What this episode is all about & how it can help you:-
- Review each month so that you can make adjustments for the next
- Use past experiences to build a plan that you can implement and make work in your riding
- Track some key metrics with regards to your riding to help you improve
- Help set up your plan for the upcoming month in your riding
We are all about planning here at Strides for Success. I regularly remind riders to take the time to create a plan for their riding. However, a plan is really only as good as the review that follows it.
Creating a plan for your monthly review of your riding plan will help you to become more consistent in your progress. It will allow you to make changes where necessary and continue doing what works.
In this episode of the Daily Strides Podcast I give you a framework for your monthly review with regards to your horse riding. I give you a few ideas with regards to what to track and how to use this information to create an even better plan for the upcoming month.
I am going to suggest sitting down somewhere quiet once a month, sipping on something nice and really deep diving into what worked and what did not where your riding was concerned.
There are so many different things that you can track. I’m going to suggest a few obvious ones, however feel free to add to this, or drop some of these, as you see fit…
I have Free Planning Audio download ready for you to use to actually help you plan out your month in more detail. You can get that delivered straight to your inbox by clicking the link and letting me know where to send it
Monthly Review 1. How Often Did You Actually Ride?
It seems so obvious, doesn’t it? And yet it is often the most overlooked part of many riders process when it comes to using their past performance as a roadmap for the future. How many times did you get into the saddle this past month?
More importantly, does the amount of rides that actually took place tally up with what you had planned at the beginning of the month?
If not, don’t feel too alone. Having unrealistic expectations initially is part and parcel of how you can refine this process every month. Often the planning process can get us so fired up and excited, that we tend to ‘overlook’ our normal day-to-day responsibilities and tasks.
By becoming consistent with your monthly review, you will be able to create a more accurate plan for the upcoming month. As you get more monthly reviews under your belt, your ability to more correctly forecast your expectations and goals for the month ahead will develop and grow.
The more often you do this, the more that your plan and your monthly review will begin looking more alike as each month passes.
Monthly Review 2. How Many of Those Were ‘Worthwhile’ Rides?
This is where you need to be really honest with yourself. Riding for the sake of riding often helps us to feel good; ‘yes, I rode 16 times this month’. But if you are finding yourself in the saddle, sauntering around the arena or plucking exercises out of magazines the morning of your ride, chances are you’re not making much progress.
Planning out your rides means that you have to become really intentional regarding what goals and outcomes you are looking for. Each ride should have a purpose or intention behind it.
Yes, some can definitely have the intention of ‘just riding to enjoy ourselves’ behind them, but if this becomes your regular reason for riding, things are most likely going to stagnate quite quickly where progress and satisfaction are concerned.
If you find yourself riding for the sake of ‘checking off’ another ride for the week, I strongly suggest you revisit your strategy!
‘Worthwhile’ rides are those that are moving you and your horse forward in your training. Use your monthly review as an opportunity to see where you can begin making small changes that will help each ride become more ‘worthwhile’.
Monthly Review 3. Wins for the Month
Do you, like many riders, have a habit of being a little harsh on yourself where ‘wins’ are concerned? We all have aspirations for the different areas of our lives that are important to us. Your riding is no different. However often noticing the little wins that are moving us towards those greater aspirations is lost on us.
I want to encourage you to notice and then record your wins, no matter how small they are. Small wins are the stepping-stones we need in order to actually reach the bigger, loftier goals we set for ourselves…
Wins show up in all different ways. A win could come in the form of a day that you managed to get the attention or focus of a horse that initially was not actively engaged in what you were doing. Or one of your smaller wins may be figuring out that a particular time of day or warm up routine sets you and your horse up for a more productive schooling session.
I feel that recording your wins in your monthly review will also help you to keep going when things are tough. They will help to inspire you about trying again and also, they help us to develop a more positive mindset where our abilities as a rider are concerned.
Monthly Review 4. What Lessons Were Learned?
Just like the way that any plan is really only as good as the review of the plan that came before it, your monthly reviews will only really begin to show fruit if you are consistently using them to course correct. We all learn new things every month about ourselves, our horses and our riding.
Using this new information to shape the upcoming months will help you tailor the plan to your specific circumstances and requirements.
The more customised you can create the plan for you and your horse, the more success you will have when following it. Times of day, length of warm up, changes in diet, changes in routine are a few that spring to mind.
Lessons learned are also those you discovered in the saddle itself. Perhaps it was regarding flexion or suppleness. Maybe it was to do with carrying yourself and engagement of the hind quarters.
What is important is that you record what worked and what didn’t work with regards to you and your horse. This will also include how you worked through any issues that cropped up.
Monthly Review 5. What Needs More Work?
Yes, this is a pretty obvious however often forgotten part of the monthly review progress for many riders. There are always things that need a little more work when it comes to riding. What could do with a little more understanding or explaining? What needs a little more practice?
Keeping track of the things that need more work gives you the perfect goals or themes when planning out your upcoming months riding
Making this Fun & Exciting…
I’m going to be honest, this is probably not going to be the most fun item on your to-do list initially! However, I strongly suggest making this time a ‘date’ with yourself and turning it into an enjoyable time. Enjoy a favourite cup of tea or coffee, a glass of wine or gin… It will be what you make it.
What I do know is that after a few months, the insights and understanding you will gain from performing this simple monthly review will be priceless. If used to plot your course going forward, they have the potential to change everything for you and your horse.
So, begin this month. Grab a journal or notebook and begin recording your riding over the past four weeks. Then use this knowledge to plan out your upcoming month.
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