What’s your learning style?

I was just talking about this with a friend.

Everybody has different learning styles. I learn by doing, which traditionally has made me an underachieving student. I can’t sit in a lecture for two hours and pay attention, but I can do things like teach myself CGI by looking at it and experimenting.

This has carried over to riding. I read Mugwump’s wonderful descriptions of how to do certain things, and I think that I will try some of them, but in reality I can’t imagine how I’d remember what she said without notes in front of my face while I’m actually on the horse! For me, books or videos could never be a great teaching tool – I need to learn in a very hands-on way, with someone telling me when it looks right so that I learn to recognize the feeling. (I also love riding with mirrors – what a great and helpful idea, especially for people like me who feel correct when they’re doing it wrong – i.e. leaning too far forward instead of sitting upright!)

Sometimes I think an instructor has to play around with different methods to figure out a student. I’ve had people where I had to get on the horse and show them, and voila, they caught on. I’ve had others where the right analogy worked wonders (imagine an invisible cord hanging you from the ceiling to the top of your hunt cap – that’s how straight your back should feel) or really simple ones for kids (“noodle” arms that are soft and give, not stiff like an uncooked macaroni).

Sometimes you really need to feel things. I still remember the instructor who finally fixed my inability to get the better of the school horse who “rooted.” She stood in front of me and pulled on my reins, hard. I flopped forward. Then she went to the side and gently pushed my shoulders back until they were behind my hip bones, and repeated the exercise. Amazing! I didn’t get pulled forward. From that moment on, I “got it” and was able to correct the rooter and keep him on the rail.

So what’s your learning style? What has created the a-ha moment for you?


I hate to waste much space when a simple spritz of Troll-B-Gone will do, but all of the Troll Questions have been covered before: (a) the whole point of this blog was to address that many people can and do ride with fear and that it shouldn’t stop you from reaching your goals, nor should it be an embarrassment or something that you have to hide from everybody. If not for that whole point, it would honestly not be all that interesting to read a simple training log about a colt who quite frankly has been so fricken’ easy that it’s sometimes hard to figure out what to write about. Mugwump’s hot-headed cowhorse mare makes for a MUCH better story! (b) I have never bred the VLC and certainly cannot be held responsible for the fencing he was turned out on prior to my ownership. (c) I don’t believe in riding 2 year olds anymore – yes I used to do it – and will never do it again or pay for it to be done (d) if the VLC does not prove himself in the show ring, he will become a VLG. He doesn’t have forever to do this. One show season should suffice. He is either going to be competitive, or not and the only opinions I care about are those of the AQHA judges since those are the opinions that determine whether or not any future foals would be marketable. (e) If you think a coming 4 year old is over the hill and it’s “too late” for him to have a successful show career, our opinions on working young horses are so diametrically opposed that we’re destined to think the other is an idiot no matter what other discussion takes place. If you think a 4 year old is done growing, you need to read more of Deb Bennett’s work. (f) the VLC is a grandson of a Superior Halter Horse/World Show Top Ten/High Point Halter Horse and his dam is a mare who is a full sibling to an AQHA Versatility Horse of the Year with over 2000 points in a wide variety of events – from halter to barrel racing to WP. If that isn’t good enough breeding for you, ok, we have different standards but I certainly haven’t contradicted myself and my previously stated standards. I have said that I like to see some kind of significant accomplishment in the first three generations – not further back. I have that. End of discussion, at least on my end. I could buy Indian Artifacts or Invitation Only tomorrow and there are people who would say they were POS’s because they don’t like the Fugly blog. That’s why I’m happy to let the judges decide – they’re the only opinions that matter. (And now I can link back to this blog entry the next time people bring up the same half-dozen questions that have already been answered…)

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Published in: on January 31, 2009 at 5:37 am  Leave a Comment  

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