a big hug (and a martini) to the lower level trainers
I want to say to all of the lower level trainers out there, I don't know how you do it. I don't know how you maintain your enthusiasm and calm week after week. Just this past week, my assistant trainer had to deal with a parent and a student who are quite convinced that the kid should be cantering on her own "because they let her canter at the other barn". The kid is beyond scary and the mother is clueless. The assistant trainer is just trying to keep her alive hoping that the kid will miraculously find some balance. A lunge line? No way. She's been riding way too long to be put on a lunge line! The mom and kid will probably go away unhappy and tell everyone that we held the kid back. And then there's the mom of the 4 1/2 yo kid who says she had no idea that her kid falling off a pony was a possibility, wants an assurance that it will never happen and then goes on to say she wants to "rent" the 17.1 hand 1.30m horse in the barn for exercise because she's certain she'd be a good rider. After all, she does yoga 3x per week. Add to that the 15 yo beginner rider who hasn't a clue (but is convinced she knows it all) who breaks down in tears because she can't make her horse trot because she's had a "bad day". And finally, you have the little kids who aren't interested in riding at all but mommy and daddy want to be able to say that their kid rides so you have to constantly cajole and humor the kid into staying on the pony. Have the kid actually do what you ask? Forget about it.
I commend you all. You have to deal with this crap every week and somehow you maintain not only your sanity but still care about the people you're teaching and revel in their successes. The few people who are there to actually learn something from you are the ones that get you through. My hat is off to you. I couldn't do it.
I would like to thank the numerous trainers who have put up with and talked me through my brain-dead moments. Like when I'm on a course and suddenly my mind goes absolutely blank. Lead change? What lead change? OMG JUMP!
After one such case at an IHSA show (NOT the place for a brain-dead moment) I come out of the ring, terrified to hear the breakdown. My coach just looks at me and goes "You better pull it together, because you're point rider for flat." It may sound harsh but I knew exactly what I did wrong, and if I'd been 'poor baby'ed I would have just wallowed for the rest of the show. Instead I shook it off and remembered that I can actually do this whole horseback riding thing.
"Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out." ~John Wooden
Being a trainer certainly has its ups and downs. Patience is a must but surprisingly some of the wee ones are just as much fun to teach as the students who compete in rated shows. In fact, some of the parents of the more experienced kids are even harder to deal with!
I have to say though, the REAL heroes are the schooling horses! They are incredibly tolerant and I am always amazed at what they put up with just for a cookie and a pat. I have one schoolie that I have owned for 16 years now. He is always ready to work and tries his best even when the riders don't give him any help. He KNOWS his job and works harder than he really has to.
Trainers' patience is amazing... but on the flip side, what I have seen with my daughter and her trainer is that my daughter thinks her trainer is the coolest, most knowledgable, most fabulous person she knows... so trainers do have the opportunity to become real role models and heros to their students...