What’s Your Learning Style and Why It’s Important For Dressage Riders

The last time you probably thought about learning styles was when you had your head in books and studying madly for an upcoming exam. While you don’t often think about it, knowing your learning style could prove beneficial for you as a dressage rider or teacher.

Why understanding your learning style is important.

Have you ever been caught out in the middle of a test and forgot the next sequence? Or do you always rely on a caller to keep your test on track? Maybe you’re a riding instructor and have a few students who are struggling to store information.
Research has shown that everyone has a learning style which enables them to learn more efficiently. Knowing how you lean and remember information will enable you to structure your studies to suit you. For example, visual learners are best to study through pictures, video or demonstrations. Auditory learners on the other hand will benefit from listening and taking about what they’re learning.

As a riding instructor, finding out your student’s learning style will help improve your teaching methods and cater to your student’s individual needs. While it may seem a little extra work, you’re more likely to see results quicker and keep your student engaged and eager to continue improving.


Which learning style are you?

There are three main categories of learning styles: visual, auditory and kinaesthetic.

Visual learners
If you’re a visual learner, you prefer to absorb information best through seeing. This may be looking at your dressage test, pictures or watching a video.

Auditory learners
An auditory learner tends to learn best by listening and then talking about the information. This could be listening to a recording of your dressage test and talking it over with your friend or coach.

Kinaesthetic learners
Those who learn best by doing fall into the kinaesthetic category. Kinaesthetic learners tend to use all their senses and have a hands-on approach.
Another learning style that is sometimes considered in educational research is the read and write style.

Read and write
People who prefer to take notes or read are considered read and write learners. They learn by writing down tests over and over again or repeatedly read to themselves.
Discover your learning styles by taking this quick VARK questionnaire.


Applying your learning style to your dressage riding

Do you remember when you first learnt to ride? Someone was most likely standing in the middle of the arena guiding you and instructing you as to your position and how to direct your horse. For an auditory learner, this style of teaching may be perfect and their skills will rapidly develop. For a visual learner, some of the information may be lost or simply not sink in.

Understanding your learning style will help you apply a technique that works best for you. Write out your dressage test over and over for those who fall into the ‘read and write’ group. If you’re a visual learner, watch videos of experienced riders to perfect your technique or even watching your own riding to identify areas that need improvement.

For those who are kinaesthetic learners, you’re best to ride your horse and practice your test over and over again, until it becomes second nature. Or better still, do it on foot and get some exercise in while you learn!
Discovering your learning style could be the key to improving your dressage riding and enhancing your performance.


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