitely do not buy into the handholding that many H/J riders subscribe to, but going alone every time can get, well, lonely. I usually have my husband there, but when we have to bring kids, it gets messy. One thing I loved about being a working student was showing with a group of people- everyone helped one another and there was always someone to cheer on or cheering for you. This past year of dressage/jumping/CTs/HTs has been very isolating.
The other thing is that I’m not a priority client anymore. I’m supposed to be having lessons every Friday evening, but for one reason or another, I haven’t actually had a lesson this month. The last lesson I had was very short, due to the darkness and the arena lights being pretty nonexistent. So we switched lesson days to Sundays, but those will only work if neither of us has anything going on.
I’d been considering supplementing regular lessons with PW with lessons from a local FEI rider/USDF Silver & Bronze Medalist/USDF L Judge. I took one lesson with her a few months ago when she came to the barn I was boarding at, and really liked her teaching style. One of my friends rides with her and sent her young TB to her for training, and just raves about her. So a few nights ago I finally got the courage up to contact her- we’ve been emailing back and forth today and I’m hauling to her tomorrow. I’m super excited, but nervous!
Since my clinic last weekend at KFP, I’ve also been considering training regularly with the clinician. She’s an eventer and knows the scene, plus has students that event as well. I talked to her a bit after the clinic and she said she teaches anytime day or night and on weekends that she’s not competing, since she lives onsite.
Pros to switching to new trainer(s):
- Facilities conducive to working adult: dressage trainer has indoor arena and eventer has arena with competition-like lights and all-weather arena.
- Facilities in general: dressage trainer has full sized and correctly measured dressage arena. Eventer has xc course onsite.
- Trainers attend shows that I attend…to compete themselves and/or with students.
- Trainers both train with others to further their own education. No matter how good the rider, I don’t believe really anyone is too good to continue with their own education.
- Trainers will be able to help plan competition schedule since they have a working knowledge of the events in Areas II and III. That would be a bit more ideal than my current
There are some cons, though.
- Increased cost. Trainer PW is reasonably priced and close. Hauling to her is about 10 minutes from my barn so doesn’t take much fuel at all to go back and forth. Dressage trainer’s prices in comparison…yikes. I haven’t contacted eventer yet for price sheet…I’m afraid. Plus, increased cost of hauling. Dressage trainer is 40 minutes away. Eventer is 25 minutes away.
- Potential for scheduling conflicts as others start to gear up for the spring horse trials.
So…I don’t know. And I don’t know how to go about telling PW. I really respect her and her training methods, but I feel as if it’s time to switch to trainer(s) who are active in the disciplines I want to be competitive in.
If anyone has any advice, I’d love to hear it! Poor husband at this point just looks super confused by my ramblings. At this point I’m going to see how the lesson goes tomorrow with dressage trainer, and go from there.