Teaching Tips From "The Coach"

by David Mikosz

Week 1:
FROM THE COACH: "If your horse is cantering too fast, do increasingly smaller circles until you feel him slow down then reward him by going straight. Repeat each time he speeds up. He will soon figure out cantering slow is easier than doing circles."

Week 2:
FROM THE COACH: “When warming up your horse for a class, the goal should be to get READY to be your best. Avoid showing off and leaving your BEST in the warm-up ring. For more in depth information on this topic read the awesome article by Lindsey Knight on RateMyRiding.com!”

Week 3:
FROM THE COACH: “At a horse show, resist the temptation to make any big changes to your equipment or approach to working your horse. Most success is achieved by developing a flexible plan while working at home and sticking to it.”

Week 4:
FROM THE COACH: “Do you have any horse show rituals, traditions or superstitions? Mine is to never hang a ribbon up until the session is over!”

Week 5:
From the Coach: “When interacting with horses, one of two things is occurring. Either you are training them or they are training you. Think about it.”

FROM THE COACH: “Teaching your horse to lead well in and around your stables will be a big help when it comes time to trailer them.”

FROM THE COACH: “When doing something new with your horse ACT confidently. Any tentativeness can affect your timing and result in misunderstanding. Even if your timing is a little off when you start, your horse will usually be much more forgiving if your approach is 'we can do this'.”

FROM THE COACH: “I don’t know where the habit/tradition started of slapping our horses on their neck when they have done something well. I prefer to use a gentle stroke of the neck or forehead rub during ground work to praise my horses when they perform well.”

FROM THE COACH: “It’s much more than a kick or a squeeze. Use of an aid or cue of your horse can be broken down into several elements: the proper Timing/Location/Angle with the minimum Intensity/Depth/Duration/Frequency will result in the highest quality connection. Think about it.”

FROM THE COACH: “Occasionally you may see a trainer with a very unique riding style that just seems to help him get the most from his horse. This is the exception. Usually the road to your best and most visually appealing ride is through the use of good basic equitation.”