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How Teaching Horseback Riding differ from Coaching Other Sports
|Created:||June 4, 2018|
TheHorse.com By Christa Lesté-Lasserre, MA
Horseback riding is a unique sport, in that it’s an “individual” sport with two participants—horse and rider. That also makes it special in the way it’s coached and learned, researchers say.
Horseback riding is a unique sport, in that it’s an “individual” sport with two participants—horse and rider. That also makes it special in the way it’s coached and learned. Thus, one equitation scientist believes horsmanship science research should put greater focus on the effect of the coach.
“Our research indicates a need for developing pedagogical theories that can be modified to incorporate the unique and special variations of pedagogy that arise in teaching equestrian sports,” said Cristine Hall, PhD, education specialist in partnership with the Online Horse College, in Caboolture, Australia. Hall presented her topic during the 2017 International Society for Equitation Science conference, held Nov. 22-26 in Wagga Wagga, Australia.
In her study, Hall observed 26 coaching sessions and conducted eight interviews with coaches. Her analyses revealed several areas where pedagogy in equestrian sports differs from that of other sports. The three main differences she found:
Rider and horse safety education are considered essential in the sport;
Horses have an impact on the way teaching decisions are perceived; and
When coaches adapt a learning session, they do so in response to not only the student’s behavior but also the horse’s.
“Identifying these differences confirms that the horse does contribute to how equestrian coaches teach, which leads to a relational positioning of equestrian sports pedagogy as a unique and specialist variant of sports pedagogy,” Hall said.
As such, scientists should collaborate with the equitation teaching industry to develop “new conceptual models that acknowledge the collaborative role of the coach, student, and horse in equestrian sports,” she said.
Likewise, her findings also underline the fact that coaches are an important factor to include in equitation science research, said Hall. “Methodologically speaking, this research indicates the validity of including the potentially complexity-inducing pedagogical role of the coach in future student and horse (equestrian) research,” she said.
Hall said she hopes her research will inspire others to identify the current strengths and weaknesses of any connections between equitation science and equestrian sports pedagogy. And with that knowledge, people in both industries can move forward with a collaborative effort that guides future equitation training as well as research.