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ASL and Riding

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  • ASL and Riding

    I'm a new poster. I've been lurking for a while. I'm a long time instructor. (hunter & lower level dressage) I'm also an ASL interpreter student. There has been alot of interest from my Deaf and HH friends about teaching riding lessons in ASL.

    I'm wondering if there are any Deaf or HH riders on the boards here. Any advice would be appreciated. Lessons would be private, I have dependable,experienced school horses. As a rider what would make for a good learning experience? What are some of the things you think or wish an instructor should do differently?

    I'm thinking of useing a flashing light or vibrating signal for getting a riders attention.

    Any feedback is helpfull . Thank you.

  • #2
    Hi! I am also a new poster. I currently am pursuing a double major with a minor in ASL studies. I have thought about this topic quite frequently. When students come to my school that are Deaf, we have an interpreter that walks around the ring with them as they are participating in the lesson so that at all times they can see and receive instruction from the interpreter. For H/J it's a little different, though the interpreter is still in the ring. The interpreter obviously translates everything but during the course, she waits until the student is done. Then the student, the interpreter and instructor have a "pow wow" afterwards and discuss what was good and what could have been improved. For HH riders, I have not seen this first hand in my school environment but I have seen this on my local show circuit. The instructor had a com device and the rider had a device that went straight into her ear so that the instructor didn't have to yell at the rider with the risk that the rider would not hear her. Seemed to work pretty well, the rider won every class :]
    "This is a strange, new, and different world we are stepping into. In order to keep walking forward, we must learn to cope. And not only cope, but thrive. So take big, bold steps." - Myself


    • #3
      I'm no help on this, but I know the President of Stanford's Equestrian Team, Rachel Kolb, is deaf AND a beautiful rider! There's definitely nothing that's slowed her down, and apparently she received the Rhodes Scholarship this year, too.

      But you could probably contact their coach, Vanessa, and ask how they work lessons. I've only seen them at shows and she just stands in the middle of the ring during flat classes.
      Proud member of the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique


      • #4
        Send a PM to Risk-Averse Rider; I'm not sure how much she's on the boards anymore.

        She was a terp in a past life and one of her current riding buddies is Deaf & they sign while riding. She also volunteers with an equine therapy group who has other d/hh riders.

        My son is hh & while he doesn't sign much anymore, I think it would be useful for him at hockey practice & if he wanted to ride (he doesn't right now).

        Private or semi-private (2 or 3 people, max) lessons would probably be best. Not as much going on in the ring, but maybe one other person to emulate.

        I met some terps at a deaf family weekend & they were really fascinated by the whole horse thing, as it would be a new big set of vocabulary/concepts to work with.
        ~ Horse Box Lovers Clique ~


        • #5
          I am HH.

          Having an instructor that understands first off would be extraordinarily helpful!

          Maybe one of those headseats that would work under a helmet...honestly I would have to be a guinea pig to say what would work best, because simply I never had the opportunity to do trial/error with a coach that could back up with signing.

          I did however, have the world's best interpreter when I rode in my undergrad's mounted classes. She has horses and we did fine with a lot of the vocab. However, that was a large mounted class, so usually it was gather together, listen to the instructors (interpreter), and then go out and do it. Instant feedback wasn't very existent with that professor anyway and that's what I think I miss the most from not having lessons...

          I can review videos/discuss afterwards how to change things, but to have someone that is able to communicate and fix things as they are occurring and give instant feedback would be invaluable...

          Sorry, it's not more helpful, but if you were close, I'd be over in a heatbeat.
          Semi Feral


          • #6
            I just wanted to say that there is a new facebook group looking for those that support Deaf & hard of hearing equestrians or are such equestrians. I know we have COTH, but for those that do facebook, it would be nice to create common ground and perhaps, resources to find horsey interpreters, etc.
            Semi Feral


            • #7
              I'm deaf--I took weekly lessons from age 6 through 21 and a smattering of them since. I never had an interpreter, although it would have been helpful! Instead my instructors used a few basic signs and had me meet them in the center of the arena for more complicated instructions (I read lips). I'm 32 now and still have the mare I got when I was 15.


              • Original Poster

                Thank you all for responding. I am part of the Facebook group now. I'm very excited to start putting a plan in motion. There is alot of interest here. My ASL teachers have expressed interest in getting their kids into riding lessons, so I will be getting feedback from them on vocab. and new signs that may come up.