I had the chance last week to stop by a prestigious barn and observe a few lessons.
The girls were young - maybe high school/jr. high - and there were some lovely horses, and one darling grulla pony!
|More grulla ponies please!!|
I was excited to see what the girls would be learning - (as anyone who has watched the Robert Dover clinics on USEF - the jr. riders can rock it!). But, the extent of the instruction was "Wiggle the bit" and "Slow your posting", which made me incredibly sad. With Trainer S. I get a ton of feedback - on what I can improve, and why certain exercises improve the horse and/or me: lifelong tools I can use! I feel this sort of instruction is even more critical for beginners, or riders new to a discipline.
As an observer, I felt this trainer was "walking on eggshells", and her #1 goal was to give a positive experience. Yanking on the reins, jamming heels into sides (no spurs, thankfully), one girl's horse had a tail full of shavings (and even I who grew up semi-feral on horses, always wanted my mare to look pretty when I rode her) but nothing was said.
I am all for positive reinforcement (I don't learn well in intense negativity or drill sergeant-like experiences), but I feel there has to be some improvement in skill over time in a lesson program. (Granted I saw one snapshot of one moment - these girls may have significantly improved from when they started)
What do you like (or don't like) to see in a clinic or during a lesson as an observer?