Horseback riding with Samantha Harvey is a unique experience. She explains the first ride with students as follows:
The first time I teach a student, I want to understand their background and past experiences. In the US, anybody anywhere can hang a sign on their door and say that they are an instructor. Because of this, equestrians have been taught in various ways.
Watching their war-up gives me a quick overview of both the student and gives me a starting point for the lesson. I realize that it can be a nerve-wracking experience to ride in front of someone new.
I discuss how their warm-up went, what they are feeling, what their horse is feeling, his mood, and attitude that day, and so on, and how it affects what we will focus on. I may need to explain an issue or topic in several different ways for students to understand my point.
By understanding the rider's past experiences, expectations, and goals, I can assess both the horse and rider as individuals. I also assess them as a team: their ability to communicate, to respond to one another, as well as each of their physical abilities and limits, their age, and experience.
I love questions; they show me the student is interested in absorbing the philosophies and skills being taught. I work towards developing THINKING riders, rather than one who is trying to please the trainer. I WANT my students to assess a situation, and then understand how to address their horse's mental focus and physical actions.
Many people ask if I teach both children and adults, as they are VERY different in their learning styles. I love the challenge of teaching both.
I believe for a quality coach/student relationship, there must be TRUST. If a student does not trust their trainer, they are wasting their time, money, and effort. I want every ride, no matter how: mentally or physically challenging, difficult for the rider and/or horse, to be a positive learning experience. I want the and rider to come away happy. I know some days we all have good and bad days. My goal for every student is to empower them on their horsemanship journey.