As equestrians, we may be at the point where we need to face up an uncomfortable truth; ‘normal’ may not be returning for quite a while. Harsh, but true. Simply put, I feel that this means that this is as good a time as any to begin settling in and making yourself comfortable with this ‘new normal’. For now, anyway.
The lives of so many riders have changed dramatically over the course of the past 90 or so days. Things we took for granted have become coveted luxuries.
Time in the saddle is one of these things for many riders. For others, it is being able to work with a trainer or instructor in order to keep developing and moving forward.
However, even in the midst of all this uncertainty, there are ways of making it work. There are resources out there that, up until now, maybe you would have never considered. You simply didn’t have to!
But, in this ‘new normal’, these once unconventional resources are the very thing that will help you continue to improve and develop your skills as an equestrian. And, help you to continue to develop your horse as well.
My Experience as an Online Equestrian Coach
I have been training and coaching riders online for seven years now. Long before Zoom was a household name! In that time I have discovered a few key areas that determine whether or not someone will benefit from online coaching. That is what I want to share with you today.
If you are considering working with an online equestrian coach or trainer, see the following points as a checklist… Check that you are ready to show up in all the areas mentioned and then make your decision based on that.
Q1. Are you Coachable? ☑️
The first point is one that, at face value, most riders will reply something along the lines of ‘Yes, of course, I am” to. However, I want you to dig a little deeper here. Coachable means that you are open to new suggestions. New or different methods.
It means that you are open to trying new things in your riding style and method, often things that you may have previously disregarded or not had much success with?
A willingness to learn and be open to new things is essential when working with any trainer or coach. However, when online it really becomes important because of the lack of in-person contact. At the end of the day, it comes down to the rider’s commitment to being coached.
It is far easier to continue to inspire someone to keep going when I am in the same arena as that person. It becomes a lot more difficult virtually.
Q2. Are You Willing to Show up? ☑️
Again, this is a question most riders will automatically say yes to, without giving it a second thought. However, and again this is from experience, it takes commitment to be consistent virtually! I have had many experiences over the years where the training session was scheduled. I jumped on the call; only to be stood up. The most annoying part of it all is that it usually was because ‘something came up’ in the other person’s day.
A couple of months ago, I found myself in this same situation again. Stood up. When we did eventually get in contact with the rider, she had simply over-scheduled herself. ‘Overly ambitious’ were her words.
The thought struck me; if it was an in-person lesson and we were meeting in the arena, would she have also been a no-show? I can almost bet the answer to that is no.
And yet, many people see online as being not as important. Less relevant somehow. Time is time. When you schedule an appointment with someone, you are scheduling their time. If you are to successfully work with an online equestrian coach or trainer, you need to see ‘online’ as being equal to ‘in-person’.
Q3. Are You Willing to Do the Work? ☑️
And yes, another ‘but of course!’ question when we ask it first. But really. Working with an online equestrian coach or trainer means that you must be able to hold yourself accountable. And, in my experience, it is this accountability that many riders struggle with.
There are a whole host of ways to build accountability into your riding, I have a post HERE listing a few. My suggestion is that, if you do decide to enlist the services of a virtual or online equestrian coach or trainer, put a few in place BEFORE you begin your coaching. Accountability is easy when the going is good. When you are finding success with your horse and you are making progress.
However, accountability is essential when the opposite shows up in your riding. And it will show up. When things are tough.
The times when you can’t seem to get the exercises correct or your horse is not cooperating. When things are not going to plan is the very time when you should double down and stay the course. However, it is also the time when it will become easier to embellish, exaggerate or tell an outright porkie or two about your efforts and progress!
Accountability is being able to honestly communicate how things went with your trainer and then working with them to steer things back on track again.
Working with an Online Equestrian Coach or Trainer
So there you have it, 3 simple questions:-
- 🔲 Are you coachable?
- 🔲 Are you willing to show up?
- 🔲 Are you willing to do the work?
If you can honestly, hand over heart, answer yes to all of the above; congrats! You are ready to take this new step in your riding journey. Again, this may not have been the solution you had in mind when you started out 2020. However, as the world begins trying to navigate this new territory, this is one of the most accessible ways for riders to continue to be coached or instructed.
And, in my experience, there is often added benefits to working with an online equestrian coach or trainer such as being able to review the lesson, over and over. As many times as you need.
No, it is not the same as having an instructor in the arena with you, but right now, it might just be even better. You get to continue your journey with your horse, from the relative safety of your own arena or paddock. For many riders, that beats putting both themselves and their families at risk of contracting or spreading the virus, hands down.
Another bonus to virtual lessons is that you get a digital journal of your progress in your riding and lessons you can ‘retake’ time and again with your horse.
Other Resources for This Topic
- I wrote a similar article to this on my personal website some months back HERE
- CLICK HERE to receive more information on my virtual riding lessons
- Past Episode – Accountability in Your Riding
- Connection – my monthly online membership for equestrians
- Horse Riding Through COVID-19
- Free Weeks Riding Plan
- Free 2020 Equestrian Fitness Challenge
- Lunging for Riding
- Groundwork for Riding
- My free online Facebook Community
- The Daily Strides Podcast