Teaching Horse Riding: Is the Role of the Horse Recognized?

In: Society & Animals
Mari Zetterqvist Blokhuis MZ Equitation Skokloster Sweden

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This study investigated what methods professional trainers use in their teaching. Interviews with nine professional trainers in sports dressage were analyzed using a qualitative approach. The results showed that trainers had developed a “good eye” using their prior experiences. The trainers helped the riders solve their problems but did not make clear their observations or reasoning for specific instructions. Thus, trainers could further develop the riders’ own practical knowledge. The role of the horse was not made explicit in most cases, showing that recognition of the horse as a sentient and thinking individual is not built into the current teaching practice. Teaching methods would be improved if trainers encouraged riders to pay more attention to the perspective of the horse, to examine how to interpret and attend to the horse’s reactions, and to reflect on these issues in dialog with them.

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