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?
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.
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.
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?