A Good Instructor
Loves to teach - You cannot fake loving to teach.† If you are bored teaching Training Level pretty soon you will be bored teaching higher levels.† Not everyone who is an instructor loves to teach.† Find someone who does.
Knows how to teach - People learn differently, some from example, some from imagery, some from lots of detail, and some can focus on only one thing at a time.† An instructor needs to adjust their teaching style to meet your learning style.
Knows their subject matter - There is no regulation for dressage instructors.† Therefore, you need to do your own investigating.† Ask the teacher you are considering if you can watch them teach a lesson.† Ask for references or if you can speak to some of their clients.† Look online at centerline scores for show information.† Although show results certainly donít mean everything they can provide additional information.† Ask them about their experience but take the name dropping with a grain of salt.† Taking a clinic with a big time professional is not the same as training with that person.†
Continues to educate themselves - Instructors who work with other trainers, go to training seminars, and audit or ride in clinics bring more information to your lessons.† If you are a lower level rider your instructor may be your only source of information at this point.† You have a better chance of getting a good foundation from someone who is consistently learning.†
Puts the riderís safety first - An instructor should access each situation they place their rider in as to its safety.† When a scary circumstance arises, the instructor needs to make a sound judgment call.†† Can this particular rider push through with instruction or should the rider dismount and either lunge the horse or have the instructor ride?†† Horses usually give warning signs before they do something naughty a smart instructor will go over those signs with you so you can relay back how the horse feels.† As the riderís core muscles gets stronger a more confident seat is produced and the rider is better able to work through more challenges.
Is willing to ride the clientís horse - This is important for a few reasons.†† Client safety is very important.† Second, we already mentioned that some students learn from example.† If they watch you ride they can emulate the instructor.† Third, a good ride from the trainer will carry over for the client and they will feel the horse is more forward, more swinging, and more connected.† The rider now has a point of reference of which to strive.†
Knows their limitations - Just because an instructor has rode at a certain level does not always mean they have the skills to teach that level.††† Teaching the higher levels like FEI requires a complete break down and understanding of the movements and a great eye.† It is much easier to ride and train the upper level horse then it is to teach a person to ride at the FEI level.