Thursday, August 8, 2013

What qualities do you look for in your horse riding instructor?

After a summer plagued by injury, it seems a while since I have had a lesson with my lovely instructor.  This week has seen Skip occur another injury on a front leg and treatment continues as I write this blog.  As I enter into utter despair I decided it was time to catch up with my instructor who always gets me thinking clearly and rationally about horse related issues!  This made me realise that my instructor is not only there to teach me how to ride, but also provides emotional support for equine matters.  As many of you know this is why I nominated her for the NAF Magic Mentor and in fact I am going to take her prizes across to her at the weekend J

I am a firm believer that finding the right instructor for you and your horse is easier said than done.  However when you do it can make all the difference to your riding and partnership with your horse.  Everyone looks for different qualities depending on their likes and dislikes and the disciplines they wish to pursue.  Here are the top qualities I look for in an instructor, I wonder how they compare to yours?

·         A calm instructor who is relaxed with me and my horse and doesn’t get flustered when either of us struggle with something, taking time to explain things in a way we both understand (perhaps two or three times!).

·         A coach who is happy to move forward at the same pace as I am and recognises the correct type and nature of training for the individual horse, rather than implementing a “one rule for all” type of training.  The ability to think outside the box really helps here.

·         I like my instructor to be on her feet and close to me all the time watching every stride (poor thing!)!  I am a perfectionist and I don’t want to be doing something wrong down the whole long side if my instructor is the other end of the school and cannot see me properly. 

·         Trust is so important, especially when training a young horse.  Trust allows me to accept when my instructor is really pushing us to take our training to the next step.

·         Patience- for when I just don’t get something!!

·         Someone who is able to read the signs the horse is giving, highlighting when he is relaxed, when he struggles etc. This increases my learning and points out what I should be looking for when working my horse alone.  

·         A brief but motivating summary at the end of a lesson also really helps me and gives me guidelines of what to focus on during the upcoming week. 

Now I am sure I have missed out many top qualities but these are the ones that initially spring to mind.  Feel free to add your comments below on what you look for in your trainer, or in fact anyone you have working with your horse. 
In the meantime I best get back to seeing to my poorly boy, he is feeling most sorry for himself, especially as I have wrapped him in a pink bandage for my own amusement!  I think it rather suits him… But on a more serious note I wonder if these persistent injuries are a sign of something or telling me something needs to change.  Whilst I figure out what this is I need to try and get his legs back in full working order…at least I am well practiced with horse first aid skills at the moment, perhaps it’s time for a change of career!

Fingers crossed you are all enjoying some fun in the sun with your horses and I look forward to reading your comments below. Thanks for reading xx    

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