lessons with language barriers - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 08-02-2011, 02:58 PM Thread Starter
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lessons with language barriers

I have recently started teaching a friend of mine how to ride english, previously he has only ridden horses at the track. So far he's loving it, however I'm having a bit of a hard time. Hes only been in the country for a few years and mostly speaks spanish which I don't know a word of! Has anyone ever taught lessons to someone who doesn't speak the language fluently? He does know some english but there are times when it gets very difficult to explain certain things. I've tried riding at the same time to visually show him and also have brought a pen and paper so I can do little diagrams. If anyone has any tips it would be very appreciated, he is very enthusiastic and I want to make sure I do the best job possible helping him further his riding
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post #2 of 15 Old 08-02-2011, 03:49 PM
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Roseta Stone?! Do you have any friends that speak Spanish?
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post #3 of 15 Old 08-02-2011, 04:03 PM
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All I can say is Rosetta Stone, a translator book. Or try to act out the move moments or what you want him to do. Unfortunately I'm on the other side of this problem. I'm riding in Germany right now, and I have no clue what he is saying. I'm picking it up slowly. But he acts out what he wants me to do. Did you know gallop is canter in German.
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post #4 of 15 Old 08-02-2011, 04:52 PM
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As someone who works in customer service and has to constantly deal with less-than-bilingual customers, I find the best way to make them understand other than hitting the books and learning their language is by using body language. Learn a few important words - caballo is horse! lol - and try your best to explain what you want him to do simply by DOING it :)


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post #5 of 15 Old 08-02-2011, 04:58 PM
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I've worked with a lot of people from overseas and it is always an issue. I would try two things. One, most of them read english better then they can speak to so try writing it down for him. Second, if one of you have a laptop, google translate or another translating program is your friend.
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post #6 of 15 Old 08-02-2011, 05:08 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the tips guys, very fast responses too! Unfortunately no I don't have any spanish speaking friends and his bilingual friends are too far away and busy to be willing to come translate. He does have a laptop maybe I can convince him to bring it with him next time, he doesn't like to take it places after dropping his last one in a water bucket hahaha. I've also been thinking of finding a good book that comes in a few languages so that maybe I can get a copy in english and his in spanish then I can reference things. Does anyone know of something good that would possibly be in spanish as well?
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post #7 of 15 Old 08-02-2011, 09:32 PM
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Show in hand is the best way to go. You can also write down and give it to him to translate (at home, if can't bring laptop).

P.S. But the best advice for the guy would be to learn language. It's not all that hard if you really want to.

"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass: it's about learning to dance in the rain..."

"When we are no longer able to change a situation - we are challenged to change ourselves."

"How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours."
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post #8 of 15 Old 08-02-2011, 09:51 PM Thread Starter
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That's a good idea kittenval I'll definitely give him things to translate at home! As to learning the language he is trying to learn but his situation is somewhat complicated with the place he works at and money he can't go to school. He watches english speaking movies and turns the subtitles off and on haha, apparently last year he could only say things like thank you and goodmorning so he has come a very long way already! :) I'm sure it will be easier in the future its just until that point its a bit tricky. Hmm my phone won't let me delete the last word, being:right
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post #9 of 15 Old 08-02-2011, 11:07 PM
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Thumbs up symbol and thumbs down symbol.

To teach riding you should not really have to be able to speak much. If his legs are too far back, ask him to stop, hand up, pull his leg back, thumbs down - put his leg where it should be, thumbs up.
I would think that you could apply this to almost everything. If needed take a saddle rack into the arena and demonstrate what he is doing and what he should do.
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post #10 of 15 Old 08-03-2011, 12:44 AM
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Lot of great ideas there. I would learn a few of the main words in Spanish, and as you go along, you start making HIM learn English. Afterall, if you are in the US, it does him no favors to have him languish in his own language only.
And acting things out. Just make sure to verify that comprehension is happening by regularyly asking " understand?" "Comprendes?"

Also, as obvious as this sounds, remember to speak slowly. Watch his face to see if he is following and speak slowly!! You'd be surprised how many people don't realize that their speed is just way over a foreigner's ability to follow.

I lived in Japan and when people there found out that I had some Japanese, why they'd let loose at huricane speeds and I had to ask them to slow down, so I know how much a difference a nice, slow speed makes to comprehension.
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