I have a little ‘test’ for you… Can you describe, in full detail, each interaction you had with your horse 4 weeks ago? Yes, go back 4 weeks and each of the lunging or riding sessions you had with your horse, describe what happened. How was your mood? What did you focus on and how did that go?
Now, I’m going to bet that you can probably give some information about those rides. However, can you see how all of the rides begin blending together with the passing of time? Specific details become blurred and more difficult to pinpoint.
A riding journal is a simple way to ensure you have all the details in one place so that you can use them to help you develop your riding and your horse.
And yet, why do we so often equate simple to worthless? We rather look for complicated because we think it guarantees better results. I don’t know the answer to this. But I’m asking you to try using a simple journal for your riding. And I’m making a bold statement that has the power to change everything…
The Power of Objectivity
How do you feel after each ride? It probably varies between a lot of different emotions. And the issue comes in when those emotions begin flavoring our opinion of each ride. As a trainer, I see, on an almost weekly basis, riders who become caught up in all the feels. They ‘think’ the ride was good and they are on cloud nine. Or, the opposite.
The ride is just a ride. It’s really neither good nor bad. Your feelings about it are what make it that.
And when you are holding on to all that emotion about the ride, it can be hard to see the real picture of what happened. Like a coach or trainer would if they were with you in the arena. Which is one of the big reasons a coach or trainer is so valuable? They are not getting all caught up in the emotion. They are looking at each ride objectively.
A journal will allow you to do this for yourself. To review each ride a month from now, minus all of the emotion, so that you can really learn from it. You can use that information to adapt and adjust going forward.
Begin Looking for Patterns
So once you can look at your riding from a different perspective, patterns will begin to emerge. I have a previous post HERE about what to actually take note of with regards to your riding journal. Some of the things that can almost seem trivial have the potential to be really eyeopening for you.
The time of day and your energy levels can make all the difference in your attitude towards your riding.
Rides that happen close to unpleasant interactions or stressful reoccurring situations is another one to look out for. Feeding times and your horse’s attitude can play a huge role in his focus and dedication. The subtle changes that show up 2 or 3 days after you ride a particular exercise. Or ride in a certain arena or area.
Noticing the patterns will allow you to begin tweaking your schedule to get more of the ‘good’ rides in. And if every ride is truly a stepping stone, this can begin making all the difference to your progress in the long run.
Additional Resources on This Topic:-
- Keeping a Riding Journal
- 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