A riding coach is a mirror.

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.