As an adult amateur rider, I need to really focus on every single lesson and clinic I pay for. I’m not going to be able to go out and take what I just learned and apply it to the next horse I have to ride that day. There’s no immediate back up of the learning to make it stick unless I take action to make the most of that ride. That works for daily rides and self learning too. Nothing will be remembered and retained without some action on my part. If you’re like me…and most riders…all of this is applicable to you. There are a number of things you can do to make the most out of every ride.
1. Find a kind friend to video you. THIS is the most amazing thing you can do for yourself, though I admit is rarely done for me. I happened to get a few video clips from my last clinic and they’re extremely valuable to me to remember what was worked on and actually see what the work looked like from a judges perspective at C.
2. During the ride, repeat items of note to yourself out loud AND ask questions if there’s any confusion about what the trainer is saying to you. I find that if I do that, I can really be productive with items 3 and 4. Typically after the ride is wrapped up, I go over the main points of the lesson verbally with my instructor as well.
3. After the lesson and ride is over and you’re driving home), mentally replay the most important bits that you want to remember and mentally review exercises you want to remember for future rides. If you skip this step, you won’t remember much but vague impressions of the ride.
4. Take lots of notes! It doesn’t matter if this is on your phone, your google doc, a piece of notebook paper or a fancy journal…notes are vital. Writing things down helps you remember things. Writing things down helps you by being able to go back months later and look at exactly what you did. I really like The Equestrian Journal for this because of the various prompts and types of pages available.
5. At the beginning of the next ride or lesson, go over with your instructor or yourself what you worked on last time and how it has improved, or what you need to still improve. That will give you something to focus on for the ride or lesson…or remind you what you were able to do last time if you want to work on something different that day.
What are your tips for making the most out of your rides?