We are all guilty of wasting time at some point or another in our day to day lives. However, I want to challenge you for 1 month to NOT waste any more of your time with your horse. Riding for the sake of saying you rode is a waste of time. Clocking in the hours is not the same as being productive with those hours.
And if you have stopped riding or you’re not riding as much as you ‘want’… Could it be that the riding you were doing was ‘wasting time’ rather than working towards something that really inspired you?
Change is Okay & Maybe Necessary
As I write this we are getting ready to begin the final month of 2020. The official year of the curveball. December is always a time when most people do a little review of what was, and begin planning goals for the new year.
I personally don’t think you have to wait until the official end of a calendar year to do this, meaning if you are reading this in July 2021, apply this now!
The world as a whole has changed so much recently, is it possible that the goals you set for yourself and your horse in December 2019 might need to be tweaked? Or even scrapped? Has this year benefited you regarding focus and identifying what is a priority? Or has it left you feeling uncertain about anything?
I want you to read or listen to this with an open mind. A clean slate. And I would love it if you could set some goals with that same openness and readiness to start new and fresh if necessary.
Your Time with Your Horse…
Start with putting into actual words what makes you happy when you’re with your horse. What do you enjoy doing? Not what you ‘think’ you should enjoy doing… Only what you actually love to do and could potentially spend all day every day doing with your horse. Maybe it is groundwork. Trail riding? Practicing transitions. Grooming your horse’s tail (my personal favorite at this moment in time).
If every interaction with your horse feels tiring, heavy, fear-filled, anxious, or any of those more negative emotions, I am going to bet that you are working on and towards the wrong things for you as a rider.
So often we learn to discount our feelings regarding what we like and what we don’t. We have been trained to do what we don’t want to do in order to reach some goal. And yes, sometimes you will have to participate in some ‘uncomfortable’ moments in order to stretch and grow yourself. But EVERY SINGLE RIDE should not feel like that. Your time with your horse will can be as enjoyable as you want it to be.
The ‘hard stuff’ should be sprinkled in between the ‘good stuff’. If your average ride feels the other way around, it is up to you to change it.
Old Goals – Permission to Drop Them
I have been guilty of ‘carrying over’ goals from one year to the next regarding riding and life in general. The thinking is that “I didn’t achieve or reach that ‘yet’, so I’ll just bring it with me into the new year”. This is not a great strategy for success! And if you are also in the habit of doing this I am urging you to stop right now!
Instead of automatically carrying goals from one year to the next, rather access what the reasons were for you not actually achieving those goals…
If your goals were created by a previous version of you, is it possible that the current version of you is not really that into those same goals? Also, if your goals were created by someone else for you, is it again possible that they are not actually lighting you up when you’re in the saddle?
Most goals that we don’t achieve or reach simply don’t align with our current values and priorities.
Your Priorities & Values
If I was to look at your actual schedule for the past month or 30 days, I’m going to see what you deem important right now in your life. And actual meaning what you really did – not what you wanted to or what you said you would do. This can be a harsh truth for many riders. It doesn’t need to be.
Life has seasons. The key is to create riding goals that work with the current season you’re in.
2020 has, for many riders, been an opportunity to get clear on what is really important. On what we want to protect and nurture when the proverbial fit is hitting the shan. Use this knowledge to help you create riding goals that work for you and your horse. Riding goals that support your current lifestyle, not steal from it or work against it. Goals that allow you to make the most of your time with your horse.
Get clear on what you value on your life. What comes first regarding your energy, your time and your focus. And what is non-negotiable.
Work Towards Goals that Count
From here, I strongly suggest figuring out what time you actually can spend on your riding. Again, make sure that this fits in with your current schedule and lifestyle. Use each interaction in a way that will move you closer to the goal that you have set.
Remember to build fun into your training program. With your specific goal, what can you do once or twice a week that is fun for both you and your horse?
This will help you to keep things fresh, keep things aligned, and keep you both interested in the job at hand. I believe that one of your greatest responsibilities as a rider is to ensure that your time with your horse is happy and productive for everyone.
If you would like more help with this process, join me inside of Connection, my monthly membership for equestrians. In there I will help you to make the most of your time in the saddle.
Intentional riding = investing your time in your own wellbeing, health, and your skills as a rider.