How do you know?

With a background in riding including mostly wild child bareback trail rides and those two days of polo instruction when they had us whizzing around a ring.....

How's a girl to know how to pick a trainer?

I've only worked with a few....

Trainer E I found answering a working student ad.  She looked good riding a horse, and could get the horse looking good (at least to my newbie eye)....but when I think back now at my lessons with this trainer, I realize now that what she was telling me to do with Porsche was very wrong. See-sawing on the bit to get her attention??? Jerking on the inside rein to put her in a frame??? No no no!

I had the privilege of riding for Jutta Schott on both Porsche and Tesla. I love her teaching style, how good she is with the horses, how happy they are to work for her, and her classical approach to horsemanship.

So, now at the new barn, I have several trainer options from western to H/Jers to pure dressage...and am unsure which way to turn...finances are somewhat of a factor, as I won't be able to do regular lessons (prolly only once a month, max) as of now, I'm mostly working from books/videos.
 I've ridden a few times with a Trainer here, but when she suggested that I substitute arena rides for trail rides around the property (something I can do on my own, and actually do on a regular basis already, Tesla can step out alone) and that she would charge me for accompanying along on her horse, I kinda lost some respect for her (and part of me wonders how much "gullible walking target" I project.....)

Right now, my goal is to transform Tesla into a solid riding partner, but I'm unsure as to what specific discipline she may be best suited for in the end...

What do you look for in choosing a trainer?

Any and all advice is welcome!


  1. ugh trying to find a new trainer can be so hard and frustrating.... really tho, the most important factors (to me, your mileage may vary) are that the trainer inspires confidence in me, that i'm challenged but not over-faced, that the horse improves from the program, and perhaps most importantly - that i'm able to recreate some (if not all) of the magic that we get in lessons while i'm schooling on my own. if i can't do it on my own without the trainer, have i actually learned?

    as far as finding which trainer is the best fit, perhaps just try out all your options? letting them all know that you're in a flux kinda position and can't commit, but want to see what's available. a good trainer will still give you a good lesson. good luck!

    1. Good solid advice, Emma! I might just try them all :)

  2. Since I live in a desolate, eventer-less land, I don't really have a trainer. The board where my horses are boarded is a dressage barn; I'm good friends with the barn manager/owner/trainer (that's one person, not three haha!) but don't take lessons from her. She's a good rider and a good instructor, but I guess I don't feel like she can tell me anything I don't already know. That's what I'm really looking for in a trainer- someone who can help me improve my riding, teach me new skills, and help me work through problems.

    I'm a big fan of riding with clinicians that you respect (through watching their rides/auditing/etc)- I felt like that's the most helpful thing I did last year!

    1. I agree! The few dressage clinics I participated in have been invaluable! I should be more proactive about watching lessons as well (with permission, of course!)


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