Some might say that riding instruction is a specialty unto itself. It’s a narrow subset of the horse business as a whole, and it requires a specific set of skills and strengths. However, in my experience, riding instructors thrive when they specialize even further.
A good friend of mine, for example, specializes in teaching very young children. She works miracles with three- and four-year-olds on horseback, and she enjoys a thriving business because of it. Most riding instructors won’t teach a child that young.
Another riding instructor I know specializes in fearful riders. She works with students who are scared of horses but want to overcome their fears, as well as students who have taken bad falls and want to get back in the saddle again.
Your riding instructor specialty could be related to a number of factors, including:
Student goals (e.g., competition)
Specific obstacles (e.g., fear, disabilities)
Breed(s) of horse
The options are limitless, but this is not a situation where you should draw a specialty out of a hat. Riding instructors should specialize based on their strengths and gifts as teachers.
For instance, maybe you connect best with students who are visual learners. You like to demonstrate new concepts, draw diagrams, create graphs and charts, or engage in other visually-oriented teaching methods.
Or perhaps you speak a foreign language, so you cater to children and adults who speak that language.
Choosing a riding instructor specialty will set you apart from all the other riding instructors in your area. It will give you a brand, a presence, and you’ll be able to use that specialty to bring in more students.
Believe it or not, specialties widen client potential rather than narrowing it. If potential clients know that you’re the go-to riding instructor for fearful riders, for example, you’re the teacher they will seek out when they need such a professional.
What’s your riding instructor specialty?