Not Your Average Horse Back Riding Trainer

Teaching positionI guess I’m not  your average riding instructor or horse trainer.  Apparently, I do things a bit differently.

Here’s an excerpt of an email I just received from one of my students:

“It’s been my experience that instructors seem to have set ideas of what they want to see you do in a lesson, regardless of what’s going on with the horse or the rider. On Saturday, I saw you bring out the lunge line to the arena for warm up but I think when you saw how I was playing with the in hand you just picked up things from there.

There were times when you gave me instructions but the situation would change due to the horse or me and then we would just adapt the lesson to the new situation rather than trying to force the old one.

I realized how it’s built my trust and confidence in you.

I now feel the freedom to change my intent and adapt to what the horse is doing rather than sticking to my own agenda.

I would never have done that in a lesson before because I would be afraid that the instructor would get mad at me for not doing what I was supposed to.”

This got me thinking about how I teach people.  It’s really the same as how I work with horses – which makes sense because when I’m teaching a person, the horse IS part of the equation.  It has to be.  I can’t – really, I won’t –  ignore the horse’s needs over the human’s needs.   And, at the same time, I give the student want she needs to become a better horseperson as well as a better rider.

Yes, I want the the student (horse and human) to learn something in each lesson.  But, what I  may ‘want’ them to learn cannot overshadow what they may ‘need’ to learn.   I may have planned on working on canter transitions with a horse but then see that the horse needs to work on lengthening and stretching that day.   It can be the exactly the same for a human student who arrives at the barn stressed and tense from work or family ‘stuff’.

I bow to you.

I bow to you.

There is no point in taking the horse or the person to a place they are not ready to go.  I don’t ‘make’ horses or people do anything.  I work with them from where they are so that they feel

better by the end of the session than they did at the beginning.  The lesson they learn may not be the one I intended, but they will have learned regardless.

Sometimes the lesson will have been about riding; sometimes, about the horse;  sometimes, about themselves.

A heartfelt “thank you” to my students – human and horse – that allow me to teach them and also become my teachers.  Namaste.


Watch for my book coming soon – “Confident Rider, Confident Horse: Build Your Confidence While Improving Your Partnership with Your Horse from the Ground to the Saddle”

Interested in organizing a clinic at your location? Click here for more information.

Let’s spread the word about a better way to work with horses.  Share this blog with 3 friends, send a Tweet or post a link on your Facebook page.  The horses thank you.

You’re welcome to use this article in your newsletter or blog as long as you include my credit information: ~ Written by Anne Gage, Confident Horsemanship (  

I would also appreciate it if you’d send me a copy for my media files.

Anne Gage ~ Confident Horsemanship
Facebook Group – Horseback Riding Solutions with Anne Gage
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6 thoughts on “Not Your Average Horse Back Riding Trainer

  1. It also takes time for a student to begin to trust their teacher. When we first work with a horse who has never been communicated to with horse language or with respect it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that they should immediately come around, change their behaviour and trust us because of that first interaction. But that horse needs time to see if you’re consistent and true, to get used to a new way of business. In that way your student rider is very much like the horse newly introduced to these methods.

    • So true, Alison. Horse or human, they both need consistent behaviour from those they interact with in order to develop trust and confidence. They also both need to know that who they are with has their best interest, safety and security at heart.

  2. I always arrive at the barn stressed just from life issues. After my lesson I am at the most relaxed state that I can personally achieve.

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