What to expect...

     ...with equitation science lessons

“Well, that was different”.


Having a lesson with a new instructor is always interesting. I personally, have had many lessons over the years with all sorts of styles. We find a great fit and we usually stay with them and I love that. This consistency is super for you and the horse. Sometimes we dip our toe into something new and find new information that may add to what we already know and do. This is great too. Hopping from one “method” to another, hmmmmm, not so great! 


One thing I find with using ES and meeting new clients, is just how much it might be tipping the norm on its head. Having used the 'traditional' riding for years in the past, I do understand and know where the confusion can lie. Being given this knowledge is life changing....coming with an open mind to hear what evidence says, is an important factor for lessons with ESI coaches. 


It is a challenge for many of us when introducing the idea of change. One thing for me is entering the lesson with the question ‘how do you know your horse understands that?’ and looking for the proof that there is clarity in the signals the horse is given.


As a new client said to her horse after our first session , "Well, that was different'. It is not a typical dressage lesson, though we can work on areas that will improve your dressage performance. It is not a biomechanics lesson, though we can look at how your position helps deliver clear signals. It is not a bonding exercise, though we will definitely look at ways to improve communication in the way the horse understands it. 

What it is though, is a lesson that will look at the training...where the horse is at, how it is feeling and where there might be some confusion. We are establishing what the horse needs from us as owners and riders to make their world more predictable and safe - using evidence-based knowledge, not hear-say.

Knowing how a horse learns is key to all of our interactions. It is highly recommended that prior to any lessons with an ESI coach you participate in the short course from ESI on 'How Horses Learn'. Link here...


All problems will manifest because of some confusion in one or more of the 10 basic responses.  We then assess the horse in terms of ‘what do they know about xyz’ and where they are at on the shaping scale (see below). Given these assessments, we produce a plan to get where you want to go.


Sometimes, our first few lessons might not go faster than trot. It is not a quick fix. If you tell me you want to work on the horse's balance of a 20m circle in canter, but it has a delayed stop response, then I'm afraid we have to start by unpacking the reasons why the stop signal isn't clear before we can process to anything further! Progress, however, we will! With simple fixes to the basics, there will be no stopping you and your horse. 

Here are the 10 Basic Responses - all you need to know to train your horse - from trail riding calmness all the way to Grand Prix - if that's your desire!


The shaping scale - where your horse is at, will determine where we start and where we go next.


Want to see if Equitation Science can help you? Contact Pam to find out...