Are you tired of your trainer?

Are you bored with receiving quality instruction from a knowledgeable individual?

Do you find yourself thinking “Hey self, maybe it’s best if we just kind of figure out this whole ‘horse’ thing out on our own! How hard can it be?”

If so, I have a foolproof plan on how to ditch your horse professional in just eight easy-to-follow steps! This guide is sure to help guarantee that your trainer never returns your phone calls or texts, and generally wants nothing to do with you ever again.

Step 1: Show up late. Or not at all!

First step, establish yourself as a flaky individual by showing up late (like really late) to your lesson. Make sure not to call or text or notify them in any way, to keep your trainer on their toes. Anyone can run late occasionally, so you’re really going to have to commit here. Make sure you apologize when you do finally arrive, and then show up late to the next lesson too. Or better yet, occasionally don’t show up at all! Whatever you do, make sure you’re not tacked up, warmed up, ready to go at the start of your lesson time. That’s really not what you’re going for here.

Step 2: Don’t work on anything between lessons

Does your trainer tell you what to work on before your next lesson? Don’t work on that thing. For maximum effectiveness, don’t work on anything at all. Hop on your horse once or twice, but spend most of the time texting or just wandering around. That way, it’s not a complete lie when you say you tried to practice.

Step 3: Complain when things get hard

Moving up through the levels of any equestrian sport should be easy, right? So, if your trainer asks you to do something difficult or out of your comfort zone, whine. Whine about how hard it is, whine that you don’t like it. Say things like “I don’t feel like it,” or “I don’t want to.” Throw in a pouty face or two (this is especially effective if you’re over the age of ten). Be generally mistrustful of your trainer. They’re probably just trying to get you killed.

Step 4: Compare your current trainer to your previous one

You know what will really get your trainer going? When you compare every decision, recommendation and training tactic they use to those of your last trainer. Make sure you imply that your current trainer is not up to par (but that your last one was) and talk about all the fun things your previous trainer was going to let you do that you’re probably not remotely ready for (preliminary cross country! 1.40m jumpers!). To get the steam really coming out of your trainer’s ears, liberally use the phrase “I was talking to my old trainer about what you said, and SHE thinks…” Fill in the rest with every criticism you can muster. In no way should your trainer think you have an open mind to different teaching styles or philosophies.

Step 5: Forget your method of payment/promise to “get them next time”

Don’t bring cash. Don’t bring a checkbook. The key to this strategy is to wait until the lesson is over, then apologize and tell your trainer you’ll pay them the next time you see them. Definitely don’t offer to run to an ATM right now. For bonus points, combine with Step 1 and promise to pay next time, then “forget” to show up for your next scheduled lesson.

Step 6: Don’t pay your farrier/vet/boarding bills either

While you’re dodging your lesson bills, rack up debts with the farrier, vet, boarding stable, barn kids—whoever you can dupe into working for free. Everyone knows misery loves company. Give you trainer a small army to commiserate with! If confronted about your mounting bills, rant to your trainer that you’re being overcharged and simply can’t afford to pay the exorbitant farrier/vet/boarding bill right now, as you pull your iPhone ten out of your new brand-name breeches. To further aggravate your trainer, show up to your lesson with a horse that hasn’t seen a brush in about a month. Just because.

©Anne Jacko/Flickr CC

Step 7: Be rude—to your trainer, to the other clients, to strangers

Talk back to your trainer. Treat their other clients with disdain. Are there barn workers around? Make rude, passive-aggressive remarks on how clean things are or whether the arena is groomed, or just refuse to acknowledge them at all. You goal here is to make people run from you like a bad case of Strangles because you are just that unpleasant to be around. If you guarantee that the barn hates you, it’ll make it a lot easier for your trainer to ask you to find somewhere else to terrorize.

8. Don’t try. Anything. Ever.

If your trainer is still hasn’t blocked your number yet, it’s time for the final step. This is similar to Step 3, but instead of just complaining, you’re going to go with the nuclear option and just flat out refuse to try things. You know that little voice inside your head that says “I’m not sure I can do this” when you’re worried about trying something new? Let that voice rule your life. Don’t even attempt any of the difficult stuff your trainer suggests. Tell your trainer you’d “rather not” any time they try to push you to do something different. If they ask you why, don’t follow it up with some sort of real answer like admitting that you’re scared or you’re confused about what the exercise is, instead just shrug your shoulders. Maybe even throw in an eye roll, if you’re into that sort of thing. This will be the final straw in your plan, as after all these steps, it will become abundantly clear that it’s not working out between the two of you.

Congratulations! You’ve now driven your trainer away faster than you can say “Bad reputation.” Now you’ll have tons of free time to focus on your riding, since no trainer in a 50-mile radius will want you as a client.

About the Author

When Aubrey Moore isn’t riding her horse Flynn, new pony or doing near-constant maintenance on her truck, she can be found with a glass of wine in hand, chatting happily with her cat Frankie.