This blog has MOVED!

Please visit for the most updated content. All these posts and more can be found over at the new URL.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Credit where credit is due

In response to Michelle's comment below - I did not invent this little theory of learning. Here's the wikipedia summary here:

Over the years I've heard a lot of different versions of the learning theory, most recently from my trainer. It's a theory that seems to work most of the time. Before I knew about this, I would have conversations with family members about the different "kinds" of horse people - mostly based on the level of fear/respect someone had for the horses. The discussion generally resolved into:

Beginners - Horse people who are beginners, but don't know they are beginners. These people typically have no fear, or at least no imagination and scare the rest of us into an early grave.

Novices - The beginner who has realized they are not invincible. They often struggle with fear issues and have begin to realize how much they have to learn.

Intermediate - A rider who can normally stay on for all 3 gaits, isn't prone to panicking. Has a healthy respect for the horse, but isn't generally reactive. Capable on most horses. This rider is cautious, but not dealing with fear.

Advanced - This rider seems to have no fear, but this comes from knowledge rather than ignorance. They can stay balanced and on top of the horse most of the time. Riding seems to come naturally to this person and they seem to move effortlessly across the field on even the most difficult of horses.

Once I learned about the 4 learning stages theory, it fit so nicely into the family discussions we had that it immediately appealed to me.

Does anyone else have any learning theories they especially like and want to share?


  1. Ooh, here's my observation:

    Have any of yall ever met a beginner over the age of 20? I think the fearlessness disintegrates rapidly as you get older - all the older newbies (me included) struggle immediately with fear.

  2. I have met beginners over 20. People in their 30's and 40's who appear to have no fear and no real idea of what they are doing except that they some how muddle through.

    Painful to watch, but I have seen them do some amazing things with some horses just because they did not know you "couldn't do it with THAT horse".


  3. Made me immediately think of Crissy. Had she never ridden before CAV 101? It was enjoyable to watch her pleasure and confidence.

  4. Which group should start a horse undersaddle? I believe, an advanced rider should. Other levels can do it, I've seen it. But don't know if it is wise. Is it wise to do an LD and only be on the beginner or novice level?


  5. Also, I think your being too generous to the intermediate rider. I believe an intermediate rider should be comfortable at all three gaits. Balanced and able to control the horse well at all three gaits. Then and only then are you ready to do a competition, be it an undersaddle class (except a walk trot, lead line class of course) or an endurance competition. Obviously, you still have to have your horse conditioned and trained for the task at hand.

    In addition to what you have, an advanced rider should very rarely fall off. I would just barely catagorize myself as an advanced rider (by my standards, not yours) and I haven't fallen off for 6 years now (knock on wood). And it's not because I haven't pushed myself, tried new things or rode that much. An advanced rider should be able to pick up other disciplines very easily. They should be capable of riding all types and levels of horses. And all levels of riders (in my book) should be taking dressage lessons (or at least some kind of lessons with an experienced trainer). Riding is not something that you can learn from a book or someone telling you. You really need that expert eye watching you and guiding you along the way as much as possible. Even advanced riders. Just because you can stay on the horse most of the time, doesn't neccessarily mean you have good horsemanship or equitation skills.

    Even though I don't run marthons, I can understand why you do. Hope it goes well for you! Thanks for the posts.



Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.