Here’s a blog post sent in by a reader that is a little sensitive so we will not publish anyone’s name. Can the HJU community help by providing some advice?

 - photo by Sue van der Linden

– photo by Sue van der Linden

Sometimes, I Wish My Trainer Would Coach Me Like My Violin Teacher Teaches Me.

Some background, because this won’t make a lot of sense to a lot of people, maybe.

I recently found a new violin teacher. I’m not a prodigy, and she is, or was. I’m still a beginner, and in an art where beginner is a status reserved for three year olds, that’s considered not okay. I’ve been the bottom of my orchestra for years, and she accepts that, knows that most of the time I miss orchestra for horse shows, and that I do have other priorities.

It’s not like we share a deeply personal relationship, or that we’ve been together for over 3 months, but it means something. She’s training me to be the best that I can be, expecting me to put into it whatever I can, and not holding any of her rather past my last teacher’s expertise back. In three months, she’s shown me videos, books, had me listen to music, to figure out who I would like to emulate, to show me what the biggest, most important things are that I can do to improve my playing. She even nods politely at my riding references, and figures that it makes sense to me, and that that’s what matters to me, to my learning, even if it’s not what she understands.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand that my trainer is busy. I understand that she has shows, and that she has other students, and she can’t, maybe do the same things. But ever so often, I get it, and that’s what I’m trying to describe.

I don’t own a horse. I’ve two siblings, parents who intend to see me finish an ivy league college on scholarship, and thus cannot afford to board, or buy one. I can’t afford her lessons, and lease a horse of the caliber I would need right now, so I figure that until I can work two shifts in high school to afford a horse, I’ll take her expertise, her rather fine expertise, twice a week, and show in IEA, or equitation.

I’ve been working this way for years, and I’ve gotten rather good. I jump 3′, 3’3″ now, when I can use her ex-Grand Prix horse, and I’ve helped train two green-broke horses, to the point that I’m usually the first person on the new crazy greenies. My team won IEA nationals last year, and I made it there with them, made it to the last stage of competition and placed in my division. I’m not perfect, I’ve got a lot to learn, and putting a green horse on the bit is still hard for me. I usually forget my outside aids unless reminded.


I come whenever I can, and I help out, and I do what I can. But the ex-Grand Prix horse is half leased by someone, and I feel like I’m sliding backwards. Less quality instruction time, more “Get on the green horse and let’s see you train him”. It’s in my skill set, it’s fun, and I understand the necessity, but there are plenty of quality horses around the barn. I understand I can’t always ride them and I wouldn’t want to, but could I expect to ride one semi often? Can I expect to keep moving forward in my own personal riding while not owning or leasing a horse?

- photo by Andrea

– photo by Andrea Walker

I feel like, with my violin teacher, I’ve got so many more limitations. It’s not what I’m prepared to devote myself to for life, what I would stop breathing without and I don’t spend my time listening and watching the performances of violinists. I spend my time reading books by Morris, by Steinkraus, hoping to implement what they say in my next lesson; even if my trainer won’t hold me to their standards.

My violin teacher is a world class performer, and she spends the same amount of time with me, spends as much time planning what I’ll do next as her much more devoted and talented other students.

I get that my trainer can’t expect as much money from me; can’t expect boarding fees, showing fees or leasing fees. Maybe she doesn’t see how much I’m putting into it. I know she never had to fight for two lessons a week, or expect to save up for her own horse. But don’t I deserve as much attention, and focused, goal oriented instructing as girls who can show every weekend and buy the horses the need, lease the horses they want?