If I ask you to do something it is because I think you can, not because
I am setting you up to fail. If you don't have confidence in me, then you
need a new instructor.
A 10:00 lesson means you should be up and moving around before that time
(unless you want me to teach you how to warm up) Do not show up at
10:00 and start tacking up then.
No, I will not teach you if your horse is 'off'.
Don't interrupt other peoples lessons - wait for a break to ask a question
(unless my horse is colicing or cast or running down the driveway)
Please pay for your lessons on time unless we have made monthly
arrangements, lessons fees are due when services are rendered.
If you don't feel what I am asking you to feel, be honest so that I can
find another way to explain it to you. Don't just hope it will magically
come to you. It is a bit like math - if you don't understand multiplication,
we can't ever get to calculus.
Let's put it this way. I shared a lesson with a fellow boarder Sunday, and actually, it went very well, considering the fits and starts of the weather (we were doing exercizes to supple and strengthen, ended with trot-halt-reinback-canter). And when I got off, I asked, "How many times do you just wish you could come and smack me upside the head?"
I have taught many lessons over the years and while I do admit it can be frustrating at times you can't forget that if the student can do everything perfectly, he or she doesn't need a teacher. So we work through trouble spots and hopefully go on to the next skill, but the learning never ends if we can help it.
I try to be very positive in all of my posts, so I hope this doesn't come across as negative, but here is something that students wish their instructors knew.
Whatever the problem, please try to go at it without starting with a negative. Starting off by telling a rider what they are doing wrong, will, I guarantee, shut down the rider's confidence and her/his desire to take small risks in learning. Many of us have been there and know what I'm talking about.
I learned this expression from my martial arts training, which is at least as tough as riding.
When teaching someone, there is a time-honoured forumula for building confidence and seeing consistent results:
1. Say what's good about what the rider is doing (there must be something)
2. Make the adjustment, explaining as you help the person through it
3. Say what is now better
A little praise goes a long way in helping a rider who is struggling to learn.
Just because the jump standards go up to 4' AND you have a horse AND your mother has told how you really, really, really, really, really want to jump that high - doesn't mean I will let you!
I will never forget driving up my driveway one evening and seeing two sets of standards set at over 4'. Since none of my students were jumping over 3'3" during lessons, I had to find out who had the jumps that high. Finally, one of my teens ratted out the other. As it turns out, her and her horse jumped 4'3" fairly well. However, this was also the same kid (13yo), that jumped her medium pony 3'6" and made is look effortless. I learned that sometimes I hold my students back a little too much. Picture is of student on her super-pony.
Member of the "I Ride A Chestnut Thoroughbred Mare, So You Don't Scare Me Clique"
If your horse is doing something "bad" or "naughty" there is a good chance it is because of something you are doing. I'm not making that up to make you feel bad about yourself, I'm trying to help you fix it. I swear.
The reason your horse doesn't want a bridle on is because of how you apply it to his face. I have three like this right now.
If I ask you to make a position change, please make a significant position change, so I don't have to ask you over and over again for more. We will make progress with less wear and tear on everyone, including the horse, if you try a more extreme adjustment right off the bat.
When your pony is bolting and I holler "right rein" I mean turn the dang pony's head to the right, not wiggle your fingers in a vague little movement.
I have to say as an adult, the most useful instructors I have had use measurements to indicate things. Not "raise your hands" but "raise your hands up 4 inches". I was years into re-rider lessons before a lovely instructor stood at the horse's head, took the reins in her hands as if she were the horse's mouth, and showed me exactly how much (or little) contact I should have with the horse's mouth. It was exceedingly enlightening!