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May 13, 2022

How to Choose a Riding School? Part 2

Personality and Attitude of the Riding Instructor

In this article series, I would like to offer guidance to parents who have not decided where to take their children for riding lessons or who are not satisfied with their current stable. What are some aspects that we should not ignore if we want high-quality riding lessons and a safe riding experience for our child?  Let's take a look at this in detail.

In a high standard riding school, safe and joyful riding is considered to be the most important to achieve. From all the conditions for this, ideally, the riding school usually provides:

  • well-trained horses
  • safe place and facilities for learning horse riding
  • a positive-minded riding instructor who is good at their profession
  • comfortable and suitable tack
  • and often even the necessary riding equipment.

In this article let’s take a closer look at the personality and attitude of the riding instructor.

The personality of the riding instructor is particularly important since riding is a dangerous sport, and a much stronger attachment to the riding instructors can develop since they are the ones who largely ensure the conditions for safe riding. Of course, it is very important to be a horse-competent, experienced person who, at first glance, is engaging, credible, competent, determined, and trustworthy, but just as importantly is a good teacher. In my view, the child develops most effectively and reaches the highest level in their equestrian development who has their own coach who they can trust.

As parents, of course, everyone wants their child to learn from the best master, but it is important to know that the best riders are masters of horse riding, not necessarily masters of teaching. When choosing an instructor, especially for young children, the person must have a pedagogical sense.

Whatever your child wants to achieve with their riding skills later, perhaps one day they will pursue equestrian sports professionally or even just choose this beautiful pastime as a hobby, it is certainly to be expected that in their education there will be a well-thought-out concept tailored to your child's talents and abilities, aligned with your goals and budgets. You’ll know you’re in the right place because the instructor will eventually ask you what you want to achieve by bringing your child to ride. After all, they will teach your child according to the goal you have chosen together and which can be achieved.

The riding instructor can be expected to plan the riding lesson in advance and inform you in advance of the planned syllabus, as well as to have medium- and long-term plans in line with your goals for your child to progress.

The riding instructor should not be judged either based on their own achievements in equestrian sports, or the results of their students’ competition results, (as it is more likely not yet possible), but based on the opinion of the young riders’ parents.

It may also be a good way to choose a stable by looking at the lessons of the instructor. In what style do they talk to the children? Are they appealing when they talk to their parents? Do they follow the principle in education that they only demand what they have taught before?

One can be recognized globally, as far as their riding skills are concerned, if they lack certain pedagogical principles, their style is unacceptable, the idea of patience is unknown to them, or they don’t possess the necessary teaching methods that are appropriate to the age of the rider, we cannot call them an ideal instructor.

A good teacher is "strict but fair." That is, they have expectations, and there are rules that need to be followed, but they are also consistent and always respond to the same behavior pattern in the same way. Children must be aware of what is expected of them, what they are allowed to do, what they are forbidden to do, and the consequences of what they do. The ideal instructor does all this with love, which means they noticeably love their work, they love horses, but they also love children.

In part 3 of the series we will gather some useful information about stable management and organizational issues.

Anne-Marie Hussar
Anne-Marie Hussar is a Hungarian-born equestrian author, teacher, riding instructor. She has studied the methods of teaching English-style riding in various countries (United States, United Kingdom, Ireland, the Netherlands and Hungary) for more than twenty years to become an expert in equestrian pedagogy. Her knowledge is based on her research and international experience. In her books, lectures and courses she provides guidance on equestrian parenting, talent management and parental engagement as well as introduces a fully formed concept - the Happyriders Training Method - of how to do equestrian education differently. Her mission is rooted in multiple childhood traumas. She shares her thoughts with the aim that no child with equestrian interests should ever feel abandoned or unsupported. Contact: [email protected]

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