10 Signs you have the Wrong Instructor
 By Polo the Weirdo   •   10th Mar 2017   •   1,202 views   •   0 comments
10 Signs you have the Wrong Instructor

Believe it or not, in the horse world, there are such things as ‘bad instructors’, or (because perhaps your instructor wouldn’t be bad for every rider) at least ‘wrong instructors’. Human beings in general tend to be fairly self-interested creatures, and of course, nobody should be frowned upon for doing what they can to make a living. Unless ‘what they can’ involves endangering your life to fill their pockets. That’s only okay for sky diving instructors, and believe it or not, sky diving is not supposed to be what your riding instructor is teaching you. If you feel like your skydiving skills are improving more than your riding skills, then you probably have the wrong instructor. In order to ascertain whether your instructor is, in fact, helping and not hurting, please consult the following helpful list of ways to tell that you have the wrong instructor.

1. Your instructor regularly enthuses “Good job!” while watching cat videos on her smartphone as you hang upside down onto the neck of a galloping horse making laps of the arena. This is not a good job. This is a bad job. Horse riding is safer when atop the horse’s back and in the saddle, usually.

2. When jumping, you feel like reaching your stirrups is perfectly preparing you for the future ballet career that you are likely to take up after you get sick of eating dirt every time you sit on a horse. Ballet instructors do not make good riding instructors. Toes and heels cannot be pointed down at the same time. (Seriously, they can’t, try it.) If your instructor is not recommending a short enough stirrup length for jumping, you’ve probably got the wrong instructor.

3. After getting bucked off for the fifteenth time in a week, when you get the vet out to check the teeth of the ‘ten year old’ ‘schoolmaster’ that your instructor sourced for you, you find that somebody has replaced all of your poor horse’s teeth with those of a three year old. That must be the only explanation for the vet finding that your new horsey is actually only about a third of the age that your instructor claimed. Your instructor would never lie to you. Not even to buy herself a new car with the $9000 she earned from charging you $10,000 for a $1,000 horse.

4. If people at shows walk up to you and ask “who is your instructor?”, this gives an excellent opportunity to figure out if you have the wrong instructor or the right one. Consider the inflection of the person’s voice. If they sound amazed and awestruck, as if they were admiring a glorious sunset, or Kim Kardashian’s butt, then you probably have the right instructor. If they sound grave and sympathetic, as if they had just found out that your country voted in Donald Trump as its president, then you probably have the wrong instructor.

5. If, after five years of ‘jumping training’, you find yourself able to ride a perfect piaffe, but unable to approach a 60cm cross bar, you probably have the wrong instructor. Most likely a good instructor, but also the wrong one. Not every instructor can teach every discipline. If I told you that I could teach you team penning, I would be lying. My horse is scared of cows. I barely know how to make my horse walk past cows, let alone ‘pen’ them. But if you offer to pay me to teach you team penning, well, sure I can. It can’t be that different from eventing, right? “Heels down! Sit up! Leg on!” Yeah. I got this.

6. If your instructor is able to get through more than three bottles of wine in a lesson, you probably have the wrong instructor. Or your instructor has the wrong pupil. You should never drive instructors to alcoholism, no matter how bad a job they are doing. This is wrong.

7. If you find yourself, after one extremely successful lesson on your horse, sitting in the stands at the World Equestrian Games several years later; watching your instructor win on the horse that you haven’t ridden since your first lesson, you might have the wrong instructor. Some extra professional schooling can go a long way for any horse, and could help out your riding too. But only if you ride. If you are not sitting on a horse, you are probably not learning to ride. You do not have an instructor... You have a sponsored rider. These are used for riding, not for instructing.

8. If your instructor regularly beats you with a crop, you probably have the wrong instructor. Crops are also used for riding, not instructing. Well, usually. Luckily it isn’t illegal to gently beat your pupils a little as long as you don’t work in a school. Right?

9. If you yourself having to run everything your instructor says through Google Translate before you can understand it, you might have the wrong instructor. Having an instructor that speaks your language (both in the literal and metaphorical sense) is fairly important if you are hoping to learn anything from them.

10. If your instructor has no sense of humour, you definitely have the wrong instructor. A good instructor always laughs when their pupil falls into a water jump, or gets bucked off into a steaming heap of poop. No, really. We’re supposed to do that... I promise.
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