Hi all, lurker here, but the “maestro” thread struck a chord with me since I previously boarded and trained with a similar horribly unqualified woman masquerading as an upper level dressage trainer.
Granted, my own personal “maestro” doesn’t have the internet presence as our friend, Nick, but she had a similar story. She claimed to have trained up through Grand Prix but wouldn’t say where she trained or who she trained with. She had a USDF record that only had a handful of first level and second level scores, all lower than 55%. And she had that indignant attitude about all other trainers in our area and really just anyone competing higher than she was. She despised people who rode schoolmasters and claimed it was cheating and if she had access to a fancy warmblood she’d be showing GP. She was an awful rider and trainer and of course hadn’t had a single riding lesson since she was 20 years old since no one in our area was good enough to train her (we live in an area with a large amount of gold medalists…). And to make matters worse her horse husbandry was abysmal, the boarding horses and her personal horses were all in awful condition.
I will use the excuse that I was in my early 20s at the time of training with this person so I truly didn’t realize how unqualified she was and that just about anyone can hang a “trainer” sign outside their door and make a business out of it. I started riding with a legitimate grand prix trainer after about a year with the bad trainer and within 9 months had a bronze medal under my belt, who would’ve thunk!
Anyway, I still shamefully follow along my old trainer’s social media because it’s like a bad reality show at this point, hard to look away! She has an entire cult of beginners who absolutely worship the ground she walks on. She takes them to shows from time to time and they all get pretty poor scores at intro and training and will still proudly post on social media about what a training genius this trainer is and how she’s brought them so far. She’s got them so brainwashed that now they are all starting to get their own young horses and other projects to train themselves…it’s truly the blind leading the blinder. Her horses are in overall very poor condition from weight to hooves to muscling. And she is still claiming she is oh so close to securing her bronze medal (she has no qualifying scores).
My question for the group is this: how are trainers like this thriving so much? It took me one show where I got a 50% at second with my horse who had only a few years earlier gotten mid 60s at first level for me to wake up and realize I needed a new trainer. But her current students have all been with her for years and go to schooling shows regularly and score poorly consistently at intro and training and their horses look awful and yet they are singing her praises left and right. Have you all ever encountered a trainer like this? And if it is so prevalent in the US, what could be done by the equestrian governing bodies to improve the sport and those providing services within the sport?