Saturday, October 24, 2009

Important Traits for Riding Instructors

A forum I'm a member of posted the following question recently and here's how I responded: What Traits are important for Good Riding Instructors?

My Comment:
Since every student learns differently, what makes a good riding instructor is solid horse behavior knowledge, enthusiasm, patience, good communication skills, adaptability, and someone who genuinely "cares" about their student's and horses and wants to see both reach their goals. A riding instructor or any teacher or any employee for that matter, will be successful if they genuinely "like" their job. If this is the case, their enthusiasm will be infectious and motivate their students. A good riding instructor is not the "same" instructor with every student. They are adaptable, and can recognize each individual's learning style and adapt their teaching to this. They will have different instructions and exercises for each student/horse combination based on their ability to recognize the skills each needs to work on. Some student's need an assertive, no-nonsense teaching style, some need reassurance, some need praise, some need detailed explanation, some need respect and trust....and usually, student's will need a combination of all of these traits. It's up to the instructor to have the insight and the ability to "read" their student's psyche and figure out what teaching tips to pull out of the hat and when!

In order do this, I believe an instructor has to have lots of personal riding experience with many different levels of horses to draw from. I think it's important for instructor's to be "active riders" as well in order to keep their skills sharp and remain "relatable" to their students' riding experiences. It's also good for instructor's to ride the horses they teach riders on. Sometimes this alone will help give them better insight into why a student may be experiencing difficulty that may be tricky to spot on the ground. It's also helpful for students to "see" their instructor in action explaining the lessons they are trying to teach. Sometimes when lessons aren't really "sinking" in, watching instruction in action does!

What traits are important to you in a Riding Instructor? Do you have one in the Memphis area you'd like to give "snaps" to. Leave a comment mentioning them and why they are a good instructor.

3 comments: said...

nice blog!

Ashlee said...

Thanks, ditto on your site!

Ange Finn said...

Also, the ability to break learning down so that it builds and the rider feels successful as he/she works up.