From Endurance to Dressage
I am an auditory learner. That means I learn by listening and discussing.
I know what kind of learner I am because I get paid to make sure people, namely very small people, are learning. I've spent the past twenty five years learning how to make whatever material I am teaching accessible to all types of learners. I am a teacher after all.
Every lesson I teach includes visuals, lecture, hands-on opportunities, small group consultation (I actually tell my 5th graders to consult with a neighbor), experimentation, physical movement, and so on.
The fancy name for how we learn is called a "Learning Modality." There are many learning modalities, but they are all variations, or permutations, of three basic styles; visual, auditory, and kinesthetic (which can become tactile).
I know you're wondering what this has to do with dressage or riding in general, but bear with me for a moment as I explain. When we know what type of learner we are, we can maximize our learning opportunities by searching out experiences that meet our learning needs. Check out these four descriptions of learning preferences and see which one seems most like you.
And before you worry about choosing just one type of modality, know that most of us do best when we utilize more than one type of learning style. I am an auditory learner who learns best by discussing what I've heard or by writing it down later - hence the blog!
The lucky thing for us as riders is that our lessons or clinics are learning experiences that naturally incorporate all the learning modalities! Think about it: it's kinesthetic as we search for the right "feel," it's visual when our trainer shows us, and it's auditory as the instructor calls out corrections or directions.
I love lessons because they always involve auditory learning. The trainer talks while the student listens. And if the trainer uses an earpiece/speaker system, I am really in heaven as the the lesson is then piped directly to my brain. If you are not an auditory learner, you might find all of the trainer's "talk" distracting.
Lessons or clinics also involve a lot of kinesthetic learning as the rider must DO what the instructor says. This works best for me when the instructor gives a lot of oral directions, but for a true kinesthetic learner, you probably just figure it out the longer you ride. Maybe you get better and better at seeing that distance just by riding it over and over. Those naturally gifted riders are probably very much kinesthetic learners. Alas, I am not.
In many cases, a clinician or trainer will also demonstrate visually what they want you do by moving their own body in a sort of pantomime of what we should be doing. My trainer does this all the time as I watch from the saddle. If you are a visual learner, you probably like your trainer to show you by having them demonstrate from the ground like my trainer will do, or you like her to hop on and show you. You probably like to watch others take lessons too.
If you are a tactile learner, someone who needs to take notes or doodle while learning, you probably learn best by attending clinics or watching others participate in a lesson. I don't know if Sarah of Eventing in Color is a tactile learner or not, but I have been amazed before by her note-taking skills.
I'd love to know more about your strongest learning modality and how knowing this helps you maximize your lessons or learning without an instructor. Take the poll if you'd like to see where you are compared to other people, and please leave a comment explaining how you use (or will use!) your knowledge of your learning style to maximize your lesson time.
About the Writer and Rider
I am a lifelong rider.
I began endurance riding in 1996 where I ultimately completed five, one-day 100 mile races, the 200-mile Death Valley Encounter, and numerous other 50, 65, and 75 mile races. I began showing dressage in 2010.
Welcome to my dressage journey.
About Speedy G
Speedy went from endurance horse to dressage horse. After helping me earn a USDF Bronze medal in the summer of 2020, he is now semi-retired. Speedy is a 2004, 15'1 hand, purebred Arabian gelding. His Arabian Horse Registry name is G Ima Starr FA.
Izzy was started as a four-year old and then spent the next 18 months in pasture growing up. I bought him as a six-year old, and together, we are showing at the lower levels. He is a 2008, 16'3 hand warmblood gelding. His Rheinland Pfalz-saar International (RPSI) name is Imperioso.
National Rider Awards
State Rider Awards
State Horse Awards
CDS Sapphire Rider Award
Third Level: 63.514%
Third Level: 62.105%
2023 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
2023 Show Schedule
2023 Completed …
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
Qualifying Training Level
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%: