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Ponderings of an Equestrian Professional

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Am I a riding Instructor or Coach?

Filling in a form at the dentist today it asked for my occupation, and I had to think quite hard. I see myself as a coach and all my clients as athletes, but I haven't been confident with that description.

Today I've been thinking about why.

When I took my BHS exams I was called an Assistant Instructor, now I'm considered to be a level 3 Complete Coach.

With Centre 10 I have done the training in Applied Psychology for Equestrian Coaches, and it was doing this that made me start looking at riders as the athletes they are.

So I am a coach. I train athletes, both Equine and human. In fact I focus on training both species to develop a partnership. Whether your goal is to feel safe going on a hack, ride a dressage test or complete a one day event at any level, you are an athlete and so is your Equine partner, no matter what size or shape.

I love seeing clients achieve positive progress with their Equine partners and I am happy to do as much, or as little, as they need to help them get there.

Sometimes clients outgrow me and move on to other coaches, which is great. I do watch how they continue to progress, and I know that I was able to help build the foundations even if I'm not still actively involved.

Many of my clients come to me because they have lost confidence, which is a difficult situation to be in. Easily lost, and hard to regain.

I find myself trying to work out how and when this loss occurred. Sometimes there has been an incident which gives an obvious cause but often it is not so clear.

I have found that to regain confidence we have to build trust. I need my athletes to trust me, their horse, and themselves before we can move on. I also need the horses' trust, as does the rider, and this is often the easy part, as horses are usually easy to understand if one takes the time to listen to them.

As a coach I want to see my athletes develop and achieve whatever goals they set for themselves. To do this I work with riders off the horse to look at where they want to go and the steps they need to take to get there. Looking at mindset and considering any issues that may be holding back development is often best done away from the horse too.

Once we have a plan we can start to implement it in the saddle.

Many people consider riding to be an individual sport, but there is a team involved in all partnerships. Your vet, farrier, dentist, physio/therapist (horse & human!), saddler and coach all work towards successful performance and communication between all team members is beneficial.

So I consider myself to be an Equestrian Coach, do you see yourself as the athlete you are? Would you like me on your team?


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