does the instructor's responsibility begin and end?
We are all familiar with the issues at the home barn. We have to provide
a safe facility, reasonably safe school horses, well-planned lessons, and we
cannot pass the responsibility to anyone else without adequate training.
Adequate usually includes documentation of some kind.
responsibility of the riding instructor or trainer (if that is who does the
teaching) does not end at the arena gate or when the school horse is put away.
Showing requires skills beyond those needed in the classes being shown. Students
need the skills to navigate the whole show situation.
the instructor accompanies the student or the student shows alone or with her
parents, the instructor still has some responsibility for teaching the student
safe procedures. The procedures used by a competitor to manage what happens at a
show outside of the classes entered are infrequently, formally taught.
needs these skills? Is it only the
students who are showing alone or with their parents?
Hardly. The instructor or trainer cannot be with all the students all the
time if he is hauling several, so those who are not with him at that moment will
need specific procedures or protocols to follow. The instructor who is only
hauling one student will still be quite busy and will need to rely on the
student to do some things on her own. This is especially true if the instructor
or trainer is showing in part of the classes himself.
the absence of formerly taught safety procedures come back to haunt an
instructor later? Maybe. If the
instructor is traveling with the students the need is even higher. There may be
some things where the instructor may not have a duty to instruct the student but
certainly there is a moral duty for the instructor to have taught the student
all the skills that he knows they will need. To later tell the student that,
"this will all come with experience," while the student continues to
spend more money on show after show is inappropriate when the instructor can
teach the student what the student needs to know.
you are at the show it is probably too late to reasonably begin to address these
problems. Anything you do at this late date will be a stopgap effort. It is too
late to properly train people to do things that you need them to do at the time
you are teaching them - unless you have built in a lot of time. Usually you do
not have that kind of time at a typical show or circuit.
issues that need to be addressed at a show will be slightly different for youth
and adult amateur, but only slightly. Many instructors assume that when they are
hauling adults that they can give more responsibility to them. This is not
an adult amateur can sign his own release, it is a mistake to assume that you do
not need to teach him skills as carefully as a youth. There is no reason to
assume that an explanation how to do something will be clear to him just because
he is an adult.
same is true of the experienced versus the inexperienced rider. You cannot make
assumptions about the person's experience unless you have asked them to
demonstrate how they would do something. To assume that they would do it the way
you would want them to is a big and dangerous assumption. It is best to teach
your students from the ground up so that you and they know how you want thing
done and you know how you can expect them to perform.
riders present a problem in that they cannot sign their own releases and the
releases may not be given much validity in some jurisdictions as the law
protects minors to a great degree. The age of the students will make a
difference because the older the student the more the instructor can expect to
be able to rely the student's ability to follow directions and carry them out
frequent statement by instructors, trainers and show management to pass the
burden of responsibility is that a minor's "parents were at the show"
and somehow should have been responsible for the minor's actions. This line of
thinking only works if the parents have received the appropriate training. This
means that if you want the child's parents to be somewhat responsible then you
need to teach the parents all the procedures as formally as if they were
students. Just telling them sort of how you want thing to work at a show will
not work. Assuming that they know will not work.
saves a lot of time to train your students and their parents, and your amateurs
and their husbands. It also makes the show safer and more fun for everybody.
They will feel more like a team or a group and you will feel less like you are
doing all the work.
to Top of This Page
Return to Harmony Between Horse and Rider Page
Return to Riding Instruction Page