How strategic learning led me on the path to rehabilitation

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According to the surveillance camera, the horse threw me between 10 to 15 feet in the air and I felt like a stone on my side, hitting the ground very hard. My right arm was folded under my body and my forearm, under the violence of the impact, broke my ribs.

The first exam with an X-ray machine identified four broken ribs but a scan identified six broken ribs. The ribs were not perforated but had collapsed, and I was sent back home with an antibiotic due the risk of pneumonia, a pain killer and a toy.

The toy turned to be a very useful tool as it allows retraining the lungs in expelling air. However, when just moving my arm two inches away from my body is creating excruciating pain, a doctor telling me that pneumonia was likely around the corner was more concerned in covering his ass from a potential lawsuit than helping me as a patient.

The thought of “Strategic Learning” crossed my mind. A strategic learner is not interested in knowledge. A strategic learner is interested only to know what needs to be known to pass the exam, get the job, know the judging standards, win a ribbon, etc. A strategic leaner knows how to ask for the movement but does not know how the horse’s physique has to be coordinated for the demand of the movement.

Jean Luc & Chazot
Jean Luc and Chazot

Exactly like the doctor of the emergency room, a strategic learner uses the right words, but the aim is an anthology to the strategic learner’s greatness and not teaching others or applying knowledge for the benefit of others.

“I felt that my thirst for knowledge was being strangled by my teachers; grades were their only measurement.” _ Albert Einstein

Ironically, the education system originally designed to enhance human intelligence but also, compassion and greatness, is further deepening the dumbing down of the human species. Instead of using his knowledge to consider and prevent complications, the doctor of the first emergency room fitted me in his superficial analysis, placing me in a situation of respiratory deficiency that would have led to my death without Helyn’s determination and the intervention of a doctor from another emergency room, a “deep learner” type of person, who used her extensive knowledge and experience and understood that every organ of my body were showing signs of shutting off.

Deep learners want to know because they want to teach. Deep learners want to know because they want others to benefit from their knowledge. The doctor at the second emergency room investigated the thought that under the impact force, my lung could have collapsed.

Diagnostic tools did not show such collapse, but intuition, knowledge, experience and blood tests suggested otherwise.

The doctor was very concerned when I arrived saying: “This man is dying. We need to stabilize him first and very aggressively before we can transport him in a hospital capable to manage this type of lung damage.”

My blood pressure is usually too high and I use daily medication to keep it within a manageable range. Due to the trauma, or the pain medication or both, my blood pressure dropped quite low and the effect of the medication aggravated the problem. Because I was not capable of deep breath, not enough oxygen was provided to the blood. They placed an oxygen mask that covered tightly my nose and mouth and the flow of oxygen, that was timed with the frequency of my breath furthered a little the intake of each breath.

They did many other blood tests and injections while keeping an eye on my heart, blood pressure and other vital signs. Thinking there might be some evidence of a crushed lung they did a scan and this is where they found two more ribs fractures that the X-ray did not show. The doctor told me: “Even if the cat scan does not show it, I still believe that you have two collapsed lungs and as soon as you are stable enough, I will refer you to a hospital that is specialized for this type of problem.”

“It is through science that we prove, but through intuition that we discover.” _ Henri Pointcare

As diagnosis tools improve, they should and never will replace intuition. The doctor’s intuition was right. I had fluid between the outside membranes of the lungs and they collapsed in the impact. The approach of the hospital deep learners was in line with the practical application of advanced knowledge; helping the body repair the damages through sophisticated understanding of the body’s functions.

I wore the tight oxygen mask day and night, non-stop for four days. The flow of oxygen furthered a little the deepness of each breath. It was this therapy that made me hope that I might not die. This was in line with the Science of Motion approach: provide the help that nature needs to restore proper function and carefully monitor how the body reacts. Numerous blood tests and “machines” constantly monitored me, and the doctors, the nurses, the technicians, the specialists made any necessary adjustments.

Chazot and Jean Luc Cornille
Chazot and Jean Luc Cornille. © Helyn Cornille

The first night that they took off the tight oxygen mask for a less invasive approach, I asked a few hours later if they could put it back as I was not capable, yet, of making the same efficient depth breath.

I always talk about equines as well as humans, being composed of tiers of systems within a system within a system. Some superficial systems can be influenced by the rider, but many deeper ones can only be more or less influenced by the horse’s brain. This is why efficient and sound education demands the active participation of the horse’s intelligence. The horse’s brain might explore beyond natural reflexes if attracted by ease, effortlessness, greater efficiency and soundness.

When the “toy” reappeared on the table, the magnitude of the difference between superficial learning and deep learning was there, symbolized into one piece of plastic. The toy was offered with a pain management program.

But how could one expect to make a deep breath with a painful chest and lungs and other muscle soreness?

Deep learners know about the systems that have to work efficiently. Deep learners know about athleticism and difficulties and errors and pain. Above all, deep learners know what they have to know to create favorable conditions. Strategic learners are offended when the response is not what they expect. They don’t try to know to help you. They just want to know enough to make rational statements and it becomes a challenge to their authority if you or your horse die.

Rehabilitation is a process; it is a journey; it is hard work; it is life.

Because of Helyn’s determination, I will ride my horse Chazot again. Chazot is not the horse who ejected me. There is a long way to go but with the support of extraordinary friends, the journey is doing better each day. Solo came from Canada to help us. Ronda helped us her own way. Mary, who is a successful endurance rider living next door, is there every day helping us. Taylor, who is working for us, is not just working for us. He is helping us because he is a great man. Betsy was with us all the way, coming every day to the hospital. Michele came too, so did Breea, April Taylor, Louis Wild. Helyn told me about the deep support that we received from all over the world.

Rehabilitation is a process; it is a journey; it is hard work; it is life. There is no miracle but, as it involves love and friends and had work, it is a miracle.

Jean Luc’s Inhand Therapy Course

Jean Luc Cornille

Jean Luc Cornille M.A.(M.Phil) has gained worldwide recognition by applying practical science to the training of the equine athlete. Influenced by his background as a gymnast, Jean Luc deeply understands how equine training can be enhanced by contemporary scientific research. A unique combination of riding skill, training experience and extensive knowledge of the equine physiology enables Jean Luc to "translate" scientific insights into a language comprehensible to both horse and rider. This approach has been the trademark of his training. - read more about Jean Luc

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