Tuff Love Coaching in Tears When is too far to far?

Hi I was wondering on Coaches and Riders thoughts on the old school "Hard love Tuff Love Coaching" gosh its still alive and active, i thought those days had passed as i grew up but no they are alive. My question is when is it crossing the line? Has it gone too far in making the rider crack in silent tears because the Old school coach just patronized the crappers out of ya???Or seemed to be loudly mean?? is it done deliberately because the Coach has got the shits cause your just "not getting it" ?? or are they doing it to make you angry and fight for correctness and dig your heals in and "get it" . Should the rider just grow some grit and try harder? Do some Coaches burst the bubble deliberately in the rider as there teaching tool to bring submission? "Hard Tuff Coaching" is it still acceptable or has that gone with the "Fear Campaign of training", Do we just sit back and take this or do we approach the coach with our concerns or just grin and bear it and it will make you tougher. Cheers Rachel

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As a coach and in my training i feel that is taking it too too far. I am a tough person and a bit blunt but you have to look at how sensitive your client is and how hard they are on themselves. But there is never any reason to be demeaning. I think that is uncalled for.
1. I don't think any of the Army Boot Camp type instructors will respond. By their very definition their approach is domination and control, not learning and adapting. But hey - I hope I'm wrong! Anybody out there????

2. It never ceases to boggle my mind why people will PAY to be abused. If you're uncomfortable with how you feel in a lesson, why do you continue on? YOU are the one paying for the lesson - correct? YOU are just as responsible as the coach - there must be 2-way communication to make any relationship work. As everyone has a different definition of what constitutes "too much" pressure, perhaps you should explore your pressure comfort zone and whether your current instructor is a good fit. The coaches who have responded to this thread have done their homework as far as recognizing different learning styles and adapting their teaching style to what suits a particular student. Face it, just because somebody has ridden in the Olympics or speaks with a foreign accent and their lessons are very expensive doesn't make them a good teacher - FOR YOU. They might be just what somebody else needs. But to continue on with somebody because perhaps it gains you some prestige or status to be able to say you trained with "so-and-so" while you (and what about your horse - don't you ever think your horse is unaware of what you're feeling) is being shredded is unconsionable. We all have internal alarm bells - listen to yours if they're going off!
I grew up with old school coaching by many reputable and popular coaches. I saw lots of kids in tears in my lessons and many quit riding althogether. I stuck with it but never really had a breakthrough with my riding until many years later I found a coach of a very different nature. She has made me see that with hard work I can achieve anything and now I am showing a horse I started myself in 2nd level dressage and bringing along two others. My coach has a H/J focus so I top up my dressage education with research & clinics, but I find it is her attitude that makes me successful, and she is open to learning along with me as well. If you are not enjoying your riding because of your coach and can't sort it out with him/her I would find a new coach. Life is too short and it will be hard to become a better rider if you are not enjoying the ride.
The comments on here are all ringing home to me in many ways, that there is an understanding of this as an Issue in our current training system in equestrian. This occurs through all sports not only equestrian. Some teachers at school too well are also like that, it does seem a generation gap but there are the old that have learnt new tricks and ways.

My instructor is not a bully infact and that is why we still go to him. The learning has been tremendous and not a tear in sight or fear.

That is the important issue too its fear training and a lack of patience. Patience is the big word and we see too many parents too of children riding that lack the patience to be encouraging rather dishing them.

The bully instructors i am speaking about with there fear training, was from a group training session at a couple of different places to where we get our lessons. It was unexpected that we were going into BOOTCAMP.
I tend to find it hard to be diplomatic in confrontations and being able to confront the army seargent is a real challenge and its easier not to confront its the easy way out just to remain silent and think oh well it will be over soon just shut up and do it.

I did have an idea I thought we could stand with our backs to the instructor in protest like they do in parliament.

Hey Geoff what books do you recommend as a good read is always brilliant.

slc1 wrote "I don't think the too 'politically correct' touchy feely type instructors get much accomplished"

im glad you have come forward can you please elaborate on your opinion here it will be most interesting to hear more about what you think works better and why.
I don't want this to sound disrespectful to sic2 , but I always thought that riding is "touchy, feely" . I'm not sure what they ment by politically correct . I'm all for touchy feely ways to ride your horse. Cheers Geoffrey
Hi slc2, I read the reply's to coaching styles for dressage riding and my sentiment is with yours.

I have come home from my dressage lessons on a couple of occassions in tears.
You wipe them dry and tell yourself you will be better next time!
Dressage is both an art form and a sport, with two athletes working together.
It is not for the faint of heart.

As an adult rider I will not be going to the olympics, however my passion is dressage and to become the best rider I can be, not only for myself but in all fairness, for the horse that I ride.

I have such a strong desire to understand dressage and to ride as well as I can . It is a slow process requiring both intellectual and physical ability.

I would rather work therefore with a coach who is demanding , exacting and is putting her/his heart and soul into teaching me real dressage even if it means I am being yelled at sometimes
.Dressage is very hard work and I want to be pushed to be better..
If my coach just kept telling me how wonderful I look up there, how much would I be learning?

I am a professional realist oil painter..learning old master painting traditions.. same thing here, I know the teachers who have the passion for their work to push me to reach greater limits with my work.
Let them push you , don't take it personally and you will learn .
i was only thinking before reading your reply here Geoff, that you still work your students hard and your not a touchy feely type. But NOW reading your response i can see how true that is....Yes your so right riding is touchy feely, its all about that and horses emotional reactions to what we invoke in them. What of the fear factor? in preventing that in your horse is something that i have learned from you and it just changes the whole perception and undertaking of training and handling horses. It Works!!!
It makes me look at the bigger picture and of past methods learned. I wonder now whether the tough hardline coach would also be the fear invoking task master with there horses!!! eg full on with the whip from go! Growling loudly and reving the engine just to get the forward response. The electric seat even. Brumby action round the lunge faster and faster.
what u think?
Along these lines, check out William Micklem's blog this week "the young will judge the old".

being touchy and feely what do you mean by that? touchy and feely is not lazy or undisciplined infact its just being more intune with your horse and your riding so you learn more.

You dont want to be pushed into something you know you will fail and isnt working, you need to be confidant at what your learning and have nailed that before attempting something your scared of or that is at a higher level. Instructors that push there student into unready territory are asking for trouble.
If the student is learning two slowly then the instructor isnt teaching, new things are learnt at every lesson and if there not well there something not working with that instructor. Being pushed out of a comfort zone is a backward step in learning with riding. Comfort Zones are a safe Zone
and they grow they dont have to stagnate. Pushing a rider out of there comfort zone can invoke fear in the rider and then that feeds through to the horse, how can that be a good thing?
Slc2 - I don't think that any of us would disagree with most of the points you've made, but I do think we interpreted the question differently. The coaches I was thinking of when I answered are not the ones who put safety and proper riding first, but rather the ones who express themselves negatively - i.e., yelling at the student every single lesson, pushing a student who would rather ride for their own personal enjoyment to show, and demeaning those who do not show.

To me, there is a huge difference between honesty or bluntness and rudeness or inappropriate behavior. Much of what you described sounds to me like a honest coach. While some people may not like hearing such truths, I don't think that their feelings should be spared at the expense of the horse or another person. Many of the "soft" trainers I have had have still been sticklers for the rules, and will get firm if they need to, but I think that is entirely different from an instructor who is unnecessarily harsh.

Political correctness is such an ambiguous term. If someone explains something in gentler terms, does that make him/her "too politically correct?" For example, I had a trainer who I remember fondly as a great horseman who I'm sure had a lot to teach. But I was never able to learn it because he was too busy expecting immediate results out of us. In an intermediate/advanced group lesson, he got frustrated with some of the problems people were having and yelled out a drill team formation for us to try. He kept yelling "You are intermediate/advanced riders, PROVE IT!" We sure snapped to, and figured things out for ourselves, but I think I missed out on learning a lot that he could have taught had he taken the time to explain it.
I've been teaching swordsmanship for 30 years and have observed many "teachers" along the way.
The problem is that very few "teachers" are ever taught how to teach; they just pass on what was done with (or "to" ) them, monkey see, monkey do (my apologies to monkeys everywhere).

And very few students thrive on abuse.
Encouragement is a whole lot better.
How can your students believe in you, if you don't believe in them?

That doesn't mean I don't have VERY strict rules and standards -- especially in regards to safety.
But it's NEVER personal.There's a ream or two more to write about this, but that "old school" drill-instructor machismo is not something I have great respect for.



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