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Piaffing
Sep. 5, 2009, 11:29 AM
I thought I would do a spinnoff of the thread, Trainers for physically disabled riders.

Would you as a rider take lessons from a coach/trainer that had a disability?

So far most of my students have been great and tend to forget that I do have a disability. I can't get on and ride every horse to do corrections, but I'm able to think outside the box and help them through any issues.

I have had the odd person become standoffish when they find out that I have a disaibility, but most warmup when they see one of my lessons.

The reason I thought of this thread is because I seriously considering teaching full time. I have been on layoff since Dec. and have been looking for another job since. I have sent out over 3,000 resumes, had a few interviews, but nothing. I have always taught part-time for the last 25 years and have always thought it would be nice to do it as a living. So now I might just take that plunge.

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Sep. 5, 2009, 12:18 PM
There is someone at our barn who started with my trainer when he was 12. He has CP. Although I haven't ridden exclusively with him, he has helped me. Since I know his training pedigree, I know I won't be steered wrong!

But several people take with him - some are TH kids, some are disabled adults, some are "able bodied."

I think what is important here - the ability to see and understand the rider's and horse's issues, and find a way to help make things work. And this is something that a successful disabled rider has had to do in their entire life. I suspect this s also true of any trainer who has accuulated significant injuries along the way. The bodies just don'tw ork like they sued to!

slc2
Sep. 5, 2009, 12:35 PM
I could care less if the person is disabled if they can get the job done, ie, improve their students. But if the instructor hadn't done what he was teaching at some point, I'm not sure how knowledgeable he could be - at a certain point he would need some practical experience with the technical aspects, what the judges want, correcting problems.

Some people just have a very good eye and can figure things out and know what's going wrong and how to fix it without a lot of experience, but that's very, very unusual. And further - many people seem to believe that 'passion' and 'interest' and 'desire' will trump practical experience and knowledge of technical aspects and training. I don't think it can. There's a certain amount of 'doing' most trainers and instructors just need to have to teach more advanced students.

I think it would also be difficult sometimes if the instructor couldn't get on the horse and show the student how to do something he's having trouble with, especially when a student is really frightened or overwhelmed. But except for more advanced students and those who are over mounted, these things might not be much of a concern.

Sometimes an instructor has to act quickly in an emergency, such as catching a loose horse, subduing a horse that has lost its head, or God forbid, getting out of the way of a horse gone out of control in a lesson. There are limits and issues, depending on the disability, but I think most can be surmounted. The instructor who needs to help very advanced students might have a working student get on the horse, and an assistant might help cope with emergencies.

There might be insurance issues with the facility/barn where the teaching is being done. Some managers or owners might be afraid of liability if the instructor has certain disabilities, such as seizures if they might fall under a horse or not be able to avoid a hazard at times. It's not enough any more for an instructor to sign a release, he may have no control over his insurance company sueing the insurance company of the facility owner.

quietann
Sep. 5, 2009, 12:59 PM
My trainer isn't disabled but her back has taken a lot of wear and tear from many, many years with horses. She limits her riding to one or two horses per day. For those "get on the horse to correct it" times, she has two wonderful working students, one of whom definitely can deal with the most complicated situations and obstinate horses. The other one is catching up quickly!

She openly admitted that my horse gives her vertigo (which isn't surprising because my horse handles like a little sports car) but I have no problem with the working students doing the riding, under the trainer's supervision.

Ajierene
Sep. 5, 2009, 01:12 PM
Since my trainer has never gotten on my horse and does not make a habit in any way of getting on students' horses, I see no issue with a trainer that does not immediately jump on my horse.

I would not use someone who has a disability limiting their riding to train my horse, but I enjoy the process of training my own horse.

My trainer and I both have the same philosophy that I am not really learning how to ride and train better if she gets on because we know she can do it - I need to be able to.

In a riding ring situation, I have never had a trainer need to run and catch a runaway horse or hop on a horse suddenly.

I would definitely consider a trainer that has a disability. Just like any able bodied trainer, they need to be proficient in the level that they are teaching, but other than that, I see no difference.

I do see where someone with a disability or age related issues can help others who are 'less than perfect' better than someone with innate athleticism that may not understand why you can't just do what they want, so in that respect it would be an asset.

exvet
Sep. 5, 2009, 01:22 PM
My riding instructor isn't disabled but is definitely limited in her physical abilities due to severe rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, severe back issues and asthma. She has had both hips replaced and still rides occasionally but there are certain things she can no longer do. She has had these health issues in various degrees since I began riding with her. I started taking lessons because I wanted a riding instructor and not a trainer who would focus solely on the horse. She has helped me earn my bronze medal, take a youngster from training to PSG and continues to help me with my horses/ponies.

Invite
Sep. 5, 2009, 07:25 PM
If I found a trainer who was kind, compassionate, and knowledgeable his or her disability would never in a million years hinder me from using said instructor. Truly excellent instructors are few and far between. A disability would be the absolute least of my concerns!!!

Janet
Sep. 5, 2009, 09:33 PM
My dressage trainer IS "disabled", and she has competed at the GP level.

Her understanding of, and ability to communicate, how the different pars of the body (equine and human) work is outstanding

Piaffing
Sep. 5, 2009, 09:59 PM
Wow Janet that is great.

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Sep. 5, 2009, 11:57 PM
In general, I think those who have struggled, for whatever reason, to achieve mastery and competence - they have empathy when it comes to helping others move through the ranks. When it comes so easy to you, and you don't have to consciously "think" about it, it becomes very difficult to dissect what you have done so that others can do the same.

I also think it is important to have the passion and hunger. Those who have struggled to achieve what they have - whether because of financial, physical, whatever reasons - always truly value what they have.

And those are gifts that, as teachers, they can bestow upon their students.

Invite
Sep. 6, 2009, 06:34 PM
In general, I think those who have struggled, for whatever reason, to achieve mastery and competence - they have empathy when it comes to helping others move through the ranks. When it comes so easy to you, and you don't have to consciously "think" about it, it becomes very difficult to dissect what you have done so that others can do the same.

I also think it is important to have the passion and hunger. Those who have struggled to achieve what they have - whether because of financial, physical, whatever reasons - always truly value what they have.

And those are gifts that, as teachers, they can bestow upon their students.

I agree 100%

Movin Artfully
Sep. 8, 2009, 09:16 AM
I rode in a clinic with Michael Richardson once...a paraplegic rider/coach. He has an amazing understanding of movement and using your body to create a connection. I would not hesitate to ride with him again!

betsyk
Sep. 8, 2009, 02:52 PM
I teach in two vastly different settings - one, a NARHA program with all the associated safety rules and procedures in place, and the barn where I board, which is a very happy anarchy. At the NARHA program, I had to have another instructor in the ring when I was on crutches because one of us who was qualified to be in charge had to be able to physically get to a student or horse in an emergency. At the other barn, I wouldn't have that requirement but I'd still feel like I needed to make provision for a parent or someone to be able to step in and help out if I couldn't get to someone fast enough. But once that provision has been made, the main safety issue is taken care of and what's left is choosing the right instructor for the job based on their experience and judgement and ability to communicate.