Discipline. Not like beating them with a crop discipline, but making them groom their own horse when they have gone and rolled in the mud or catching your own stubborn pony when he doesn't want to come to you. I think I learned more respect for horses and earned more respect growing up and being someone who still does the dirty business at shows. Too many kids get things handed to them and to me, that's not the joy of riding horses. It's the whole package really.
One of the things that really helped me along as a kid was not being treated like a kid. I had responsibilities, like fetching the horses, grooming, tack cleaning, stall cleaning, feeding, etc. I was always invited to observe and help if possible when there were big goings on like wormings, shots, shoeing, injuries. I felt like a real member of the barn not just some kid who shows up for a lesson and goes straight home. No one ever talked down to me or told me I couldn't do something without a good reason. The confidence that those folks gave me is still important to me today.
My first one would be attitude!!! My instructor is positive and PASSIONATE about what she does. She obviously loves it, and that positivity and enthusiasm just translates naturally to her teaching.
My second one has to be their reaction to dangerous situations. Accidents will happen, since you're riding a 1,000 pound animal with free will and a lot of muscle. A riding instructor that is so scared for their student they start freaking out freaks ME out. I prefer an instructor that keeps their cool and tells me what I need to do in a firm, loud voice that I can hear while my horse is freaking out. A riding instructor that freaks out is teaching their student to panic in bad situations as well, breeding fear and a lack of self-confidence.
Teaching the kids how to become "thinking riders". They need to look ahead, feel their horse, become intuitive on what to do as the situations arise. They have to not just blame the horse for all of their problems, they need to look at what they are doing. They need to be always thinking and creating exercises for their horses to fix the problems that happen as they school. And they must always be the driver -NOT the passenger. Do not ride around the outside -NEVER MOUTH ABUSE a horse because you are having a temper tantrum! And remember that horses are like children they all deserve at least three times as much praise as they do critisism.
Find a coach that will teach equitation but will also teach your child how to ride and school a horse. I taught and rode for years -I never owned an expensive horse -but even if they were yucky when I bought them -they finished as good horses that could ridden by anyone quite easily! Always keep learning!
I think this advice was wise and well put. As a student the most I took away and the best lessons I recieved were from instructors that combined training myself and the horse at the same time. (Of coarse this took place after I had a good starter seat and some control over my own body.) A goal was reached and I was taught to work toward the goal with the horse's well being first and foremost... this made me think of more than myself, but also insured that the horse was comfortable with the entire process and that it wasn't scared... therefore a safe ride for me. Sometimes I rode well educated school horses that were just being fine tuned, sometimes green broke horses that were still on the walk trot and canter route, but I leared something from all of them, and as long as there was control by the coach as to the nature and temperment of the horse, and it was matched to my riding ability I had safe rides that taught me a great deal. The only time I found that I got hurt or was in danger or learned little was when the coach over matched me and the horse, or more importantly asked me to do something more than I was ready for... I thankfully only had two of these types, all my other coaches were wise and paid close attention to detail and wanted the best ride for me and their horse. When I went on to ride my own horses under instruction than the same consistant goal and attempt to reach the goal was the best approach, never over facing the horse or myself. As a coach I have always strived to think safety first, remembered that everyone has a learning curve and a plataue that they might reach, and it can take long periods of time to move from this level. I always wanted my students to end as my horses did, on a high note. A coach that goes back to what you are good at will really help when you are working on a personal hard spot, this is good for horse and rider.
I was successful as a rider and as a coach becuase I always moved forward, and always thought ahead, yet wasn't afraid to go back to basics or review what I was doing, or where I was going with a student or a horse/student combination. A coach that realizes that a different approach is needed and not willing to spin tires on a way of doing something, someone that is willing to try new things but not throw away the old, and is confident in themselves and in their methods is best... my best coach told me balance... this was key, in your seat, in riding, training, teaching and living... it was the easiest and the hardest thing I learned... it is the lesson that I took away for life. It was so important to her that she had it in bold block letters in our arena for all to see and remember.
Thanks for the compliment about my teaching philosophies. I loved to educate my kids -now they are all growing up, getting married and having babies of their own. I smiled when my teenage daughter went out to the barn were I had instructed for a long time - and the older girls said that they thought I was the best coach they ever had! That made up for all the cold winter butt cheeks after 6 hours of lessons in February, pigeons pooing on your head -would I trade my full time career to do it again -in a New York MINUTE!!!
Thank you Lynn...I truly appreciate that. All of these insights and comments has reassured me we have made a good decision! I always enjoy stepping back and learning the real life lessons that seem to be taught because of a horse.
I think a good trainer will have horses in very good health, clean tack, personal showing experience with some solid wins, neat appearance and other child students who are on a good track to achieve their personal goals on horses. Not everyone is a winner but everyone should feel like one. Teacher support and peer support is so very important at a trainers and the trainer is the one who fosters a good learning environment.
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