It’s National Coach’s Week. So I’ve been thinking about the gift of being a riding coach.
The role AND the responsibilities.
A good riding coach knows- It’s more than horse shows.
Our students may take away a ribbon, year-end title and “Congratulations!” from peers as they exit the ring. But if they don’t take away life lessons learned from the pressure cooker of competition, we’ve failed as coaches.
In 25 years of coaching, I smile as I look back at the clients who’ve been transformed through riding and showing. Negative character qualities bubble up in the process and are skimmed off, leaving the good stuff that was hiding underneath!
- A selfish teen girl learns to pick up a broom to help out in the barn. She begins to empathize with her horse and fellow riders – even thank her parents.
- The timid middle age woman develops confidence to risk failing in the fishbowl of the show ring. (Even the self-esteem to wear “nowhere to hide” riding pants!)
- The competitive boy who sees his horse mainly as a vehicle for his sport, begins to consider his horse’s perspective. He learns to slow down and deliver his cues thoughtfully and sympathetically.
Creative problem solving, humility, humour, life perspective (“this too shall pass”). Good coaches teach life lessons alongside riding without stirrups! Because its’ more than horse shows.