Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Not Wrong

This whole Bringing Up Greenie thing has really opened my eyes to the amount of hard work and dedication it takes to make them into a civilized beast. Of course, all of that has been relatively simple thanks to the fact that Annie is one cool customer in regards to most things. To say that she is an Ammy-friendly Greenie would be pretty accurate - for the most part our biggest hurdles have been on the ground vs in the saddle and even those have been relatively short-lived. (I feel like I need to knock on wood now...)

And the horse has been so good lately, you guys.
When I first bought Annie, I was intending to send her to Trainer K for a month. I'm sure you guys can figure out how that went -  because obviously Annie didn't go. Being laid off from work (due to a shortage) was a large portion of it, and also due to the fact the barn Trainer K was training out of was on and off flooding throughout the left-over Winter months. So I saved my pennies instead and rode the horse myself.

And so far, it's been just fine. We've had hiccups and we've had moments of uncertainty, but we've been able to show a steady stream of progress and we've been able to overcome things. All has been good in that respect.

But part of me is still strongly considering training with Trainer K at the end of the year.

Not because Annie is a bad horse, or because we are having some issues I haven't disclosed on my blog. In fact, she is a pretty solid citizen for the most part.

So why am I still considering it?

I guess the simplest answer is: I am not a trainer.

I am a professional shit scooper tho.
So, I have that going for me.
I've tossed this idea of "training" around for the last few months and have had multiple responses from various friends. Some range from the "DIY" category, and others have wholly agreed that some refinement work from a trainer wouldn't be a bad idea. And some others meet in the middle - training with a side of lessons.

And none of them are wrong.

Having being stuck (not by choice) in the DIY category for most of my riding life, what seems like an attainable thing (ie. lessons) is not as simple a feat for someone who has a working life, lesson commute (1hr each way), and (always at the most inconvenient times) a very small pocket-book. I constantly fall in and out of the lesson cycles due to things like weather, work, or no later ride times, which makes me short-listed on various occasions (regulars get first dibs, as they should!).

I am quite fortunate to have my own trailer now and a verrry understanding Boyfriend (any lesson I need to commute to, I am gone 4-5 hours of the day, usually at dinner time lol).

The whole sending your horse away for training thing is a hot topic, and I am kinda stuck in the middle with all of the mental brain-games that go on. Self-doubt and being impressionable really sucks! Altho, as a good friend said - "You need to stop being so hard on yourself! This is literally one month of training, it's not like you are going to have her in training for the rest of her life!"

Duly noted.


This guy did two months training before
I brought him home.
For sake of curiosity, what is your take? Are you in the "lessons only" camp? Or are you in the "self-made, self-taught" category? Is training something you would consider, especially after you started riding the horse? Do you consider training as an "easy out"? Do you consider extra miles on a greenie as nbd?

And if you have sent horses for training, why was the reason the horse was sent for training? Is it a situation you could've resolved yourself? How long was the horse in training for? Would you send the horse for training again?

22 comments:

  1. I'm also in the self-made/self-taught camp (with probably less than 25 lessons total in my life?). Like you, it's mostly a perfect storm of circumstances, weather, money, and lack of access to good/affordable instruction. I am still on the hunt for an instructor who clicks with me and my horses, and can deal with my scheduling and riding inconsistences (and my meager budget!). I have sent horses to trainers to be started before, but now I do it myself. Mostly because the people I trust are too far/unaffordable, and the people who are local/affordable are not necessarily people I would trust. But YMMV obviously. ☺

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    1. It's kind of comforting to know someone else who has dealt with the #strugglebus of lessons, adulting, and otherwise! It can be so frustrating sometimes when you have a jam-packed schedule and can't really allow for any lessons.

      I don't think I would send Annie to anyone else, simply because I have both ridden and sat in on training rides this Trainer has put on client horses. I like that she is very open adn honest about things, and it doesn't hurt she trains out of a very public barn where a lot of my friends board :)

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    2. Yeah, if you have someone you trust, by all means, involve a trainer! I had one, but tragically she moved away. There is not much to keep the super talented trainers here locally, we're kind of in the armpit of Missouri lol. Always awesome when you can watch them work and see their methods!

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    3. Hahahaa armpit of Missouri.

      It can be tough! I know of a few bloggers who trailer a pretty good distance just to get quality instruction. And weirdly enough, posting this blog topic has made me realize A LOT of us are "on our own" (and not by choice!).

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    4. I could probably find some decent instruction if I trailered 2 hours east or west to the big cities in MO -- but then the issue becomes the instruction there is cost prohibitive even if I had 6 hours to go get it (which I don't) haha. I've got some plans on the instructor horizon this fall, so hopefully they pan out! 😀 But it's comforting to know I'm not alone, and we're all managing to muddle along pretty well!

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  2. I didn't have access to regular lessons until 2 years ago, living in a very similar type town and situation as you. I did send a couple of horses for 30 to 90 days training when I was in that situation, just to give myself a head start and to be able to get out and have fun right away - and to be more confident in the horse's experience level and abilities! B has been so simple and fun and I've been able to take lessons now, so we didn't do any formal training with her. Honestly, you seem totally capable and Annie seems like such a good girl that I'd keep on doing what you're doing! Maybe keep up with the lessons or clinics every once in a while to help you stay confident you're on the right path/making progress? That being said, to answer your other question, nope, would never think anything bad of sending them away for training - Even very simple babies and greenies are such a huge time and emotional commitment when you're doing it on your own.

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    1. I was waiting for your comment! I knew you probably had felt similarly to me when you lived in this type of area! It's actually so frustrating haha. All the clinicians and instructors are from out of town and usually come up once a month for lessons and unless you fit within that EXACT TIME FRAME and you are on the list, you don't get lessons.

      Aw, thank you for your confidence boost <3 I feel better about things now that I've taken lessons, but I just worry I am missing out on crucial aspects, you know?

      Thanks for the comment - I appreciate your honesty!

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  3. training rides and training programs are a solid solution for many, many riders. even the pros still take lessons. all my trainers also have trainers. people who want to be at the top of the game never stop learning. personally, taking lessons is the #1 difference maker for how i feel about our progress.

    i've personally chosen horses with a solid foundation for me to build upon as the sole rider in a training program. like charlie, for instance, was a career race horse. he already knows what a rider is, and what a job is. i didn't have to teach him that - i just have to teach him what the *new* job is. but he already understands having a training program. for me, that's something i can work with pretty well - and was specifically something i shopped for.

    really tho it boils down to what you as the rider want to be doing with the horse. most amateurs can eventually achieve similar enough results to pros, it just takes longer. if you're really eager for the "fun stuff" that can be done once the horse is more trained, adding a pro in the mix is a great way to get there. if you don't care how long it takes and enjoy the every day nitty gritties of teaching a horse how to have a job, that's fine too. the horse is gonna have to get that mileage one way or another - it just depends on how quickly you want that ground covered.

    and fwiw, i believe that the idea that training is an "easy out" is a really dangerous mentality in riding. anyone who seeks help, advice, or a means of improving themselves should not be denigrated as not being tough enough or whatever. if a rider just wants to be able to get on the horse and go and have fun, there's nothing wrong with that - and nothing wrong in investing the training in the horse so that the horse can safely do that. just my two cents!

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    1. Oh for sure - and I even had my friend say to me "You think Olympic riders don't send their horses for training?"

      It is a cycle that doesn't end just because you are a top performer - which is one of the reasons I love horseback riding as a sport. This particular trainer, Trainer K, still takes regular lessons as well. I love that she is thirsty for knowledge still!

      I appreciate your input - and that you took your time to garner a really well-thought out reply :)

      It really does boil down to the individual and the horse and what the goals are. I think a lot of the times people feel subjected to criticism if they choose a professional vs doing it themselves because in a way, it makes them seem less credible.

      It'll be something to chew on, regardless.

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  4. I would totally send all my horses to training if I could afford it. Sending Nilla to a trainer really helped her. I only wish I could have left her there longer.

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    1. I was actually thinking of how you sent Nilla to training and was curious how it transferred over into her rideability and how you felt about the whole process! Glad to hear it was a positive experience.

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  5. I've always ridden my own horses for the most part. My old trainer just didn't get on every horse especially if her rider's were capable, she herself was old and couldn't take the risk anymore. Is it an easy out, no. Training is valuable, you just gotta do what is right for you.

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    1. This particular trainer is kind of in the same boat - she will only start horses after the first few rides are out of the way. She doesn't enjoy the whole bucking/rearing thing either. Based off of Annie's willingness and level-headedness, Trainer confirmed she'd be willing to take her.

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  6. It's a tough decision for sure. I was lucky that I could bring a trainer to my place- which to me is the best of all worlds. But I would send my horse away for training if I trusted them.

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    1. I wish I could have her come to me!! That would be amazing!

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  7. I think the answer to that depends a great deal on why someone rides and personal goals. For me, the training part is the draw (even when it all goes to shit, I still like figuring out solutions and experimenting with techniques). But every once in a while I wonder how great it would be to get on a finished horse and just do xyz well without the long road to get there. :)

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    1. I think you bring up some pretty valid points. While I am not necessarily afraid of putting the work in, I think my current situation would blossom with a mixture of lessons/training.

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  8. Leo was in training for two months (I think) shortly after I bought him; it got to the point where I felt like I was in over my head with him, and my trainer sort of specializes in repurposing saddlebreds for eventing. It was definitely the right call for me - he was a completely different horse after those two months. And I only had him in half-time training - he would do 3 days a week with her, and then I would do ground work with him 3 days a week.

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    1. I think part of what is holding me back is that I have had Annie for 6 months and have been consistently riding her so... whats the problem? Truth is, there isn't a "problem", I'd just like to see her get more refined and "confirmed" in things.

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  9. This is a great question and one I really wavered on with Emi. For a long time I was going to send her for training to be started but as the time approached I opted for DIY. My main reason wasn't really financial, I just didn't want to trust her education to someone I didn't know very well. I had already decided that if something went south I'd send her to training.

    I have sent 1 horse to training for an issue I was trying to figure out. I had just purchased a new horse when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I had surgeries scheduled and was unable to ride for a period of time. Sending the horse off for professional evaluation/help seemed like the right thing at the time and I am glad that I did it.

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    1. I was wondering if you'd chime in!

      I fully understand and respect the trust aspect - there aren't many trainers I'd send any of my horses to, esp not trainers that live far away either. I think the mixture of doing lessons/training would be a good idea for my current situation - I can keep tabs on how she is progressing and her training without having to worry.

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  10. I think it's so interesting how many different viewpoints there are about using a trainer. I, for one, don' think that people that use a trainer are somehow "cheating". I take weekly lessons and I put my horses into part time training for tune ups semi-frequently. Usually I use a trainer not because what I'm trying to teach my horse is something I can't do myself, but because they're just better at teaching than I am. I'm an elementary level teacher and they're college professors. Sure, I can teach my horse how to do a flying lead change, but they can teach it faster and more efficiently.

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