RideSmart offers a full spectrum of learning and development based on our new and innovative approach to riding. Available for both the rider and coach, our programmes are designed to take you on a journey of development to help equestrians of all ages and abilities become the rider they want to be.
Our Riding Programme focuses on growing the skills need to ride better, safer and with more confidence. They will help you form a stronger partnership with your horse and better understand the pathway to achieving your aims.
The Coaching Programme challenges convention in a way that will help you develop your knowledge and skills as a coach. Not only does it provide you with the tools to fully understand how horse and rider interact, but it will also provide valuable insight into how the rider learns the skills to ride safely and with confidence. Our belief is that our coaches should facilitate learning rather than instruct it and our courses are designed to help you assess and evolve your philosophies.
Rider safety is something we are particularly passionate about here at RideSmart and Jon’s ongoing research into rider safety has recently been awarded the Riders4Helmets: Craig Ferrell M.D. Equestrian Safety Award for campaigning for an aspect of equestrian safety.
As equestrians it’s too easy to become complacent and ignore the dangers of your sport/hobby. It’s human nature to play down or ignore the risks whilst hoping that it won’t happen to us. Rather than ignore the risk, we want to help you reduce the risk, so that when a difficult situation occurs you are prepared. It’s very simple: if your brain and body are prepared for what might happen, they will respond positively, but if they’re not, the likelihood is that you will freeze, and that’s when the risk increases.
The key to improving safety lies in regular practise, learning how to respond better to reduce falls and how to work with the ground to reduce the impact. We do this in a safe, practical and fun way, something everyone can do. This simple knowledge is something every rider should have.
The fact that riding is a confidence sport is something that every rider recognises. The partnership with a powerful and (by nature) nervous animal tests our bodies to the limits and yet confidence is seen as a something that means weakness and problems in our sport. At RideSmart we know better and we want to build your confidence because we know that it will help you enjoy riding more, and ultimately, keep you safer.
Confident riding is built on solid, basic foundations. Anxiety or nervousness is a perfectly normal human function but in order to manage these better, both your brain and body, together with your horse, need to understand what the plan is. The unique way in which the RideSmart programmes help you learn will provide you with these foundations, and help you to diagnose any issues in a far more proactive way. RideSmart facilitates a pathway of learning with your horse and coach that creates a stronger partnership, something that can only breed confidence.
RideConfident is available in a range of formats to suit you. Whilst the theory is a big part, our programmes work with you where it matters, with you and your horse to make sure that your confidence grows. We want you to see confident riding as a positive enhancement, not just fixing problems.
Jon’s work with some of the world’s best riders has given him a unique insight into what makes them so good. To us, there is a difference in how they achieve the desired performance from their horses in comparison to how riding is taught in the early stages. The RideSmart programmes offer you the opportunity to gain this insight in a way that builds better skills in your riding and a stronger partnership and understanding with your horse.
As a result, RidePro is not just for the elite but also for any rider looking to improve their riding and achieve their goals. The programmes will challenge you to explore how you can use your body better to balance and control your horse in a more proactive way rather than being a passenger. As part of this, you will learn how to work with your horse to aid its performance rather than controlling it, and as part of the RideSmart philosophy you see that everyone has the potential to get the most out of their horse by experiencing it first hand.
Through RidePro and our talks, courses and demos, RideSmart offers riders the opportunity to learn from the best for the very first time. The gap is not as big as you think, and we want to give you this information to see where it can take you.
I really enjoy learning with Ride Smart it teaches you to have fun on your pony without falling off so much, my favourite bit is the games and balance ball work, my friends and I laugh a lot whilst practising.
William, aged 10yrs
At RideSmart, we believe there is an opportunity to change riding for the better and that participation and safety can be improved NOW leading to a better future.
We understand that the formative years of a child’s development require a simple, fun and safe journey of development, and that no stone should be left unturned in making sure the learning environment provides this. As part of RideSmart’s commitment to research and continual development, our Junior Programme focuses on facilitating a clearer and stronger development of the key skills that we’ve seen in elite riders, all done in a fun and innovative way. We are proud to be different and to use our imagination to freshen and modernise the approach to learning to ride and will always be looking to develop what we do in line with the latest research.
Our aim is to make riding better and safer and this means starting with our future stars. The RideSmart Junior Programme is available in a variety of formats, mostly because we want to fit your need whether it’s your Pony or Riding Club, your School or College. Our basic principles and courses allow us to be flexible to your needs, something we believe is important.
- The RideSmart Junior Programme aims to:
- Reduce the amount of falls that occur
- Teach children to fall safely reducing the risk/severity of injury
- Develop independent balance and stability
- Progress riding ability through fun, interactive learning both on and off the pony
CoachSmart is an integral part of the RideSmart philosophy. How we observe, communicate and facilitate learning are crucial skills of a coach and Jon’s experiences in other elite sports, as well as equestrian, bring an innovative approach to our programmes.
Trying to learn whilst sat on a live animal is difficult. We know this. The development of RideSmart has focused on identifying the information and skills needed to understand and implement rider development in a more effective way. The result of this work is CoachSmart, a journey of development for an equestrian coach designed to complement traditional training methods and challenge coaches to constantly strive for better.
Using cutting edge learning science together with elite insight will provide coaches with a sound basis for development, something that has previously been rare in the equestrian world.
RideSmart’s entry level course is open to all, and provides an introduction to the philosophy behind our programmes. Participants will gain an understanding of our unique scientific approach to horse and rider interaction and the basic skills to understand and provide feedback to pupils. As a basis for coaching equestrians, this course provides a valuable insight into methods based on elite research and development and explains many traditional theories, leaving attendees with a fresh understanding and approach.
The RideSmart Foundation course is held at regional around the UK and Australia, and is run over 1 day. It involves theory and practical work, including an introduction to basic analysis and training techniques, both on and off the horse.
Accredited Coach Level
The RideSmart Accreditation is a flexible programme of learning working towards being recognised as one of our coaches. Accreditation requires the completion of four cohorts based on RideSmart’s key components: RideSafe, RideConfident, RidePro and CoachSmart. Students will learn the theory and practical skills developed through Jon’s research and experience, together with examining techniques from other sports that have applications to riding. This involves examining the various elements of both Neuroscience and Sports Science disciplines and their application from both a human and veterinary perspective. In line with our philosophy, coaches will emerge with an open, flexible and innovative approach to facilitation rather than instruction, and have the skills required to deliver the RideSmart program as part of our network of coaches.
Participants can study up to two cohorts together, and can study individual cohorts in an area of interest independently of accreditation. Each cohort involves an initial 2 day course, a 6 month project and assessment criteria, with a final course held over 2 days, with the exception of RideSafe which has 1 day courses either end. Applicants must have attended the Foundation Course, hold at least BHS PTT, ABRS or BD, BE or BSA accreditation, or an equivalent qualification, as well as holding up to date DBS, first aid and insurance. Please contact us for further info on these.
Due to launch in 2017, a RideSmart Masters Accreditation will be by invitation only and will involve detailed practical projects and the mentoring of case studies. Jon’s track record working with elite riders in the Olympic disciplines, and developing young riders to that level speaks for itself, and this course provides unparallelled insight into what that takes. With the strong fundamental principles from the Accreditation Course in place, the Masters Accreditation will allow applicants to concentrate on areas of specific interest or focus, and attain the standard of detail required to work at a level suitable in High Performance. Any coach interested in the human side of either the development of rider potential or elite performance should consider this Programme a must.