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Why aren't there endurance "coaches"?

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  • Why aren't there endurance "coaches"?

    As the title says, why aren't there endurance coaches? It seems as if there are coaches for every other discipline except endurance. Is it because riders don't see "trail riding" as needing coaching or is it that the nature of the sport makes it difficult to coach?

  • #2
    No big money in it?
    "Good young horses are bred, but good advanced horses are trained" Sam Griffiths

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    • #3
      There are people who will coach you at endurance, however, it is quite a DIY sport, and there isn't much demand.

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      • #4
        There are lots of mentors for endurance riding. Go to aerc.org and do a search for mentor. There are a lot of excellent endurance riders listed, and even a mentoring handbook.

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        • #5
          I would think it has something to do with it not being a very technically demanding sport. Figuring out how to tackle a tricky triple combination is best done with an expert standing next to you giving tips and critiquing your execution. Putting one foot in front of the other for a long time doesn't really require hand holding.

          Kind of the difference between Gymnastics and running a marathon.

          Not to say that endurance isn't difficult, but once you have the basics of riding safely down it's difficulty can be easily handled by a mentor, rather than a hands on coach. A mentor can give you tips for a good fitness routine and teach you how to monitor your horse's vitals and how to interpret them, but they don't really need to be there as you alternate walking and trotting for miles on end.
          For the horse color genetics junky

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          • #6
            Competitive Trail is sort of a coach as each rider is scored separately from their horse (Horse is scored by itself.)

            At least in NATRC there are judging notes included on the score cards as why a rider received diminished scores It does help tech one how to care for themselves and their horse

            yeah not the race of endurance but mileage often is the same or greater

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            • #7
              Originally posted by rhinestone_cowgirl View Post
              As the title says, why aren't there endurance coaches? It seems as if there are coaches for every other discipline except endurance. Is it because riders don't see "trail riding" as needing coaching or is it that the nature of the sport makes it difficult to coach?
              The nature of the sport makes it too broad to zero in on anything outside of metabolics. And each horse has their own personal biological metabolic protocol. Shoes, clothing, training methods, tack, how to negotiate a trail, speed, feeding - all this is trial and error for the most part and a LOT of it is based upon the type of trail used for each particular event, and the weather.

              All the other horse sports take place in a realtively small area. Some like dressage, jumping, hunters, eventing most often take place in a groomed ring or a groomed terrain with familiar obsticals which can be mimicked at home. Horses for these sports are drilled constantly in the same environment using the same terrain day after day after day. These sports are judged worldwide on the exact same playing field to test the horse's abilities.

              Endurance is the complete opposite. Each competition can be 100% different in terrain (mountains vs sand vs desert vs forests) and may require different riding/training to compete. It doesn't take a coach more than a few times to guide a new endurance rider in the right direction in regards to proper ways to train, and suggestions for electrolytes. The rest is pretty much intuitive.

              Also, by far the people who get into endurance are often older and more seasoned riders who take what they've learned in the past and apply it to this sport. Once you've seen one or two endurance rides, you get the picture on what needs to be done to be successful. Coaches aren't a necessity. Plus a lot of endurance organizations will put on clinics to get new riders started.

              it's a realtively cheap sport that gives you a lot of bang for your buck - a lot of saddle time, camping, food, social gatherings, marked trail, vet checks, and relaxing evenings in new areas (a great many times in National Forest lands) with your horse for company for sometimes as little as $100 entry fee.

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              • #8
                Our endurance community certainly needs to develop a coach/boarding/conditioning model as eventers have done. Their sport too was once diminishing—and then eventing barns sprung up and now there are so many new eventers every year they don’t bother counting! Not enough people live on small farms anymore so old-fashioned, home-kept endurance is fading away. I built a boarding barn specifically to help save our sport—and though it immediately filled with a bunch of warmbloods 🤣, there are several people gearing up with me to try their first trail ride and LD this April.

                if those of us who do have small or large properties were to put out the word that we exist and are excited to bring newcomers into the sport via lots of trail riding, we could take over the world! 😁

                Also, I think we our sport is just as nuanced and technically demanding as any other equine endeavor—more so than some in fact. We all just get so used to being out there that we forget how much we know. How did I discover this? By taking our enormously talented eventing trainer out trail riding and by taking out new riders. Both have lots to learn about teaching horses how to float along steadily over varied terrain, without sitting on another horse’s behind, and there’s a whole world of strategy and pace and horse management that NO other equine sport has to attend to as we do. And let’s be honest: if we think back to how petrifying our first efforts were and how much less stressful they could have been with an experienced and dedicated trainer alongside, well, I think most of us would have loved to have been able to hire some experienced help.

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                • #9
                  Also, I think I may have hit on a way to charge fairly for coaching endurance — rather than a per/hour rate which would be unaffordable given outings that can last up to 8 hrs including trailer time, I am charging a facility fee. Clients either pay that as part of their board, or, those who ride my horses pay a facility fee: a monthly amount that allows them to come whenever they want, ride as much as they want, for however long they want. We schedule actual outings regularly but time at the farm is unlimited. The advantage to me is huge as I get motivation and fabulous riding partners and the clients are getting a grand deal for their dollars.

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                  • #10
                    Larksong, that is a great idea! Hunter's Rest does something kind of similar for foxhunting. A friend of mine went, & got an Into to Foxhunting movie & lecture, schooling over varied terrain & jumps, and then got to ride with a hunt. A perfect way to hook someone on a new sport!

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                    • #11
                      I think there is a lot of endurance coaching that goes on- just, like most everything else endurance folks do, it's not in the traditional sense of the lessoning, clinicing etc.
                      I've coached several riders through their first few rides- some on their horses, some on mine. I've never charged for it- sort of bartered (crewing, having someone ride my extra horse), sort of considered it helping out a friend, etc. I've also been coached/mentored by self much more experienced riders than myself just by asking. Endurance riders tend to be much freer with their knowledge than other disciplines do. I've never met a bunch of people so eager to share what they know and help you out.
                      When I lived in professional dressage land, it was very much the opposite. People were certainly willing to share knowledge, if you were willing to lay big bucks out to get it of course. I remember one year at Devon, a horse and rider slipped and fell in the mud in warmup. One of our grooms went out and helped get them cleaned up and remounted so they could get to their class on time- we literally got an award at the show for doing this because it's not the norm. In the endurance, you'd have everyone and their mother attempting to help you.
                      Wouldst thou like the taste of butter ? A pretty dress? Wouldst thou like to live deliciously?

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                      • #12
                        I agree that we are a generous group, but our sport is diminishing in number in the US except in the SE region. We need coaches, not just mentors, in my opinion. New riders are probably going to found in non-traditional places, probably brand new riders or people coming back to horses after years away—and I’m betting more and more are going to be living in urban areas. They are going to be excited and eager to learn and unable to own or at least keep horses on their own property. I believe we need to add a professional layer of people dedicated to building our population back up — and that takes focus and time which means money. I don’t think it takes away from one’s sincerity to create a sustainable business out of supporting and building the sport—nor do I think anyone is going to make enough to do more than support his or her own efforts. It’s not about money—it’s about making enough to give oneself time to focus on making new endurance riders!

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                        • #13
                          I came across this:

                          http://enduranceintrospection.com/wp...VldMVZrYMymrDQ

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