How many days will you ride this week? What will you do on each of those days? Are all of these things moving you and your horse closer to your goals? Big questions… And ones that I think not enough riders are taking responsibility for in their riding.
This is part 2 of a 3 part series to help you really become intentional about your riding plan.
Each part is an important element that, I believe, is absolutely essential for you in your riding. It is when you combine these three elements on a weekly basis, weaving them throughout your rides, that you will begin to see true success in your riding.
Part 1 was Fun. The reason most people show up for their second-ever ride. And the reason most riders actually stop riding as much as they like. It just isn’t as much fun anymore. Find out how and why you can make Fun an intentional part of your riding plan HERE
Part 2 – Partnership
It seems so, well, obvious. Partnership. However, because it is so obvious, like fun, many riders forget to actually be intentional about developing this in their riding and relationship with their horse. Partnership is trust. It is the relationship.
A partnership is the ‘liking each other’ part that will be essential to get you both over any sticky situations that show up.
It is intentionally developing the understanding between horse and rider. This allows you not only to trust each other more but also to build confidence in your own abilities as well. Ever noticed how you feel more confident about something you must-do if you have someone who supports you there beside you? That is a partnership.
Building and Strengthening Trust
Horse riding is really all about trust, isn’t it? Trusting your horse not to dump you on the ground. Not to stand on your toe. Trusting yourself to respond in the right way to communicate with your horse Developing trust means developing the ability to ‘read’ each other and to rely on each other…
This happens when you begin becoming more aware of yourself and your beliefs, thoughts, feelings, and actions.
Think about it, in order for you to ‘feel’ safe or comfortable, you have to have a thought about that. Something like “this feels so good”. Or “I’m really enjoying this”. You can begin to develop your partnership by paying more attention to what you are thinking and what you are enjoying.
Partnership = Mindfulness
Before you dive headfirst into all things partnership related, I want to first remind you that you are 100% responsible for yourself. Meaning that how your horse responds to you is his business. If you can come to this from the perspective of learning more about yourself, you will move your partnership with your horse forward.
As riders, it can be easy to only think about our horses. However, to develop the partnership, begin first focusing on you and your part of the conversation.
As you become more self-aware, you will find that your partnership with your horse will naturally deepen. Strange but true! If you only focus on the part that you cannot actually control (only hope to influence), you cannot actively develop anything.
Ideas to Begin Intentionally Adding Partnership To Your Riding Plan
Here are a few ideas you can use to begin really adding that intentional Partnership to your weekly riding plan…
- Head massage for your horse
- Lunging in an enclosed arena or space
- Loose schooling
- ‘Free lunging’
- Attending clinics
- Lunging in an open space
- Online courses or programs
- Online workshops
- A leg massage for your horse
- Walk in-hand
- Natural horsemanship
- A trail ride with just the two of you…
- Interacting with your horse in an open paddock or field
- An intentional and controlled canter or gallop in an open space
- Full body massage for your horse
- In-person workshops
- New experiences or new obstacles (intentional desensitization)
- Trail rides or hacking on new routes
These are only a few suggestions to help get you thinking about your partnership in your riding. Your list may contain many other different activities.
What you may notice is that many things that are on your ‘Partnership List’ might also be on your ‘Fun List’. That is perfectly acceptable. What makes ‘fun’ and ‘partnership’ activities different (even when the actual activity is the same) is the intention behind it.
When you are working on developing your partnership with your horse, the key word is ‘working’.
It requires focus and the ability to come back on track when you find that you have become distracted. I personally believe that 20 to 30 minutes of intentional focus is far more productive than the same amount of time spent wandering aimlessly with your horse.
Similarly, 20 minutes of focused partnership building will both look and feel very different from 20 minutes of fun.
Choose 3 Activities
I am encouraging you to choose 3 activities today that you can use to really begin plotting your course with your horse. By using these activities with the intention to move you towards your goals in your riding, you can really begin to develop your partnership with your horse.
And if you have not set those goals, pop over HERE to learn how to really set goals that will move both you and your horse forwards in your relationship – regardless of if you want to compete or not.
Having a goal, plotting your schedule, and then filling in those ‘opportunities’ with meaningful activities is the key to really making this coming 3 months the best yet in your riding.
Additional Resources for Riders:-
- Planning Your Rides – Part 1 Fun
- Online Community for Equestrian focusing on Planning and Mindset
- Stop Wasting and Start Investing Time with Your Horse
- What’s Your Number in Your Riding?
- A Plan for 7 Days in Your Riding
- Plan Your Ride with These Simple Steps
- Transform the Next 12 Weeks in Your Riding
- Connection; the Online Membership for Equestrians