Most Equestrian Coaches Don't Understand Training - The Horse Forum
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 10 Old 03-05-2009, 03:57 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Texas
Posts: 855
• Horses: 0
Most Equestrian Coaches Don't Understand Training

Researchers are unimpressed with what Australian equestrian coaches know about training horses. A recent survey revealed that most coaches canít properly explain how to use positive or negative reinforcement when training a horse. The authors of this study assert that the wellbeing of horses could be improved by coaches becoming better educated.

The lack of understanding was revealed in a survey sent to all 830 coaches registered with Australiaís National Coaches Accreditation Scheme. Over 200 responded to questions on the usefulness and application of various reinforcement techniques in horse training.

When asked about the value of different kinds of reinforcement for training horses, four out of five equestrian coaches considered using rewards, or positive reinforcement, very useful. Nearly one in five said that negative reinforcement was very useful. Punishment was also regarded as a very useful horse training technique by 5% of the coaches.

What alarmed those who analyzed the survey results was that few coaches correctly explained the use of these training techniques. Less than 3% properly described how to use positive reinforcement to train horses. Only 12% of coaches gave an accurate account of using negative reinforcement, while just 5% correctly explained about punishment.

The study reveals how little the qualified Australian equestrian coaches understand about using reinforcement in horse training. Since these people have a big influence on horse training in the country, their misinformation has widespread consequences. This studyís authors believe that better informed coaches will result in horses being more responsive to training and having fewer behavioral problems.


Amanda K. Warren-Smith and Paul D. McGreevy. 2008. Equestrian Coachesí Understanding and Application of Learning Theory in Horse Training. Anthrozoos: A Multidisciplinary Journal of The Interactions of People & Animals. 21(2): 153-162.

__________________________________________________ ___

Don't kid yourself, if they don't understand it there, they don't understand it here (USA).

Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires courage.
shmurmer4 is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 10 Old 03-05-2009, 07:37 PM
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 5,526
• Horses: 0
Sounds like the Canadain Coaching system/certification.
Spyder is offline  
post #3 of 10 Old 03-05-2009, 07:40 PM
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: In the saddle.
Posts: 5,157
• Horses: 1
This is a problem in most countries without an established coach teaching system. It is and has been a problem in my area for many years, and is fairly tough to correct.
The main thing is to get knowledgable clinicians out to the coaches to teach them how to ride and teach their students. One fairly successful program launched in Canada is the Young Rider clinic program where the Young Rider's team coach travels across Canada teaching qualified young riders and their coaches.
I really dont think people realize just how important it is to continue the education of our coaches even long after they have achieved coaching levels.
~*~anebel~*~ is offline  
post #4 of 10 Old 03-05-2009, 07:40 PM
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Eventing Country
Posts: 8,220
• Horses: 0
I think there are Uneducated Coaches out there all over the world - many in your own community.

My biggest beef, uneducated coaches, turning out unedcuated riders.

I really dont think people realize just how important it is to continue the education of our coaches even long after they have achieved coaching levels.
I couldn't agree more with you here! I refuse to train under a coach who does not take lessons themselves - because no one is too good for lessons. Ther are TOO MANY unedcuated coaches out there - too many! Many of them, don't continue to keep themselves educated......and therefore are allowing holes in their students training.

Even Olympic Level riders turn to Jim Wofford and George Morris for lessons - and even the two greats turn to other riders and watch dilligently on their rides to learn from. I read an article by Jim Wofford where he was saying that he and George will watch Olympic rides back in the 70's and 80's to watch and learn. They'll watch big names like Reiner K and others - to learn from.

I will not, refuse to, ever - never - take lessons under a coach who does not take lessons themselves. I've had too many of those - and no thanks, no more.

My Coach - although he is not certified *because that does not make a good coach* takes lessons himself, even though he went A Circuit and GP. He is in his 60's and still goes out and learns from other riders - lessons, clinics.

Last edited by MIEventer; 03-05-2009 at 07:46 PM.
MIEventer is offline  
post #5 of 10 Old 03-05-2009, 07:41 PM
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: In the saddle.
Posts: 5,157
• Horses: 1
Originally Posted by Spyder View Post
Sounds like the Canadain Coaching system/certification.
Haha and again the same thought pops into both of our heads...
~*~anebel~*~ is offline  
post #6 of 10 Old 03-05-2009, 09:39 PM
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Australia
Posts: 6,179
• Horses: 4
Aw thats a bit of a stab at us Aussies :]

*shrugs* there's good coasches and bad coaches everywhere. I agree that even coaches should continue learning, there is never a point where we know everything there is to know.

wild_spot is offline  
post #7 of 10 Old 03-06-2009, 06:45 PM
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Greenville area / SC
Posts: 13,165
• Horses: 3
Originally Posted by wild_spot View Post
Aw thats a bit of a stab at us Aussies :]

*shrugs* there's good coasches and bad coaches everywhere.
I believe the report was taken from an Australian article but it could just as well been written about any country in any discipline.

There is an article in Horse and Rider this month about trainers being "mechanics" and not "horseman" that runs along the same tone as the one shmurmer4 refers to.

I'm not arguing with you, I'm just explaining why I'm right.

Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.

It's not always what you say but what they hear.
iridehorses is offline  
post #8 of 10 Old 03-06-2009, 07:48 PM
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: QLD, Australia
Posts: 754
• Horses: 0
Has the same questionaire been sent to every coach in the US system???

Also, there are a lot of coaches that are not a part of the NCAS system. A lot of very GOOD coaches. Coaches that were not included in the study.
Miss Katie is offline  
post #9 of 10 Old 03-06-2009, 08:42 PM
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: In the saddle.
Posts: 5,157
• Horses: 1
Originally Posted by Miss Katie View Post
Has the same questionaire been sent to every coach in the US system???

Also, there are a lot of coaches that are not a part of the NCAS system. A lot of very GOOD coaches. Coaches that were not included in the study.
Yep, my coach has no certification but in my mind is the best coach in my area. She routinely shows and brings students with her out of country and does really well and has ridden in the olympics. I think I have learned more from her technically than anyone else I have ridden with, and I've probably ridden with 30 different coaches and clinicians.
A piece of paper certainly doesn't make you a good coach, or horse trainer.
~*~anebel~*~ is offline  
post #10 of 10 Old 03-08-2009, 07:43 PM
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 408
• Horses: 0
In my experience, coaches in my area don't understand anything that has to do with horses. I just moved to a new barn, and my boyfriend was watching a 'trainer' give a lesson in the arena while I was riding my horse in the field next to it. The 'trainer' was riding the girl's horse and didn't even have her diagonals right! How can you call yourself a trainer when you don't even know the basics?

The next day, the girl's mom came up and started talking to me. She seemed to know what she was talking about, until she mentioned a horse for sale. I had seen an ad for it hanging up at the barn, so I said, "oh, you mean that palmomino in there :points" She goes, "Well, he's in that barn, but he's not a palomino. He's way too big to be a palomino. He might have a little bit in him, but he's definitely not a purebred palomino." I chalked it up to her just being a typical non-horsey mom who's trying to learn about horses for her daughter's sake.

Then I saw how her daughter rides. Wow. Her and her friend were there together, and her friend had her horse tied up while she went to the bathroom or something. Her horse started backing up and trying to rear, and the girl was just sitting on her horse watching the other horse freak out and not doing anything about it! She finally got off her horse and untied it right as her friend was coming out.

Then they started to really ride. There was a kid in a golf cart in the field next to the arena, trying to herd some steer into a pen. He was having trouble getting them into the pen, so I asked him if he wanted help. He said 'sure,' so the two girls and I went into the field. Naturally, I (in my english saddle, on my Percheron who has only been at this ranch for a week and who has only been under saddle for 2 months) go around the herd, but the two stupid girls (on their quarter horses who "do western pleasure, reining, barrel racing, and herd cows") go right into the middle of the herd, splitting them up and making them even harder to get into the pen.

After trying multiple times to get them to actually help out, rather than just ride around like idiots while gossiping, the guy told them to go stand by the pen and not move. They got the steers to go towards the pen, but a few of them started running back towards the field. One of the girl's horses spooked because a steer was running at it, and she almost fell off, so she decided to leave. The other girl decided that being a 'real cowgirl' wasn't nearly as fun without her friend, so she left too.

I stayed and managed to help out a little. I got 2 out of the 5 (actually 6, but one got away. I'll explain that later) into the pen, and I left when even the guys gave up on catching the other 20 or 30. They had gotten 3 of them into the pen, then had to get them into a chute connected to it. I was standing with my horse lengthwise in the open gate, blocking them in. One of the steer was like "screw this, I'm getting the hell out of here and nothing's going to stop me." He started coming towards us, but I thought he would stop once he realized my horse wasn't going to move. Instead, he ran towards her back end and somehow managed to squeeze between her and the gate, which was maybe a 2 foot opening. I was expecting my horse to freak out when the steer bumped her as he was going by, or even as she saw him getting close to her back end, but she didn't even flinch! She just stood there and didn't even shift her weight the slightest bit.

When I left, the girls were in the arena running barrels. Of course, neither one of them could get their horses on the right leads, and they even knew they were on the wrong ones! They kept saying how their horses were on the wrong leads around the second barrel, or the third barrel, or coming back, or whenever, but I guess actually asking their horse to switch leads is too hard, because it takes more effort than just bitching about their horses.

Yea, sorry for the long rant. But I definitely agree, most trainers don't understand training. For the longest time, I thought that you asked for a canter with your "inside leg, outside rein," because that's what my 'trainer' at the time told me was the cue for it.
xilikeggs0 is offline  

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the The Horse Forum forums, you must first register.

Already have a Horse Forum account?
Members are allowed only one account per person at the Horse Forum, so if you've made an account here in the past you'll need to continue using that account. Please do not create a new account or you may lose access to the Horse Forum. If you need help recovering your existing account, please Contact Us. We'll be glad to help!

New to the Horse Forum?
Please choose a username you will be satisfied with using for the duration of your membership at the Horse Forum. We do not change members' usernames upon request because that would make it difficult for everyone to keep track of who is who on the forum. For that reason, please do not incorporate your horse's name into your username so that you are not stuck with a username related to a horse you may no longer have some day, or use any other username you may no longer identify with or care for in the future.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Old Thread Warning
This thread is more than 90 days old. When a thread is this old, it is often better to start a new thread rather than post to it. However, If you feel you have something of value to add to this particular thread, you can do so by checking the box below before submitting your post.

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
A month of dressage training or hunter/jumper training? kerplop Horse Training 13 10-05-2012 01:06 PM
Doesn't Understand Lunging On A Line upsidedown Horse Training 8 02-10-2009 04:50 PM
Can you help me understand inside rein and outside leg??? ak_showgirl Horse Training 10 11-16-2008 04:53 AM
I still don't understand how this happened.... free_sprtd Horse Talk 8 03-03-2008 03:08 PM
Re-training a standardbred - training to trot not pace Heather Horse Training 7 03-25-2007 03:27 PM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome