It’s National Coaches’ week.
I’ve learned so much about horses by watching them.
Coaching, training, judging –I’ve made my living observing horses and riders.
As a coach, I act as a mirror. My eyes circle from the rider’s signals to the horse’s response – telling the rider what I see – choosing words as descriptively and simply as I can.
I’ll ask a rider to reflect on the messages she’s sending to her horse – describe them in words. For example, what’s your signal to ask your horse to accelerate? Or your aid for a canter departure? Pretend you’re teaching a non-horsey friend. Be precise – what’s the location, technique and amount of your aid? If my student struggles to put it into words, she may be sending a fuzzy message to her equine partner.
Teaching has made has made me more intentional in my own riding. Carefully thinking through and verbalizing (without horse-trainer jargon), exactly HOW I ask a horse to do this or that – such reflection brings clarity to both horse and human.