Choosing an instructor can be a headache, to say the least. In this post, I’ll be talking about how to find the best equestrian coach for you!
So. You want to start taking lessons or maybe you need to find a new coach, aye? Choosing an instructor who will turn you into the equestrian that you’ve always wanted to be is no walk in the park; seeing that what they teach you needs to be correct or you might have to undo some bad habits later down the road – yikes.
Growing up, I lived in the mountains and the closet barn (with trainers) was over 2 hours away. Knowing this, I spent the first 18 months of horse ownership teaching myself how to jump. Now, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend teaching yourself how to jump (especially on a horse who has never jumped before LOL) but I knew what I wanted and had to overcome those stumbling blocks.
We ended up moving my horse, Legend, to a barn an hour away. Unfortunately, this barn didn’t have any trainers. However, I ended up befriending one of the ladies there and she started helping me and Legend out.
About 6 months later, Legend was diagnosed with EPM.
Going forward (not trying to give you my ENTIRE riding career haha), I now own a thoroughbred but ended up having a disagreement and I ate some dirt… and had my leg crushed.
In December of 2019, I moved Theo to a new barn (with trainers!) about 3 hours from my house – whatta doozy. But in the end, it was the absolute best decision we could’ve made. I started taking consistent lessons, while Theo got worked and conditioned every day. Though to my demise, my trainers ended up moving away and now I don’t have a trainer aha.
But the point being,
it took me 3 years to find a trainer that I felt really helped us along. I understand that my living situation played a major part but in the end, I’m now living 20 minutes away from my horse, at a barn with many trainers; however, I don’t feel as if any of them are right for me and Theo.
Maybe you’re going, or have been, through the same: a series of unfortunate events – and that’s okay! Now it’s your time to find the right trainer : -)
So without further ado, here’s how to find the best equestrian coach for you!
The best equestrian coach? A coach that will push you
Honestly, it’s fantastic to hear how good of a job you’re doing; nevertheless, that’s not going to get you very far. In order to become a good rider, you don’t need a coach that’s going to sugarcoat everything. How will you know that your lower leg is ferocious if they always tell you how good you look?
In the words of my mother, “I’m paying for picky.” and she meant it. “Why would you pay hundreds of dollars to be trained, when they’re not really training you?” puts it into perspective.
As a rider, it’s your job to grow some thick skin and not take it to heart when your coach tells you what you’re doing wrong – they are your coach after all. Likewise, it’s your trainers’ job to train you.
Something I did a while back was actually ask my trainer to be stricter with me. I felt that I wasn’t improving at the pace I would like, so I spent that entire lesson being told to drop my stirrups every time my ankles moved. Boy did it hurt, but my leg improved so much!
On the other hand, you never want to feel like you’ll never be good enough for your coach. A good trainer will encourage you and push you… it’s all about balance.
You get what you pay for
Pricing can be a big factor when trying to find the best equestrian coach for you. Lesson costs can add up fast after all. Unfortunately, you do get what you pay for 90% of the time.
A good instructor will know their value as a teacher and what they have to offer. Knowledge is invaluable and rightfully so, seeing how many years of training your potential coach had to undergo. Now, you don’t necessarily need the best of the best; however, it’s important that you don’t waste your money on a coach that won’t have the means to teach you correctly.
Ask around and maybe even see if you can get a trial lesson before committing to any programs. Some trainers have lower price points to help less fortunate riders, while some just don’t have the experience to charge more. It’d be wise to decipher the difference ; -)
Choose the best equestrian coach by understanding your own goals
You might find an absolutely fantastic instructor, but if your personal goals don’t resonate with your coach, you might not make it as far as you would like.
Some questions to ask yourself…
“Do I want to compete?” If yes, then you’ll need a coach who has competed also.
“Do I personally want to teach when I’m older/have more experience?” As a full-time career, or even as a side job, you’ll want to find a coach who teaches in a way that you would like to teach.
“Is equestrianism something I want to do long-term or is it a hobby for the time being?” If you want to continue being an equestrian until you’re old and grey, then you’ll want to make the most out of your lessons; whereas if it’s just a hobby, then there isn’t any urgency to rapidly improve.
As I said before, your goals should be relevant to your instructor. Your goals will change and fluctuate throughout the years, and your coach should always be ready for any task at hand. But remember that it’s okay to outgrow your coach… if you no longer see eye to eye, then it’d be best to find someone else who will continue to push you!
It’s okay to take your time!
At the end of the day, you may find the best equestrian coach in a matter of days, however, it just as likely may take a couple of years. Always be on the lookout for new opportunities, even if the change is hard.
Can’t wait to see the equestrian you become!
All the best,
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