It’s easy to get so involved in our own sector of the horse business that we forget who ensures our future. The horse industry’s engine is not the elite riders, the A circuit, or big-name trainers. The health of our industry depends on a continual stream of newbies and first-time horse owners to keep businesses going. Most may not get past the advanced beginner stage of riding, but all will buy products, and many will take lessons, attend clinics, and compete in local shows. Some will become career horsemen and women. The people who teach these neophyte horse lovers are essential professionals in our industry.
Over 3.6 million babies born in the U.S. each year provide a continual new crop of people who want to experience horses. The person who teaches beginner riders is the one who directs these newcomers. Beginner level teaching doesn’t depend on any other stage of riding to succeed.
Barbara Ellin Fox says, “Everyone, even the most decorated Olympian, began riding as a beginner. There is absolutely no way around it. Without new riders and the people who will teach the beginners, the horse industry would wither and die. Yet beginner’s instructors are frequently brushed off as backyard horsemen or are discounted as unimportant.” To Barbara, upper-level instructors and trainers should thank the beginner’s instructor. “I chuckle every time I run into a professional who only wants clients who own their own horses. I wonder if they consider how they learned enough to own a horse.”
Those who instruct beginners are not necessarily people who are new to teaching. In fact, Barbara encourages people to ride with experienced instructors. Both seasoned instructors and those just starting out need someone who will lift them up and tell them what they do is important, which is why Barbara mixes instructor encouragement posts with lesson plans and teaching suggestions.
Comments from readers:
Cathy- “I am a big fan of your website and have used it as a resource over the years to help develop the Girl Scouts in our leadership program, RIIT (Riding Instructors In Training) and our summer camp Riding Instructors.”
Letitia- “All I can say is THANK YOU! I feel like I hit the jackpot today when I found this site!! I’ve already shared several of your lessons with a new instructor that I recently hired and am training. This resource is going to be so beneficial to our riding program! Thank you.”
Beverly- “What a valuable resource for the equine communities. I wish I had found this twenty years ago…”
Barbara Ellin Fox is the past director of the Fox School of Horsemanship and a past Regional Supervisor for the United States Pony Clubs. She retired to write after fifty years of instructing and training in multiple disciplines. Each month, thousands of readers visit Barbara’s website TheRidingInstructor.net, where she shares ideas and encouragement for instructors. Her author website at BarbaraEllinFox.com gives a deeper look into Barbara’s life. Besides writing nonfiction about riding and teaching, Barbara has won multiple pre-published fiction awards.
Read her latest post, Instructors of Beginning Level Riders are the Foundation, at TheRidingInstructor.net