Is this the right coach/trainer?
How we treat others is how we treat ourselves. And vice versa. This is why when people ask me about finding a coach or trainer in the horse world, for themselves or their child, I suggest looking at the horses. How do the horses look? Are they a good weight and happy? Are there feet trimmed and their teeth floated when they need to be? Are they sound and are they treated with respect? If the horses are overworked what is being made a priority over their well being? That’s worth finding out because that coach/trainer will likely make that same thing a priority over their client’s well being, and their own.
How often does the trainer reprimand the horse? Are the boundaries they set for the horse clear or inconsistent? Or do they not set boundaries at all, even healthy ones? Are they patient or quick to lose their temper? Do they make it as easy as possible for the horse to learn? Are they willing to get uncomfortable inside themselves to help the horse grow? The answers to these questions are a good indicator of how you will be treated as their client. Horses act as our mirror showing us all of ourselves, even the parts we like to ignore.
People aren’t perfect nor do I believe we should put them on a pedestal and ask them to be. But we should make choices for ourselves, our kids and our horses by placing mental, physical, emotional and spiritual well being over ribbons or price. I’ve met unhappy, resentful people with a ton of ribbons but no connection to their horse. I’ve also seen riding instructors that cost less but the cost savings are a direct reflection of the school horse’s well being.
So my suggestion is to use the above questions, and more, to gather your information. When it comes to making a choice why not choose a coach or trainer who runs their business with a level of integrity that inspires you. A good coach or trainer is able to hold the space for clients to grow into their potential, but to do so they have to be aware of the lessons already within themselves. So it comes down to one final question. Does how they treat horses and their relationship with them reflect your aspirations?
If the answer to the last question is no, and you find yourself trying to justify why becoming their client is a good idea, you may need to look at where you’re unwilling to change, and the effects it has on your life.