What Type of Rider Are You?

Mindset Riding Training   26th January 2024     6 Comments

One of the biggest challenges a rider faces in schooling, is finding the balance between being kind and being effective enough to actually improve her horse. 

It can often seem like kindness and effectiveness are in direct conflict. But the question is, why can’t you have both?

We’ve developed a grid that helps you understand your own riding style and gives you pointers towards becoming the rider we’d all like to be!

In the bottom right quadrant, is The Results-Driven Rider.

This no-nonsense rider is focussed on riding correct dressage movements and is likely very skilful.

She does get results but finds that problems crop up with some horses who resist and evade so much that they are labelled as “quirky”, “difficult” or  just “not suitable” for the required job.

The opportunity for this rider is to recognise that all the bracing and resisting is communication from the horse, and it’s actually valuable information. It’s not the horse just being difficult or naughty – he’s not giving his rider a hard time, he’s having a hard time!

Understanding the real cause of these challenges enables you to avoid getting into any fights and instead quickly and effectively resolve difficulties by giving your horse the help that he actually needs, so you get a more relaxed and more cooperative horse as a result.

At the top left, is The Carer.

As the name implies, she cares very deeply about how her horse feels about life. 

Her horses are happy but maybe she’s not doing all the things that she’d dreamed of doing with them. She tends to back off from doing much schooling, and sometimes wonders whether riding is a good idea at all. She may end up with a collection of field ornaments rather than riding partners. 

Now life could be a lot worse for a horse, of course. But if this rider does have some ambition to take things further, she needs to learn how to school her horse in a way that’s both horse friendly and more effective in order to achieve her dreams.

At the bottom left is The Well-Meaning Rider. While there’s no doubt this rider’s intentions are good, her challenge is that she doesn’t yet have enough know-how to be properly effective. 

She’s not intentionally being unkind but she’s making mistakes that accidentally make life more difficult for her horse. As a result, she’s not making the progress she wants and her horse ‘just doesn’t enjoy schoolwork’. 

Of course, nobody actually wants to be here, but unless you were incredibly lucky and started out with an amazing trainer from day one, well, it’s a phase that we all have to go through, isn’t it?

 The Empowering Rider knows how to ride and train in a way that maximises kindness and effectiveness without any need to sacrifice one for the other.

Here’s where you get the best of both worlds. You make lots of progress, and you’re doing it efficiently, without forcing or getting into any unpleasant arguments. 

Not only is riding more fun, more engaging and more comfortable for your horse, you’re confident your schooling is enhancing his physical and mental health instead of having a negative effect.

You know exactly what to do in the school and the whole process of training and developing your horse is deeply interesting and enjoyable.

We’ve spent the last 20 years showing all kinds of riders with all types of horses how to turn this dream into reality.
To find out more, click here and join our next free training.

6 responses to “What Type of Rider Are You?”

  1. Antoinette Tuffnell says:

    As you know Jo I can’t ride anymore. But being in the group has empowered me as a trainer all be it I don’t even do a lot of that anymore just a few clients and some friends that I help out for fun. With my health I don’t need the pressure. But I can categorically say I wouldn’t be doing anything with horses if not for yourself and Derek. Many thanks

  2. Irmeli Meland says:

    I am riding in Spain at the moment, but have to use horses that are considered “ working horses” and alas, treated accordingly. I hated seeing sore skin patches under the saddle, the bit biting into the mouth, and the horse by my standards far too thin. But it’s no point raising any issues about it, so I try to give the horse a pleasant a ride as possible. Lucky I don’t weigh much, and I had pretty lose reigns, let him throw his head about and head into the waives on the beach. He loved it! And cantered happily when I wanted him to, or just gave a small sign, hating the thought of the saddle on those sore spots. He knows me now and seems happy to see me, I only wish I could “ save “ him from this , but on the other hand he is well off compared to many horses in Spain. Of course there are stables where horses are looked after better, but my heart just goes out to these horses, who are in a way just money making machines with no glory in it.
    Here I was the caring rider more than any thing else 😊

  3. Francesca says:

    Is late in life for myself but I am happy to have become an empowering rider. When Kaye and I work together, yes I’m always looking for little stiffnesses or resistances and try to either correct them or note them for treatment at the barn. But essentially, we have fun. She is allowed to be spicy and spook during her work, indeed I know she’s happy. She is allowed to climb the hill at a gallop with a buck in there, then stop to scan the entire valley for other horses or people with dogs (its her favorite
    A happy mare is a beautiful thing…

  4. Jan says:

    My horse is more of an athlete than I am and he is ready to go. Being a Carer and a Well Meaning rider just frustrates him. He is looking for a partner to have adventures with. By learning to get more involved as a partner and empowering him to do his “thing” has been a game changer for both of us. Plus, it’s just so much more fun! Thanks from the bottom of my heart (and Manhattan’s too) for all your help.

  5. Julie Dolan says:

    Journey of discovery
    When I first had the notion to once again hopefully have the privilege of having one of these beautiful creatures back in my life after a forty year period away from the equestrian life, I had no idea the impact this would have on me as a person.
    With a small budget I started my search to find what I thought was looking for. A 15hh + horse, over 8 years of age and obviously backed and schooled, as I was re-entering this world and knew things had changed not only in the life of a proud owner of a horse (was not prepared for HOW much change there was) plus I had not ridden seriously for many years. Yes I had the mandatory list of wants, needs. Well all my homework, prep work, my writing and re-writing of pros and cons of different types of horses, went completely out the door when I saw an advert on Horsemart UK for a 3.5 year old Bay rescue mare, who would make 15.2hh said the advert.
    As soon as I saw LuLu, the tingles started in my stomach and I had an overwhelming calling that we needed one another.
    LuLu arrived from Ireland unseen, no vet checks or any other checks but my woman’s feeling of ” this is right “. Yep I know the most ridiculous ” no no ” process of purchasing a horse.
    Turned out LuLu was only two and a half – oh well.
    What an amazing journey we have been on soo far. Not an easy straight forward road for both of us and it we are both still on this winding road of learning and discovery.
    All your friends, associates, qualified experts have a wealth of knowledge, advice. Guidance, opinions. But I finally learnt that LuLu and I had to walk our own path implementing sound advice when if it resonated with ” our journey ” and to this end I have discovered that both LuLu and I are an Enpowering Partnership.
    As I have already advised both Derek and Jo it was when I discovered this unlikely pair of qualified horse persons that our journey really started. From here on in it is slow and steady

    • Rita Creitz says:

      Hello Jo, this is a challenging question for me to answer. I think my body and brain falls mostly in the results driven box with a leg in the well-meaning box and perhaps an arm in the empowering box. As I am learning things along with my horse I think I’m in the well-meaning box because I’m learning new skills. When I am riding I am always conscious of what I am doing , where my body is, and how it affects my horse. Although, true confession, I have gotten “tough” sometimes with Cecil, meaning rather than respecting that he’s having a challenge I continue to ask “louder” and push him. Not good.

      I confess that as an older woman, 76, Father Time is standing on my shoulder. I’m wondering if I will ever get to my goal of doing a lovely flying change. But, through this program I am taking a huge step backwards, kind of starting over, to take a fresh look into doing things differently. I think it’s paying off in my relationship with Cecil. Most importantly, I am engaged in your coaching and look forward to what will be revealed along the way. My standing question to myself now is “Am I the rider that Cecil would like on his back?” I hope Cecil says “Yes.”

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