What are your plans for your riding this week? Specific plans… Not what you think you will do. Or what you ‘might’ do if you have time…
One of the biggest things that hold riders back, particularly riders who are working alone, is the lack of a plan.
And this does not have to be the case. Yes, I get that you’re probably not a horse riding instructor or trainer. I also realize that you have no real experience in creating the plan. However, you know you best. And, you also know what you want.
So with those two things in mind, I am going to give you the step-by-step approach I advise my riders to use that will get you into the saddle with intention and purpose, week after week, going forward.
Get your journal out, pens at the ready… And let’s go :)
1 . Identify What You Want
Do you have a goal for yourself and your horse? This time next year, where do you want to be when it comes to your riding and your overall relationship with your horse? I am hoping that you have some sort of goal. If not, I can almost guarantee you that your riding will begin to feel a little ‘same old, same old’ very soon!
Once you have a longer-term goal, think about 3 months from now. 90 days or 12 weeks. What would you like to achieve then that would help get you to that bigger, farther away from goal?
Finally, what about 1 month from now. 28 days or 4 weeks… What do you want to have achieved?
This goal can be something specific, like being able to strike off on the correct canter lead 90% of the time with your horse. Or it can be more ‘action’ based, such as ‘I want to have ridden 16 times this month. Whatever it is, write it down. You’re going to work towards it this coming week.
2 . Look For 3 Different Approaches
Okay, once you have your goal for the upcoming month, I want you to begin thinking about different things you can do to work on that thing. We rarely ever make progress in our riding by just focusing on a single aspect of something. There is usually (always?) a more holistic approach needed. Find those other ways…
I am going to use ‘better canter transitions’ as the goal, and give you a few different ideas for different approaches based on improving that specific thing in your riding.
You can first approach it by working on your self-carriage and posture in order to give clearer and more specific aids to your horse. The second approach is to work on your timing. Remember, you can have the best aids in the world, but if you’re asking at the wrong time, it won’t matter!
The third approach you can take to improving your canter transitions would be to work on suppleness & straightness. This would be particularly useful if you notice that you or your horse are falling in, or falling out. Maybe you’re buckling during the canter. These are the loose themes you can use to flesh out your week (and the rest of the month) in your riding schedule.
The point is that all 3 of these approaches can be used to help you achieve a better transition into the canter, without actually having to keep constantly cantering over and over.
3 . Look at Your Schedule
What is happening this coming week that you have to show up for? These things are probably not horse related… But they have to be seen to or attended. Mark those in your calendar. Doctor appointments, shopping trips, farrier, work commitments, school commitments… Put them all in.
Now, have a look and see where you have open space that you can fill with riding (riding being both actual riding, lunging, groundwork, and long lining)
Keep in mind that we have a habit, as riders, of overestimating how much time we actually need when it comes to working with our horses. However, 10 minutes of intentional, focused groundwork on one of your topics for the month will help move the conversation forward.
Once you have your schedule, begin filling in the riding activities and exercises that you have chosen to work on with your horse.
Try and get a blend of different activities, and approaches, to keep it fresh and interesting for both of you.
4 . Doing The Work…
The final piece of the puzzle is to stay in integrity with yourself and do what you said you were going to do. There will be days when you just don’t feel like going out in the cold or the sun. You might have days when your schedule goes a little ‘wonky’ and you will need to move things about. It happens, so work with it. However, on those days when you just don’t feel like it, push on through…
Try to remember that the rider who created the schedule is probably a better version of the rider you are actually being today. Follow her instructions, rather than yours at that exact moment in time!
And riding for the sake of riding will never move anything forward. Clock in riding does not work, so rather work on the thing you said you would work on and see where it leads you :)
Your Previous 20 Rides
If you look back at the last 20 rides you’ve had with your horse, how many were planned and intentional? If all 20 were that, well done. You’re doing great keep going because I bet you are moving forward.
However, if you have no real idea what you were doing and why you were doing it… Please, do yourself and your horse a favour and follow this plan for this week.
And not just for the week, try it for the month and then let me know how it goes. You can DM me on Instagram, or message me on Facebook. I am looking forward to hearing from you.
Additional Links to Help You:-
- FREE 2021 Equestrian Fitness Challenge – What You Can Do While You Ride
- Planning Your Rides Out – Part 1 Fun
- Planning for Progress in Your Riding
- Out of Planning and Into Action in Your Riding
- Daily Strides Premium Newsletter
- Returning to Riding Summer Special
- Lunging for Riding
- Online Community for Equestrian focusing on Planning and Mindset
- Equestrian Virtual Lounge Online Community
- Connection; the Online Membership for Equestrians