Finding the right instructor is essential if a rider wants positive, satisfying, and safe equestrian experiences. The “best” riding instructor may be a very different person for different riders. It is an adult student’s responsibility to choose an instructor that suits her current level of ability and her goals.
Choosing a riding instructor is as personal a decision as choosing your doctor. The first step is clearly defining your objective:
• Are you just beginning to ride and want to learn solid, basic skills you can use for any riding discipline?
• Are you returning to riding after a period of years and want an assessment of your current riding skills?
• Are you riding already but want to change riding disciplines?
• Are you riding already but want to improve your skills or work on specific problems?
Being clear about your riding goals right from the start will not only help you evaluate the suitability of different riding instructors but will also help any instructor understand your expectations. If your goal is to excel in a particular equestrian sport, you will want an instructor with a successful background in that sport, one who knows how to develop and challenge her students so that they can be competitive in the show ring.
If your goal is to ride confidently and safely while enjoying nature from the back of a horse as you head out on trails, you would probably seek out a very different type of instructor.