Reading the responses and postings from adult amateur riders compels me to address a common misunderstanding between instructor and instructee. In a fellow blogger’s comment section I referenced the different psyches involved with teaching teenagers and teaching adults. (see comments) This generated some discussion on why adults may have specific concerns. Alas, I too am an adult and have indeed suffered injuries from riding. I however, seem to believe more in some adults than they believe in themselves. This is usually illustrated when we first meet and are setting long-term goals. Almost invariably if I ask a teenager what they would like to accomplish they say “I want to ride in the Olympics.” Lofty goals indeed. We then discuss what kind of dedication is involved in reaching that kind of commitment. When I ask an adult with seemingly the same ambition and enthusiasm the identical question I usually get a somewhat embarrassed laugh and an off the cuff comment like “Well, I know we’re not going to the Olympics or anything, but it might be nice to show training level or something.” I then know that in addition to the technical aspects of dressage I am in for a big confidence building campaign as well. It’s not that I mind working on this aspect of my job, I am just left to wonder what happens to people who seem perfectly fine in every way, that somewhere along the road in life they went from believing they had the world by the tail to doubting they could perform at the basic level. I have seen many adult amateurs reach FEI levels when someone believed in them and they coupled that with the required amount of work to accomplish the goal. So the next time your trainer asks you what your goals are, don’t let them off easy, they might take your word for it. Tell them what your goals are and be willing to make the sacrifices to get there. You’re probably just one believer’s opinion away.
*Photo by MKW Photography