Teaching Tips III


Here are some random tips I’ve been saving that don’t fit into a whole blog post but want to share! Enjoy!

Teaching Tips III

  • Sitting up straight
    • “Make the front part of your torso longer than the back part”
  • Walk trot walk
    • Use colored cones like traffic signals: green cone means trot, yellow cone means slow down red cone means walk.
  • Give breaks
    • “Take a lap walking, then do ________ (exercise). This give you a whole lap thinking about how you’re going to do this.”
    • Remind them, “If you need a break, let me know!”
  • Give them time to figure it out
    • It’s good to let students have that “aha” or “I forgot” moment, because the next time they’re more likely to remember.
  • Get to know me bulletin board
    • Have a “get to know me” board to help volunteers get to know their riders. Have every family make a poster about their child, how to respond, how to redirect, etc. and hang it on the board.
  • When riders bicker and correct each other
    • Focus them
      • Put them on high input horses
      • Have them lead their horses before the lesson
      • Have them help set up the arena before the lesson
      • At end of lesson have a performance so they have to focus on themselves during the lesson
      • Keep volunteers with them to act as personal coach, focusing them, so rider interacts with coach instead of bickering at the other rider
    • Manage their behavior
      • Set ground rules: whoever bickers has to dismount and do barn work
      • Take turns using follow the leader, so everyone gets a chance to be leader
      • At end of the lesson everyone has to say 5 nice things to each other, and the rest of the lesson they have to be quiet and think about what they want to say
      • Offer reward, such as a stamp on the hand, sticker, or get to groom
      • Relate how they treat the horse to how they treat others
  • When there is a lack of progression
    • They may not say what the problem is, so ASK. There may be a problem you don’t see!
    • Ex) The rider is not applying the leg aids as well as before, because their boot starting pinching them halfway through the lesson but they thought they could live with it instead of mentioning it.
    • Ex) The rider keeps taking their foot out of the stirrup because their knee hurts badly but it always does so they didn’t tell you.
    • Ex) The rider can’t hear you because the saddle is squeaky.
    • When check tack, ask rider how they are doing and ask if any soreness or injuries
  • Praises
    • Use the “Love Sandwich”: praise what they did well (and give a why), make a correct (and give a why), and when they do it right praise them (and give a why)
    • Relate the whys back to the riding skill and life skills, so they know how to use their aids to impact their life.
  • Push one step beyond the rider’s desire to stop.
    • Helps them increase tolerance for challenges and attention span.
    • When they protest or want to stop, verbalize their discontent (“You want to stop”) and ask for “one more”. If they will not, help them through it quickly, but keep it fun.
    • Obviously this depends on the rider and should be used with discretion.
  • Task Analysis
    • Use task analysis before teaching a skill to determine what you need to teach first for them to be successful.
    • Use task analysis to determine why rider is having issues. Ex) reins too long
  • Improving your instructors
    • Take videos of instructors off and on for a year. It’s a huge educational experience for TRIs, volunteers, ITs, and everyone! (Art of Teaching)
  • Teaching is a science and an art (Art of Teaching)
    • Science
      • Objective, lesson, goals
      • Task Analysis
      • Understanding different learning styles
    • Art
      • Teaching techniques
      • Voice tone
      • Relationships
      • In the moment
      • Self-reflection
      • Continued education
      • Creativity and improve and flexibility


  • Advanced Workshop, 2014 with Sandy Webster
  • Mentor Training, 2015 with Sandy Webster
  • Art of Teaching seminar by Marny Mansfield and Emily Wygod, Pegasus TR Center at 2015 PATH Intl Conference
  • Personal riding instructors


Note: This is not professional advice, this is a blog. I am not liable for what you do with or how you use this information. The activities explained in this blog may not be fit for every rider, riding instructor, or riding center depending on their current condition and resources. Use your best personal judgement!


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