5. Continuing Education
Does your instructor believe in
continuing their own education?
Romanelli says this is a key component to choosing a new instructor.
“I think it’s very important for the
coach to stay relevant with shows and
lessons,” she says. “If the coach isn’t
keeping up with the latest in rules,
equipment and styles, then they’re not
doing anyone any favors.”
Riding horses is an expensive sport,
but it can be one of the most reward-
ing, so it’s important to make sure
you’re getting value from the time and
money you spend at the barn. If you
feel at all uncomfortable with your
instructor, be open about it and don’t
be afraid to take the leap to find a new
avenue to pursue your passion.
MEGAN ARSZMAN is a freelance writer based
in Indiana, where she’s learning to balance
motherhood with horses, dogs and writing.
“We like to sit down with [prospective students] and talk about their
goals and what their expectations are, including what they expect out of
us,” explains AQHA trainer Larry Spratto of Pickett, Wisc. “We are pretty
upfront that we are on probation with them, and they are on probation with
us, and six to eight weeks into it, we sit down and have a talk about how
things are going.”
4. Know your learning style.
This one might be difficult, especially for newer riders. Are you the type
that learns by watching, listening or doing? Do you want to see your
instructor perform the actions aboard their horse, or can you figure it out
on your own?
Talk with other riders and see how they learn and see what works for
them. And make sure that the instruction is aimed in the right direction.
“There are some instructors, especially in eventing, that tend to watch
the horse more, and then there are some that tend to watch the rider more,”
explains Romanelli. “I think it’s pretty important to find someone that bal-
ances that, so I’m really careful that I’m not just watching the horse all the
time, but also correcting position, because the rider’s position affects how
the horse goes.”
Do you like to have a trainer who drives you more by being strict, or do
you want a more laid-back atmosphere? This is important to consider when
it comes to learning environments.