Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

Online clinic?

I have a subscription to a website that posts equestrian coaching videos -- consider it professional development :)   And the vast majority of these videos are grand prix level pros teaching subject X -- they are very much teaching the watcher, not the actual rider.  Some have really interesting exercises, some just have a good turn of phrase or a different way of explaining something, and admittedly some are essentially useless.  (yeah I know - shouldn't say that.  Can learn something from everybody.  But sometimes the something is simply NOT worth the 15 mins or so it takes to watch the video).

But for my learning style, the fastest way for me to improve my coaching, is to watch other people teach.  Coach A fixes problem X by doing Y.  And that will stick in my head forEVER.  And when I see X, if there's no immediately obvious fix, my brain shifts through every coach I've ever seen teach X till I find the style/words/combination that will most help this particular student succeed.  And it always makes me laugh when somebody who knows one of my previous coaches hears me teach and says "oh you sound just like so-and-so..." -- which A, I always take as a compliment since I've had AWESOME coaches, so I'm quite happy to be compared to them, and B, I find amusing because while none of them are alike (I tend to go for extremes in my learning), I apparently sound like all of them!  hahaha

Anyways - back to my original story.  In an effort to improve both my coaching and my riding, over the years I have audited hundreds of hours of lessons from probably 10-15 different coaches.  Basically any chance I could get.  Obviously some more than others (ie - those who let me hang out at their barns endlessly!) but still, lots.  Now however, I have less time and fewer opportunities for that, so I've turned to the internet.   Now since *most* of these videos are aimed at teaching the exercises and the theories rather than the demo-riders, I actually find them far *less* useful for my own use, but still mostly worth watching.

Today though one popped up that was described as "an in-depth schooling session" -- which roughly translates as the coach schooling the *rider* as opposed to the audience.  Or essentially a videoed lesson.  Which is exactly what I want to see.   It was a much longer video than the ones on this site usually are, but thanks to Kirby I had tonight off, so why not? (yes, this is what I do with my time off -- I know, I'm beyond help!).

So at first I didn't think too much one way or the other of the lesson.  The coach is *very* french, so not sure how much is lack-of-english and how much is just not commentating.  What he said was very correct, but he wasn't saying much.  Warms up the student (ummm now keep in mind - the student in question is a grand-prix rider on a grand-prix horse, so not exactly your average participant) over fences - pretty standard change-number-of-strides exercise.  Again, everything he said was accurate, but nothing I'd write a blog post about.

So then he sends the rider out around the course.  Fairly technical course with lots of related distances.  And he doesn't say a thing while the guy is riding.  Then after the course is done he's analyzing it for the rider and whoever put the vid together replayed each section to match the analysis, so you could see exactly what he was speaking about as he was saying it.  DEAD on.  Right up to including "you were one stride too late asking the horse to lengthen on that approach".   I don't think I've ever seen an after-the-fact analysis anywhere near as in-depth or accurate as that one.  Not just you were a little long or a little short, but where exactly the problem happened and why.  For every. Single. Fence.  I was pretty thoroughly impressed.  And impressed with the rider who in-turn was able to apply all of said advice and ride an *almost* flawless round on the 2nd try (tbh, the first round was definitely not horrible -- just that said coach picked it to pieces *g*)

So yeah, just thought I'd share.  Main take-away from that as a rider is attention to detail.  That and the horse must be super-adjustable and relaxed.   As a coach is - clearly time to improve my memorization skills!  hahaha Wow.


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