How to jot down meaningful notes after lessons/rides

How many times have you gotten off a horse after your lesson or ride thinking about something that really worked well or made your horse feel great? Or perhaps vice versa, how many times have you finished the lesson or a ride thinking it didn’t go as well as you hoped? Have you told yourself “oh I must remember not to do that at this moment in the ride” or “Ahh that’s what gets his trot better”, “that’s how I can ride sitting trot in a more supple way” etc ?

Now, how easy was it to remember those thoughts until your next lesson or ride? How easy was it to constructively use your thoughts to improve in next lesson/ride?

If the answer is “not easy” you might want to start a habit of 5min-reflection-time. It really doesn’t have to be complicated and if you on’t like writing you can record yourself on your phone or even make a short video with your thoughts just for yourself after each training session. You will be amazed at the results…

When I started doing little online coaching sessions in 2010/11 I created a short print out for my long distance clients which I titled: “After Training Reflections Notes”. 

reflection notes

The 2011 version of the After Training Reflection Notes

I noticed, probably unsurprisingly, that the riders who took 5-10 minutes to sit and jot the notes down after lessons, were able to not only progress faster but they developed a thinking rider mentality which allowed them to be much more independent and efficient in their riding. I also found the simple reflection method to be invaluable for any instructor who cares about improvement of own coaching skills.

I based the 2011 notes on a very simple model of Gibb’s Reflective Cycle which can be illustrated as below:

Gibbs PDF

Image source: eportfolio.qmu.ac.uk Believed to be free to use but if you are an owner and would like me to take it down please let me know and I will remove immediately.

I have updated the Reflection Notes pdf and will be sending a downloadable 2014 version of it with 1st November Newsletter so if you would like to get your hands on it, sign up HERE for free 🙂

If you would like to learn more about the use of reflective practice check out this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reflective_practice

If you are an instructor/coach you might like this tool to practice more thorough reflection: http://www.sportscoachuk.org/sites/default/files/scuk_learning_v3.swf

And if you would like to read a more comprehensive article about reflection in sports, check this article: https://www.sportscoachuk.org/sites/default/files/Reflective-Practice-Report_0.pdf

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4 thoughts on “How to jot down meaningful notes after lessons/rides

  1. I’d echo your opinion that there’s a huge benefit to this. I started taking a notebook to riding lessons this year and jotted things down when I got back in the car (stupidly forgot to do it after my sessions with you!) and I noticed a huge difference, mainly in my attitude rather than ability! I try to reflect on any experience I have, so that I am able to make the most of it.

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