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Dyslexia and horse showing

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  • Dyslexia and horse showing

    I have a young student who has natural ability, good feel, and has made a lot of progress in her jumping lessons. She is quite dyslexic, and while it takes her a good while to learn a course (even a simple hunter course), once she has it, she does an excellent job riding it. We've even started to experiment with equitation/jumper type courses, and as long as she has plenty of time to learn the course, she is becoming quite competent. She is at the point where she's totally ready ability wise to be competitive at the horse shows, but I really worry about safety in the schooling area for both her and the other competitors. She has a lot of difficulty processing left vs right or outside vs inside. I certainly don't want this to prevent her from showing and having fun, but does anyone have any tips to make it a more safe and controlled experience?
    Ristra Ranch Equestrian Jewelry

  • #2
    Tie a ribbon to her left wrist to remind her which side is her left? Would it be possible to go to some smaller shows for her to get used to the idea of having to navigate a bunch of nervous concentrating riders?

    I'm sure if you take it slowly and work with her without getting discouraged (which it sounds like you're doing well with) she'll come out just fine. At least in the show arena, she'll be alone over fences, or going the same direction as everyone else in the flat classes.

    Hope to hear good stories.
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    • #3
      Originally posted by Vandy View Post
      I have a young student who has natural ability, good feel, and has made a lot of progress in her jumping lessons. She is quite dyslexic, and while it takes her a good while to learn a course (even a simple hunter course), once she has it, she does an excellent job riding it. We've even started to experiment with equitation/jumper type courses, and as long as she has plenty of time to learn the course, she is becoming quite competent. She is at the point where she's totally ready ability wise to be competitive at the horse shows, but I really worry about safety in the schooling area for both her and the other competitors. She has a lot of difficulty processing left vs right or outside vs inside. I certainly don't want this to prevent her from showing and having fun, but does anyone have any tips to make it a more safe and controlled experience?
      thats not so much as deslextic but co ordination

      thats down to the way your trianing her
      take it from someone whos is serverely deslextic ie me

      matey one ccant do courses until they learn the flatwrok and half halts
      and then ground poles small grids then small courses
      one cant do in the air what one cant do on the flat

      Comment


      • #4
        I am dyslexic myself (though thankfully pretty mild) and learning courses has always been really hard for me.

        The biggest help for me has always been schooling in the actual ring early in the morning. It gives me a good visual association of each fence. If that's not possible, no big deal; it just takes me longer than most people to memorize my courses. Learning one at a time also helped me as a child. I wasn't one of those kids who could learn all three courses for my division at once and keep them straight.

        With tons and tons of practice, it has gotten easier for me. I still probably couldn't memorize a grand prix course, though. Luckily I am a hunter rider.

        I like the idea of having her associate right and left with some color on her wrist. I think that would work well.

        With natural talent and passion, I'm sure your student will go far! I've known a fantastic rider my entire life who is so severely dyslexic that she went to special schools. Although she struggled to learn diagonals and leads, she overcame her challenges. She is extremely successful in the jumper ring and I think she'll make it to the grand prix ring in the near future.

        I think it's wonderful you care so much about helping her succeed.

        Comment


        • #5
          When you go to teach her a course, you can try saying "turn this way after that oxer" and touch her on the appropriate wrist, and same with start on "this lead" if it's ambiguous at all. That always worked with me. I can do cardinal points well, but at 50 R & L are still an issue.

          Comment


          • #6
            Id agree with the above poster, are you sure that its the dyslexia thats making your student forget courses and stuff. My major issue when I started riding (being a dyslexic) was dealing with diagonals as I just couldnt get them going on right even. and Issues with which hand was what, when my trainers used the whole inside outside thing I could get it, but left and right there was no hope. I didnt start riding till I was 12 but before that I had issues with soccer foot skills (so we put a red bow on my right cleat etc). Im not sure exactly why her dyslexia is concerning you about showinging, it sounds as if theres annother issue thats causing these problems. Sounds like you really care though!

            Comment


            • #7
              You can try physical tricks like having a glove on one hand and not the other; "turn LEFT" is conceptual, but many people who struggle with that kind of direction can easily process instruction to turn in the direction of the gloved hand.
              **********
              We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
              -PaulaEdwina

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              • #8
                Though not dyslexic, but one who really struggles with the left/right, I find that aiming for landmarks really help - down the line towards the big tree, then turn towards the judges booth, reach end of the ring, keep turning until I see the out gate, ride line towards the out gate.... Visualizing the ride really helps - course walks really help.

                Or on the flat I relate everything to the fence, it's always on my outside after all. When warming up in a crowded ring, when I change direction I consciously tell myself where I should be moving when I come head to head with another horse - should I be the one sticking to the outside or the one moving to the inside.

                I am much better with inside/outside but unfortunately my coach can't seem to make the change for more than 1 direction or two

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                • #9
                  I have the same issue as Donkey- it was described to me by my Doctor as a mild form of dyslexia, although I don't have any other difficulties. For the life of me, I can't tell you my left from my right- try giving me directions when driving with me! I find the visualization works for me too- I really need to see the line in my head in order to complete it...I have to choose the path. If I need to get from the red oxer, around the brushbox, to the natural gate- I have to visualize my path and then I find the execution easy. If I can see that the inside track looks do-able, I aim for that- if I see the outside is safer, I will go for that. But really have to try to see it and feel it in order to remember where I am going. If I can't visualize it, disaster! Walking the courses helps me tremendously!
                  I have to say the warm-up ring is really hard- that is not a controlled environment nor is it methodical- so the only way I can survive that is really to concentrate on my horse and what I am needing to accomplish before I go into the ring. I look out for crazies that force their way around the warm-up, not following the "rules", but generally concentrate on my own riding.
                  Maybe this will help her too? She sounds familiar to myself and Donkey (ha! now we sound like were in a scene from shrek!) I am really glad that you are trying to understand this- most people laugh it off when I tell them its a problem for me. Thank you!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I'm not dyslexic, but I have a lot of trouble with direction. I can't see the simplest of courses if I don't figure it out MY way and MY way only. I have to teach it to myself long before my trainer does, because otherwise i get confused. My trainer likes to associate with direction and numbers, like "start up the quarterline and then down the six, up the seven, down the other six, etc" and i can't understand that at all. I will have no idea where I am going. Instead, the way i see it is "going towards the big tree, jump the single white with the bricks under it. go around and roll back to the right where the judges booth is towards the yellow line, then around towards that umbrella up the green brush boxes, etc" try to use scenery. I like what the other posters said about doing something with gloves/wrists to specify left/right. Try tying a ribbon around her left wrist. Try referencing scenery when youre teaching courses, just make sure they're obvious enough: if there's a lot of trees around, don't say "go towards the big tree" .. try referring to jumps by color/decoration if that helps too. I used to make songs with my friends when we were a lot younger about the jumps when we had tough courses, and we'd always remember them by what they look like (colors, decoration, etc.)
                    (|--Sarah--|)

                    Blitz <3 & Leap of Faith <3

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      "Driver's side" and "passenger's side" work better for me than left and right. Learning courses came from lots of practice, and a few simple facts: the oxer can't be the first fence in a line, if one side of the jump has flowers and the other doesn't, jump in going towards the flowers, after a diagonal line, you are generally going to change direction.

                      All this may change for an equitation course. Bending lines, jumping a single going one direction, and then later going the other direction can be confusing. I try never to be the first person doing the course. Even then no guarantees I'll get it right. Good luck with your student.
                      It's 2017. Do you know where your old horse is?

                      www.streamhorsetv.com -- website with horse show livestream listings and links.

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                      • #12
                        I agree with what everyone has said. I'm slightly dyslexic and have a really hard time remembering where I'm going. I have to repeat the strides and lines a 100 times before I go in the ring. It's also much easier for me if I associate each line with a jump. For example...jump the green and white away from the in gate....the brick in 5 toward the in gate.....etc....that really helps me a lot. Plus keep repeating the steps in the line. I can't tell you how many times I've turned to a line and thought 5??? 6??? and have to hurry though the entire course in my mind until I get to that line in my thoughts. She'll be fine and good luck.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Dyslexia is a learning disorder characterized by difficultly forming words (written and spoken) into meaningful language. It's not just a reversal of left and right. Dyslexic's often have issues handling rapid instructions and remembering sequences. The best way for a dyslexic to learn something new is a multisensory approach. Get a picture of the course, have her trace the course with her finger while telling you which fences should be jumped in which order. By engaging all her senses you create more oportunites for her to remember.
                          For the horse color genetics junky

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Twisting View Post
                            Dyslexia is a learning disorder characterized by difficultly forming words (written and spoken) into meaningful language. It's not just a reversal of left and right. Dyslexic's often have issues handling rapid instructions and remembering sequences. The best way for a dyslexic to learn something new is a multisensory approach. Get a picture of the course, have her trace the course with her finger while telling you which fences should be jumped in which order. By engaging all her senses you create more oportunites for her to remember.
                            One other thing I was thinking, is to have her actually *ride* the course sitting still. Even if you have to stand behind her, and have her similate the movements, do the course. Pretend to canter; canter your opening circle; look around your turn toward your first fence; count the strides; etc. Have her ride a *virtual* course. I would definitely ease her into riding with many others. Sounds like she may not be ready for a busy warm-up area. Break EVERYTHING into manageable chunks.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I worked at a riding camp where several of the campers were dyslexic to a greater extent than I. One of the things that helped with the left to right (because even kids that have gotten the left and right down pat had trouble when they got flustered) was "brown glove, blue glove." Brown glove on the left hand, blue glove on the right. It looked funny in the ring, but from the rail you couldn't see it, and when on the horse the kids could see it well enough to know "turn towards the blue glove."

                              Give her plenty of time to learn the course with you. Have her trace the course on the map, then point to each jump in order. Watch other riders go around and ask her, "Where is she going to go now?" When she's ready to go into the ring and is repeating her course back to you, have her point to each jump in order.

                              In the schooling ring, if she needs to alert other riders where she's going, have her say "Pass" or "Rail." Try to set up a schooling ring situation at home where people say "inside" and "outside" so you can see how much of a problem that really poses.
                              "I'm not always sarcastic. Sometimes I'm asleep." - Harry Dresden

                              Amy's Stuff - Rustic chic and country linens and decor
                              Support my mom! She's gotta finance her retirement horse somehow.

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                              • #16
                                I've had three friends who canNOT do right and left. Instead, when we're riding or going somewhere in the car, we say "East" and "West", not meaning them in any way to be correct direction-wise, but they can all visualize a map in their heads in a split second and tell me that East is the right side and West is the left side. It works really well for us.
                                Somewhere in the world, Jason Miraz is Goodling himself and wondering why "the chronicle of the horse" is a top hit. CaitlinAndTheBay

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by 2boys View Post
                                  One other thing I was thinking, is to have her actually *ride* the course sitting still. Even if you have to stand behind her, and have her similate the movements, do the course. Pretend to canter; canter your opening circle; look around your turn toward your first fence; count the strides; etc. Have her ride a *virtual* course. I would definitely ease her into riding with many others. Sounds like she may not be ready for a busy warm-up area. Break EVERYTHING into manageable chunks.
                                  dont people walk the courses over there before they jump them

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by goeslikestink View Post
                                    dont people walk the courses over there before they jump them
                                    When you're riding a typical hunter class, you are not permitted to walk the course. You are allowed to walk jumper and some equitation classes, although our local show circuit prohibits eq riders from walking the local medal classes before riding them in order to save time.

                                    If she did have that option, it would certainly be helpful!
                                    "I'm not always sarcastic. Sometimes I'm asleep." - Harry Dresden

                                    Amy's Stuff - Rustic chic and country linens and decor
                                    Support my mom! She's gotta finance her retirement horse somehow.

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                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      Ok everybody, lots of good info on helping her remember courses, but that's not the issue - we've developed a system through lots of repitition and visualization to the point that she is very good at learning courses now.

                                      The problem is THE SCHOOLING AREA! She just freezes up if someone shouts "inside" or "outside" or "heads up to the oxer" and has no idea where to go. The chaos of the schooling area is totally different than learning a course, and it's not going to help to tie a ribbon on her wrist...I can't tell the other riders in a schooling area to use some special kind of code to help her understand where they are going - that's the problem. She will understand if I point to a jump in the schooling area and say "jump that on the left lead heading away from me", but if someone rides into her path, she has no idea how to tell them where she wants to go or understand where they are asking her to go. The best I've come up with is to have her yell "heads up" a lot if there's someone in her path, but that only goes so far...We've tried to simulate a schooling ring situation at home, but we all know that the schooling area at a show is a little different and very intimidating to any new show rider, let alone one who has trouble processing universally accepted commands.
                                      Ristra Ranch Equestrian Jewelry

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                                      • #20
                                        I too am dyslexic, but have no problem with memorizing courses (somehow i'm always forced to go first in my lesson...) try telling her courses with out ever saying a direction or left and right, or a lead just point it out, I just look at the jump and physical clues as to were to go and turn. At least for me and some-others with dyslexia, if you see and do you get it easier then ever looking at a paper or having someone shout left, right, ect.

                                        Like if it is typical hunter outside, diagonal, outside line. I think, start circling towards the building, head to fence by the rail, turn back to diagonal, look to announcers stand, and jump line on next to parking lot.

                                        as for the warm up ring, red ribbon in the horse's tail so she doesn't get trampled from behind. And start small, maybe even find a random other place to warm up, if the horses is amazing and will be ok with only trotting around the arena a few times, she'll be all set!

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