This study investigates interaction during equestrian dressage trainings, focusing on the trainer’s communication with horse and rider. The study is based on interaction analyses of 15 video recorded training sessions, as well as analyses of interviews and field notes. The results reveal a wide variety of non-verbal communication modalities deployed by trainers sharing their practical expertise with the athletes. Equestrian trainers use activity specific onomatopoetic constructions, paralinguistic resources such as rhythm, pace and prosody, as well as a number of embodied resources where they use the space of the riding arena and various communicative configurations of their own body and the co-present bodies of horse and rider to represent the horse, the rider and/or the equipage as a whole.
The study is a part of a larger project about equitation as a communicative and didactic practice, aiming at making the practical, embodied knowledge that riding and equestrian training rests on explicit, thus enabling reflection and discussion among both practitioners and researchers of communication and equestrianism.
CHARLOTTE LUNDGREN is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Culture and Communication at Linköping University, Sweden. Her research in applied linguistics is focused on professional communication in sports, health care, and other learning-centred activities. Departing from a dialogical perspective on communication, she investigates everyday talk and action to answer questions such as “how is this communicative activity organised?” and “what resources do the participants use in their interaction in this particular communicative activity?”.
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