How often do you dismount and honestly have no clue what you just spent the previous 30 minutes working on? If this is happening more often than you want to admit, you’re not alone. The good news is that planning can help completely change this.
The conversation between you and your horse begins with the conversation already ongoing in your head. Your conversation with yourself. Tapping into that conversation – and maybe guiding it in a different direction – can help you transform your riding.
Consistently doing this on an ongoing basis for 3 months has the potential to change everything in your riding.
It all starts with sit-in down and beginning to create ‘the plan’…
Before You Begin…
Enthusiasm is great. In fact, it is one of my top values in life. However, sometimes it can backfire on us as riders. You see, often we want to achieve everything in a single day. And, when we are thinking about things from this positive and enthusiastic frame of mind, sure why not do it all in a day?!
Instead, I think you should start smaller with your ‘1-day goals’, and then set the bar a little higher for your ’12 week goals’.
Overwhelm is a real thing. And thinking too big in the short term is one of the top ways riders tend to bring this on themselves. Ironically enough, thinking this same way in the long term has the same effect. The whole ‘this is going to take forever’. It really doesn’t have to. Think bigger long term.
Reverse Engineering Your Goals
Let’s fast forward here a little. Imagine you have just achieved the thing that you want in your riding. What does it look like? Really get into all the nitty-gritty details. Where are you? what are you wearing? Who is with you? How does it feel? Got it? Okay…
Now, I want you to get really clear on the differences between that ride (where you achieved the goal) and your very last ride in the saddle.
What needs to change from your last ride in order to achieve the ‘goal’ ride? List the things out. One by one. What was different? Was it the tack? The level of understanding of the aids? Your physical fitness or suppleness? Maybe your horse’s strength and development? The barn or arena? It could even be the horse…
When you know what the difference in between ‘here’ and ‘there’, you can go about building a bridge between those two places.
One Month From Now…
Now that you have a clearer idea of what you want and why you don’t have it already, you can begin making a plan to create that thing. I want you to think a month from now. Is it possible to achieve that thing in a month? If it is not, don’t panic. Simply take one essential missing element and that will become the thing you are working on for the coming month.
Often we set our sights too high with how much we can do and achieve. Slow and steady will win the race when it comes to improving your riding and your partnership with your horse.
Lay the Stepping Stones of Your Plan
Any journey as being a series of steps, one by one, to get from A to B. Improving your riding is no different. See each ride as a stepping stone and another piece of the journey to reach your goal. When I began Strides for Success, the whole idea was to make every ride great. I still stand by that idea.
If each ride was a stepping stone, imagine how different your riding would look just 16 rides from now.
Why 16? Well, 4 days a week and 4 weeks in a month equal 16 rides each month. One month can transform your riding. Multiply that by 3 months and now you have 48 different interactions that you can use to reach your goal.
Can you now begin to see how much you can actually achieve in 12 weeks if you begin getting intentional about your rides?
So, What Can You Commit To?
Now, I am suggesting 4 days a week, however, you need to figure out how many days a week will work for you and your current lifestyle. ‘Current’ is a keyword in that sentence. Don’t begin your plan with how you ‘want’ things to be. Start with how things actually are. Your current life.
What is ‘do-able’ for you when it comes to working your horse on a weekly basis?
Once you have this figured out, it is then your job to make each ride count. I am going to suggest that part of your commitment is to take one day each week to review and plan the upcoming week.
Be Consistent with Your Plan
Consistency is not exciting. I know… However, it is an absolute essential when working with horses. What I see happen to a lot of riders is they will go all out for 5 or 6 days. There is a feeling of accomplishment when you begin to hit a rhythm regarding being intentional with your rides.
5 or 6 days is not an accomplishment. It is merely staying on the path of stepping stones you have laid out in order to reach the real accomplishment; your goal.
This sounds harsh, but it is a common mistake riders make. And this is why I suggest 20 minutes once a week to review and plan the upcoming week in the saddle. Know what you are doing every day in advance. It will help you to stay on track when ‘life’ shows up.
If you can summon the same feelings you felt in the beginning when you’re in the middle, you will reach the end.
If you are interested in learning exactly how to plan your rides out, plan your stepping stones, I’m inviting you to join me HERE
Additional Resources on This Topic:-
- Plan 1 Month of Riding in 1 Hour Live Workshop
- Out Of Planning and Into Action
- Having Realistic Expectations for Your Riding
- FREE Weeks Riding Plan
- Online community for equestrians working on their mindset & fitness
- Online Community for equestrians focusing on re-schooling horses (and ex-racehorses)