Things Instructors and Coaches Say

There was a post the other week on the “sh*teventersunite” page about phrases commonly used by instructors / coaches. Now while I have a few phrases of my own (mainly about elbows and clicking), it got me thinking of some of my favourite phrases I have heard screamed at me while on a horse.


🦄“You stupid child, why did you fall off?!”🦄
This sums up why I am so grateful to have grown up in the 80’s and 90’s before people became sneauxflakes and got offended by everything.Back then, you wanted it or you didn’t and you learned to stay on or you didn’t and if you did it wrong you were told you did it wrong and if you wanted to learn you tried harder and did it right. I’d been riding a pony around a field and went @rse over head off after a fence. I didn’t quite have an answer as to why this had occurred but I learned to try harder to keep the pony between my bum and the ground. This was one of many classic phrases my the late and legendary Betty Fahy who taught me how to ride at Greenhills a few decades back. My other favourite was “don’t go three quarters of a mile away” when representing a horse to a fence after a refusal.

🦄“You look like a doll tied to a sheep”🦄
Of all the insults ever levelled at me this is my favourite for both inventiveness and accuracy. I used to have a very fast mare that I had little to no control over and to be honest most of the time I was in the passenger role and she just did everything for me. My instructor had likened this to a country fair when dolls are tied to a sheep who then race to give the appearance that the sheep has a jockey.

🦄“It’s all fine but then he does the tourettes bit”🦄
The most accurate description to date of me attempting half pass or collected canter on Sammy

🦄“Don’t you dare try to tell me the horse did that himself”🦄
If you know Sammy you will know that one of his quirks is surprise things touching his legs especially white things. During a show jumping clinic we were to jump a dogs leg with white poles as tram lines between the fences for guidance. Sammy jumped the first, dived around the tramlines, re routed himself and jumped the second fence. I got a b0llocking for atrocious riding and for blaming the horse. Sammy was delighted with himself and yes he bloody well did do that himself!

🦄“It’s not that we don’t love Sammy, we do. Its just sometimes even if you asked with perfect aids he might do it or he just might not because he doesn’t want to”🦄
This is Sammy. This is one of the many reasons why I love him. If he doesn’t want to do it, he just isn’t going to do it. If he wants to do it, you can ride like a potato and he will sort himself out. It’s a lottery.

🦄“You must ride the fourth pizza slice”🦄
One of my dressage instructors thought outside the box and used food to explain why I am so sh*t at riding the crucial fourth quarter of a circle.

🦄“I have no idea what that was so I just wrote spooking”🦄
This was an in person comment from a dressage judge who also coached upon witnessing Sammy “doing a Sammy” for the first time. We rode half a circle, he fecked off at high speed squealing, he then put himself back in his own box and finished the circle.

🦄“Of course you must ride sitting trot. Its dressage – dressage is sitting trot”🦄
I had gone for a lesson with a trainer who made me sit for the entire lesson. My half chap had a gammy zip and as I rode it got looser and looser and ended up hanging around my foot like a flapping dying crow as the horse dove away from it. I made one vague attempt at clawing it back up my leg which was met with a short sharp “sitting trot!!”. So we spent the rest of the lesson ignoring the flapping elephant in the room as I slowly developed muscle damage and breathing difficulties

🦄“why would you drop your reins”🦄
Why indeed? Anyone ever watch ‘arrested development’ where the guy panics when under pressure and curls into a ball on the ground? I have my own version of his – reins down, excess speed, questionable leg , face squinched up and general ‘Jesus take the wheel’ approach to things going wrong. Would I recommend? No, no I would not. #doasisaynotasido

🦄“More leg”🦄
This one of all the things that coaches say, usually men, that perplexes me. I’m five foot nothing. I have a limited amount of leg. If its on, its fooking on. Its genuinely not like I’m sat there casually applying 40% leg and holding the rest back for a rainy day because I can’t be bothered to apply a little more. Now, it may not be on in in the most effective manner (read may not as probably isn’t) but that’s a whole other chapter in the book of how to learn to ride.

🦄“You look terrified”🦄
Well, lets recap. In horse riding we have decided to climb on board an independent minded, 600kg+ animal with genetically pre-installed ‘fight mode’ and ‘flight mode’ buttons and a questionable physical make up involving a huge trunk on spindly legs. As if that wasn’t enough, in jumping we have then decided to use our own badly co ordinated body to see what happens when you throw this animal into the air. Yeah, seems legit. Thank god for gin.

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