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When should you leave your riding instructor?

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Finding a good riding instructor isn’t easy. Finding an instructor that’s good for YOU is a real challenge. In many cases, you have to compromise, and choose from the selection of trainers available in your area or specific stables. You might get a chance for a clinic or a couple of special lessons with an outside trainer, but most of the time – you’ll be riding with the same instructor. It’s not an ideal situation, but most riders seem to find and enjoy a long-term relationship with an instructor.

As challenging as it might be to find a good horseback riding instructor, there are cases in which you need to reconsider your choice and actually part ways with that trainer. It’s not always simple and easy, but sometimes it’s better not to have an instructor, than pay for lessons who contribute nothing to your riding skills or even make you feel frustrated and unhappy. How can you tell when it’s time to leave your instructor? Here are a few tips:

  1. You are not learning anything new – and it’s not because you don’t want to, or your skills aren’t good enough in order to advance. Sometimes, instructors get lazy, and the lessons become repetitive. You do the same things over and over and over again, and feel like you are advancing to nowhere. If this goes on for too long, and continues even after you’ve discussed it with your trainer – it’s time for a switch.
  2. They are making you feel uncomfortable – some instructors feel the need to constantly berate and yell at their students. Some can start nice and get nasty as time passes. Some think ridiculing the rider is part of the job. In any case, if the trainer’s behavior makes you feel unhappy and uncomfortable on any level – it isn’t worth it. Find another one.
  3. They are late. Constantly. – So, yeah, this isn’t the army or anything, but you are paying for a specific amount of time, and you deserve to get your money’s worth. Everybody can be delayed every now and then, but if your trainer is constantly late, it just means they don’t care enough about their job.
  4. They are not paying enough attention to you during the lesson – is your trainer’s face constantly buried in their phone screen? There’s no excuse for that. In your allotted time, they should pay full attention to you and your horse. Texting and looking at Instagram pics can wait for later.
  5. You’ve surpassed them – this is a tricky one. How can you tell when your trainer has nothing more to teach you? Chances are, you’ll just figure it out when you reach a certain level. At some point, you might realize you’ve learned all that you can from this specific person, and if you want to advance further in your riding, you need a new trainer.
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