Creating Openness and Growth in the Trainer/Student Relationship (Part 1)

Creating Openness and Growth in the Trainer/Student Relationship (Part 1)

If you’ve ever taken a riding lesson, you know that it goes something like this: Your trainer stands in the middle of the ring giving you instructions, and you’re on the horse trying your darndest to follow those instructions precisely. 

It works… kinda. But bridging that gap between your trainer’s instructions and feeling/understanding can be challenging. Additionally, it can put the rider in a mindset of listening to the instructor which can, in turn, tune out the horse. So why does it continue to be pretty much the exclusive teaching method? Is there more to know when it comes to developing an effective back and forth between trainer and student?

In the first of this two-part podcast, host Caroline Culbertson sits down with Paul and Justin Haefner of Riding Far LLC to discuss the many aspects of the student/trainer relationship, and how it can potentially change for the better into something more dynamic and fluid. 

Paul Haefner, PhD. is a licensed clinical and sport psychologist with more than 30 years of professional experience. His son Justin Haefner is a professional trainer who comes from a background in vaquero style natural horsemanship and specializes in the training and handling of young performance horses. Together, Dr. Paul and Justin help people create powerful opportunities for riders to transform their relationships with themselves and their horse in large and small ways.

During this powerful conversation, Caroline and our guests discuss:

  • The difference between knowing your subject matter and effectively teaching it.
  • Why it's important to be aware of the many sensory inputs you experience while riding.
  • Why understanding learning styles (and having trainers understand them, too!) can play such an important part in rider development.
  • The gap between seeing a skill and experiencing a skill, and how to bridge it. 
  • Teaching “feel”, and why it’s critical to develop this skill sooner than later.
  • The difference between doing something successfully and doing something well.
  • Why the “Mean Trainer” should be a thing of the past.
  • How trainers can think about their students seeking education outside of their barn.