Instructor Notes: Something you'd do with your students? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 06-07-2011, 08:38 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Danville, IL
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Instructor Notes: Something you'd do with your students?

Every now and then (more often than I'd like to admit), I forget things. So when I began having trouble figuring out what I would do with my weekly students (I have 6 so far) compared to the previous week's lessons, I get myself stuck.

So, recently, I began to take notes for myself. I put the date, student name(s), lesson type (1/2 hr. or 1 hr.; group or private), time, and what we did.

For example:
June 4, 2011 -- Joey; 1 hr. private lesson
Reiterated grooming, tacking up. Warm-up in round pen: walk, jog, lope. Pole bending. Cool-down in round pen: walk. Dismount safely, lead horse to fence, tie up with quick-release, remove bridle, loosen saddle, put bridle away safely. Rider rode Prince for this lesson with minor issues maintaining the jog.

Have any of you other instructors ever done this? (If not, it's working well for me!)

By using this I've been able to better plan my lessons based on the skill level of the student. I may even take note on if the horse gave them trouble, or any outstanding issues (such as: still bouncing in transition from jog to lope -- go back to basics with this!) with the rider/horse during the lesson. So the next week I would likely spend more time covering whatever went wrong on the previous lesson if it was something I couldn't correct immediately. (Some students take a little while to apply what I'm asking them to do.)

For example: My lesson "Joey" today began to bounce a lot in the saddle, despite his posture being OK to his riding level/time in the saddle. When he would transition to the jog, I could see some sky under his rear. We had this problem last year. After some thought and intense observation, I realized that he's extremely dependent on his reins (basically balancing on the horse's face!) and his stirrups, hardly using his legs at all. So to help him absorb what I was telling him to do with his legs, I made him drop his stirrups and let them walk around for a while before I asked him to bump up to a trot. And, in using his legs, he didn't bounce out of his seat at all!

So, by my notes this week I'll be able to better understand the progress of my student. Has any other instructor used this method? Something different?

Note: The "notes" I take are in a private notebook with me at all times. I arrange my days off around my lessons so we need not worry about a fellow instructor getting confused by my notes, or the student confusing the instructor about our "itinerary" by babbling or getting things mixed up. I only discuss my lessons with the boss & student!

"Adapt or perish, now as ever, is nature's inexorable imperative." (H.G. Wells)
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Last edited by Creampuff; 06-07-2011 at 08:40 PM.
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post #2 of 8 Old 06-07-2011, 11:58 PM
Join Date: Apr 2009
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I don't instruct, but the concept behind keeping the notes is sound in and of itself. Really sounds like something I would have to do. >.<
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post #3 of 8 Old 06-08-2011, 12:29 AM
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Kansas
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I do it for my horses, and if I start giving lessons, I would definitely do it for the students. Part of that, though, is my learning style. I remember things best when I read them. Some people remember what they hear, and they might use a voice recorder instead.

If I start giving lessons (which I've been considering for a while), I will also ask the students to make a note or two after each ride on what they felt they did well on and what they felt they could do better at. Another idea is to video them periodically, then do the same thing before and after showing them the video. (Depending on how serious they are about it) My goal is to make riders more aware of what they are actually doing as compared to what they think they are doing.

Learning never stops
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post #4 of 8 Old 06-08-2011, 02:02 AM
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Southern California
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I've been considering starting this up, but have been too busy or tired after the lessons I just haven't started at all. I really should though because often times once I've studied what looks off about a rider that day and we work through options to fix it we get to work on it a few minutes more before having to hop off and untack, leaving me to forget the solution we found! An old friend of mine notes each students lessons as well.

I have tried videoing a student (she insists she has no chair seat....) but the play back while being outside in the sun is tough. The idea of having students themselves write a note would be great, I might consider something of the sort for my older students.

I've also taken to trying to find horsemanship patterns to gain ideas of creative transitions and ways to practice steering so I have been browsing through Cherry Hill's books (which I'm really kind of liking so far) for new ideas for lessons.
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post #5 of 8 Old 06-08-2011, 09:58 AM
Green Broke
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Vidor, Texas
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Have you tried video taping a lesson every now and then to show your students? That way they can see the positive and negative stuff they're doing while riding.
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post #6 of 8 Old 06-08-2011, 11:24 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Danville, IL
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I also do that, as well as still pictures. I even do this with the rest of the instructors/volunteers at the barn. It helps them SEE what's going on, as opposed to THINK what's going on.

I use my camera to video the students, and then transfer them to my laptop (some people have issues seeing things accurately on the display screen) and let them watch, even slowing it down in some parts, to explain to them when they're doing something, and then I tell them how to fix it.

Every now and then my students catch me on a horse demonstrating. (I like giving lessons on horseback better than on-foot, to be honest.)

"Adapt or perish, now as ever, is nature's inexorable imperative." (H.G. Wells)
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post #7 of 8 Old 06-13-2011, 10:27 PM
Join Date: Aug 2009
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No I do not take notes due to the fact I only have one young student and sometimes a second. I focus on what she can do confidentley. For her she loves doing balance stuff, side saddle, around the world, arms out and backwards have really helped her balance. I got her on the lunge line last week and she loped on Champ both ways and was very happy.

Live to ride. Ride to live.
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post #8 of 8 Old 06-13-2011, 10:33 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Danville, IL
Posts: 595
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Right now I have around 5 students, each ones at various times. Paired with my other chores (feed, groom, guide the trails, train horses/new workers, etc.) it gets hard to remember the needs of each student. While 5 isn't a lot, things get foggy sometimes!

I started to take notes while I was trying to plan out a show, actually. I thought to myself about the current capabilities of my students, as well as figuring out how to chart their progress. Notes and such have, so far, proven the best way for that. For few students (such as you having only 1 or 2, but 1 for sure), it's understandable to not further strain yourself.

"Adapt or perish, now as ever, is nature's inexorable imperative." (H.G. Wells)
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