— Listen carefully during your lessons. Don’t question each directive: just do it. Let your instructor “stretch” you a little.
— Watch and learn from others, and from yourself. Audit the lessons that come before and after yours whenever you can, and observe as the other riders in your own group receive instruction. Videotape your lesson and review the tape often.
— Feel the learning. Don’t just think about what your instructor says. Concentrate on how the feeling changes as you do what you’re told.
— Write it down. Keep a journal of your progress. Record what you’ve learned after each lesson, and go over your jottings with your instructor every so often. If, after three months, you discover you’re still writing down the same problems, an adjustment may be needed.
— Read relevant books and articles. Ask your instructor for recommendations, then read as much as you can to reinforce the content of your lessons.
This article first appeared in the March 1998 issue of Practical Horseman magazine.