8 Secrets of a Teachable Student

by Dana Hokana

Greatness exists within us all! I want to help you to become that great rider and competitor that you can be. Become your best you with these hidden secrets to achieve greatness! Part One, will teach you 8 Secrets of a Teachable Student so you can receive that knowledge in all of its forms!

Part Two, in next month’s issue, will teach you 8 secrets to think and perform like a champion!

I want to help to set you up for success!

Part One: 8 Secrets to Becoming a Teachable Student

Being teachable is an attribute that will help you in every area of your life. I cannot emphasize enough the value of being teachable.

One definition of being teachable is: Capable of being taught, apt to learn. Willing to receive instruction or to learn, docile. That can be taught.

8 Secrets to Becoming a Teachable Student

Pick a qualified teacher
First and foremost, select a teacher or instructor that you want to put yourself under! Choose a teacher who teaches in an encouraging way. Go and watch their teaching style and see if their personality and your personality would be a good match. Do your research!

I always say, “anyone can hang their shingle and be a trainer.” Just because a person is a “trainer” doesn’t mean that they are a qualified trainer. And just because a trainer has credentials and big wins in the show arena, doesn’t mean that they are a gifted teacher. Some people are good teachers and some are not. Select a trainer who is qualified, has a good reputation, is a good teacher,is kind and encouraging and one whose personality and yours would be a good fit.

Have an open mind –
Once you have chosen your teacher, and determine that they use humane, fair, and safe training and teaching techniques, do your best to listen and try what they are teaching you to do! Breaking old patterns can take a long time for some people. If you have years of doing something a certain way, your mind can be very programmed to do it that way. Your body can have muscle memory and you do things almost unconsciously. It becomes an act of your will to break old patterns and habits and do things a different way! I have really seen this in certain riders and their hand position!

People get in the habit of coming up and over with their hand (as if to hold a shoulder up) and even if I show them that they only need to use that hand position in certain instances, and that in some cases it’s not beneficial and they are trapping the horse or sending a conflicting message, they have a really hard time breaking this particular habit. This is just one example of a common habit; there are many more! So my point is for you to be open! You may have some riding or body habits you just don’t realize you have. I have had riders adamantly insist they are not doing a certain thing until they see a video of themselves or have heard from a few people standing next to me who all concur that they are. We all need coaches we all need feedback to be all that we can be!

8 Secrets to Becoming a Teachable Student

Come ready to learn –
Give some thought to what you want to work on. Be intentional and set some goals for yourself and your horse! Come up with several questions that you want to ask if the flow of the lesson permits! Turn off your cell phone and come prepared to give your all to this learning time! Bring some water to stay hydrated! Make sure that you arrive early enough to have your horse lunged and acclimated to the arena or if you keep your horse at the trainer’s ranch, make sure you arrive early enough to have your horse ready and yourself settled! If you are physically tight or sore, take a moment and stretch out. Take some deep full breaths! Prepare yourself and your horse for success.

Make up your mind that you will receive things from your teacher – Get yourself excited about your lesson! Don’t let any worried or fretful thoughts come in. Be positive, visualize yourself succeeding, reaching your goals, and having that ride you’ve only dreamt of! Do your best to clear your mind of past failures or bad experiences.

Do you know that your body and actions follow your thoughts? If you have negative or fearful thoughts you will have negative results. There really is power in thinking positive! Do your best to listen and stay focused on what your teacher is teaching you. Don’t let your mind drift! Do you know that often when your mind is drifting its because you’ve allowed a worried thought to creep in? The root of this is fear.

8 Secrets to Becoming a Teachable Student

Ask questions if you need to clarify things or to better understand your teacher – Don’t be intimidated or afraid to ask questions. Even if you feel your question may not be valuable or a good one, if its important to you, then confidently ask!

There are many different ways people learn. Some learn by being quiet and processing the information; other people by repeating what they learned. Some trainers or teachers may feel they just want to talk, when really their style of learning is one where they learn by having themselves repeat the information! Other people learn by asking questions and having the information explained in more depth. Follow your instinct. If you feel strongly that you need clarification, go ahead and ask! But always remember to use good manners and don’t interrupt the teacher!

Don’t use up your lesson time talking about yourself, or telling about your past accomplishments – All of us desire recognition at some time or another, and often we want the approval of our teachers by telling them about our own story. I’m sure there are times and places where your teacher would love to hear about your background and your story. I just encourage you to be sensitive to the time and place to discuss this. Don’t use up your precious time in any way that won’t benefit your success in the big picture!
Learn all you can during your lesson time! That old saying, “you learn more by listening than talking,” is really true!

8 Secrets to Becoming a Teachable Student

Be humble, receive correction, keep negative pride out – Pride can have a positive or a negative meaning. In the positive sense pride can mean a feeling of happiness from achieving something. However, pride can also turn into excessively high self-regard. This negative form of pride will turn your focus so inward that you are not able to properly process and learn the information that you are receiving.

Staying humble and receiving correction is very hard for some people. Correction highlights our faults and weaknesses. It can be very hard for some people to separate the correction we receive from our overall worth as a person.

I strongly encourage you to stay neutral and objective about correction. Keep in mind that healthy correction is only addressing the action or habit that could be improved. Healthy correction is not an attack on you as a whole and if you are taking lessons from a person who attacks you or tries to make you feel bad, then I strongly encourage you to go elsewhere.

People and animals learn faster by positive reward than by negative correction! Stay humble but never ever beat yourself up! Keep it fun and be willing to minimize your mistakes in your own mind. Remember learning is a process and inch-by-inch it’s a cinch!

8 Secrets to Becoming a Teachable Student

Be grateful to your teacher and show your gratitude –
Trainers and teachers don’t have to train or teach. A good teacher is choosing to give their knowledge, and sometimes a part of their life, to helping you to reach your dreams! Once you find a good teacher who you are learning from and whom you connect with, value that relationship and hang onto it. When we have those special connections, treasure them! Show your appreciation! Gratitude expressed will be appreciated. Trainers and teachers want to work hard for people who appreciate them!

Those 8 Secrets of a Teachable Student will help you reach your goals and accelerate your learning! Stay tuned for Part Two.

To learn more from Dana Hokana consider joining Team Hokana for access to over 200 streaming video lessons plus new ones every month.

One thought on “8 Secrets of a Teachable Student

  • 19 January 2020 at 8:08 am

    Very good article, it is so true. Training is not teaching to people. You need to know about teaching and having the desire to give to others not just showing how good you are as a trainer. Many clinics are just a big show for some Trainers but not a teaching/learning sessions. Thank you for this good article. Pierre Ouellet

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