Ugh..does this ever get better?

bearlythere

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Nov 25, 2021
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I am a new rider, got on my first horse about 3 years ago and just had to have more! I have found that people around here act like if you haven't been riding forever or owned your first horse when you were 12, then basically you are a joke. I have experienced this from riders and instructors alike. It is SO disheartening. I took lessons for over a year and a half before realizing there had been many holes in what I was and wasn't taught. I did not know how to apply my leg or what part I should be using when yelled at for "more leg" I was constantly told "wrong lead" when going from trot to canter, but never explained what that meant..etc. I found a new instructor who is really good now, and teaching more in a few months than the year and a half elsewhere. BUT, I find that a big majority of horse people are rude, unfriendly and sometimes down right mean. Is this how it is everywhere? I figured the young people would be but it really shocks me to see older folks acting that way. Everyone had to start somewhere and I just had a REALLY late start! lol :) I am 50 now, and want to keep riding as long as I can, but can't help but wonder if I'll ever get past the "better than you" attitude I see and feel in so many barns. Does anyone else have this experience?
 

Jessey

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Dec 20, 2004
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Not everyone is like that, but in reality 3 years of horses is a drop in the ocean of learning, even a lifetime isn’t long enough to learn everything there is to know with horses, it’s a never ending quest.

It does depend a bit on where you are, but big yards I’m afraid, are generally worse than the school playground for bitchyness, unfortunately it’s just what happens when you put a bunch of people together with their pride and joy on show, especially if it’s a competition yard.

Try not to take it personally, and let most comments wash over you. There is a place for everyone but sometimes we have to shop around a bit to find the place that suits us.
 

Skib

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Dec 21, 2003
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No I abslutely dont. I started age 61 and am still riding more than 20 years later.
I will comment here on your complaint that you were not properly taught or were taught wrong. Because I would see that in a more positive light.

In ones first lessons it is usual in any subject to simplify and produce a basic knowledge on which further refinement can be built.
I agree that there is insufficuient explanation for a novice and that the language is opaque but you should not be afraid to ask for explanations or to ask questions in a riding lesson.

However, riding is not an exact science. There are different styles of riding (just as there are in playing a musical instrument) and one teacher may tell you to do something and the next teacher tell you something else. I find it best to do what the teacher of the moment says. But afterwards, as one gathers alternatives one can work out the style of riding that suits one and which of the possible alternatives is best for any particular horse.

I find it useful to read the German as well as the UK BHS Pony Club riding manual. But I have a good primer by Carl Hester and videos too.

You can go to specialist yards and attend clinics and organise your own riding education. I discovered that watching and later being taught by Mark Rashid was an enormous step forward for me because I learned how to teach a horse to do what I wanted.

Are yards unfriendly? Probably they are. I ride alone and have never been put in a group or socialised with or even been spoken to by any other client over the years. I could afford to ride on my own so it didnt worry me. Staff were unfailingly kind. No one else rode Rashid style nor understood his idea of feel.
And the vital thing in riding is communication and relationship with the horse. And rider safety too.
 

carthorse

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Jan 6, 2006
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I'm guessing you're not UK based so I can't say what the situation is where you are.

It sounds like you've been unfortunate in your RIs. Early on it's hard to know if you've got a good one because you don't know enough to judge and unfortunately the poorer ones often make you feel you're progressing faster. But done is done, and it sounds like you have a decent one now.

Yards can be bitchy and like everything else it's a case of learning who to avoid and not taking it personally. If the bitches come over try to steer the talk away from horses. The know it alls would think they knew more if you had 40 years experience and they had 2, I remember seeing someone who competed on international dressage teams being bitched about by someone who competed at prelim (very basic) and saying she'd never get far if she rode like that :rolleyes:. Gave us a good laugh!

Enjoy you horse and don't let things get to you. It may be worth looking for a different barn, perhaps your RI could tell you what local ones are like.
 

Trewsers

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I think yard culture in general is if you haven't been sat on horses since being a few months old, then you're a numpty and will never know very much. That was my experience on both yards we were on. I never ever tried to convey excess knowledge but was always treated like a two year old and that I didn't really know how to ride or one end of our horses from the other! Sometimes it was adults that made comments to this tune, sometimes it was the teenagers. Some were helpful, some not. I developed a thick skin pretty fast and although I sound bitter about it, I'm not honest! For me it was great keeping them at home, as it meant no more being looked down on, no more know-alls telling me this that and the other, just me and mr trews learning together and doing our best for the neds. There's probably nice yards out there and not everyone is out to belittle people who come to riding later on in life, it's probably a case of treading carefully and finding the nicer people slowly and steadily. Also probably depends on how confident you are in your riding. I wasn't particularly un-confident at one point but some of the negative comments I had were enough to make me want to hang up my bridle for good! I was mocked for wearing a bp amongst other things. I could go on. People who made those comments should have been forced to endure one of my horses spooking sessions! hahaa, if I'd been thinking straight I'd have offered them a ride on her!
 
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carthorse

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@Trewsers I think that's a bit harsh. The yard I'm on is a fairly big one with a mixed bag of experiences and abilities. Some have ridden for many years, others haven't. Some are confident, others aren't. Some want to compete, others don't. The majority get along just fine and will muck in to help each other with no intention of patronising or belittling. You'll always get one or two that don't, but then they're probably the same at work and other things too. Yards vary a lot, that's why I'd say don't stay where you aren't happy.
 
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Trewsers

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@Trewsers I think that's a bit harsh. The yard I'm on is a fairly big one with a mixed bag of experiences and abilities. Some have ridden for many years, others haven't. Some are confident, others aren't. Some want to compete, others don't. The majority get along just fine and will muck in to help each other with no intention of patronising or belittling. You'll always get one or two that don't, but then they're probably the same at work and other things too. Yards vary a lot, that's why I'd say don't stay where you aren't happy.
It is indeed harsh, but it is the truth of my own personal experience. :)
 
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chunky monkey

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Ive only had a small number of lessons in the years ive been riding. The one thing ive learnt is dont stick with the same instructor, have several. If your in an area where there are a number and you have transport to take you and your horse to them then go for it.
Its about finding an instructor that you click with and improving your riding skills. No one will care who you go to at the end of the day its you that will benefit.

Ive often noticed that some people will livery at the same yard for years. Others will chop and change because yards dont suit them, yard politics, snobbery etc.
 
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GaryB

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I too started riding late. I am on a small yard with riders ranging from a 30 minute hack once a week to 130cm shoe jumpers - we all get on well and respect each others riding. (so not everywhere is bad)
 
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Mary Poppins

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Not all yards are nasty. My yard is full of lovely people. Some started late, some have been riding before they could walk. I think that it works because we are all independent and don’t get enmeshed in each other’s lives or business. Even though I have lost my horse I have started visiting again and just hanging out there. It is a nice place to be.
 

bearlythere

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Nov 25, 2021
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I think yard culture in general is if you haven't been sat on horses since being a few months old, then you're a numpty and will never know very much. That was my experience on both yards we were on. I never ever tried to convey excess knowledge but was always treated like a two year old and that I didn't really know how to ride or one end of our horses from the other! Sometimes it was adults that made comments to this tune, sometimes it was the teenagers. Some were helpful, some not. I developed a thick skin pretty fast and although I sound bitter about it, I'm not honest! For me it was great keeping them at home, as it meant no more being looked down on, no more know-alls telling me this that and the other, just me and mr trews learning together and doing our best for the neds. There's probably nice yards out there and not everyone is out to belittle people who come to riding later on in life, it's probably a case of treading carefully and finding the nicer people slowly and steadily. Also probably depends on how confident you are in your riding. I wasn't particularly un-confident at one point but some of the negative comments I had were enough to make me want to hang up my bridle for good! I was mocked for wearing a bp amongst other things. I could go on. People who made those comments should have been forced to endure one of my horses spooking sessions! hahaa, if I'd been thinking straight I'd have offered them a ride on her!
I hear you loud and clear! I have had some comments and attitudes towards me, make me go home and think "What am I doing? I do not belong here" I am in Oregon and moved here from Los Angeles 5 yrs ago. Having grown up in LA, not exactly inner city, but damn close, there was NO opportunity to ride horses. Once we moved here and I realized how many places there were to ride, I was estatic! I am not a very confident rider with only 3 yrs of riding, I never act like I already know something, but have often refrained from asking questions because it sparks ridicule. I take lessons because I DON"T know, but even the RI in the beginning got in on laughing and joking at my expense! I guess I'm glad to know it isn't unique to my situation and I will take much of the advice here to heart. I truly appreciate your experience.
 
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Doodle92

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My yard isn’t like that at all. Apart from one person who knows everything about everything. (Despite never getting on a horse or actually looking after her horses!) But she is like that in all parts of her life. The rest genuinely are wanting everyone else to succeed whatever level that is and people are just as chuffed for you doing a walk trot dressage test or out British eventing.
 

bearlythere

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Nov 25, 2021
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My yard isn’t like that at all. Apart from one person who knows everything about everything. (Despite never getting on a horse or actually looking after her horses!) But she is like that in all parts of her life. The rest genuinely are wanting everyone else to succeed whatever level that is and people are just as chuffed for you doing a walk trot dressage test or out British eventing.
Are you in the UK? Sounds like barns are a little more friendly there! :)
 

bearlythere

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Nov 25, 2021
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I apologize for my first post being a bit negative...I think I just needed to hear "it's not you" and I did, so THANK YOU everyone who answered! I am truly grateful for the input, advice and other experiences! I think I'm going to keep on riding and if anyone doesn't like it..they can go muck a stall. :) I am a western pleasure rider, I LOVE mountain trail as well as riding actual trails around my house. I am leasing an OTTB named Marquis and riding with a good instructor now. I am very interested in Ray Hunt, Monty Foreman and have read everything I can by those two who seem to have a line directly to the horse's brain! I realize that at 50, there is not so much a destination for me, but the journey (on horseback) will be a blast, I think. Thanks again to everyone who gave me some input. I WILL KEEP RIDING!!! :)
 

Emilikins

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Feb 28, 2021
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I rode at Western pony camps as a kid but only got back into riding this March at a hunter/jumper barn. It’s smaller than the bigger show barns in our area (how are 25 horses considered ‘small’?!), and to even find this place was a stroke of luck. I’d called every barn and if I managed to get anyone to respond to my inquiries, I was flat out told trainers wouldn’t “waste their time” on me if I didn’t plan to board, lease, or show. I work full-time w/ two little kids … yeah, I’m not slapping down $$$ on shows, sorry! But someone gave me this trainer’s number and said she might “be willing.” Like I’m a stray dog.

On the one hand, my trainer is fine with me not showing and just taking lessons because I ENJOY it. I did do one schooling show but she was not upfront about the full costs (yes, I asked), so when I got slapped with a big bill, I said, sorry, I can maybe do it 1-2x a year, and this was not what you told me. The overall vibe at this barn is friendly, but nearly everyone shows and has multiple horses. Lots of the kiddos are getting saddles and ponies this Christmas. However, I have noticed since declining shows that my trainer has placed me at that absolute bottom of her priority list; she’s forgotten to let me know if our lesson is canceled due to schooling others before a show and when I’d asked to move to a different lesson day/time due to work schedule changes and avoiding schooling days, she agreed — and then filled that spot. I basically put up with that weirdness b/c her lesson horses are well cared for, happy, and she is a huge believer in as much turnout as possible and not overriding her lesson horses. I’ve also seen her talk an upset kiddo out of a spiral at a horse show and reminding her that this is supposed to be about having FUN with her pony.

Really, I think it’s time she hires an assistant and gets another lesson horse since she has a waitlist for lessons and some empty stalls. But I don’t have her ledger, so …

I have chatted a bit with the show kids and every. single. one. came to this barn after bad experiences at other area barns. I even talked with some of the moms and everyone had a horror story about other trainers and barns. When riding in my first show and then later trying to volunteer as ground crew/ribbon runner at another, I ran into absolute ICE trying to make friends with other horse folk. While the trainers chatted at the in-gate, there didn’t seem to be any socializing between barns. It was weird. A trainer from my hometown - who I’d helped w/ her pony day camps this summer and my daughter attended - seemed really put off with me saying hello at a show.

On the bright side, there is senior re-rider who started lessons this year at my barn, and I pretty much love her. We both just ride the lesson horses once a week and wish we could do more. She’s invited me to join a chatty group of other horse ladies, but of course I was out of town during their last meetup. She gives me hope!

TL;DR - Horse world can be cliquey and weird, especially if you’re an ‘outsider’ without a horse of your own. But I’m glad you found a better fit trainer wise.
 
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bearlythere

New Member
Nov 25, 2021
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I rode at Western pony camps as a kid but only got back into riding this March at a hunter/jumper barn. It’s smaller than the bigger show barns in our area (how are 25 horses considered ‘small’?!), and to even find this place was a stroke of luck. I’d called every barn and if I managed to get anyone to respond to my inquiries, I was flat out told trainers wouldn’t “waste their time” on me if I didn’t plan to board, lease, or show. I work full-time w/ two little kids … yeah, I’m not slapping down $$$ on shows, sorry! But someone gave me this trainer’s number and said she might “be willing.” Like I’m a stray dog.

On the one hand, my trainer is fine with me not showing and just taking lessons because I ENJOY it. I did do one schooling show but she was not upfront about the full costs (yes, I asked), so when I got slapped with a big bill, I said, sorry, I can maybe do it 1-2x a year, and this was not what you told me. The overall vibe at this barn is friendly, but nearly everyone shows and has multiple horses. Lots of the kiddos are getting saddles and ponies this Christmas. However, I have noticed since declining shows that my trainer has placed me at that absolute bottom of her priority list; she’s forgotten to let me know if our lesson is canceled due to schooling others before a show and when I’d asked to move to a different lesson day/time due to work schedule changes and avoiding schooling days, she agreed — and then filled that spot. I basically put up with that weirdness b/c her lesson horses are well cared for, happy, and she is a huge believer in as much turnout as possible and not overriding her lesson horses. I’ve also seen her talk an upset kiddo out of a spiral at a horse show and reminding her that this is supposed to be about having FUN with her pony.

Really, I think it’s time she hires an assistant and gets another lesson horse since she has a waitlist for lessons and some empty stalls. But I don’t have her ledger, so …

I have chatted a bit with the show kids and every. single. one. came to this barn after bad experiences at other area barns. I even talked with some of the moms and everyone had a horror story about other trainers and barns. When riding in my first show and then later trying to volunteer as ground crew/ribbon runner at another, I ran into absolute ICE trying to make friends with other horse folk. While the trainers chatted at the in-gate, there didn’t seem to be any socializing between barns. It was weird. A trainer from my hometown - who I’d helped w/ her pony day camps this summer and my daughter attended - seemed really put off with me saying hello at a show.

On the bright side, there is senior re-rider who started lessons this year at my barn, and I pretty much love her. We both just ride the lesson horses once a week and wish we could do more. She’s invited me to join a chatty group of other horse ladies, but of course I was out of town during their last meetup. She gives me hope!

TL;DR - Horse world can be cliquey and weird, especially if you’re an ‘outsider’ without a horse of your own. But I’m glad you found a better fit trainer wise.
Ugh..it is horrible! And seems like it is a universal thing. I'm glad you have a found another rider to connect with :) That has been a bit of a problem here for me as well. I'm still waiting to find that person here..i KNOW he/she is out there! Til then..I will keep my head up and just do my thing.
 

Jane&Ziggy

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Apr 30, 2010
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@bearlythere I'm so glad that you have overcome your initial difficulties. Oregon is a beautiful state, I am sure your trail riding is exceptional. We love pictures, how about showing us a pic of your Marquis (lovely name!)?

@Emilikins , I think where animals are concerned the competitive and showing world is very different from the pleasure amateur world. I know that's the case here in the UK, and the impression I get is that in the US the difference is even more marked. Why people can't at least be pleasant to those who don't share their interest (and deep pockets) I don't know, but it's a shame. I do hope you continue to ride and enjoy your lessons.
 
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