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Isabeau Z Solace
Jun. 16, 2011, 10:50 AM
Who's familiar with these terms ?

Any comments on how they relate to riding, learning to ride, and instructing riders ?


Declarative knowledge is defined as the factual information stored in memory and known to be static in nature. Other names, e.g. descriptive knowledge, propositional knowledge, etc. are also given. It is the part of knowledge which describes how things are. Things/events/processes, their attributes, and the relations between these things/events/processes and their attributes define the domain of declarative knowledge.




Procedural knowledge is the knowledge of how to perform, or how to operate. Names such as know-how are also given. It is said that one becomes more skilled in problem solving when he relies more on procedural knowledge than declarative knowledge.

meupatdoes
Jun. 16, 2011, 10:53 AM
Well, I wasn't familiar with the terms until now, but from your description it seems to me that, as far as riding is concerned,

Declarative Knowledge = ability to talk the talk

Procedural Knowledge = ability to walk the walk


Y/y?

ShotenStar
Jun. 16, 2011, 12:40 PM
Declarative Knowledge: how to ride test figures

Procedural Knowledge: how to ride a horse

*star*

Isabeau Z Solace
Jun. 16, 2011, 02:37 PM
Interesting responses....

Some quotes from Dressage Today article

Declarative
"Stretching exercises can make your body as supple and elastic as you want your horse to be. Then not only are you able to sit in the middle of the your, you're able to use the left and right sides of your body equally."

Procedural
"Try this: Stand with your knees lightly bent as if you were in the saddle and keep your hips facing forward. Now see how far your shoulders and upper body can rotate to the left and then to the right, keeping your hips straight and forward."

vineyridge
Jun. 16, 2011, 05:39 PM
Book learning versus experience.

Problem is that the book learning more likely to be "correct", while experience may not be. One can fall into some very bad habits with experiential learning. What we learn through personal experience is far more powerful and changing than what we learn second hand. Teachers can talk and talk about what to do and how to feel, but until the student does it and actually feels it, it won't have the same OMG quality.

Example--how to hold a lead rope. You can hear and hear about the dangers of having your hand in a loop of a lead, but until you've experienced that loop tightening around your hand, it's just an academic proposition.

siegi b.
Jun. 17, 2011, 09:57 AM
I'm not quite sure why we need yet more complicated words that won't be interpreted or remembered correctly.......:(

Behind the 8 Ball
Jun. 17, 2011, 10:07 AM
I'm not quite sure why we need yet more complicated words that won't be interpreted or remembered correctly.......:(

so someone can write an article or a book and coin terms that no one uses in real life but describe what many already do.

Isabeau Z Solace
Jun. 17, 2011, 10:16 AM
I'm not quite sure why we need yet more complicated words that won't be interpreted or remembered correctly.......:(

If you Google the terms you will find that they are well used in other disciplines.

I found that these concepts illuminated a huge deficit in much riding instruction. Riders are often advised what should be ("horse should be supple, forward, response to your leg, etc.") but they are not educated in how to accomplish these things.

It is very curious that riders are willing to investigate/accept new concepts in joint supplements, blankets, therapeutic wraps, saddle trees, metallurgy for bits, designs for boots, etc but when asked to consider new (to them) concepts in education and learning, they balk like a green horse refusing to cross a puddle. And with similar reasoning :D.

Behind the 8 Ball
Jun. 17, 2011, 10:25 AM
Oh, I am not saying that they are not valuble terms to break down the educational experience. And IMHO, I think many people subconciously differentiate the "way I should" from the "way I do". Just look at parents who say "Do as I say, not as I do". ;)

I just am a cynic. It seems like there are new terms applied to many areas of our sport that take away from the actual learning of the "How to Ride" process.
As a parallel, there have been at least 5 different terms for a child who has impaired brain development in my life time. And I am not really that old.:lol: Essentially, the problem hasn't changed, just the label.

naturalequus
Jun. 17, 2011, 10:28 AM
I'm not quite sure why we need yet more complicated words that won't be interpreted or remembered correctly.......:(

It's two words. Not an entire new language :rolleyes: And no one is demanding you even interpret or remember them, if they are too complicated for you.

I think it's a valid discussion and Isabeau highlights some excellent points. The use of these terms, imo, are beneficial to clarity within such a discussion; doesn't mean a person has to even use the terms out at the barn.

On a related note, declarative knowledge is necessary imo so as to correctly guide an individual if they are to learn correct procedural knowledge. Procedural knowledge is unarguably of greater benefit and more powerful than declarative knowledge, but this is not to take away from the importance of declarative knowledge.

Deficits certainly exist. As an occasional instructor (horse and non-horse), it can be difficult to bridge that gap at times and with certain students, especially as it pertains to horses because there are so many variables involved. I'd have to think more on it to contribute more.


(Eta: sorry, just rubs me the wrong way when someone has nothing but negativity to add to a valid discussion, especially when I've heard this exact argument in the (recent) past as it pertains to other terms/words. If the words don't jive with you, don't use them, simple as that. No use whining. No one is asking you to use, or even say, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. It's two terms that are about as complicated as any of the other words we use. Others should be free to use such words as they find them useful in conversation. Sorry!!! Maybe I should go make myself some caffeinated tea? I swear, no one pissed in my cornflakes this morning - I didn't even have cornflakes!!! :winkgrin: LOL!)

AlterBy
Jun. 17, 2011, 12:08 PM
I found that these concepts illuminated a huge deficit in much riding instruction. Riders are often advised what should be ("horse should be supple, forward, response to your leg, etc.") but they are not educated in how to accomplish these things.

You might not have had good teacher then.
Usually, with such comments like 'get the horse more supple' should come some directions. Use of the inside rein, more inside leg, stay straight and don't collapse on that inside hip...and so on.

BUT there is a limit to what can be taught.

Riding is about feeling. How can you teach 'the feel' of things?
You can explain only what you feel, use metaphores, big words and all (talk the talk and read books) but in the end, the student must 'feel' by himself and decide if 'this feeling' is good or not. (walk the walk and experiences)

Being light to the leg.

Ex: Trainer is riding the horse and is putting X amount of leg to make it move. Everything looks lovely. Horse is light.

Rider is riding the same horse and is putting Y amount of leg to make it move. Everything looks lovely and trainer is happy with result. Horse is light.

They are not putting the same amount of pressure to obtain the 'so called' same result. Who is putting the right amount of leg pressure? What is the amount of pressure that really should be put on with the leg to make this horse move?

The horse should be light to the rider's leg. When you touch it, he should respond. More leg, more whip, some voice cues, less seat, more seat...that is all there is to know and to teach. The rest is just about personal 'feel'. And at some point, the 'feel' can't be 'taught' with words.

Isabeau Z Solace
Jun. 17, 2011, 01:08 PM
BUT there is a limit to what can be taught.

The horse should be light to the rider's leg. When you touch it, he should respond. More leg, more whip, some voice cues, less seat, more seat...that is all there is to know and to teach. The rest is just about personal 'feel'. And at some point, the 'feel' can't be 'taught' with words.

That may be all that some know how to teach, but feel can be taught using words.

A bridge or a building can be built using diagrams. Experience is required, but no matter how experienced the builder, precise diagrams and plans are needed. To build even more complex structures, more experience and 'feel' are needed, but those are never divorced from very detailed plans.

It is common that riding instruction is attempted minus the very detailed instructions.

AlterBy I wonder exactly what is meant by your example directive of "more seat, less seat?"

That is rather like directing a bridge builder to 'build more supports.' How many? What shape? How tall? How thick? Made of what material? Placed where? Supported by what?

AlterBy
Jun. 17, 2011, 02:17 PM
A bridge or a building can be built using diagrams. Experience is required, but no matter how experienced the builder, precise diagrams and plans are needed. To build even more complex structures, more experience and 'feel' are needed, but those are never divorced from very detailed plans.

It is common that riding instruction is attempted minus the very detailed instructions.

AlterBy I wonder exactly what is meant by your example directive of "more seat, less seat?"

That is rather like directing a bridge builder to 'build more supports.' How many? What shape? How tall? How thick? Made of what material? Placed where? Supported by what?

How can you try to compare building a bridge and riding horses?

Horseback riding has nothing to do with an exact science.
What kind of details are you looking for??


That may be all that some know how to teach, but feel can be taught using words.

No you cannot teach 'feel'. You can describe feelings. About what YOU feel. But there is no way you can teach someone how to feel. No one can 'feel' the same. Feeling is something intangible.

Could you say to a rider : '' put 10 grams of pressure with your legs'' ?

You could be following every directives of every books in the world and still end up with a crooked messed up horse.

You could be following every directives said by all the instructors in the world and still end up with a crooked messed up horse.
(and for both, not understanding why or not even knowing you have a crooked messed up horse!)

A rider need to listen to its feeling, towards himself, the horse and his trainer. Understand what is going on (reactions from trainer, horse and himself) and work from there. Riding is a personal quest and just can't be generalized and put into one detailed diagram. Yes, there is the Pyramid Training Scale...why isn't more detailed? Don't you think that the German would have done so if it was possible?

More seat, less seat : I was being general at using the seat as an aid. Plenty of way to use more or less your seat to influence or just follow the horse. Same goes for hands, legs, whip, spurs...(also, maybe my english is more or less comprehensible! Sorry.... :D )

There was a good quote from Müseler regarding the fact that he didn't put pictures in his instruction books. If I remember correctly, it was because he didn't believe you could take a picture of 'feelings' or 'perfection'. He was aiming riders who had the desire to imitate the 'picture' of perfectness against such false truth.

vineyridge
Jun. 17, 2011, 02:23 PM
The way it's described in the OP's last post makes it sound more like goals and objectives. Determine your goals (and they can be tiny); then focus on the objectives that will reach that goal--the concrete "how to"s. That gives you individual lesson plans that have to be really well organized.

The differences between the two types of knowledge has been known and used for as long as I can remember; the education jargon is just one form of description.

siegi b.
Jun. 17, 2011, 03:31 PM
naturalequus - if nobody "pissed in your cornflakes" then why don't you quit acting like somebody did?

Having spent many years in a business that revolved around dealing with people, and lots of them, what I was trying to say is that the problem doesn't go away by throwing bigger words at it.

Just read through the posts and you will find that folks continue to question the definitions of "procedural vs. declarative knowledge" and I'm not so sure that even Isabeau who started the thread really understands it all, either. I question why we don't keep to words that everybody understands and that are not so open to interpretation?

The way to get people to understand what you're trying to get them to do is to break things down into easy-to-understand, little tasks, talk them through it slowly, and then repeat the whole process.

So why don't we then say "here is what I want you to do, and here is how you do it. Any questions?" This can be accompanied by actual demonstrations in case the instructor has a hard time explaining "how" to do it. No need to then ask "and which is the declarative or procedural part of it"?

And now I hope that dear naturalequus doesn't think I was being negative again.... :)

Isabeau Z Solace
Jun. 17, 2011, 07:22 PM
Just read through the posts and you will find that folks continue to question the definitions of "procedural vs. declarative knowledge" and I'm not so sure that even Isabeau who started the thread really understands it all, either. I question why we don't keep to words that everybody understands and that are not so open to interpretation?


No scientific or investigative inquiry can proceed strictly on the 'words' of the past. As new things are discovered, new ideas and words are developed.

As I mentioned earlier, people are plenty willing to accept 'new' concepts like joint injections, 'better' designed saddles, 'better' footing, 'safer' helmets, etc, etc.

I question the notion to begin with that there are words that "everybody understands." Nonsense. If 'everybody understood' then there would be no need for articles in magazines and books attempting to explain what 'everyone understands' over, and over, and over again in a variety of different ways.

AlterBy suggested that one could use more or less "seat," but I do not think we all have the same understanding of 'seat,' or even more or less.

siegib - In order to have a discussion of concepts, on must discuss concepts. Statements such as " I'm not so sure that even Isabeau who started the thread really understands it all, either" are more like personal attacks than discussion of concept. You chose to step aside from the concept and theorize about my ignorance, instead of addressing the proposed topic. Theorizing about my ignorance doesn't do much to open doors and explore ideas.

siegi b.
Jun. 17, 2011, 09:11 PM
Isabeau - how can you say I didn't address the proposed topic? I say I did and gave an easier-to-understand alternative..... Just because I didn't use the words "procedural or declarative" doesn't mean I didn't address the topic. And I'm not trying to "theorize about your ignorance" -merely questioning your methods and (lack of?) logic.

vineyridge
Jun. 18, 2011, 08:13 AM
Every discipline has its own jargon. The magic words are the keys to the kingdom. They are the shorthand that unlocks concepts, but to outsiders the magic words have little extra meaning or value. Unless you understand the concepts that the shorthand jargon describes, the jargon is another way to bar the uninitiated from the mysteries.

"Indirect outside rein of opposition", for example.

siegi b.
Jun. 18, 2011, 09:28 AM
Every discipline has its own jargon. The magic words are the keys to the kingdom. They are the shorthand that unlocks concepts, but to outsiders the magic words have little extra meaning or value. Unless you understand the concepts that the shorthand jargon describes, the jargon is another way to bar the uninitiated from the mysteries.

"Indirect outside rein of opposition", for example.

Beautifully said, Viney!!! (Bolding is mine)

Kyzteke
Jun. 18, 2011, 09:39 AM
That may be all that some know how to teach, but feel can be taught using words.


I wonder about this. Ray Hunt always said the two things he could not teach was Timing & Feel. Said you had to learn those on your own.

To a great degree I believe this to be true.

horsefaerie
Jun. 18, 2011, 10:25 AM
Procedural knowledge can and should change declarative knowledge.

WIthout the "field testing" to back up the concept, what have you got?

Unfortunately, it seems to play the other way round most of the time. It is an odd business really.

In riding, people tend to interpret what someone says or writes to suit what they think, all evidence from horses to the contrary. Or, hold up their icons as the end all and be all instead of what the horses tell them.

Very interesting.

carolprudm
Jun. 18, 2011, 12:12 PM
<SNIP>.

I found that these concepts illuminated a huge deficit in much riding instruction. Riders are often advised what should be ("horse should be supple, forward, response to your leg, etc.") but they are not educated in how to accomplish these things.

<SNIP> .

Like maybe "PEEEEL your seat off the saddle like velcro" might work for some but "Engage your hip flexors " works for others

slight
Jun. 18, 2011, 12:40 PM
Do I not learn declarative knowledge from the books I read (or posts here). Then am I not practicing procedural knowledge as I apply what I learned to my riding? I do have to learn the nuance of a half halt by practicing it - but I learned techniques in the book.
Am I off base? Serious question - instruct me!

Kind of scary posting here sometimes - please help me learn and be nice to me. I've had a tough week!

vineyridge
Jun. 18, 2011, 02:18 PM
Here's the rub to your theory. If you are not instructed in a correct half-halt by someone who is actually watching you ride, there's a huge chance that you will develop incorrect habit; and those are very hard to break as they have become instinctual.

I'm very sensitive on this subject because I spent six months in bad PT doing most of the exercises WRONG because the therapist never took the time to teach me and then drill me on how to do them correctly. As a result I have permanently impaired shoulder function from a major rotator cuff restoration, and the impairment could have been prevented with correct PT from the get-go. By the time I discovered the problem and changed therapists, insured therapy had just about run out.

So you can learn the elements from books, but it takes real eyes watching you to see if you are applying them correctly.


Do I not learn declarative knowledge from the books I read (or posts here). Then am I not practicing procedural knowledge as I apply what I learned to my riding? I do have to learn the nuance of a half halt by practicing it - but I learned techniques in the book.
Am I off base? Serious question - instruct me!

Kind of scary posting here sometimes - please help me learn and be nice to me. I've had a tough week!

Isabeau Z Solace
Jun. 18, 2011, 02:47 PM
Here's the rub to your theory. If you are not instructed in a correct half-halt by someone who is actually watching you ride, there's a huge chance that you will develop incorrect habit; and those are very hard to break as they have become instinctual.


My OP did not make any statements about books. I am not sure how you decided to restate my words as 'book vs experience.'

I am thinking of a situation where there is one rider, one instructor, and one horse present in an arena.

I have watched lessons where the 'instructor' could easily have been replaced by a looped tape recorder stating the same 5 things over and over. The instructor never attempts to break down the 5 things into more basic elements when they do not produce understanding in the student. Likely because the instructor only has knowledge of the larger whole, and no knowledge of the smaller parts.

Your example of the PT is excellent. I know how to walk, but this does not mean I know how to teach somehow how to walk. I do not know how to instruct someone who has difficulties with walking in what they need to do. I just walk. I don't really know how.

I've even been known to stroll, mosey, and cavort on occasion !;) But this will not make me a walking instructor. If I were a virtuoso ballerina, I might not be any more qualified to teach someone who's walking is deficient, weak, injured, or otherwise compromised.

You had a PT work with you who did not, if I am understanding you, impart knowledge of how to proceed. Then you worked with one who did.

Maybe you could share the differences between the two types of instruction. What did the one PT say/do that the other did not that was more effective ?

The PT work is really a very good example. I would love to hear more details.

siegi b.
Jun. 18, 2011, 05:19 PM
Viney - I understand your PT situation.... was in similar circumstances but at least it didn't affect my long-term prognosis.

The problem is that there are so many variables... i. e. taking it back to horse lessons, the knowledge of the instructor, the ability to impart that knowledge on a student, the student's talent and physical condition to translate verbal instruction into action, the horse's condition and training level, etc. etc. etc. and ad nauseum!

Why do you think that we all have horror stories when it comes to trainers? And how many bad student experiences do you think instructors have during their career? It's a good thing horses can't talk.... :lol:

Gestalt
Jun. 18, 2011, 10:23 PM
There are probably quite a few of us that had instructors that simply yelled "More leg, get him rounder", etc. Off the top of my head I know of one trainer that attempts to make the leap between words and feelings, Sally Swift. She gives detailed instructions on how something should feel.

I've ridden in a couple of clinics with trainers that can really break down each step. They don't just say "Half halt before you ask for canter", they tell you the exact movements for the halfhalt and for asking for canter. They also will describe what you should feel if all is going right.

What is the best teaching tool for me is when I do feel the movement correctly and have the trainer affirm we got it right. Once I feel the right way, I can usually emulate that when riding alone.

Behind the 8 Ball
Jun. 18, 2011, 10:34 PM
2 points to ponder:

1. There are many things that cannot be taught but must be learned.
( any one with a teenageer can agree with this )

2. I had a bunch of my 10 - 14 year old students today helping in the barn for a free group lesson. I have been teaching them all the use of weight and body to turn instead of reins throughout their education. Until I made a contest/game of it, some of them never got it. So the declarative knowledge of why/how didnt click in until the procedural knowledge of why/what to do with it was applied.

PS - The quietest, most timid rider who seemed like he would take forever to understand inside seat bone and leg to turn riding by himself - won! It is amazing what goes on in a young brain.

vineyridge
Jun. 19, 2011, 12:43 AM
The shoulder is probably the most complicated joint in the body, except for the knee. But the knee has action in only one direction and one plane. The shoulder has something like six different actions and planes of motion. It also has a funky way for all the parts, from the collar bone to the humerus, to attach together, and the rotator cuff surgery did some bone work on the top. All of the muscles in my rotator cuff were ruptured, and everything had to be cleaned out and put back together. So the muscles were weak and healing, the bones up top were rebuilt, and the multiple functions of the shoulder were completely disrupted.

Every single one of the different actions and planes of motion needed separate exercises to rebuild strength and function, and those exercises had to be done correctly--the way the back muscles were used or not used was extremely important in each one of those exercises and the speed at which the exercises were done was also important. I had thought we were only concerned with flexibility, and I thought that if I could "swing" the arm into increasing more extended positions I was doing the exercises to recover flexibility. That meant using the back muscles to help with the swing, and it meant using speed to get past the weak points. Turns out that I was completely wrong. The PT simply had issued the exercises and not trained me in how to do them correctly, nor had she explained shoulder mechanics and what therapy was attempting to achieve.. Her PT aides had no clue and did not even see what I was doing wrong.

When I went to another surgeon to see if I needed to have the surgery redone, he sent me to a PT who looked at the way I was doing the exercises and told me that I was using back muscles and speed, not rotator cuff muscles to achieve what I had been able to achieve. The "swing" was completely wrong because it depended on the back. I needed to hold my back in a certain position, very still and silent and work the shoulder muscles as independently as possible. I needed to do the exercises slowly to build up strength in the rotating functions, so the shoulder would be using the cuff muscles to get past the "hitch" that the speed of the swing was able to avoid.

I then came home to another therapy group, and we worked on some really, really tough exercises--controlling balls on walls was one. The exercises that I had been doing wrong at the first place were continued, but under trained scrutiny, and I learned to do them correctly. Second place had machines that made the beginning steps easier. (I never had frozen shoulder.) From not having 20% function in my right shoulder after six months with the first therapist, after three months with the second ones, 80% function is present most of the time; and I consider that a victory, given how much time and therapy was wasted.

Having good patient education from the surgeon in the beginning would have helped. When I had my ACL replaced, I had excellent patient education and therapy, and that operation was 100% successful and a comparative piece of cake.

horsefaerie
Jun. 19, 2011, 01:30 AM
Slight,

Yes.

THen, the question is how do you judge your success? You don't have procedural knowledge, key word knowledge until you verify your actions. Or would you verify your horses actions?

I say horse because that is the purpose, yes?

Is the horse doing what you want him to do? Happily? Smoothly?

You need to access more procedural knowledge from or by someone else before you can know unless you can feel it, someone video tapes you or you have great mirrors or a groundperson says "Yes!".

Yes?

Isabeau Z Solace
Jun. 19, 2011, 12:34 PM
vineyridge -

Thank You! That's fantastic stuff.

It might be too much to hope that riding instructors would achieve as thorough a knowledge of human anatomy and motion as a PT does (or as some PTs do...) but I think most know almost nothing. There is lots of room for improvement in this.

It seems to have been suggested by some that it is not possible to provide riding instruction that is as detailed as the PT instruction you described. I think it is.

For the sake of simplicity, let's take the horse 'out' of the equation somewhat and presume we are talking about a longe/seat position lesson. (If someone still finds the horse's reactions too potentially distracting, we can take it all the way back to a mechanical horse or just a barrel, to clarify that we are instructing the rider in the use of their body.)

Does anyone think it is possible to teach a rider to ride (in a longe lesson) in the way that vineyridge received instruction in how to retrain her shoulder?

Anyone have an example of riding lessons they received that were similar to vineyridge's 'good' PT work? Where an instructor explained to you how a part of your body ought to work and what to do to get it to work that way?

Lesson13
Jun. 19, 2011, 12:34 PM
There was a famous patient, "HM" who had amnesia from having his medial temporal lobes removed. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HM_(patient)
Post-surgery he did not remember anything or anyone new. Not what he ate for breakfast that day, or a visit by a friend or the name of his new doctor. He lived his life as a "professional research patient" and is probably more responsible than anyone for modern thinking about memory systems.

Through HM researchers demonstrated that the brain can learn a series of behaviors like reverse mirror writing or the Tower of Hanoi puzzle and build maps of places even if it can't remember the name of the person it met the day before or a list of words he was asked to memorize and then retrieve the next day (he could learn them over a very brief delay like you would have during an intelligence test; he had working memory but his long term verbal memory was shot; he could not consolidate and keep new information).

He helped neuropsychologists and memory researchers realize that motor learning/memory is (or can be) a separate system from verbal learning/memory. Not only could HM not explain how to do the Tower of Hanoi Puzzle, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tower_of_Hanoi

He didn't even think he had ever seen the puzzle when it was presented to him on subsequent days. When researchers gave it to him, he could whip right through it. It was always new to him even though he had worked out how to do it and could do it proficiently with seemingly no awareness of the method used to solve it. People who have learned to work a Rubik's cube use this Procedural Knowledge system. They might not have verbal instructions in their head to do it but they've done it enough they just can do it.

Procedural knowledge speaks to having had the physical experience or training in a behavior or series of behaviors; sometimes working something out through trial and error or just practicing the skill w/instruction until it becomes automatic. Driving a car (especially a stick shift) is similar. You might think of it as experiential knowledge (only you can feel how much clutch you need to make it go but not stall out) but then so much is happening so fast and its so dangerous its good to have a driver's ed instructor with an extra brake along for a while and to keep other passengers out until driving becomes relatively automatic.

Declarative or semantic/episoidic knowledge refers to the ability to encode/retrieve/produce verbal information about someone or something one learned or which happened recently (eg., where were you on the night of December the 24th 2010 is episodic knowledge most of us could pull up).

My trainer has procedural knowledge regarding riding which she has gleaned through many years of experience and training which she executes as evidenced by her skill at riding upper level movements and training young horses efficiently.

When you learn to feel how much your seat needs to move to get a horse to walk on you are learning a muscle memory which you may not be able to describe very well but you become conditioned to deliver just that much-how much is it-who the heck knows-only your brain, spine buttock and seatbone know for sure).

It is practically impossible to learn by watching my trainer ride because her riding is effortless and her aids are invisible and her corrections are so fast.

When she teaches she must draw heavily on semantic/declarative knowledge to explain to me (adult 1st time rider) what she wants. Because I've been active in other sports she can use analogies to those to get me to activate what she wants (its amazing how much riding is like skiing and figure skating). We have both skied so she uses the skiing metaphors a lot. She has never figure skated so she can't really use the skating even though skating is probably even more analogous.

When I first started riding I bought some books on riding but I found them incredibly hard to understand. Now that I have more experience I read them and I see little things she says in our lessons coming up more and more and I have some procedural knowledge base to draw from.

My trainer was having trouble getting me to hold the reins tightly. She kept saying "hold them like baby birds". I train dogs and hold the lead loosely. It has been really hard to break this habit. Then a woman who took me cross country riding jerked the reins out of my hands while we were schooling in the ring and said "your horse will fall, you will go over his head, break both your arms, be in two casts and be unable to go to the bathroom by yourself". That was scary enough that I started paying really close attention to holding tightly enough that they could not be jerked out of my hands and I was really grateful while riding outside the horse stumbled rather badly and I was holding her up.

My trainer has obviously read a ton in order to become an effective instructor and to be able to translate procedural knowledge to students via verbal instruction.

I have only just started going on "practice rides" by myself. I know how it feels to slow my seat for a halt but I also draw on declarative knowledge in that I recall her voice in my head telling me stuff like "shorter the reins", over your inside foot, look at the outside ear, more outside rein etc".

She tried to turn the music on in the arena the other day because she wanted to me relax and I was all "I can't hear you in my head if someone else is singing!!!"

Learning new information and behaviors is incredibly demanding and we benefit from corrective feedback, distributed practice and sleep so we can consolidate information and motor behaviors over time so that they become automatic thus freeing our brain to think about other things and refine the skills timing etc...Its the recalling it to ourselves over and over that literally stamps the memory into our cells.

The first people who learned to ride did it without instruction (except the instruction their horses gave them). But it was probably a lot harder and they probably developed some less than optimal habits (squeezing to hold on) because they kept from falling off in the short term. Having the ability to benefit from instruction from elders/more experienced people is probably why people could develop horses into transportation and experience all the benefits that entailed and why no other animal has been able to do that. Horsemanship was/is a culture and a technology. Although it might be possible to "work out" how to ride if you were deaf and mute, both procedural and declarative knowledge systems are necessary for passing on the knowlege-base.