Trainers/coaches/instructors/teachers - your thoughts

AML

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So …. trainers/coaches/instructors/teachers …. whatever title you like to use.

What type of person do you like/dislike to teach or does it not matter. Is your eye on the clock and the money or is a part of you invested in the partnership before you. Do you take pleasure/have pride in your pupils progress? Do you invest in your own teaching skills or do you teach to fund your own horses/lifestyle?

Personally I turn up on time with a nicely turned out horse, polished boots etc and pay before I leave. I’m polite whilst I build a rapport with my instructor, I ask questions when I need to and put the work in at home. I think on the whole I’m pretty easy to teach.

Apart from the one instructor that opened a wonderland of knowledge that I didn’t know existed. The one instructor I really wanted to learn from I found it very difficult to engage with. Equally they admit they don’t find me easy to teach, and although the relationship isn’t always easy, we can both see the progress made. In truth, I don’t know why the instructor still teaches me, I wouldn’t if the positions were reversed! And no, it’s not for the money!

So, do you like the pupils that you click with and teaching them is easy, within your comfort zone or do you like the pupils that stretch you as an instructor, as a person or do you give a similar lesson regardless!


Actually I'm guessing no-one is going to say they only do it for the money!
 

be positive

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I get rather involved with my clients, this mornings 'lesson' lasted nearly 21/2 hours involving looking at a few videos of a potential loan, ruled out as unsuitable, checking one pony that is slightly lame and advising on what to look out for over the next few days and to get the vet if it changes, a flatwork lesson then time spent planning the next couple of sessions/ comps, there are times I have to keep an eye on the clock but luckily this morning was not one.

I like to see progress and have an aim in mind, often fairly long term, I will get very involved if required by the owner, go to comps, view horses, advise on pretty much everything from tack to feeding and am always available if they need to run random questions past me, which they do! I only have a few clients now and they generally keep me busy enough.
 

Littlebear

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Honestly I’ve never met anyone I really didn’t like, some are easier to teach than others obviously.
The only ones that have ever been difficult are the ones that didn’t want to take some of the onus for the problems and blame the horse instead, those people sometimes needed to hear some things that nobody had ever told them which was a surprise to me, there was the odd very difficult horse but generally if the riders are prepared to accept some of the responsibility those people are much easier to teach.
I really connected with those that really wanted to improve and would msg or call in between checking bits and pieces etc, I was truly invested in them if I was teaching them.
What I struggled with to start with was the commitment from some (and I am guilty when I have lessons)
We would have a plan of what to improve and then between that lesson and the next nothing had been done in between lessons to work on what we had put in place, I always gave a little bit of homework and would go back and some people every time wouldn’t have done anything and just relied on the lessons on their own which of course makes for much slower progress.
I only ever taught 2 full days a some evenings so it was never about the money I didn’t rely on it to live.
 

Fiona

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BP you sound like an amazing instructor to have.....

I normally say instructor, but have no objections to the other terms.

F has monthly private lessons with his instructor as well as seeing her inbetween at RC group lessons. She has hopefully just found us a second pony for F to have on loan...

I haven't had a mounted lesson with mine since September, as there just seems to be so much else to do :( However I did attend an unmounted confidence evening at her house recently which was fantastic.

I should be more strict with myself and F in asking for homework to do before next time LB...

Fiona
 

JFTDWS

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Crikey, clean boots. I never have those 🙈

I try to have a clean(ish) pony who is fit, capable, sound (I hope - when I leave the yard they are anyway!), and suitable for the job.

I try to be a rider who is fit enough, capable(ish), and keen to learn the job. I'm not sound, but there's not much I can do about that! I turn up on time (in so far as possible), and I pay when I'm expected to (on the day or beforehand as required).

If I'm given something to work on, and it's something I can work on between sessions, I do it. The exceptions to this are if, for example, I can't shoot from a pony because of safe fields or doing contact work at poloX as I had nobody to work with and it's not possible to do it alone. I listen to what I'm asked to do / change, and I bloody well try to do that.

On the downside, I'm full of pedantic and obnoxious back chat, I talk when I'm nervous and I ask stupid questions (mostly to give me time to work out what they've just said!). I'm a bit deaf / audibly blinkered and don't always hear things shouted across an arena. I'm sarcastic and quite negative - I generally presume I can't do something, and I rarely accept that I can even if I've actually done it. This is annoying for everyone concerned!

But at least I'm self-aware, and I spend a lot of time acknowledging I've done something annoying and apologising for it. I'm not sure that this isn't even more annoying though!
 

milliepops

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Crikey, clean boots. I never have those 🙈
my first "proper" instructor, 1:1 lessons rather than group RS stuff, was very much of the old school and my parents had chosen her specifically for that reason, thinking either i'd hate her so much I would give up, or if the horsey bug was going to stick then I would get a decent education from her.

I went to her between the ages of 8 and 10. Once I turned up with muddy boots on, not horrendous but not clean. She yelled and yelled at me and sent me down to the hosepipe to scrub them until I could see my face in them. Oh my. I was really frightened of her. But to this day I never ride with dirty boots on!

I'm not really an instructor but I do a bit of teaching now and then, I enjoy helping people who really want to improve, are fair to their horse and practice in between. The ones I find really difficult are those that blame their horses for not being "good enough".
 

AML

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Crikey, clean boots. I never have those 🙈
I was once told that you can tell a horseman by his boots. They should be well worn but clean and polished. Funny how some things stick with you but I never turn up to a lesson or to view a horse without polishing my boots.
They're rarely cleaned in-between!
 

JFTDWS

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My standards have fallen since being involved in alternative horse sports. At polocrosse it was a good day if folk didn't have their boots held on with duct tape - and that was at tournaments :eek:

When I was dressaging, my boots (and my pony) were shiny. Now I consider it a good day if they're not obviously mud-splattered!

That said, it's possible Mr Archery Coach is horrified by my boots. I've never actually asked him...
 

Rowreach

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I coach across two sports, from beginners to junior internationals to quite old adults, and although they are very different sports, there are many similarities in the types of people who do them. I'm fascinated by coaching and learning styles, and being able to adapt what I do to best suit the learner is both challenging and rewarding (when it works!). I couldn't care less what standard people are at, whether they'll be future internationals, or stay novice forever - the one single criterion is that they try, that's the main thing. I love being taught, am receptive to criticism and to being coached, and don't really understand why some people have lessons if they think they're perfect already :)
 

SEL

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My boots start out clean but there's so much mud around at the moment that they are usually splattered by the time I get on a horse. I used to go to clinics with a lady who was on the same yard as me and she always looked immaculate. Even if I changed clothes pre-clinic I'd still manage to get horse slobber, mud or some other unidentified substance on me. And my hair has spent a lifetime escaping from my hat. I fitted in well when I used to livery with a lot of polocrosse players!

I refer to the lady who teaches me as an instructor. Its taken a while for her to work out that if I can feel something and remember how it feels then I've usually 'got it'. Saying left leg do this, right hand do that is just not the way my brain computes. My main problem at the moment is my own horse is on limited work so I'm riding her horses - good experience but a bit frustrating when you really want to go home and put stuff into practice.
 

AML

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I didn't say that any other part of me was clean! Just my horse, tack and boots!

I'm not much into titles, but my instructor only likes to be called by one and it isn't instructor! I can understand why as it does relate to their teaching style and philosophy.
I too like to "log" a feel and it is very helpful if I'm told at the time that - yes! that's it! I'm not after the praise it's knowing what feel to try and achieve when you're on your own. Asking me the difference between the second and fourth time I jumped a jump will leave me cold as I don't have the feel or knowledge to differentiate the minuscule differences yet. Maybe one day.
 

milliepops

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It is rare (in my experience) to find a trainer that is interested in what you do outside of a lesson
Really? mine have always asked what we have been doing, current one takes a clear interest in hearing about what we've done in between lessons both in terms of outings and training at home.
 

Sussexbythesea

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I’ll have to ask my instructor whether the fact my horse was covered in mud in my lesson the other day affected her teaching or my learning :p. I’d rushed up from work, quickly brought both horses in. Put his massage pad on and did a few essential chores and brushed the minimum off before tacking up.
 

Ambers Echo

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It is rare (in my experience) to find a trainer that is interested in what you do outside of a lesson
Mine is. She messages me, asks me how I got on at competitions, looks at video clips between lessons, gives me homework and remembers what I was meant to be doing and asks how it has gone etc.
 

JFTDWS

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Mine definitely sees the random rubbish I post on facebook. "I was doing X while shooting the other week"... "oh yea I saw that..." So whilst I don't presume he cares what I'm doing between lessons, he isn't entirely uninvested and he does feign interest. He does tell me to work on stuff between times too, and is open to interim messages about training issues (usually "oh god I've broken my horse" responded to with "don't worry, it'll be fine" :p ).

Previous coaches have varied - don't think anyone at poloX was interested, but the two dressage coaches I used a lot often interacted with stuff on fb and always asked what I'd been up to / to see sheets / videos of tests / deal with issues / gave stuff to work on between times.
 

nikicb

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It is rare (in my experience) to find a trainer that is interested in what you do outside of a lesson
Mine absolutely cares about what I am up to. If I don't send her a quick recap about a competition or clinic then she will ask. Always wants to see my sheets. Gave me a massive hug when our Area Festival Final went awry, and cried when I told her we had won our first ever sash. A little bit different in that her son and my eldest are best friends (early 20s, but have been friends for 10 years), but I knew her for a few years before I decided to have lessons with her - mainly because of our sons' friendship. I honestly haven't looked back - the only person who cares more about our progress is me - it goes straight over the heads of the rest of my family.
 

Fiona

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I have all my regular instructors on fb, and they often comment on my outing reports.

My main instructor I might send a competition video too if I've had an issue...

Fiona
 

daffy44

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I enjoy teaching anyone who wants to learn, it really is that simple, I dont enjoy teaching the people who refuse try anything I suggest or practice at home, and expect me to constantly tell them they are perfect.

I absolutely take huge pride and pleasure in my pupils progress, I always give homework, and ask for competition reports etc, and my clients know they can contact me inbetween lessons if they have any issues.

Equally, my trainer is brilliant at keeping up with what I do outside of lessons, we plan together what my horse should do, he always remembers what homework we are working on, and I am also always able to ask questions about my other horses that he doesnt teach.
 

JennBags

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Crikey, clean boots. I never have those 🙈

I try to have a clean(ish) pony who is fit, capable, sound (I hope - when I leave the yard they are anyway!), and suitable for the job.

I try to be a rider who is fit enough, capable(ish), and keen to learn the job. I'm not sound, but there's not much I can do about that! I turn up on time (in so far as possible), and I pay when I'm expected to (on the day or beforehand as required).

If I'm given something to work on, and it's something I can work on between sessions, I do it. The exceptions to this are if, for example, I can't shoot from a pony because of safe fields or doing contact work at poloX as I had nobody to work with and it's not possible to do it alone. I listen to what I'm asked to do / change, and I bloody well try to do that.

On the downside, I'm full of pedantic and obnoxious back chat, I talk when I'm nervous and I ask stupid questions (mostly to give me time to work out what they've just said!). I'm a bit deaf / audibly blinkered and don't always hear things shouted across an arena. I'm sarcastic and quite negative - I generally presume I can't do something, and I rarely accept that I can even if I've actually done it. This is annoying for everyone concerned!

But at least I'm self-aware, and I spend a lot of time acknowledging I've done something annoying and apologising for it. I'm not sure that this isn't even more annoying though!
This is basically me too (in the days when I used to ride and have lessons!) I also used to apologise a lot to my horse for getting it wrong all the time.
I don't see the point in having polished boots except for competition and known many a horseman who doesn't. I don't see that as a criteria for being a horseman myself, more important things to gauge that on 😉
 

AML

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I wish I had never mentioned polished boots!

Searching my memory I think it was told to me by someone that sold a number of horses in relation to buyers. They always looked at the persons boots as an indication of what sort of owner they may make. The brand new polished boots might be an indication of a novice that has just bought the outfit. Dirty scruffy boots might be an indication of how they will care for the horse whereas used, but clean boots might indicate someone who would look after the horse in the same way.

It's just a generalisation and my instructor couldn't care how clean my boots are so long as my horse is fit to do the work asked and the tack is fitting comfortably. For my part it just a sign of respect to my instructor and I'm smiling at the irony that my instructor is a natural scruff!


Those of you that teach a lot of people, do you find with ease of communication these days that you are never off duty? I asked my instructor if I could send them video of my competing, having heard them talk about videos other pupils had sent and the answer was no! I was naturally a bit affronted but upon reflection I could see how it might eat into ones day if lots were doing it. I have very few videos but I show them within my lesson and get feed back that way.
 

scats

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The instructor who taught me to ride was brilliant. She didn’t just teach you what to do, but why you did it. Very early on I understood the footfall for each pace, why we used specific aids etc. I learnt lateral work from an early age and the benefit to the horse. In reality I probably learnt far more than I needed to at that age, and I could see it going over other kids heads, but I just soaked it up like a sponge. She would push me a little more than the others and I often got to ride new ponys. I think she sensed that I had the drive and, hopefully, a bit of talent. I’d go home and study every book I could get my hands on and I’d come back the next week and ask questions. I just wanted to learn everything I could.

When I got my own pony at the age of 10 and met other kids my age at the livery yard, I was shocked that they had no concept of things like the aids to canter (they thought you just sat and kicked), or lateral work. I just assumed that every person who learnt to ride was taught the way I had been.

As a qualified instructor now myself (I hate the word coach, sorry), I have taught both at riding schools and privately. When teaching the youngsters at riding schools, I always try to fill them with enthusiasm. You can spot the ones who will carry on with it a mile off. Perhaps that’s what my first instructor saw in me.
I am also really interested in bio-mechanics of both Horse and rider and this really influences my teaching when I have one-to-one clients. I’m more than happy for people to text me in between lessons and ask for advice or share their videos with me for feedback.
I always give someone suggested exercises or things to work on before the next lesson. Although I fully understand that life sometimes gets in the way and it might not be possible for everyone to do.
 

JFTDWS

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Ha, clean boots discussions are always fun ;) It may inspire me to clean mine before they next see an instructor (although I managed to crunch my ankle last night so I hold out hope I might make it back into my posh brown ones after 5 months of over-sized ankle + strapping!). I think I did clean them before I went to view my mare, out of the idea of making a good impression. The others I've bought as youngsters so didn't wear boots at all.

I worry about the communication thing. I don't like sending unsolicited videos or extensive messages (well no, I do like sending those, but only about logistics for events I'm trying to run and paying them for :p ). I tend to post videos publicly / partially publicly on my profile on fb - they can choose to respond or not. Previous coaches have sometimes interacted publicly, but equally, they could interact privately if they didn't want to, but they're not compelled to interact at all if they can't find anything useful to say - or they can try to raise things tactfully when they next see me in person. And, if they're really busy, they can unfollow and ignore me to their heart's content :D
 

milliepops

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I don't tend to communicate with mine in between lessons, and he's not on FB so is protected from my ramblings on there :p I see him fortnightly or sometimes more often anyway, and I am fairly self sufficient in between times, I guess I feel like generally it can wait until next time.
I've been happy to have very regular contact from people I have helped but that's different, i do it for enjoyment in my spare time and I don't have a full on client list ;)
 

oldie48

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It is rare (in my experience) to find a trainer that is interested in what you do outside of a lesson
It's the first thing my trainer asks me but I don't send vids of competitions etc. She's experienced enough to know where we are by watching me warm up and I know I never achieve the quality of work I get in a lesson with her at a competition. If I asked her to come with me to a competition, I know she would if she could but I would need to pay her properly. She's a professional trainer not a charity and half a days work would not come cheap. I don't generally communicate with her between lessons because I don't need to but if something happened that made me feel I needed to, I know she wouldn't mind and would help me. AND yes I do clean my boots and my tack and ensure Rose looks smart, not because it's expected but because I want us both to look our best! Am I a good pupil? Yes, I think I am. I sent a message to her thanking her for a particularly useful and tricky lesson and this was her reply "You just put total trust in me and got through. And she went beautifully. Days like today are the reason I love doing my job." Nothing more to add really, she's just great!
 

J&S

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I am an RDA Coach, that is what we have to call ourselves now. I even have jumpers and shirts with it written on to prove it! My "pupils" obviously cannot practice in between lessons but we can still manage to be progressive and for those heading to the qualifier for the championships we work to a plan. However, the most important thing is for them to be happy with the time they spend with us and each rider will need a different approach to attain this. For some just to be able to lean forward and stroke their horse or pony is enough, for others it is accomplishing a complicated school movement independently. The smiles say it all!
 

Bob notacob

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I only have a ponyclub c plus to my name ,yet after a lifetimes of experience I coach up to BHS stage 4 stable management (they only teach to that level at the centre. I do it for free and love the work. I pass on what others taught me . I also try desperately to remove the errors on the subject that keep getting passed on as gospel. My fundamental ethos is to get my students to say what they think . Then we can discuss. I had one pupil ,a young lad ,keen as mustard. I said something about the hoof and he admitted he had never picked up a foot . No time like the present I said. he was astounded that the hoof wall didnt go all the way round. I explained about the bulbs of the heel. Flssh forward 3 months , Handed XXXXX a cut away hoof .Tell us about it ,and he stood up and gave a fantastic off the cuff explanation of hoof structuure way beyond the stage one he was doing. I was so proud. At the end he added ,"my grandfather sends his regards"Turns out he told grandpa about his instructor and had been told to listen to every word because there was only one person who fitted the description and he had known him a very long time. Pleased to say the entire class passed .
 
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