Finding the right riding instructor is actually like, really hard. We're going to share some tips to make it less stressful for not only you but also your horse.
As I sit here drinking a hot chocolate on this chilly night in June, I'm thinking of the simpler times. Times when you didn’t have to pay for gas to get to your lesson or even pay for your lesson period. When you were a child you don’t have much say over where you take lessons, unless maybe the trailer is screaming at you, then maybe you doo…) parents are likely to take you to the most convenient lesson stable.
Since those early lesson days I have ridden with many trainers. Some taught me little tricks I still use today, some have taught me standards of riding, horse care and sportsmanship and so on. It is important to ride with different trainers or work in barns to not only learn horsemanship but to develop into the best rider you can be. I love the saying, the more you learn the more you realize how much you don’t know – anyone that has been around horses can attest to that quote!
So yes, it was easier when you just went and rode and groomed the pony. As an adult, we are in charge of our own riding destiny but we have to be careful about how we are spending our dolla-dolla bills y’all.
How we choose who is helping us improve our riding and our horse’s training can be a difficult road to travel down. The first thing is to sit down and write down your goals as a rider and the goals for your horse with being realistic.
The key here is to remain open minded. It can sometimes be difficult to hear that your horse will not be able to reach the same goals you have set for yourself or that your horse is very talented but will you may not be able to take him to the level that he enjoys to work at. Once you have these listed the search begins in who can help you obtain them. A trainer’s role is to help guide you on how to handle these situations and keep you moving forward.
If you don’t have a trainer or are thinking of switching checking forums and doing some simple Google searches to learn more about the reputation of the trainer is a good place to start.
Once you find some an instructor that you feel might be a good option, pay them a visit! Notice how the horses are kept. Are they in good weight? Do they seem clean and well cared for?
If possible ask to watch a lesson they are teaching. If you catch yourself nodding in agreement when they are teaching a student that is a good sign. If they are teaching something you know how to do and it doesn’t make sense and this happens multiple times, this may be a sign to keep the search going.
Now with that being said, that does not mean that the trainer is bad, they just don’t speak in a way you can easily understand and relate to. A good trainer can see when you are stuck and will use their tools of the trade to ask you a different way or teach something else that will help make that initial struggle easier and more attainable.
Most importantly, is your trainer someone you can ask a questions? Being comfortable asking questions and having open dialogue is a really a key to a trainer and student relationship. If you have a horse, make sure that the trainer is teaching both of you together. Make sure that the horse is being trained for you and with your level in mind. What good is a Grand Prix horse when all you want to do is ground poles and trail rides on the weekend?
We all encounter struggles along the way and this is a good thing, this means you are learning and moving forward as long as everyone is working together. If you are stuck or not moving forward, ask for help.
Good luck to all and happy riding.
Meet the Bloggers
Miranda and Julia bringing over 20 years of experience in the horse industry in a wide variety of experiences and disciplines. Here on this equestrian blog we'll share our horse experiences, tips, plus advice on surviving as an adult amateur rider.