Most clinicians have heard, “I Learn Best if”, “I can’t learn unless” or “I only can learn if”. My guess is most people have a preferred way to learn. A way they have been taught to learn or a way they feel the most confident or comfortable learning. I say most people because I know there are a lot of people that just want to learn and they jump at any opportunity, period. They have a different way of looking at things and it shows in many positive ways.
There are books, videos, private lessons, group lessons, and clinics with participants from 1 person to 60 in a class. I guess the largest group-learning environment I’ve been in is had 4000 people, it was also one of the best. I personally will not limit my opportunity to learn by having specific criteria or a list of things that have to be met before I will go. If I feel they have something or know something I wish I could do then I’m in. I’ve been in other countries and have stopped in to listen to a clinic that was taking place and joined in on the spot. I did not have a horse with me, I did not have a saddle, I had not planned on even staying but I liked what I was seeing and hearing so I begged, borrowed and pleaded so I could get in the clinic, because I like to learn. It was not my horse but I could have cared less because I was there to learn, not train a horse. I have to learn before I can do, so the more practice I can get the better.
My horse at home would be very happy if I did all my learning on other horses and only came to him when I had learnt and not while I was learning. Like horses we have to learn, and every learning opportunity that we pass up is an opportunity wasted. If there are 30 people in the clinic, great, I can learn from everybody, either how good it might be and possibly how bad. Having many people in a clinic does not interfere in my learning -it helps. I want to know how to get things done. I don’t expect the clinician or anyone else to do it for me because that just makes them better not me. I listen, watch, and then do. For those that say “I learn best one on one”, I say that’s one way to learn, but I look at a group of riders and there are generally many different levels of horsemanship and abilities in the group. It gives me the opportunity to see if I can get as good or better than the best horse and rider combination in the group. It gives me something to work towards.
There are many different ways to learn but they all require us getting out of our comfort zone. Often I hear that someone learns best by watching. If that weretrue about any human then there would be good hockey players, swimmers, ballerinas that only watched from the stands and never practiced with the team or in front of the coach. If it was possible to get good in the stands, then how come the players aren’t in the stands and the watchers take over the field, ice rink or ballet stage?
More times than not people will do what is most comfortable for them, not what will help them learn the most. As I’ve mentioned in the past the more you are learning or changing, the more outside your comfort zone you will be.
In order to learn and do as much and as soon as possible then take every learning opportunity. Take group and private lessons, watch the videos, get front and center in all situations if there is room, sit in the stands if your leg is broke, otherwise participate. Have the mindset that you can learn in all situations not just certain ones. My top students that excel the fastest are because of this mindset. They go in every thing they have time to do. It doesn’t matter if they are very advanced and the clinic is full of first timers, they are there ready to learn and it shows in their horsemanship and everything else they do in life. They make a decision to take an active lead in their learning and where they want to go. They look at all situations as ways to learn rather than ways they can’t learn. It really is mostly perspective which is a powerful thing and we get the privilege to choose one. Stay away from perspectives that are limiting and choose the perspective that empowers.