Preparing for New Riders

While I have posted about preparing a The Lesson Plan and doing the Intake Lesson (Version 1 & Version 2), I have not posted necessarily about preparing for a new rider. This has been on my mind lately because I have a new client!

Within The Lesson Plan post, the first thing is what to do before the lesson, the first of which is “Assess, research participants, review paperwork.” In other words, gathering information.

About Gathering Information

Research is helpful because:

  • There are things you don’t know. (Do YOU have the whole Standards, Precautions, and Contraindications memorized?)
  • There is always more to learn.
  • It gives you a back pocket full of tricks.
  • Better over prepared than under prepared!

However, there is a flip side:

  • Learning too much can be overwhelming.
  • Certain info can taint your perspective of the rider before ever meeting them.
  • You don’t have time to research.

So, do what works best for you. I would highly recommend SOME form of research to prepare for your rider, at LEAST going to the precautions and contraindications section.

For me personally, I like to learn enough that I feel I have a wealth of ideas and responses I can use with a rider, listen carefully to caregivers’ input because they know the rider best, and take other instructors’ thoughts with a grain of salt because I usually have more success trusting my own instructor intuition rather than someone else’s.

How To Gather Information

This is the process I use to research what I need to know for working with a particular rider:

  1. Write down known info from their participant application and communications with their caregiver:
    1. Diagnosis
    2. Other info
    3. Goals
  2. Research #1 the Diagnoses using the PATH Intl Standards for Precautions and Contraindications:
    1. Record important info (precautions, contraindications, adaptations).
  3. Research implications on the lesson, adaptations, and ideas for everything  (#1-3) using my resources:
    1. PATH Intl Registered Instructor Workshop Binder
    2. Notes from the blog, my binders, saved computer files
    3. Online research – there are some great resources out there for specific disabilities

These notes can be as detailed or bullet point as you want! Everyone is different in how they need to prepare. Maybe you already have a ton of experience with disabilities so you don’t need to research as much, or remember just by reading or hearing so you don’t need to write it down. Adapt the process to how you work best!

I personally research a lot because I like it, it makes me feel more prepared and confident, and I remember by writing things down. I go back and review the information when I’m setting goals, need ideas, or feel stuck with a rider. It’s like my pocket full of tricks, customized for that client. Usually it’s only a page long, if that. I often add a part that is “Work on…” which condenses all the research into a few key points.

How do you prepare for new riders? Do you research at all?


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! If you would like to contribute an activity or article, please contact me here, I would love to hear from you!

2 thoughts on “Preparing for New Riders

  1. I absolutely research! Even if it’s a condition that I’m familiar with – I’ll go back to my previous research and rider files. I have a standard form for cognitive and/or physical intake assessments.
    And certainly the Precautions and Contraindications manual is my first step. Even if I know there is no precaution or contraindication, it will help me in asking the pertinent questions to begin the evaluation with confidence.
    THANK YOU for your blog! I read each one and absolutely love them!

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