The ONLY book that tells beginning English riders, both adult riders and parents of new junior riders the truth–all of it!
Watch a few lessons at the candidate barns. Here’s what to look for:
Patience with students, especially beginners. (As noted earlier, some experienced instructors feel diminished by teaching beginners. However, those who understand the sport–and their own business!–will welcome them. Not only are they the future, if they are started right, they will be a joy to teach and to watch, rather than a frustrating re-training exercise.)
Absence of negative or denigrating instructions or comments to students; no matter what mistake a student makes, an instructor should NEVER berate a student.
Respectful interaction between instructor and students.
Reasonable accommodation for parents to observe classes…but check, too, to see that parents are not allowed to interfere.
For adult beginner classes, check to see that the instructor does not talk down to the students.
Although it will be difficult, assess whether all or most of the students display improved skills between the beginning and end of the class; failing that, talk with them and see how they feel about what they are learning. Or, take a knowledgeable friend with you who can visually assess the progress in the classes.
Ask for a barn tour, and observe well.
Are the aisles clean? Realize that clean in a barn isn’t the same as clean in a house. There will be some dirt from recently picked hooves, and a few wisps of hay and so on. What you shouldn’t see is a pile of trash in the aisle, more than one pile of ‘road apples’ in any horse’s stall, wet and stinky stalls, dirty saddles and bridles laying around and so on.
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English Riding, Safe Riders: very parent's (and rider's) guide to learning to ride safely
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English Riding, Safe Riders: Every parent's (and rider's) guide to learning to ride safely
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