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5 Things Your Trainer Wished You Wouldn’t Do

5 Things Your Trainer Wished You Wouldn’t Do

Justine Griffin

Pet peeves. We’ve all got ’em. Even your trainers. There are just some things we do as riders that drive our instructors absolutely bonkers.

Heels Down Mag chatted with Jessica and Doug Payne, professional eventers who also compete in show jumping, dressage and the hunters, to learn more about what drives them nuts.

Being late for lessons.

Time is valuable. When you book a lesson with a professional, they expect you be on time. Sure, things happen. But don’t make a habit out of showing up tardy. Most trainers prefer for you to be in the saddle and warming up by the time the lesson is supposed to start.

Even when someone is late, Doug said his lesson still ends at the time it’s supposed to. That means you’re paying for an hour of his time, but if you’re 15 minutes late, you’re only getting 45 minutes of it. 

“I always cut it off when it’s supposed to end,” Doug explained.

Forgetting to close the stall door.

Maybe you’re in a rush to get to the arena because you’re already running late for your lesson. But never leave a stall door open or unlatched.

First off, it’s a safety hazard. The horse may be in the stall and tacked up, but you left behind your spurs in the tack room. Don’t leave the stall door unlatched while you step away “for just a second” to grab what you forgot.

“A horse got loose at our barn because someone didn’t lock the door all the way,” Doug said. “It’s annoying. But we’re the ones who are responsible if a horse gets hurt for a careless reason. If the horse comes up lame, we have to deliver that news to the owner, not the person who left the door unlatched.”

Making excuses.

When you’re paying a professional to help you advance in the sport or train your horse, try not to talk back.

“We can always discuss something if you’re uncomfortable,” explained Jess. “But don’t come up with an excuse for why you can’t try or why your horse acted this way.”

Remember: talk is cheap. Just ride through it.

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The Hylofit device on a horse.

Leaving equipment behind.

Don’t show up to ride without everything you need. It’s not your trainer’s job to fetch you a bottle of water, or a crop, or the spurs you forgot back in the tack room.

In fact, Doug said you always show up to ride with a whip, no matter what.

Being underdressed.

By that, we mean dress appropriately. There are no tank tops (spaghetti straps) allowed in the Payne Equestrian barn. Loudly colored saddle pads may be OK when you’re riding by yourself, but when you’re with a professional, dress as if you’re preparing for the real thing.

Riding tights have come a long way in recent years, and some look professional for even a lesson or a clinic. And Jess doesn’t mind if you’re riding with your shirt untucked or without a belt.

“Just don’t look like a slob,” Jess described. 

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