6 things not to say to your instructor

Standing out in all weathers, being a source of endless positivity, moving equipment around endlessly… instructors have a lot to put up with. If you find someone whose teaching style suits you and your horse, try not to scare them off with any of the following…

1. “I watched some videos online, and I think we were doing it wrong last time”

While your instructor will doubtless be delighted that you’re doing some research, he or she has had years of training and experience and the huge advantage of having seen you and your horse working together. Your five minutes’ worth of Youtube-ing doesn’t compare.

2. “My friend says….I should be jumping 5 feet/riding at medium level/changing my bit”

Your instructor is understandably likely to tell you to go and have lessons with your friend, then.

3. “Can my mum/friend/sister/entire family watch the lesson?”

Yes, of course — as long as they’re quiet, stay still and don’t try and join in. After all, you’re not paying your instructor to explain things to your sister.

4. “I’m only five minutes late!”

Given that horses are the world’s most unpredictable creatures, all of us are late every so often. Your horse deciding he’d really rather stay in the field for another ten minutes or the strap on your brushing boot finally disintegrating can knock all your timings out. If you’re consistently late, though, your instructor will a) get ratty, or b) knock it off your lesson time. Your choice.

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5. “My horse doesn’t like… jumping/lateral work/polework”

Really? Are you sure? Did he write you a letter? Your instructor will correctly spot that the member of the partnership with the problem could be you, and make it their life’s mission to help you enjoy whatever it is more. Prepare to be doing polework most days for the rest of your life.

6. “I’m useless at this”

Yes, we all have days when taking up knitting looks like a really alluring alternative, but we should be having good days as well. Relax and be positive — or your instructor might start secretly thinking they agree with you!

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