Yesterday i was at a dressage show, chatting with a 'trainer' who I know, but never trained with. Was telling her who I was working with, and she made a snide comment. Not what I would expect, but, well, some people are petty.

So, today my little girl had another session ground driving. We talked about something they wanted to try with her. And, my trainer, as she always does, says you need to be comfortable with it, this is how it works, the vast majority of horses figure it out and settle in, the odd one will freak out. So, if you don't want us to do it, no biggie, if you do, there's some risk, as there always is.

To me, *this* is the way a professional should be. Every time we try something different with this mare, she explains what it is, why she wants to do it, how it works, and what the risk is. So I can make decisions on what we do. It also protects her, she's told me what could happen. Now Maggie takes everything pretty well, so I'm pretty okay with whatever we do, but I also know that I could say no, and there's no harm, no foul.

Interestingly the 'trainer' I spoke of, she trained with my trainer years ago. And there was a horse that she worked on that is now at our barn. The horse is now back on track, but I can't say good things about the work he had before he got there. I think that the lack of professionalism she showed in her comment is a sign of her professionalism in the saddle and on the ground.

I'd sure rather work with someone who works with the horse I have, regardless of her talent or price, and me, regardless of my talent too. Makes me appreciate my trainer even more! Plus she's a brilliant trainer and rider!

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Comment by vickie lawson on March 17, 2011 at 11:55pm
im not surprised! horse people are either nice, helpful and friendly or snide, snippy and back stabbing. seldom do you see a middle road. last weekend, when i unloaded my 3 yr old at an a & p show for in hand classes and he was dancing around, i got snide looks and comments from every angle. so disappointing! i have decided to face it full on, and tell them not to bother with the looks or comments. which of course, doesn't go far to aid my popularity, but why should others get away with rudeness???
Comment by Bruce White aka Horseshoe Guy on March 17, 2011 at 9:49am
As a dad of a lesson girl and a seasoned horse show vendor, I'm still stunned at the trainer back stabbing. Do these women (and I only say women because that is all I have been exposed to) not think it will get back to the others? I've had several rescue horses and I know every horse person never mind trainer has their own opinion as to how to bring a horse back from abuse or neglect, standing next to me while our trainer evaluates a horse muttering under her breath that "she's doing it wrong" is not only unprofessional but irritating!.It finally caused our trainer to move to a different barn and just getting away from all the mean spirited comments and petty BS has made barn life more fun and all the kids like to hang around and do stuff like clean which makes everybody happy.
Comment by Marlene Thoms on March 15, 2011 at 1:26pm
I might add, that when I watch dressage performances, they are fascinating. But what I always look at, regardless of the calibre of perfomance, is the way the horse seems to feel. If the horse is not happy, no amount of technical perfection impresses me. And some of them are obviously not happy, it shows quite obviously. I don't know if or how the judges mark for that, but it should be.
Comment by Marlene Thoms on March 15, 2011 at 1:20pm
I don't know a lot about horse training. But I would bet some of the techniques work similarly to high level dog training,which I have done. Some of the techniques that you can use on a mentally robust breed like a German Shepherd would shock ordinary people, they might appear harsh but are applied very carefully so as to maintain the spirit of the animal. But those same techniques used on the wrong breed, say a Golden Retreiver would be a complete disaster. In the wrong hands any technique can be disastrous with just about any dog. So I would say, observe first hand the results a particular trainer has accomplished. If you like the results, and they have produced productive, happy, good working animals, then use their expertise as much as you can. I would never let any trainer work on my animal without me seeing exactly what is going on and how that animal is reacting. I would not allow anything that dampens the spirit of my animals, it is a fine line that is easy to step over.
Comment by Kathleen K on March 14, 2011 at 4:49pm
Great blog post. It's very true that professional people are the better trainer 99.99% of the time. They know they get results, so don't need to bash the competition.

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