THE EDUCATION OF THE RIDING INSTRUCTOR

Why so many complaints are heard about the disappointing low level of qualified riding instructors?
 

 THE EDUCATION OF THE RIDING INSTRUCTOR

CARLOS N. GOMEZ 

The 3 pillars of teaching horse riding are, in order of importance:

1- safety,

2- didactics, and

3- technique. 

The riding teacher should help his students to become independent riders / horse owners. This includes understanding horse health care, recognizing and handling emergencies, feeding, soundness, equine body language, horse handling, tack fitting, hoof care, clipping, etc.

 

ABOUT THE QUALIFICATION SYSTEM

 

The actual qualification system is outdated, since riding instructors are only trained and examined about technical repetitive actions. Today, even highly qualified instructors can't deal properly with issues such as psychology of the learning process, a multicultural working environment, conflict solving, etc. It's common to see boring lessons, a low technical level, mismatching of horse and rider, etc.

 

There has been an incredible proliferation in the Western countries of qualifications for riding instructors, without that having much improved the general standards of teaching or even of safety during the lessons. The only real change at the end of this long qualification process has been the development of a huge and expensive bureocracy.
 
Sometimes it is a shocking experience to realize how few didactic tools riding instructors actually have. They know if either the distance for jumping is long or short or if the dressage exercise is correct, but they actually know little about how to help their pupils to achieve it. Moreover, nowadays we have many "motivational instructors", who are excellent to support "emotionally" their riders: few of them know how to improve their riders' riding, instead of just improving their riders' feelings!

 

ABOUT TEACHING STYLE

There are usually mentioned four teaching styles:

  • formal authority,
  • demonstrator or personal model,
  • facilitator, and
  • delegator

but probably the best style is a fluid one, which adjusts to the student's needs. A good teacher should change his style according to the needs of horse and rider, and not, as it is the most frequent case, horse and rider adapting to the teacher's style. An 'intelligent teaching'.

TO BE CONTINUED SOON.

 

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