Sometimes we are put into situations where we don't know what the right approach is. We can be in a situation where we don't know if it's better to speak up or stay quiet. We can feel trapped, lost even.

  There are times during our riding career that these decisions need to be made. Sometimes we don’t get along with other people and there can be conflict because of it. Other times, some people just cross certain lines and we can be at a crossroad as to how to approach the situation.

  I know someone who is at a crossroad right now. She’s a single mother to a daughter who is a competitive athlete. Though she isn’t a rider, their situation is something us riders can relate to. The coach that is training her is beginning to cross the line from tough coaching to degrading. She’s insulting her and not giving her any positive feedback. The mother now is debating whether she should say something or let it play out. This coach is said to be one of the best in the area. So leaving may hinder the daughter’s performance. If the mother were to sit down and speak to the coach, it might make things worse. Or it might make things better.

  So, what would you do? It might be an easy choice to make if you’ve never been in that situation before. I’m sure a lot of you would say that they would talk to the coach and if nothing changes then you would leave. Some of you might also say that you’ll just leave without saying anything. Regardless of your decision, it’s not an easy one.

  Leaving means not seeing the friends that you’ve made at the barn every day. It means finding another barn to take you in. If you have a horse, it means trailering and introducing him to a new environment. It may mean more expensive boarding and lesson fees. And there’s no guarantee that this new place is any better.

  Staying means that you either decide to put up with the coach or speak to them in hopes that something changes. It might make things better, which would be the ideal situation, or it might make things worse.

  This whole situation wouldn’t even be a problem if some coaches didn’t treat people the way they do. I’ve been at a barn where the coach would cross the line too. Maybe they think that because they believe they’re the best that they can treat people however they’d like. After all, you’ve come to them for a reason, right?

  The bottom line is, you are paying for their service. You do not owe them or have to put up with anything you don’t want to. If you are unhappy with their service, then there’s actions you can take. I’d love to know if you’ve ever experienced coaches who have crossed the line and treated you in a way that was unacceptable. What did you decide to do?

  Until next time, happy riding!