Rather than write about the lesson itself, I wanted to talk about what makes me call a lesson 'good'. I recognize that this definition may vary between people but I suspect that there are a lot of similarities too.
In no particular order, here are the features that make a good lesson for me.
1. Picks up on what was worked on in the last lesson.
In between lesson I work on my 'homework'. So I like it when we pick those things back up to fix or to move to the next step. Shanea and I always start by discussing how Carmen has been going since she was here last. This time I shared that my rides in between have been amazing and one that was terrible. In that one Carmen was just unable to horse and was not interested in my input. I actually got off and lunged her some more and then got back on. I talked about what I tried and what worked/what didn't. That gave Shanea a place to start with us.
I have had lessons where it's felt like the same lesson over and over and it felt like I was stagnated.
2. Instructions that actually help me to do the task.
I think it was Megan who talked about 'First and second toolkit instructions'. I will likely get this backwards, but 'second toolkit' are things like 'make her rounder' vs what I should do with my body to achieve this. Karen is amazing at this. Shanea is pretty good too. Sometimes I have to stop and talk with her because I'm not quite getting it.
We've been working on the Second Level Turn on the Haunches. Turns out I don't know how to do it properly. It's hard. Shanea tried lots of ways to help me understand and finally it made sense. We're getting there. Aside: I think I need to look at some video examples so if you have any links, let me know.
3. Positive focus.
Not that I need to hear that I'm awesome. But feeling that I'm wrong without advice on how to do better is NOT helpful.
|like get her forward when she's planning to exit stage right|
I already know I have a lot to improve. But I have had lessons that have made me feel like shit (not from Shanea) and, you know what, these didn't really make me a better rider. They destroyed my confidence.
|no need for barriers to learning- unlike Ripley here trying to stop the tractor!|
4. Working in the Zone:
It's a lesson that pushes me but not so out far of my comfort zone that I'll crash and burn. It's the concept of Vygotsky's 'Zone of Proximal Development'. The concept is simple: there is what we can do all on our own (like a walk-canter transition) and things we cannot do (like piaffe). But in between there are things we can do with help.
|using my abs here big time.|
Riding is supposed to be fun, right? I don't mean a party but it should be enjoyable. I like talking with Shanea- she has a good sense of humour. So does Karen. It feels like a collaboration not a dictatorship. It is important to me that Carmen does not view every ride as drill and hard work with no reward. Some horses will tolerate that but she will not. I'm getting better at recognizing when she's starting to fizz a bit and Shanea and I discuss how to move away from one thing and do something else.
|a fun way to work on condition without it feeling like work (at least to me).|
I'm sure I could get more and more detailed (after all that's where us horse people live, amiright?). But I think that covers the broad strokes.
What did I miss? What makes a good lesson for you?