Dear Coach, Believe In Me – presented by Walsh
Sounds simple right? Just believe in me. Well it’s easier said than done. One of the hardest things I’ve experienced is trying to find an instructor for my crazy mare and I who won’t give up on us. Someone to genuinely look me in the eye and give me the confidence that this mare is worth fighting for (and with) to get to our goal. Our goals aren’t super long or advanced but really a sane horse that can handle a training level dressage test and get herself on the trailer are our big life goals. Right now we are the walk/trot and occasional canter that generally ends on the wrong lead with some bucks for good measure who can’t get on the trailer and has a 4 hour stand off. I’ve had people tell me to sell her (pretty sure I couldn’t give my drama queen away she’s so high maintenance!), ship her off for months of training, or just breed her and get another horse to ride. All for me are not even options, as we are going to work through her life drama and nail a left lead or a 20 meter circle one of these days!
Albeit a small blog this entry I hope I can reach many a trainer and instructor, coach and even judge to tell them that the most important thing you can do for a student who struggles with a horse that’s not there yet is to just believe in them. In my lesson as described in my last blog (When to call the vet- training edition) My horse decided to trot backwards while bucking across the arena, yes that’s a new PSG dressage move you just haven’t heard of yet! However The entire time my instructor was working me through this with a few simple statements that got me calm and helped me move on:
“I know it’s so easy for me to tell you down here how to do this and not be in the saddle, so keep working at it and I know it’s far harder up there to get this done”.
A HUGE statement for a trainer of any kind! She really recognized that her telling me to do something is easier than me doing it in the saddle, she really took time to credit my intelligence, my abilities, and to give me the confidence that this will eventually work.
“You’ll work through this” “You’ll come out the other side of this”.
It is so REASSURING to hear that there is light at the end of this bucking tunnel! My horse has NO work ethic and when her little timer goes off we are done, so we are working on that timer! For an experienced person to tell me they’ve been in my boots and that we will work this out and it will go away is so helpful. It gives me hope for tomorrow!
So Trainer/Instructor folk, despite your clients who can be needy and their horses troublesome just remember we are one step from greatness and you will lead us there one way or another. Don’t tell us to sell the horse, (trust me I’ve already run that through my head) or that you don’t get why we can’t handle a simple canter, just give us hope, confidence and above all let us feel that you believe in us because that kind of confidence can break through a bad ride and lead us all to greatness.