What this episode is all about & how it can help you:-
- Realising that you, as a mature rider, have changed
- Cultivating a support team around you
- The benefits of starting at the beginning again – even if you think you don’t have to
- The importance of maintaining your physical fitness
Are you trying to navigate the equestrian world as a mature rider? Are you feeling that a lot of advice, ideas and activities don’t really align with you where you are right now? Does it feel like a lot of what goes on in the global equestrian community is catered more towards younger riders?
Today I want to talk specifically to the more mature rider in my audience; a group of riders that I love working with.
Realising That You Have Changed
What is your ‘story’ as a mature rider? Your story is your mindset – what you tell yourself and others day in and day out. Is your story aligning with your current lifestyle?
It is important to understand that mentally you have grown, or that you are growing. The considerations that you may have had a few years ago probably look a lot different to the thoughts that weigh on you now as a mature rider. Disregarding this and trying to gloss over it won’t work. These things are always there, in the back of your mature rider mind.
Your responsibilities are constantly changing and evolving. Looking after yourself becomes a little bit more of a priority now that you are a mature rider.
When you are younger you don’t have that same weight of responsibility regarding looking after your body, and keeping healthy and fit. You know that, for the most part, you will repair and your body can handle a lot of the knocks and bumps that will show up in your experience as a rider.
However, as you begin to get a little older, falling off and breaking something is very real and present consideration. It presents a lot more of a challenge now, than what it would have presented years ago.
Recognise this, allow it to be there and validate it. This way your decisions become a little clearer and easier. Rather than making decisions from a very ‘fear-based’ place, you are doing so from the realistic circumstances you find yourself in.
What decisions are you making? A lot of people get into the rut of doing the same thing that they have always done. And yet, as we have just said, you have changed as a rider. You are now a mature rider.
You have grown. You have evolved. You have shifted mentally. What you believed back then is not going to be the same set of beliefs you have now.
Of course, physically you will also have changed. It is important to recognise that, and to recognise that perhaps your riding also needs to change to facilitate these changes, particularly in order to keep it enjoyable for this new version of you. Being open to these changes is important as a mature rider. This does not necessarily mean that you should change discipline. Perhaps it is the type of horse you would normally ride. Maybe it is where ride. Or the type of Instructor you are riding with.
Sometimes, you don’t have to change anything at all as a mature rider. However recognising, realising and coming to terms with this ‘new’ you is going to make all the difference in going forward in your riding.
Cultivating a Support Team Around You
A good support team can be a great help, particularly if you are returning to riding, when resistance shows up. You will most likely have plenty of people who are your cheerleaders, and praise you. But there is often the odd one or two – you know the ones – that will give their little niggly comments every now and then. Rather than allowing those one or two comments overshadow your enjoyment of riding, listening and focusing on your ‘supporters’ will help you ignore the ‘naysayers’.
The right Instructor is part of that support base. A supportive Instructor will sit down with you and figure out what you want. They will not try to force you down a path of what they think you should want.
However, if you are not currently taking lessons, the role of an instructor can, potentially, be replaced by a group of other like-minded and experienced riders. Again, the important thing to look for is that you feel ‘built up’ after chatting with them, rather than negative and lacking confidence in your abilities.
Having the support of your husband, partner, significant other, perhaps children or good friends, is also important. If they are constantly telling you that you are crazy to go back to horse riding, it is going to have an impact on that mindset that we spoke about earlier.
I believe that if you approach this from a responsible point of view, which comes back to understanding and recognising that things have changed, and then trying to plot a new course for yourself. This is going to make all the difference.
The Benefits of Starting at the Beginning Again (even if you think you don’t have to)
I would also suggest at some point, going back and starting at the very beginning when it comes to your riding and your training. Why? Because as your body and your mindset are changing as a mature rider, you may find that how you do things change as well.
The half-halt for example; the physical changes in your body may mean that the balance of your aids is now a little different as it was before. Riding is a constantly evolving process, so too is the half halt – so it makes sense to revisit it from time to time.
Starting at the beginning gives you a fresh clean slate. It allows you to recognise and realise what is going on inside of your own, mature rider, body and inside of your own, mature rider, head. If you can be mindful of how you are changing as a rider, you now have a platform from which to work from.
Remember, if you are trying to do the same thing that you have always done – even though you have changed; can you imagine how confusing it must be for your horse?!
He probably has no clue what you are asking for half of the time! So give yourself the luxury of starting back at the beginning, and rediscovering your aids, your feel and your general basic knowledge of the whats, when’s and hows in the saddle.
I actually suggest this practice to all riders – go back to basics, master the basics. You will see that any very successful riders spend 80% of their time doing the basics. Day in, and day out.
The Importance of Maintaining Your Physical Fitness
The final thing, and of course we must bring it up as a mature rider, is your physical body. One of the (many) things which changes as we age is our body. It can potentially become a lot less supple. A lot less strong, physically.
You need to manage it, and maintain it regularly. I would suggest that you begin to add a simple, basic routine off the horse that is going to compliment and support you when you get on your horse.
Strength is so important. Start thinking about where you could make changes today, that would incorporate a little bit of strength training, which will really and truly complement your work in the saddle.
You can join the free 30 Day Rider Fitness Challenge HERE
Finally, I personally think that mature riders are an inspiration… Keep doing what you are doing and, most importantly, enjoy yourself.
Links mentioned in the episode:-