What characteristics and/or talents would you include? Empathy? Skills with young horses? Patience? Willingness to deal with the not so perfect rider? Cross training (trail ride, jumping, etc)?
It would be the one I have! Tough, fair, insanely knowledgeable with the ability to explain the whys in an easily comprehensible way... Doesn't give out compliments lightly but doesn't hesitate to give them out when they are deserved, giving them a special significance. My instructor is not one of those "good job" types that pat you on the back regardless of whether you did something correctly or not. She is honest and you always know where you stand with her. She expects you to work hard and she will support you through the not so pretty stages to make sure you come out the other side as a better pair. As a result she attracts riders that are passionate about dressage and about truly improving their skills and riding correctly. We are lucky to be surrounded by good instruction every day, watching good riders and hearing good instruction even when it's not directed at me has definitely made me a much better rider. I always look around and listen to other coaches at competitions and think to myself how insanely lucky I was to find this barn and this coach. I would definitely not be where I'm at today without her.