Need A Hearing Aid’

My first thought when we decided to do an article about rider-trainer communication devices was there goes the impromptu lessons you can get on the warm-up ring rail, watching riders and listening to their trainers’ comments. I’ve always found the warm-up area both educational and entertaining. The next thing that crossed my mind was a lesson I took several years ago.

Our lessons were on a Monday evening, and I admit it was tough to rush away from work, change, hop in the car and drive over 30 minutes to get to the lesson barn. Each year it got tougher than the one before (wonder why’). There were some nights when I was simply exhausted — so tired that even the idea of riding couldn’t revive me. This particular Monday was one of those. I was dead tired mentally and physically, but I was committed to my lessons and determined to improve my riding, so off I went.

About a third of the way into the lesson, our instructor’s frustration with me had mounted to a level I hadn’t experienced before. Although I believed I was riding well, trying to get the most out of my lesson, apparently that wasn’t the case. I do recall that someone was getting into a lot of trouble for not doing what she was told, but I thought it was someone else. The words sounded muffled, partially because my brain was fried and partially because of the headband under my helmet. I did notice that my sister, who was in the same class, seemed to be thoroughly enjoying herself. At one point, she was actually giggling. How I envied her energy and enthusiasm.

On the drive home, my sister asked me why I was ignoring our trainer’s instructions. I was shocked, because I would never be so insulting.

She then told me that our instructor had noticed that I wasn’t riding up to par and that nearly everything she told me seemed to fall on deaf ears (well, the ears weren’t deaf, but the brain that translated the words certainly was). The final remark, the one that made her laugh, was when I was asked how I could have the ”audacity” to ride by without even attempting to correct the problem I was being told about. And then I never answered the instructor! But how could I’ I never heard a word!

So, I’m offering this editorial as both an apology to the best instructor I’ve ever ridden with and as a suggestion to others who might be in the same situation: Those rider-trainer communication radios are a great idea.

Cynthia Foley,

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