If you’re reading this you are likely an equestrian or in some way tied closely to one! Us equestrian’s tend to have a lot to learn; in fact if you enjoy riding I hope you LOVE to learn as there’s a reason this is a life long sport 🙂
I love learning and love teaching. I feel like I learn by teaching and have things to teach by continuing to learn in my own riding/training and by learning in other environments that I’ll explain below.
I have had the fortune to learn from some of the best in the sport of dressage, show jumping and eventing. To be honest I have also gotten to be around some of the worlds best farriers, vets, and race horse trainers; so much of my learning has not always been in a proper lesson.
So the first thing Im going to make mention of is to take notice of your environment and make the most of it. IS the farrier at the barn, does he need someone to hold horses? Great, ask questions. Is there an event near by and your horse has an abscess, great GO VOLUNTEER… and while you do that, pay attention. Watch and notice how people warm up, how the prepare for certain cross country combinations, what styles of riding make the rounds look fun and effortless and what makes it look hard (and potentially not fun). Are you fortunate enough to be riding in a clinic – STAY and audit before and after your ride. There is so much to learn just by being present.
How can you “save” all of this information that you just took in? Whether that was by riding in a lesson, asking the farrier questions or by noticing what your favorite competitor does to prepare for the coffin. I can assure you I have MANY many times had the BEST lesson and really came out feeling like a million bucks, and thought for sure I would never forget that one thing that my instructor suggested that made all of the difference. Sometimes it was just a “feel” and often that feel is a learned reaction that requires practice and repetition. Sometimes there was a word or phrase used to help you get that feel, other times a certain pattern or exercise. Other times its the flow of which the horse was warmed up that lead to the brilliant medium trot. Regardless as to what it is that you learned or why it was important you want to find a way (hopefully multiple methods) to “Save the experience”.
VIDEOs. This is an obvious one. Think about the NFL, they have a game and then they meet and have a video replay of the game to analyze how they could’ve done better or what worked on that day. If you are lucky enough to have a helper- get video. Then watch it! and then watch it again.
NOTEs. As soon as you can after your “experience” write down notes. Don’t worry about it being presentable to your AP english teacher- just get words onto paper (or your note section on your phone). You may later want to go back and touch up these notes so they make a bit more sense but if you have something written it will keep the memory fresh.
So now you have notes and you have video – use them. Watch the video after reading your notes and see if what your instructor was talking about makes sense to you (assuming it was your lesson but this general idea works for many things).
If you have a regular instructor or if you’re going back to a second day with a clinician you’ll then likely have questions that you can ask to get clarification. As an instructor I love it when my students give me feedback on what works for them in our lessons, or if there are things that don’t make sense. One of my favorite ways to assess what my students took away from a lesson is to ask them to share their post lesson notes with me. If you have a regular instructor try watching videos with them or sending them videos and asking for feedback.
There are so many ways to get a LOT out of each experience. It’s up to you to find a system that suits you.