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Trainer competing against student

As a trainer would you compete against your students at a show? As a student how would you feel about competing against your trainer?

This is something more likely to occur at schooling shows than rated shows where teacher and student are more likely to be in jr/sr/ammie/pro divisions unless the student is also a pro (which happens a lot with most bnts who have assistant trainers, or the top top where like reed Kessler is working with Marcus ehning for example). No issues. And at schooling shows we’re all there to school. No issues.

what’s worse was when my rider was competing against his brother and I prayed to God his brother would have a rail and he wiped out a whole fence. And my rider told me I couldn’t pray for such things. Pfff.


I’ve competed against my trainer (she was on a green horse), no big deal.
Is your concern the actual competing, or that the pro is too busy to help focus on the student’s warm up/time management issues/etc?


One of the best feelings in the world is beating your trainer.


@Training Cupid I’m actually concerned about all of the above…but, as far as the competing goes, I don’t feel comfortable with an adult trainer riding in a pony hunter class against one of her much younger students. If it were just to get her pony exposed to showing I would be completely ok with it but, when you register for points that takes the fun out of it for everyone else in that division.

Damn right it is! Although mine (jokingly) threatened to not haul me home and leave me at show.

For me, it wasn’t a big deal as I don’t need a lot of help warming up - she mainly sets rails for me and gives some minor pointers. But if you were a less experienced rider and not getting warm up attention you needed, I could see how that might be an issue.


That’s what I keep telling the student! I also stress to her that instead of looking at who took Champion for the overall season…think about how many times you actually beat your trainer!!!

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Ha! Kids on ponies inevitably beat adults on ponies.


Um, I don’t know too many circuits that adults can ride ponies in Pony Hunter classes. This must be a very small, local circuit. If pony is for sale, trainer may want points on pony to help pony sell. I’m not sure I would want to be riding with a trainer that feels that chasing points against Jr’s is a good idea (with the exception of pony being for sale and trying to establish a show record for pony). Perhaps it is time to look for a new trainer.


@LockeMeadows it is a small local circuit and the pony is NOT for sale!

I think the most obvious solution is if this bothers you simply do not train with this person. But I know lots of trainers who are pretty terrible so it doesn’t bother me.


I have before. Sometimes I enter the Advanced and Non-Pro and she does the Advanced division as well… her and my former trainer that I rode with in high school. It doesn’t bother me honestly. I show to have fun and if I get ribbons, great. I don’t show enough to be eligible for awards and I am not the most competitive person either.

I’m an adult rider and in the schooling shows I tend to also be competing against kids. I’m no pro, but I have decades of experience over them. Sadly, my bravery taps out at a certain height. I know some people get a little miffed when adults ride against their kids, pro or not.

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In open hunter classes at a rated show, it happens all the time. No biggie

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Personally, I think there are many situations where it is appropriate for a trainer to show against a student. But, this situation sounds a little questionable. I agree that it would be more clear if the trainer was riding a green pony (she’s not) or if she was actively marketing a pony (she’s not).

Of course, it’s quite possible that this trainer is building this pony’s credentials/show record in order to sell it later on. Or, it’s possible that she is trying to develop the pony to the point where it is a push button pony that can be leased or sold for a good price. Still, it doesn’t look good for her to be repeatedly competing against her own students–she’s certainly not building her reputation. In any case, a good trainer would have her feet on the ground when her young students were competing and be preoccupied with teaching, not busy prepping her own pony to compete against them.

The real problem may be that the local circuit has class specs that allow adult pros to ride in certain pony divisions. Giving feedback to the show management suggesting that they alter their class specs might be another way of handling the situation.

There have been times where I have felt funny competing my horses in classes that are primarily kids, but I bring along a fair number of green horses, and the local shows are a good place for a first outings. At the local shows the class specs often allow for adult amateurs and pros to ride against kids. IME it’s rare for people to take advantage of this, but if someone does, you can’t control that.

Whenever you compete, you need to learn to be sportsmanlike about competing against whoever decides to enter and legally fits the class specs. Even in the A shows, where divisions are carefully divided between pro and amateur, there are some ammies that typically show over higher fences/at higher levels, but they are entitled to take their famous derby horse and step down to the 3’ AA Hunters for a show and clean up if they want.


As an eventer it happens a lot, either because my trainer is riding very green horses at local unrecognized stuff or because there aren’t enough in a higher level division to split it by experience at a recognized event. But I think this seems a bit different, in that a trainer who is really seriously competing at a very low level rather than riding a baby is probably not experienced or proficient enough that they should be teaching someone at the same level.

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Our trainer took our pony in a mini hunter division at our local schooling series and holy crow did the sh!t hit the fan with angry parents and grandparents even though it was totally legal AND everyone witnessed the pony being VERY NAUGHTY in a division prior with my kid. Our pony is green, he needs to learn the ropes. We do not have a larger kid who can pilot him around. And he has a bag of tricks that my daughter can not yet deal with that surfaces at shows only (that’s why we are at schooling shows). Yes he won with the pro, but he was being schooled and indeed attempted some tricks with him in a class or two. At the next show I had him go in unjudged to avoid the pony mamma drama. (even though it is totally legal). We aren’t doing it for the ribbon- we are doing it for the experience for the pony and to train good behaviors.

It was ironic that when another trainer did the same thing to use it as warm up for a children’s hunter section - no one cared…including us (and my kid got beat). And when my pony is good it doesn’t matter who or what is against him- he’ll beat a pro on horse or pony with my kid on him.

End of year ribbons are nice. No one likes getting beat. Schooling shows are just that- besides an affordable option- it allows things that can’t happen at rated shows. It is a good opportunity for the student to learn there are more important things than ribbons. Hard lesson but a good one. Don’t use the trainer and find a new one. Better yet- ask your trainer WHY - I can think of several reasons: solidify lead changes, riding a stoppper, etc.

Though I can’t stand people showing in divisions they are technically " too advanced" for just for the ribbons, the people who gripe and complain because they want ribbons too annoy me.


To school a student’s naughty pony? Yes. To put miles on a green horse? Yes. To showcase a horse I had for sale? Yes. To help fill a class? Maybe. But just to take my horse to a show? Probably not.

As a student, would I be upset? As long as my trainer put in her best efforts at getting me and my horse ready for the show and provided the support I need at the show, I like to believe that I would not be upset.


best response so far. :slight_smile:

Agree with NoSuch Person’s post. A lot would depend on the situation at hand and who trainer is showing against. I don’t think it’s appropriate, really, to show a pony against young jr. clients. Even if the class/division specs allow there’s something called sportsmanship and a pro going up against Jrs. isn’t very sportsman-like IMO. Depending on the class/fence heights IMO it wouldn’t make the trainer look too good(read: professional) either.

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As part of the services clients expect and pay for? That’s part of showing in Open classes as opposed to age or Ammy restricted divisions. Open means Open whether rider is doing some attitude adjustment on a naughty Pony or trying to win the class. Open means Open to all. If you don’t like showing against adults and/or Pros? Stay in the restricted divisions.

If this question is in reference to OPs Adult trainer in a restricted to Ponies class trying to win it against their other child clients? You need a better learning environment at home and shows that at least attempt to follow established guidelines even if not rated. May not be specifically against the rules of unrated, unregulated anything goes local shows but it’s not the way to run a teaching/training business and not much of a sportsmanship example for the kids to aspire to.