On the Glories of “Coaching”

I have always loved teaching. Part of this is what led me to tutoring for 5 years, one of my many jobs to sustain the horse habit in college. And then while on the university’s dressage team, I had a few opportunities to coach at shows when our real coach was unavailable. While I cannot take much credit for my teammates’ successes, I found it truly rewarding to be able to help in those stressful 10 minutes before a test and was always super proud when they did well.

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Representing NC State at Nationals with the Intercollegiate Dressage Association

Since college I have had few chances to ‘teach’ beyond giving my sister lessons when I return home, and a brief stint of giving lessons to a fellow-boarder before she officially retired her old gelding.

Saturday though I had a chance to not coach, but support Ali as she battled her dressage demons. It was a showdown in the little white box, and I was there to give a few words of advice, but mostly encouragement as she and Baron faced their fears. Ali is a beautiful rider and Baron, a very good boy, so it was no wonder that they brought home a blue and a red ribbon and some amazing scores! 28.2 and a 31- not bad for someone who refers to dressage as ‘the sand box’! I haven’t seen that many 8’s in a long time!

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Ali and Baron- a great pair!

While again I make no claim to their victories, it reminded me how extremely rewarding it is to help someone succeed in this sport. Every horse person deals with trials and tribulations from time to time and it is important to lift someone up whenever possible. Since we are normally competing in the same division, our opportunities to help each other at shows are slim to null, so it was great to cheer them on from the sidelines. Go Ali and Baron!

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Showing off his acheivments!

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9 thoughts on “On the Glories of “Coaching”

    • I like to think of teaching/tutoring as putting my psychology minor to work.. otherwise I couldn’t justify it at all! Now if I could find a way to use the Italian I studied, I’d be set 😉

  1. Love “the sand box” comment! I love teaching too. I try to find opportunities to teach by giving my niece lunge lessons and helping my barnmate with her eventer she is attempting to sell as a hunter. Teaching and formulating theories/methods into words helps me in my riding and other educational pursuits! Hopefully I will get the chance to teach more when I enter graduate school. Also, I love the NC State dressage team photo! I was on the hunt seat team at NC State. I loved riding in college and the team setting.

    • Oh it’s so fun talking to fellow NCSU Equestrian Club veterans! I like the way you put it, putting those methods into words brings clarity to them in your own mind. Definitely a win-win situation for the person helped and for the ‘coach’ too!

  2. I had the opportunity to help a fellow rider the other day- she’s been largely self-taught and admitted to me she has a lot of gaps in her basic knowledge. She kept asking me for help and I finally asked her if she wanted me to be honest and she said yes- so we worked for a few minutes helping her get her leg under her and her weight in her heels- it really was really rewarding when she finally “got” it! Made me think maybe I actually would really like coaching…. (some days I regret not trying to do the horse thing full-time…)

    Glad you two had a great weekend! Great photos, and bacon, what a funny name!

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