If you’re looking for a new trainer, it can seem like a daunting prospect. Finding the right coach can take time, but it is worthwhile to find the perfect person to help you and your horse achieve your goals.
“Try different coaches, because we all have different methods,” says Caroline Moore, eventer-turned-coach.
Riding club clinics or training days are good ways to experience lots of trainers without breaking the bank or having to travel miles.
Caroline also recommends watching someone teach to see if you like their style.
“When you find a coach you think you might gel with, it’s really important to tell them your goals from the beginning,” adds Caroline. “Then there are no misunderstandings and you know straight away if it can work. A good connection doesn’t happen immediately, but this approach will set you up for success.”
Building a relationship
Establishing a good relationship will give you the confidence to ask for more information if you don’t understand something.
“The more you get to know your trainer, the more you’ll recognise when you need to keep quiet and trust in their process, and when you need to ask a question or tell them something doesn’t feel right,” says Olympic dressage medallist Spencer Wilton.
It’s also important to look for a coach with the right facilities for your goals, whether you want to improve your cross-country, build your confidence on grass, or perfect your performance in the indoor school. It’s even better if they are relatively local.
“Think about price brackets as well,” says Caroline. “A good coach once a month might be better than seeing one who’s less efficient every week.”
You may also want a trainer with a hands-on approach. Caroline often uses one to demonstrate key concepts.
“There are lots of ways to get an idea across, but there’s nothing better than showing someone what I mean,” explains Caroline, who coaches riders of all levels.
“For example, if they are struggling with rein contact I’ll hold their reins to show them the feeling they are looking for. Or I might hop on their horse to help him pick something up, then when he understands it the rider can get back on and do it too.”
Meet the experts: Spencer Wilton is an international dressage rider who has represented Great Britain at European Championships, the World Equestrian Games and the Olympics.
Caroline Moore is a former five-star event rider and current British Eventing Youth Performance Coach.