instructor? Is it the struggles from the outside world coming into your “horse time”?
“This sport is so emotionally charged that if you stand back and see that you
really aren’t having fun, you need to find out why,” says Lauren Romanelli, owner
and head instructor at Three Ring Farm in College Grove, Tenn. “Your instructor
should be honest with you as to what might be the issue. If they think you’re not
riding the right horse, they should be willing to tell you that, not just take your
money and suggest purchasing a new saddle.”
2. Do your research.
Once you know the direction you want to go with your riding and what discipline you want to focus on, it’s time to do some research.
Checking out websites like the Certified Horsemanship Association and the
American Quarter Horse Association’s Professional Horsemen allows you to
search by discipline and location, giving you contact information for trainers. (See
“Certified Instructors” at left.)
Try doing a Google search on instructors and their farms, as well.
3. Schedule a visit and meet with the potential instructor.
This is the time for you to check out the farm, see how well the horses are cared
for, and talk with not only the instructor, but current students and clients.
“I always invite potential new clients to come to the barn and meet us,”
explains Romanelli. “We’ll talk and get a feel for each other. Sometimes things
don’t work out based on personalities, and that’s OK.”
Arrive at the farm loaded with questions and your goals in mind, and be hon-
est about what direction you want to go in your instruction.
Some instructors may only teach
younger riders or those who want to
ride for fun, while others are busy
traveling the country, competing at
the largest events. You don’t want
to find yourself in a situation where
you’re either not learning anything
new because you’re more advanced
than the barn, or you’re overwhelmed
trying to keep up with those who are
If you’re unhappy with where you
are now, take a step back and consider
why that is. Even if that means taking
a couple weeks or months off from the
saddle, you might need to consider a
few things: Is it your horse? Is it your
A number of sport and
offer resources to certify
instructors or recommend
professionals that meet
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