Improving your horsemanship skills by following your personal learning style?

Increase your knowledge about horses, learn how horses communicate, take your training skills to a higher level. If that is your goal then you should first of all know what type of learning style suits you best. 

One way to describe learning styles is according to Fleming’s way: Do you learn best visually (in images)? Auditory (by ear)? Kinesthetic (by feeling)? Or rather by reading and writing?

Only if you know which learning style you have, can you learn optimally and achieve your goal.  That’s nothing new,  what we all know this already for a looooong time. 

But, here’s a little surprise:

There’s no such thing like a “personal learning style” at all.

The “know your learning style” is a myth

In her TED talk, Dr. Tesia Marshik says that after 40 years of research into learning styles, it can now be said with certainty that the “know your learning style” is a myth. No credible evidence was found that the learning style theory is correct. It turns out that people all learn in the same way, no matter how the study material is presented to them. 

What is the best way to learn then? Well, according to the research and Dr. Tesia Marshik, it mainly depends on what exactly you want to learn and whether it has any meaning to you or not. If something doesn’t make sense to you at all, then learning is just a lot more difficult.

It’s actually very simple. If you want to learn to recognize sounds, you will have to listen. If you want to see the difference between things (difference in shape, color, size, …) you will have to look. If you want to be able to distinguish scents, you will have to smell. If you want to master a skill, you will mainly have to practice.

What if you want to improve your knowledge and horsemanship skills?

If we translate this into horse training, it comes down to the following:

  • Do you want to learn to read the body language of horses?
    Then you will have to look at and observe horses interacting with each other. So then you are mainly learning visually.
  • Do you want to be able to distinguish and understand the different vocal sounds horses use?
    Then you will mainly have to listen and in the meantime also look at what the horse is doing at that moment and which body language it shows. This way you will be able to make connections.
  • Do you want to learn how healthy manure from a horse smells?
    Then listening won’t do much, but smelling and looking will.
  • Do you want to learn how to communicate with horses through body language?
    Then you will have to watch another person who already masters this and observe the interaction between that person and the horses he or she works with. After that you will have to do it yourself and learn from experience. So a lot of practice is needed.
  • Do you want to learn how to load your horse on a trailer, which aids you have to give when you train your horse in the double long lines, or something else that has to do with the training of your horse?
    Here again you will have to watch someone who masters this already, listen to the explanations to understand the why of the aids and actions, and then you will have to try and apply it yourself (feeling yourself).

If something is meaningful to you,  you will learn better

As a passionate horse owner, these things make a lot of sense, you are interested in them. That’s because you want the relationship with your horse to be as good as possible and you also want the training to be successful.

That’s why learning will also be more fun and you will do much better than if you would be instructed to learn the body language of an earworm.

What about online learning?

People sometimes doubt about following an online program. They don’t doubt about the theoretical part, but they wonder if it’s possible to learn practical skills through watching videos. They wonder whether it isn’t better to take physical lessons to improve their practical skills.

Well, when it comes to horse training, you’ve already read above that especially watching someone and doing it yourself afterwards will ensure that you learn and improve your skills.

Watching someone is indeed possible during a physical lesson and an online lesson. The advantage of a physical lesson is that you can immediately ask questions about what you see. And the instructor can respond immediately to what you do in the moment. 

Online lessons and learning by watching

But what is not possible with a physical lesson is that you rewind the scene 36,000 times. So there are pros and cons in both ways. That’s why it can be smart to combine online lessons with physical lessons. 

Many of my students indicate that especially the possibility of re- and re-watching a video lesson is valuable. Every time they rewatch something, they see more details and learn new things. Suddenly they see that my belly button moves slightly back when I ask the horse to turn in during Easy Herding. Or they notice that my left shoulder moves slightly forward when the horse wants to turn in to me on the circle during groundwork.

They watch the lessons whenever and wherever they want. They press the pause button if they want to see a certain posture from me or the horse better. They rewind if they have not fully understood something. They look again the next day before going outside to practice with their horse. Some take their phone with them so that they can have a quick peek if they can’t remember something.

First theory, then observe, then do it yourself!

Studying the theory and knowing the what and why is of course important. But after that it’s especially necessary to watch and observe a lot and then do it yourself and learn from your own experience. 

Only in this way can you bring your horsemanship skills to a higher level.

If you’d like me to help you with that, then it might also be nice to know that currently there’s  a “Mother’s Day Discount” until Sunday (April 10th). You get 10% on all my programs if you use this discount code: MOM10