Sunday, 27 January 2013

Coaching vs.Teaching

As a younger rider, my coach failed to take the training wheels off. I was taught some valuable skills, but never learned to think by myself until I became a professional and had sink or swim.

Now, as a certified coach, I’m always asking how I can be a better communicator and mentor.

I think Equine Canada says it well in a recent “Coaches Corner”…
The goal of teaching is to transmit knowledge: facts, steps, processes.
The goal of coaching is to facilitate the participant’s learning process.

The coach helps a rider to-
  • combine skills, and facts making decisions appropriate to the moment,
  • to make judgement calls without waiting for precise direction from their instructor
  • learn from multiple sources: the horse, the situation, their own mistakes, and observation of others.
As coaches it’s tempting to want riders (or our own kids) to be dependant on us, but don’t you think the best gift is to give them wings and release them?

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Using Spurs

A spur is really just a reaching assist (a term taken from my lifeguard days – not equine related!).

As a woodworker might choose some smaller chisels to refine the details of his project, so spurs give a rider precision and reach in delivering his cues.

Timing and intensity of the aids we use is a popular topic on my blog. Skilled riders are intentional about their communication – they’ve learned to avoid cues that are too little, too much, too late, or too early – sometimes the hard way!

As long as a rider has good control over her lower leg and heel, so that she won’t touch the horse by accident, spurs can help her to reach just the right spot in just the right amount.

I know by wearing spurs that I won’t miss a training opportunity – if a horse is unresponsive to my leg, I can lift my spur to deliver just the right amount of motivation and follow through on my request. I have it available if I need it. Remember, our goal is error free horse training.

Any tool can be misused by an inexperienced or careless operator. 

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

At the in-gate of a New Year

Walking up the chute, through the in gate, into the ring and into the unknown at an important show? Who doesn’t have butterflies ??

What about at the gate of the New Year? These words give me perspective and still my butterflies as I consider the unknowns of 2013 – the economy, health, family…you name it.

I said to the man who stood at the Gate of the Year,

"Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown."

He replied, "Go out into the darkness, and put your hand into the hand of God.

That shall be to you better than light, and safer than a known way."

In a war time speech by King George – not knowing Britain if would ultimately win the war.