I am lucky to have an amazing Coach, Jody Cavuoto, Jody is an A Level Dressage Judge, Dressage Mentor, and Grand Prix Rider and to be honest I have forgotten how many horses she has competed at FEI. Jody has been my coach and mentor for more than 20 years. Prior to that I trained with Marian Malecki and in a word he was tough! So from the beginning it was forbidden to talk in the lessons, shirts were tucked in and ladies wore gloves. Wrong or right that’s how it was, regardless he taught me to be a good student and the following tips are what I now try to instill in my pupils:
- Be on time. Show your coach you are respectful, you appreciate their time and knowledge and I don’t think you can’t go wrong! This is what I do to get the most out of my training sessions with Jody. It's really important not to leave people waiting.
- Presentation. Put some effort into presenting your horse for the lesson; make sure your horse is clean along with your saddlery. I wear white saddle blankets and bandages and prepare my horses like it is a competition although I don’t plait.
- Tuck your shirt in. To this day I tuck in my shirt in and wear gloves, there is a practical reason for this your coach needs to see what your back and core are doing, so, baggy clothes don’t allow for this.
- Preparation. Make sure you and your horse are fit and healthy. There is no point booking in for a 45 minute lesson and you haven not ridden your horse in weeks. It is our job as riders to prepare the horse.
- Listen with no talking. Chances are you have a very knowledgeable coach standing in the middle of the arena ready and waiting to teach you something great, so it helps if they can get a word in edgewise!
- Keep trying. Don’t make excuses, just do your best! That is all a good coach wants is for you to truly do your best!
- Stay strong. Don’t take criticism personally, it’s hard sometimes but if you have goals set or a competition looming there is no time to be offended. Don’t forget you are paying for your coach’s opinion!
Once you make a commitment to train with an instructor stick to it. If you try and pick and choose information that suits you and leave the rest it will only leave gaps in your training.
Being a good student will help you get the most our of your lesson and focus on perfecting your riding style.