When his team complained about the small size of their playbook, Green Bay Packers Coach, Vince Lombardi told the players he’d give them more once they mastered the basics. Lombardi knew a thing or two about success.
A thorough understanding of basics is the foundation for success in football and in riding and teaching.
I grew up on L.I. in New York, riding and showing in the days of legends in the horse world, Vladamir Littauer, Harry DeLeyer, Gordon Wright and began teaching as a neophyte instructor in 1965. In 1968 I attended the Potomac Horse Center, MD. PHC was the only British Horse Society program offered in the United States at the time, one of the few places an instructor could be certified. I’ve taught riding for my lifetime, teaching children, adults, and instructors in all disciplines of riding. I especially enjoy teaching instructors.
In the ’70s I began teaching in Pony Club. Since then I’ve held many USPC positions, including Regional Supervisor, Regional Instruction Coordinator, District Commissioner, Regional Camp Director, Pony Club Examiner, course designer, and event organizer.
In 2015 I ceased teaching riding on a daily basis in order to spend my time writing.
Instructors of beginners are some of the most important people in the horse world. Everyone starts at the beginning. The foundation that we give to our beginners will have a direct relationship to their long term success in riding.
Blue ribbons are not the only indicator of success with horses. Helping a rider overcome issues, helping someone continue to ride for their lifetime, and seeing that smile that comes from the joy of spending time with horses also indicate success. Success is in the trail ride, or the bonding with a frightened horse, or the healing provided with equines assisted therapy. There is no limit to the number of ways we can succeed with horsemanship. But for me it is only truly success when I see the horse well handled, well cared for, and well treated. We need to teach the whole package to the next generation—riding skills, theory, sportsmanship, horsemanship, and relationship. Then we will have true success.
Hang out with me at The Riding Instructor and we’ll discuss issues, theories, methods, and just about everything. Add your thoughts to the conversations— comments are always open. I’m looking forward to hearing from you.