© 2006 Cherry Hill
the years, I have observed that most riders face common obstacles. However, rather
than presenting my observations to you as a series of problems that you must learn
to overcome, I'm listing them as factors that are important to the successful
development of a rider. After each factor are descriptions of people at the opposite
ends of the spectrum regarding that point. These factors are discussed elsewhere
in the book Becoming
an Effective Rider in more detail.
A positive, confident
attitude. The person who faces the jump expecting to land correctly on
the other side, vs. the person who remembers the time her horse refused or went
over the jump badly.
A healthy ego. The person
who has pride in her work and works to satisfy her own standards, vs. the show-off
or know-it-all whose primary reason for performing is to show others her supposed
A fit and healthy body. The person
who can breathe and cool her body during exercise and who is supple and of a healthy
weight, vs. the person who overheats or is short of breath, stiff, or overweight.
Open-mindedness. The person who accepts advice as a gift, vs. the
person who interprets advice as an insult or threat.
pleasant yet strong personality. The person who says hello, is willing
to help, yet goes about her work, vs. the person who is snooty, ignores most people,
yet wastes time in idle gossip with a few.
The person who works after school to earn lessons, vs. the person who must be
pushed and prodded by parents or friends to participate.
Responsibility for hard work. The person who cleans the stall and
picks out the horse's hooves each day, vs. the person who does it only when told
or when the horse is sick or lame.
The person who reacts to disappointment with a plan to improve, vs. the person
who reacts to disappointment with crying or losing her temper. Mental alertness.
The person who understands what the instructor is asking her to do, vs. the person
who repeatedly asks the instructor to explain the same things and cannot follow
The ability to analyze and self-evaluate.
The person who can work at home and assess the quality of the work during and
after the session, vs. the person who is afraid to try anything without someone
there to tell her if she is performing it correctly.
ability to plan a work session. The person who is able to choose a productive
plan: the warm-up, the old work, the new work, and the cool-down, vs. the person
who rides aimlessly into an arena and wonders, "Now what do I do?"
Interest in horse behavior, training principles, tack. The person
who spends time reading, observing, and talking with qualified horse people, vs.
the person who gets by with just what is needed for basic participation.
Time. The person who plans regular, unhurried blocks of time, vs.
the person who makes time once in a while or uses short periods of time sandwiched
hectically between other activities.
The person who uses the money available to care properly for a horse and participate
in an activity at an appropriate level, vs. the person who uses money for less
important, superficial purchases while the level of the horse's care suffers.
A good school horse. A cooperative, well-trained
horse of any breed or appearance, vs. a handsome or beautiful but flighty and
insufficiently or improperly trained horse.
A good instructor.
A qualified person able both to tell and show you how to ride, vs. a questionable,
domineering individual who has difficulty explaining but can ride, or is a great
talker but can't ride well.
A place to work on a regular
basis. A level, uncongested, enclosed area with good footing that is always
available, vs. a rough or wet area with unsafe fencing and inconsistent availability.
The proper tack. A saddle of the proper size and style that lets
you sit deep in the middle of the seat and allows some degree of flexibility,
vs. a saddle that is too big or too small or locks you into an incorrect, fixed