Saturday, 26 December 2015

Day 360: Random thoughts on teaching myself a.k.a. learning how things are done

Evening walks around London :) 

Apparently, if one dares to teach others one should never stop learning and for sure, there is something to be said about those who stop the latter and think they can be any good at the former...

So here is the thing. As we know, some aspects of horse riding are easier to teach than others. Some skills are acquired over time via trial and error and you might argue that this is the way it should be. I am not so sure however. If I can teach something quicker, something that will make the horse's life much much easier and rider's confidence in own ability increases as a result, I am all for that.

I watched many many lessons. It seems to me that a lot of the times riders do a lot of guessing of what they are asked to do. A lot of guessing. Even if they don't realise that fully.
I am aware I do the same when I am taught. I apply my own meaning to the instructions mentioned and sometimes they work, sometimes they don't.

You know this "how do you explain a taste of a strawberry jam to someone who never tried strawberries" ? Well, it seems tricky. It might be even trickier if one who does the explaining was never told they were eating strawberry jam in the first place ;) They ate something. It was good. It could have been anything.

So now. When you have a skill and you don't know/remember how you acquired it and you are aware enough to know that you do a lot of things subconsciously, how do you bring it to a conscious level and explain it to someone else?

There is a lot of "mechanics" in riding. You can probably do large amount of foundation teaching simply based on 'do this, do that, place your hand here, your leg there'. However, there are also many 'feel' related actions and the problem is, without learning that feel, the mechanics can mean very little to the horse. They create tension, resistance, discomfort.

But how do you teach those non-mechanical aspects? Do you? I think so. I don't believe in the notion that 'feel' is some elusive talent of a few. I do think it's more of a case of it being too elusive for many to dress into words.

I suppose it's a part of my intellectual hobby to try to figure out how to teach those more elusive aspects of "leg on"...;)

First I try to understand what I do and how it feels to me. Then I try to make those actions independent of my own learning style, movement pattern, experience. Then, I think about who I teach it to and how might they understand what I am about to tell them. I noticed over time that if I get all these three aspects right, it works. But I don't always do.

There are riders whom I have taught regularly over a longer period of time and that knowledge of how they ride, what they do in certain situations, is invaluable when it comes to teaching something new. But it's not enough.

For the last few weeks I've been trying to figure out what I do in certain situations. Let me tell you how it feels for feels like I imagine it. And it happens. Now, this is no good if I try to explain it this way as it won't help anyone one bit! And if I say it out loud, it sounds ludicrous.

But think about it. If you are en experienced rider, well balanced rider on a well balanced horse, you can just sit and "picture" the horse in canter, and it canters...I have a similar experience with this particular skill set that I am analysing and it drives me a little mad :) I want to know what happens before I imagine it. That's why I've been thinking about it. And perhaps I am starting to understand it all better...

I guess I will find out when I try to teach it ;)

Thanks for reading the rambling thoughts today. Four days left of 2015...



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