As riders, especially with our own horses we put a lot of money, time and effort into training
and finding the right coach for you can be a difficult task.
Here are some things to look for when finding the right coach for you.
Look at what value you take out of the lesson. Yes many coaches can help you get round a course of fences and say jump that one, now jump that one but reflect on the session, did you actually learn anything or did you just jump some fences for some pictures? Could you go out to a competition and be confident around a course? Have you learnt something new to practice when you are on your own?
Is your coach pointing out any positional corrections for you? Nearly all of us have bad habits or things that can be corrected as simply as changing our position fractionally. If a coach isn’t pointing these out to you then chances are, they are looking for the easy life and its easier for them to ignore them and just get you through an exercise and say super well done.
Is your coach invested in you as a rider? As a coach myself, I am available at any time around the session for any advice and always love to here how my riders are getting on outside of our sessions together. As part of what I do as a performance coach I am invested in the journey of a horse and rider and love to see them out achieving! You should leave the session feeling there is something to work on together next time.
Do they seem interested during the session or are they just doing their job? I have had a lesson once with a top rider and they sat in the corner under a blanket for the whole session. Yes they gave me a few tips and a bit of help but ultimately they seemed so uninterested even the tone of their voice. I came away feeling like I had just ridden my horse myself for someone just watching and commentating in the session. No explanation of anything.
Which leads me on to my next point, does your coach explain what they mean? A good coach should know that just because they know what they want you to do, doesn’t mean that the rider in front of them knows and it might require a little explanation. A coach that can see this and can put their explanation into different terms is a great coach.
There are many things to check when you are looking for a coach.
In order to coach they should be fully insured, First Aid trained and Safeguarding trained especially when it comes to coaching children.
There are a few different qualifications you can look out for too, coaches can be qualified through The British Horse Society and they can even be on their accredited professional coach list. To hold this APC accreditation coaches have to have their first aid and safeguarding up to date and also complete regular continued professional development.
UKCC (United Kingdom Coaching Certificates) is another qualification to look out for when looking for a coach. This qualification is specific to coaching and can be completed as general equestrian UKCC or specific into a certain discipline (British Eventing, British Dressage, British Show jumping)
I myself also hold the Centre 10 Advanced Coach certification which specialises in performance and applied psychology coaching which allows me as a coach to develop a horse and rider to reach their potential through a range of applied psychology techniques, building confidence, an improved mindset and enhancing performance.
Sometimes you might need to try a few coaches to find one that you click with and that works well with you and your horse. Don't rush these things it can take time and will be worth it in the long run!