6 Reasons You Need A Coach At All Levels Of Riding

Ah, the age old question. If I already know how to ride, why do I need to take lessons?

Here are 6 reasons that all riders need a coach no matter their skill level and tips for finding a trainer that is a good match for you!

Even professionals need a coach, maybe the frequency of your lessons will be different than someone else depending on your needs and goals. But, the truth is, when it comes to riding, no one knows everything, it is impossible to be a master at every aspect of this sport.

Another Pair Of Eyes

You might be thinking, but I have mirrors in my indoor. Well, there’s a good chance you’re still missing something. Sometimes improving your riding or how your horse performs is all in the minute details. And, we can’t always see or feel them until someone else points them out.

Ever had a lesson where your trainer made a minor adjustment to your riding? Maybe told you to soften a cue slightly, or change the position of your foot by half an inch and all of a sudden you could feel everything come together?

It’s like magic! This has happened to me countless times!

Sometimes your trainer has the opportunity to observe small changes in your horse’s body language, movement, tension, relaxation, shape etc. that you cannot see while mounted.

No matter how detail oriented you are, how observant you are or how talented of a rider you are, a second set of eyes can be crucial to your success. The value of another pair of eyes is priceless.

Objective Feedback

Whether we want to admit it or not, we all tend to be somewhat bias. And, a reality check can be very helpful in overcoming obstacles with our horses. You don’t pay your trainer to be nice to you, you pay them to tell you the truth.

If that’s not the case, you need a new trainer. And, sometimes the feedback is that you are in fact doing a good job when you have self doubt. The feedback your trainer gives you should be completely objective. Whether they give you praise or constructive criticism or a mixture of both, they are looking at the big picture and trying to help.

You might think you horse is performing to the best of his ability, until your trainer tells you, he can do better. Or, until your trainer says you can ride better. And, the fact of the matter is, we can all always ride better even when we are doing our best. The amount of precision, skill, technical knowledge and minute detail that goes into riding horses well is a lot to manage on your own.

Motivation & Self Confidence

And while your trainer picks up on small details and gives you objective feedback, chances are they’re your biggest cheer leader too!

When you’re stuck in a rut, need help, have a bad habit or are working through fear your trainer will be there to give you the tools and confidence to progress.

Whether you need a push, reassurance or praise, taking lessons with a trainer will help you realize the progress you are making.

And your trainer will tell you where to focus your energy. Sometimes we get focused on trying to fix things but we’re taking the wrong approach. Once your trainer helps you get on the right track, it’s easy to see the path ahead. And in turn, you start to feel more confident.

Even if you can’t ride with a trainer frequently, taking lessons with someone you trust and admire can set you up with tools and goals for your rides on your own.

A Reminder Of Skills You Already Have

Anyone who has been around horses for a long time will know that the amount of information equestrians absorb over the years is enormous. And, sometimes, you just plain forget things.

Or, you know a method or technique that you don’t think applies to the situation you’re in so you don’t use it.

Maybe you learned a technique that was helpful on a horse you rode years ago and haven’t used it much since. You might completely forget about it an it could be just the approach you need. This has definitely happened to me before. We all get a little rusty.

A trainer will help you remember to use the tools you have and use them correctly.

Photo Credit: Amy M Avitabile

2 Heads Are Better Than 1

Just to go back to basics for a moment. Even if you are a professional and very skilled, we all learned in elementary school when we had to do group projects that more brains are better than one. No one has all the knowledge to work through every problem on their own. Even if you feel you don’t need coaching, you can partner with one of your peers to brainstorm and get creative about problem solving.

Horses are all different from each other no matter how similar, so in order to adapt to each horse and get the most out of them you need a partner in crime.

There Is Always More To Learn

One of my favorite sayings when it comes to horses is, “the more you learn, the more you realize how little you know.”

This is the best way I can describe the feeling every time I learn something new.

With the amount of disciplines available, the unique personalities of millions of horses on the planet, the various breeds of horses, there is just no way one person can know it all.

There is always more to learn from other equestrians.

You can even learn from other disciplines and apply those lessons to your own riding. The amount of information available to us about horses, horse behavior and horse training is infinite. And thus, there are endless ways to skin a cat.

What If I Don’t Have Access To A Good Coach?

Horseback riding is a popular sport, chances are there is someone reputable in your area. If not, ask your network of horse friends who they recommend. Even if your coach isn’t local to you and you can only take lessons occasionally, having a coach will still benefit you.

If you compete in any horse shows, think about which trainers you see regularly and which you admire. This is a great place to get a sense of a trainer’s coaching style. You can always get their contact information or chat with them at the show about setting up a lesson.

And, if you are in search of a good trainer, check out this article where I review how to find the right match for you! This article includes a list of questions to ask when meeting with prospective trainers and some things you should observe while you’re at their farm.

I hope you found this article helpful! If you did, please share it!

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