|Like this... but with less hugging.|
So, why then am I a reluctantly self-defined trainer hopper? I think this would best be explained by a little stroll down memory lane.
When I first moved back to Massachusetts, I went back to the only trainer I knew. I had last ridden with her circa 1992. She was an old school trainer, whose heyday had been on the open hunter courses of the 1960's. In the 1970's, she had galloped her own racehorses while 8 months pregnant. She was as tough as nails, and smoked like a chimney. Her horses learned to walk on the buckle while she took a cigarette break, and when it was time to go back to work, they had better say 'Yes, ma'am'. In her 60's, and crippled with arthritis, she no longer rode, but had probably forgotten more about horses than most people ever knew.
|From the Trainer P years.|
In the winter of 2011-2012, I took a few lessons at a local barn that had an indoor and some schoolies. It slowly dawned on me that I wasn't regularly falling off. I could work on myself and not fear for my life. Trainer A had a solid foundation and an emphasis on safety.
|Green coat with brass buttons... THE HORROR!|
After I left the cattiness and gossip-girl atmosphere of Trainer A's barn, I was almost at the point of taking a break from riding. I was financially and emotionally burnt. By posting an 'ISO' on a local online forum, I found a small barn where I could ride 1 or 2 times a week in exchange for money or work. This was Trainer J's place. Trainer J specialized in dressage and horse rescue. I want to say good things about Trainer J. But, I came to the quick realization that everything on her property was either crippled or crazy. Trainer J was well intentioned, but I really have no interest in riding animals that rear or buck (or both), #thankyouverymuch.
|From the Trainer J days|
After one too many bad rides at Trainer J's, I decided to throw in the towel. I was going to do the smart thing - give up horses, invest all my money in my 401K and retire early. And take up knitting. (Yes, this actually happened. And FYI, knitting is really hard and very expensive.)
After about, oh, 6 weeks or so of this insanity, I found myself crying in the parking lot of the grocery store, because I was just so darn unhappy without horses in my life (hey, I never said I was emotionally stable).
That is what led to me buying Boca, which lead to:
When I had owned Boca about 4 months or so, and decided that learning how to steer was a priority, I reached out to Trainer H. Trainer H boarded at my multi-discipline barn and had done a bit of everything, although was now centered riding/dressage focused. I really loved Trainer H - she was fun to learn from and had good basics. However, we had no indoor and a sh*t-ton of snow, which put lessons on hold for 3 months, and then I moved barns. Trainer H continued to coach me at my current barn for a while, but on the recommendation of Dr. C and a USEF judge and clinician, they noticed Boca was more comfortable with a H/J style ride, with me more on my thighs and a lighter seat (which makes sense, now that I know I was plopping my ample rear-end directly on his impinging dorsal spinal processes. Ooops. My bad, bruh.) In addition, Trainer H moved an hour north and was no longer able to come teach me onsite, although I was welcome to ship to her farm for lessons.
|Learning to steer and go straight, the Trainer H days|
Now trainer-less, I spent Summer/Fall 2015 riding with my friend H. In the interest of cutting this blog post short before we all die of old age, I rode with Friend/Trainer H2 for most of the year until she moved to Buffalo in December.
My most recent stint was with Trainer K. I won't go into extreme detail, as I have covered this before, but in essence, Trainer K specialized in the adult eq. ring. Trainer K seemed to think Boca was best suited to be a short stirrup pony, and that the solution to all my problems would be to drop >$10K on an aging, semi-crippled veteran eq horse. Despite my repeated, stated goal that I wanted to make Boca and I the best we could be, as we were.
So there you have the story of how I turned into a self-confessed trainer hopper, and went through 6 trainers in 7+ years.
Which bring us to lucky #7.
Maybe I'm just a late bloomer, and the right trainer relationship will find me late in life, much like marriage did.