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Train Your Own Horse with Stacy Westfall

Dec 19, 2018

There are four stages of competency when riding your horse. I first read about these on an article in Dressage Today. The first stage is unconscious incompetence. The second stage is conscious incompetence. The third stage is conscious competence. The fourth  stage is unconscious competence.

I talk about what these stages mean to riders and the stage that people often get stuck in. I also talk about how there is no shame in having to relearn habits, and I share a passage from a readers email and talk about getting the right teacher.

Show Notes

[01:09] I found an article on Dressage Today about the four stages of competence.

[01:21] The first one is unconscious incompetence or you don't know what you don't know.

[01:29] The second stage is conscious incompetence. This is the stage for you become aware of things you don't know.

[01:37] The third stage is conscious competence. This is where if you focus and try hard you can be confident and able to perform whatever you are trying to do.

[01:53] The fourth stage is unconscious competence. This is where you have to work less, because things are happening at an unconscious level.

[02:05] A good example of these stages is when you are teaching someone how to drive.

[03:03] When applied to riding unconscious incompetence is kind of that dreaming stage.

[03:33] Even though riders in the dreaming stage don't have a lot of knowledge, they have a lot of excitement.

[04:03] If someone falls off a horse for the first time in the unconscious incompetence stage, they quickly realize that something can happen.

[04:57] Once you enter conscious incompetence, you can start learning and becoming more aware.

[05:18] An example of this is you've been dreaming of getting a horse, you get a horse, the horse is getting pushy, and you start looking for more help.

[06:00] The conscious competence comes around when you're focused and thinking about what you are doing.

[06:33] Unconsciously competent looks kind of magical to people, but it just comes from hard work and good practice.

[07:14] It's important to recognize that these stages exist.

[07:35] People often feel stuck right in the middle when they are working between conscious competence and conscious incompetence.

[08:17] If you study and put in the time, you can get to the unconscious competence stage.

[09:33] A lead change is an example where a high degree of awareness is needed for a long time.

[12:06] My muscle memory is unconsciously competent for a certain set of things that I've trained my body to do. I had to be conscious of my right hand when taking dressage lessons because it was on autopilot.

[15:42] When switching disciplines there's a challenge that comes along with it.

[16:09] When you have to break old habits don't start condemning yourself. Don't start beating yourself up mentally, because it's not needed. It's not helpful. It will hold you back instead of moving you forward.

[16:57] An email from a reader who is going to take up riding. She needs to find a riding instructor that is the right fit for her so she can be open.

Links and Resources:

Dressage Today

Learning Strategies for the Dressage Rider