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[RC] Mentoring - Opportunities are Everywhere - RDCARRIE

I've been reading the mentoring threat with a lot of interest, and several folks have had some good ideas about how newbies can learn from more experienced riders without being "formally" mentored.  On the other end of the equation, experienced riders can be on the lookout for chances to pass information on to new riders.  I don't consider myself an expert by any means, having only been in the sport since 1999, and having only done a few 50s (hoping to get back into them this year).  But any time I find myself riding with a newby, I try to help them, especially if they ask for advice (always letting them know that I'm by no means an expert).  And I'll often try to instill good trail etiquette by verbalizing correct behavior without preaching to them.  For axample, if we're at a water tank with a group, and their horse is rubbing on others, and mine makes a move that could be construed as starting to do the same, I'll turn his head and say, "Hey Chivas, you know it's not good behavior to rub on other horses at water stops!"  Or, sniffing noses - I'll say, "uh-uh - no socializing - you know better than that!"  Usually this is enough to make them realize what their horse is doing and they will immediately correct the behavior.  And several people, when we go on down the trail, have commented about how they never thought about how their horse might be bothering others...and this usually leads into a chat about general trail etiquette.  I actually like riding with new riders - I don't race, I just ride to complete and have a good time, and it's really fun to see someone get their first completion.  :)  Brings back memories of my first one.

Dawn in East Texas