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As riders, we are always learning. We learn new motor skills such as better ways to sit or how to use our aids riding. We also learn more about our horses, how to take care of them, how to train them, and how to understand their behavior. So here is an interesting question – how do you learn best?

We all make large commitments of our time and finances to learning, so why not spend a little time and effort making sure that learning sticks – that we remember the important information we take in.

There are four main learning styles. Visual learning is watching something – seeing the skill you want to perform or the information you need. Auditory learning is listening or speaking, such as hearing as your riding instructor gives you advice and asking questions. Read/write learners learn best doing just that – reading or recording information. Finally, kinesthetic learners learn by doing.

Although most of us are stronger in one learning style, information will be better remembered if we interact with it in multiple ways. In today’s video, I give you an example of four steps you can take to better remember what you learn in a riding lesson.

After watching the video, leave a comment and share any tips you have for remembering new information.

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See you in the comments,


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17 Responses

  1. Thank you, Callie! Fabulous tips. I love listening to all your blogs, which I find encouraging.
    I recently broke my wrist after my horse spooked. That one negative emotion, as you say, seems to have a stronger imprint on my memory than all the wonderful rides. I need to put things back into perspective by using the tools you suggest.

  2. Wonderful tips. I sometimes find it helps to repeat back to the instructor in my own words what I think she is telling me. Sometimes an instructor may THINK we know all the terms but it might not be so clear. If I’m feeling a bit confused I will do this BEFORE I carry out the exercise, but often, especially if I’m working on something new, I’ll go through the process verbally (what aids I’m to use, what the horse is really supposed to be doing, etc.) AFTER I have completed something. On more than one occasion I have discovered a small thing I’ve left out or even something as large as using the incorrect rein or leg OR having in mind a completely different action from the horse than what the instructor intended. Then it becomes clear whether the horse was just being difficult or whether I was confusing her by giving the wrong aids or expecting a different movement. That helps me on the next go round to either be more firm with my aids or to focus on giving the correct ones and clearly understand the movement or position I was going for. It is often a “light bulb” moment when it all comes together. These small moments are what brings on the joy making the frustrating times disappear…well, at least until the next one comes along.:)

  3. Hi Callie – thanks for more great tips. We know we have to give our horses time to work through what they have been doing – so why should we not need the same! Thanks for pointing it out, Betty

  4. Another helpful video and great advice. Actually I do “ride” while I drive all the time, but not sure if I’m doing it all correctly. I’ m definitely going to use the tips in this video at my next lesson.

  5. Great tips Callie perhaps another one to add ,which I have recently started is that my instructor videos parts of my lesson to help reinforce my learning.As a mature rider /rusty this method works for me and it’s fun.Looking forward to your new videos Anne-Marie

    1. Excellent idea, Anne-Marie! I actually made another video on the power of seeing oneself in a video for learning. I don’t know what your instructor uses to video you, but there is a great app called “Coach’s Eye” that I use on my ipad. It allows you to slow down footage and draw on it to highlight certain things on the horse or rider.

  6. Dear Callie,
    I love this video post! I have noticed some of the points that you made with regard to my own riding and learning. I have been writing down information after each of my own lessons with the journal that you provided as part of “Training Journals” . It has helped me track my progress and reinforced my learning. Thank you so much for another helpful post.
    Nancy B

  7. Great info as usual!
    I listen, read, or watch a video first. Then I put it in a folder I have in my NoteMaster App on my iPhone so I can remember and refer to it often as I practice. (Since I always have my phone with me it’s the most convenient way!) Each time I ride I may add additional info that will help me more the next time.
    I try to practice the same thing the next several times I ride to reinforce it.
    I know from teaching martial arts for many years that it definitely helped me to learn to teach it to someone else. I often discuss what in learning with my instructor or my “barn family” and that does truly help to reinforce things.
    And I found it amusing when you talk about riding in a vehicle as if you’re on your horse as I find myself doing that a lot without even thinking about it!

  8. Good advice! I like the idea of remembering the top four things. I try to write every single thing down with great care at the end of the day but it can be overwhelming. And as far as going home and telling someone else about what you learned – yes! The best way to learn something is to teach it! (I’m a retired teacher, so I can say that with all certainty!)

  9. Hi Callie, thank you for this very interesting video.
    I personally need to learn all four ways. I don’t really believe one takes precedence over the others. Yet, there’s one strange thing I’ve noticed. I love learning by reading just as much as I hate writing things down. I know it’s supposed to help commit things to memory but I’ve tried doing it again and again and I just balk at the sheer idea of it. It’s all the more surprising, I guess, since as a translater I read and “write” all the time (I’m still an obsessive reader so it can’t be professional burnout!). I’ll definitely try jotting down four ideas after each ride, see if I can bring myself to do it ;-).
    I do think that variety is the key. As a tried and true learn-a-holic, I’ve found that the two best ways for me to integrate things are 1) to have the very same notion presented to me by several people with different words/methods (that could be different books or instructors) 2) to go over the same book/video several times because I ALWAYS find I’ve missed out on a number of things and get to learn something new.
    I love the idea of taking a break every few minutes for both horse and rider to “digest” things. I’m sure it facilitates learning plus I believe that riding should always remain fun, which is made impossible by mindless drilling.

    1. Good suggestions and interesting that you have such an aversion to writing! I think I acutually balk at writing at first but usually once I start, the words come pretty easy. There is a feeling of satisfaction after writing something too.

  10. And… Hmmm… I have the most riding-savvy dogs in the world. They are told eveything that happened during a ride the minute I come home… 😉

  11. I have a Ph.D. in Biological Anthropology and have spent a lifetime in higher ed…teaching and mentoring students (and continually learning myself from some of the best colleagues, professors, and mentors one could imagine, and from my own students), and I can honestly say that there may be one or two of these people I have known over the decades who have the very special gift that Callie does to cut to the perfect essence of a topic and explain things so clearly and articulately. I have just discovered the CRK videos, and after many years of on-again off-again “adventures” in riding…the seemingly perpetual 2nd or 3rd year rider…feel I have a new home and “safe place” to learn and refer to without having to worry about asking dumb questions of my instructor about often pretty basic things that I should probably have learned by now, but either don’t know or have forgotten. And with all due respect to some wonderful instructors and trainers I’ve known, I don’t think any of them could answer my questions, dumb or not, as succinctly and eloquently as Callie seems to be able to do on virtually every topic she covers. Wow. Just fantastic.

    1. Thank you Kent! I really appreciate your kind words and welcome to our community here at CRK Training!

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