Let’s Discuss: Fellow Rider Feedback

Riding can be a deeply personal venture, and most of us make calculated decisions about who we train with and receive instruction from. Not only does training cost money, but there are many other factors that go into why we chose who critiques us formally. But what about your average non-lesson ride?

Next time someone yell at me to put my hands down!

Next time someone yell at me to put my hands down!

I tend to ride after work, and after spending so much time at the barn, I have definitely come to befriend certain riders who also ride at the same time as I do, and I respect what they do with their horses. So for me, it becomes a no brainer to invite them to call me out on certain issues. For instance, if you see my elbows leave my sides, yell at me- please! If I’m approaching the fence with not enough energy, holler out! Very rarely does it hurt my feelings, and having an extra set of eyeballs if someone happens to notice something is a valuable training tool to me.


It helps to have someone tell you to strap on a pair and jump the damn thing sometimes, too!

Conversely, I also try to give feedback if I see a glaring issue someone is working through. For the most part I remember to ask if they even want my two cents, but after being in the habit of having a few friends where back-and-forth feedback is the norm, I admit that sometimes I forget. For the most part though, these fellow amateurs appreciate the opportunity to tweak an issue that maybe they didn’t catch.

Impromtu feedback is awesome, even if your friend is in jeans and sneakers

Impromtu feedback is awesome, even if your friend is in jeans and sneakers

It definitely requires a mutual respect and an empathetic perspective in order to have this kind of relationship with other amateurs, but for me, it’s a big part of building the horse community. I could understand, though, if either personal relationships, skill levels, or  horsemanship were not optimal how this kind of rider-to-rider feedback would be unwelcome at best.

So I ask you all- do you provide or receive feedback from other riders? How has feedback of this type helped (or harmed) your riding? How do you approach starting this practice with new people?

12 thoughts on “Let’s Discuss: Fellow Rider Feedback

  1. This is a touchy topic! The list of people I feel comfortable giving me feedback on my riding or my pony is VERY. SHORT. Obviously my trainer or clinicians that I pay for their opinion are on that list, and a select group of friends that I respect and trust as horsewomen. I have to have a good, close relationship with someone as a friend before I can get into the give & take of helping each other with our riding – the kind of friends who can tell you you look like crap and you know they love you, so you don’t take it personally! The list of people I am comfortable with letting ride my pony is even shorter! In general, my barn friends have to ‘earn’ the right to give me input.

  2. It depends, I generally only listen to feedback from riders with a wider experience and higher success level than myself. I will listen to everything, but will generally silently throw away the opinions and information of people who I think are not great horsemen (being the non gender specific meaning of that word), or learn from people who aren’t great horsemen. Then again, some people are just super nice but naive, and other people are just really bitchy.

  3. idk, i guess it kinda varies by friends. there are some people i ride w frequently who really appreciate any kind of ‘coaching’ they can get, and others who would rather i kept it to myself. it’s funny bc i tend to dislike most feedback unless it’s from my trainer but am also quick to offer it to other riders. probably should fix that haha

  4. Oooooo feedback. It seems those most willing to give it are those I least want it from. 😉 In general, I appreciate it from friends who know what I’m working on. I have enough resting bitch face that not a lot of other people speak up. 😉

  5. Really interesting topic! I tend to welcome feedback from pretty much anyone that hollers out. That doesn’t mean I take all of it (or even most of it) but I usually assume they have good intentions and want to help out. I tend to only give feedback to people I know will take it with a grain of salt- i.e. if I’m specifically asked or if it’s a close friend that we have the rapport to handle it. I’ll also call out if I see something unsafe happening because ain’t nobody got time for tact when that’s happening. Luckily I haven’t really run into too many weird situations with this kind of thing, fingers crossed it continues that way! Curious to see others comments on this.

  6. I don’t provide feedback. I’ve had a lot of unsolicited feedback over the years – some great and some that hurt my feelings. Now I just pay my trainer and leave it at that for the most part.

  7. I have no problem getting feed back from others, especially when they’re nice enough to ask me if I want it and not just shout random things at me. If I feel it’s good advice, I’ll definitely try it. If not, I ignore it.

    I’m not brave enough to give out my own advice unless it’s asked for, and even then I keep it pretty short and vague. I don’t want to get caught in some stupid, “Well CARLY told me to do this!” Carly told you to learn how to ride your own damn horse and leave her alone.

  8. Who is that person on your beautiful horse with Jeans and Sneakers- how could she! haha Well not my prettiest riding but you got to see your boy go! I agree. Helping other riders in the ring and getting feedback back myself is the thing I thrive most on at my current barn. Thanks for letting me ride your precious boy even if I was so inappropriately dressed- it was a honor! ❤

  9. I LOVE to give feedback when it is asked for. I almost always have something I could comment on, but that may or may not always be helpful. I pride myself on being observant, but sometimes those observations (you weight your right more than your left stirrup) aren’t always actually helpful in terms of improvement. However, unless something horrible or dangerous is happening, I don’t comment without someone asking me first. I also LOVE to receive feedback when I’m in the right place. If I’m working on a specific thing (my position, my hands, my calf, Murray being forward, Murray taking slightly longer steps, etc.) I generally don’t want feedback unless it pertains to that subject exactly. However, I am almost always willing to engage with anyone on a discussion of my riding and why I do things the way I do. If I get feedback that isn’t useful, I am happy to drown that person in knowledge of why it doesn’t work. I mostly get feedback from a few of my friends, we tend to ride at the same time, and are kindof at the same level. But I also like to get feedback from people with different riding experiences, because they can have such different opinions to offer! So basically, I like to give and get feedback. But I have a thick skin so I can take a lot.

  10. I try not to give feedback unless someone asks me to watch them or help them with something. I enjoy helping others out, and am often the recipient of this kind of help too, but I never want to overstep my bounds.

  11. Pingback: Chair Seat Woes | A House on a Hill

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