Editor’s Postcard: Are You Learning?

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Let Your Passion Fuel Your Desire to Become Educated

I’ve taken a lot of riding lessons in my life, and I continue to educate myself through lessons, clinics, seminars, and extensive reading. My passion for horses and riding has fueled this desire to learn.

I’m currently taking a year-long writers’ workshop that’s pushing my limits and my comfort zone. The teacher is smart, tough, and refuses to listen to any whining or excuses. She regularly pins me to the wall if I don’t do my homework, misuse a semicolon, or use clunky sentence structure. It’s intense, time-consuming, and I absolutely love it. I feel my writing improve and relish the opportunity to learn new skills. My passion for writing has fueled this desire to learn. 

Learning can be both humbling and exhilarating, but discovering new things makes my world go around. So, when I’m confronted with someone who takes the time to call me, set up a lesson, haul their horse to my farm, and then refuses to listen or try, I’m always bewildered. It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen enough that it seems worth discussing. 

When I meet resistance from a student in a lesson, I step back for a moment and ask myself a few things: Am I asking too much from them? Are they scared? Do I need to break things down more? Am I making things too simple and therefore insulting their ego? As with teaching horses, understanding the reason behind resistance can often open a pathway to learning. I always try to challenge myself to be a better teacher, but what I’ve noticed is sometimes students won’t try something new, or the concept goes against what they already believe to be true about training horses, so their minds are closed. 

We are currently going through a revolution in the horse training world. Science about how horses’ brains and bodies work has us rethinking some of the old ways. If you shut your ears and resist during a lesson or in a clinic (or just never want to put yourself out there in the first place), I’d urge you to examine your feelings carefully. What happens inside you when you’re confronted with a new concept? Are you intrigued or irritated? Working through those emotions may open the floodgates of new learning, a higher skill set, and a more rewarding relationship with your horse. 

Are you passionate enough to keep learning?

See this article in the July/August 2023 online edition:

July/August 2023

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