Making a Success with Shorter Riding Times

Making a Success with Shorter Riding Times

Making a Success with Shorter Riding Times

Making a Success of Shorter Riding Times

What this episode is all about & how it can help you:-

  • Have a plan for what you are going to do
  • Get as much ready as you can in advance
  • Create and stick to a routine that works
  • Learn to say no to distractions…!

Many riders find that, from time to time due to other responsibilities, they have shorter riding times to spend in the saddle.  If you are feeling like this right now, this is the episode for you.  Today we are chatting about making the most of your time.

As I am writing this blog post, it is that time of the year again.  Winter is on its way in the top half of the world.  The days are getting shorter, which means there is less time riding.   Summer is also making its presence felt in the bottom half of the world, meaning soaring temperatures and, again, less than ideal conditions for riding for many riders.

In this episode of the Daily Strides Podcast I want to give you a few ideas on how to make the most of your riding time, when time is not on your side!  In these situations, it is often easier to leave riding.  However, this can lead to a bad habit setting in.

One of the first suggestion I am going to make to help make sure you are getting in the saddle is to create a plan…

Have a Plan for what You are Going To Work On

If you have been a listener or reader of my content for any length of time, you will know that i am all about having a plan for each ride.  An intention for each and every interaction and ride you have with your horse.

Indecision is one of the biggest road blocks riders struggle to overcome in their riding.  A concrete plan will make sure you don’t fall victim to a ‘I don’t know what to do, so I will just do nothing’ way of thinking. 

When I talk about having a plan, I mean knowing exactly which exercises you are going to work on for that particular day.  I suggest choosing one or two that work towards a similar theme – your intention – for the ride.

Creating Your Plan Based on Your Goals

Many riders feel a little overwhelmed when thinking about this, however in my experience, it really does not have to be difficult at all. Firstly, think about what you would like to see improve three months from now.  Maybe it is overall suppleness so you can ride a balanced 15m circle for example.

Once you have made your decision, create a goal out of it.  Remember to make it something that you can actually see or feel when it happens (like the 15m circle). From your goal, choose three different themes for each month inside of those three months.

Again, if we take the suppleness, maybe month one can be responsiveness & forwardness.  Month two can be rhythm and month three can be basic straightness.  From here, I would begin looking for exercises that focus on the month one theme.  You can also identify exercises that compliment that theme.

You don’t need a different exercise for each day, but perhaps have 7 or 8 exercises over a month or 4 week period and weave them in and out of your schedule.  This way you can see what your horse responds to best.

This will also help you to begin creating warm-up plans to suit your horses individual needs. 

Get as Much As You Can Ready In Advance

You can also begin identifying where you are spending your precious time with your horse.  From here,  you can begin to make changes that will allow you to spend more of your time in the saddle.

One example is if your horse is boarding at a barn, to arrange for somebody to have him in for you when you arrive. Or maybe you can ask that his feeding times be adjusted slightly to give you more time schooling with him. If your horse lives out or is turned out, a blanket can save you with your grooming time.

Your own unique circumstances will dictate where you can begin making changes.  So many of us get stuck in the rut of doing things a certain way because that is the way we have always done those things… 

Actively look for ways you can make changes that will positively impact your time with your horse.

Create a Routine that Works with Shorter Riding Times

I have already mentioned how riding similar exercises will help you to begin identifying warm ups that suit your horse.  If you had a routine warm up you could use when time was of the essence, imagine how much more time you could spend schooling…

I believe that you should have different routines for different things. I also believe that your routine creates the rhythm, which sets the tone for the conversation with your horse.

Create routines that support you both. An example would be if you are working with a younger horse, or a more sensitive / hot horse, and your intention is to work on relaxation and rhythm. Arriving at the yard feeling stressed, then continuing to rush and race through grooming and tacking up will only make your goal more difficult to achieve. 

If you find you are a little ‘off track’, go back.  Realign yourself with your theme for the month and then decide what is the best tone to aim for with your conversation in order to achieve that theme.

Learn to Say No to Distractions…!

Finally, learn to say no!  It is so easy to get caught up in other’s stories and what is going on at the barn. You need to be focused on what you have planned to do for that particular day, and not allow yourself to become distracted.

Don’t allow others to side track you from what you and your horse are working towards.  Their agenda is just that, theirs.

It is your job to keep your focus trained on your own intention, especially when you are trying to make the most of shorter riding times.

Informing Your VIPs and Allowing them to Support You

We all have important people in our lives.  Our partner, our children, our co-workers, our boss, our staff… So many people who can potentially support us, but only if we make our intentions and plans known to them.  Look for ways you can delegate or shuffle things around.  Find opportunities to batch things together.

Letting the VIPs in your life know why you are making the changes will allow them to play a more supportive role in helping you make riding a reality – even when time is limited. 

It may be as simple as ‘double cooking’ two nights a week.  Or eating left-overs or a take-out for dinner!  I could be having a neighbour or grandparent to ferry the children around on a particular afternoon.  Or asking your partner to walk the dog two days a week.

Shorter Riding Times can Move You Forward

Trust me, if you actually make a plan and get out and ride, you will feel that you have accomplished something and have moved things forward.

Even if the ride itself was not all that great, the fact that you made it happen goes a long way to actually setting the tone for what you and your horse will be doing in the future.

Remember, shorter riding times does not have to mean the end of progress for you and your horse.  In fact, you can use this as a opportunity to really laser focus your intentions and make things happen for you and your horse.

Happy Riding


I am hosting a free live online training on Relaxation in Riding and I would love for you to join me there…  If you’re interested, you can register for your seat by CLICKING HERE

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Links mentioned in the episode:-


5 Days To Clarity

Simple exercises that will help you understand and becoming intentional about using the training scale to improve your riding

Perfect for Riders who feel that there are gaps in their training

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