Creative problem solving, humility, humour, life perspective (“this too shall pass”). Good coaches are mentors – teaching life lessons alongside riding without stirrups! Because its’ more than horse shows. Our students may take away a ribbon as they exit the ring. But if they don’t take away character learned from the pressure cooker of competition, we’ve failed as coaches.
I was 13 when I entered my first horse show. The judge advised me that the yellow macramé browband I’d crafted for my gelding’s bridle was not customary horse show attire. In 25 years as a professional riding coach and horse trainer, I’ve worked with 100s of horses and coached even more riders. What I’ve learned from horses and their people! What I’ve learned about myself in the fishbowl of the show ring! Horse shows have enriched the lives of so many – and been the catalyst for the train wreck of others.