Heels down, shoulders back, eyes forward…all words your riding instructor has said more than once.

Being a riding instructor isn’t easy. They hold the responsibility of educating students on the art of riding. Likely, you’ve have bad instructors and amazing ones. However, they’ve also probably had good and bad students. If you’ve ever wondered what it takes to be an excellent student, then start by learning what they wish you already knew!

1. Set realistic goals: Not everyone can make it to the Olympics, especially on their 20 year old pony. Don’t sell yourself short, but also make your expectations practical.

2. Communicate: Don’t stay quiet when something is really confusing or bothering you. If it doesn’t make sense, speak up.

3. Be ready to ride: Leave the drama at home. Be on time to the barn and in proper riding apparel.

4. Proper equipment is necessary: Your riding instructor doesn’t want you to show up in shorts and sneakers. A helmet, proper boots, riding pants, a short or long sleeve shirt, and gloves are usually required.

5. Practice: If you have your own horse, consistently practice what you are taught. For those that don’t have their own horse, visualize what you need to do next time and jot down questions.

6. Be considerate of their time: Cancellations should be done in advance with as much notice given as possible. It is also helpful to get on a schedule so that you can hold onto your spot each week.

Each instructor will have their own preferences and pet peeves. The best piece of advice is to be respectful of their barn and time. Being considerate will go a long way!

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