CAUTIONARY TALE and how to get out of a tricky situation
I have just heard of a horse and rider who have been totally traumatised by the actions of a big name event rider teaching them on a jump clinic. Looking at the BHS APC website they are not registered though I suppose they might have insurance elsewhere. What they did was COMPLETELY out of order, very dangerous, unprofessional and destructive but as far as I can see the rider concerned has no recourse because they were not actually injured. It will take a long time to put them back together mind.
You may ask why the rider did not walk out of the lesson? If you have ever been in that situation you will know it's not that easy. It reminded me of when I felt bullied by an instructor and when I allowed (just the once or twice) my children to be pushed too far. It makes you feel sick so you just keep going because you have asked for the lesson, so you just have to put up with it, right!?
If you, or your child, are being asked to do something that makes anyone scared or feel that what is happening is simply wrong for some reason, and your concerns have not been addressed (please do not mistake the increased heart rate and light sweating that a healthy challenge and being stretched to improve will cause here, that sometimes needs to happen, esp cross country) then my advice to you is to quietly walk your mount over to the instructor (because if this happens I will not call them a coach) and say that your “horse does not feel quite sound” so you need to stop and leave.
If you and your child/rider have a previously agreed hand signal (Roxanne, David and I have a thumbs down hand gesture) this can happen in a very subtle way.
Riding is a risk sport and people and horses do get hurt or damaged occasionally. Unfortunate but true. However it is the absolute responsibility of the coach to minimize the risks.
Boundries sometimes need to be pushed or the partnership will not improve but when the line is crossed the rider is in the best position to know that because they are the ones sitting in the saddle and they know their mount best.
Nervous riders need help and support. They may need unmounted goal setting sessions or at least a chat over a cup of tea to work out the best way forward. They do not need screaming at and belittling.
There is always another time.
There is always another instructor/trainer/coach, preferably a British Horse Society APC or Pony Club Recommended/Specialist Coach. All these insured coaches have to maintain 1st Aid, DBS, Safeguarding and CPD courses.