Are all the months starting to look and feel the same for you and your horse? Especially if you have been training your horse alone! Have you been experiencing a case of ‘same ride again’ on repeat, over and over again? If so, here are 5 tips to help you to achieve more when training your horse. Especially if you are working alone without a trainer or a coach to help.
More Success When Training Your Horse Alone
Let’s be honest here, we all want ‘more’. We want to do things in as little time as possible, and in the easiest way possible as well. And while the following pointers will certainly help you to do this, it is also really important to remember 2 other key ingredients when training horses.
You must factor in time and consistency when working with your horse. If either one of those is missing, any results you achieve will most likely be short-term.
So, while you begin working and using the following formula for each training session, make sure you are coupling it with those two most important of important elements as well.
1. Focus on One Thing
This is one of those ‘simple to say, but not all that easy to do’ things when it comes to riding. I mean, how hard could it possibly be to focus on one outcome for each ride? Oh… More difficult than you think!
Distractions are everywhere when working with your horse. You will notice ‘other things’ that need attention literally crop up around every single corner!
One of your greatest responsibilities as your horse’s trainer is deciding if each of those ‘other things’ is something that needs to be worked on immediately when training your horse alone. Is it something that, without first really working on it, will actually prevent you from whatever it is you do want to achieve in that ride? Or is it something that can be the focus of another training session at another time?
2. Be Intentional Before You Mount Up
Regardless if you give your horse a 10-minute’ lick and a promise’ groom, or a 30-minute luxurious make-over, there is always more you can do inside of each session. When you know what you will work on in the arena, you can begin to incorporate elements into your time before mounting up.
For example, if your focus for the upcoming training session together is to create cleaner transitions into the canter, you could work on a little responsiveness while grooming. Things like asking your horse to move ‘over’. Or asking for him to move ‘back’.
It is worth remembering that you are ALWAYS training your horse, alone or not. From the moment he knows that you are there, the conversation has begun…
3. Use Your Warm-Up
The first 10 minutes of each ride with your horse have the potential to set the tone for whatever follows. So rather than letting it all unfold by chance, it makes sense to become more intentional with it. If you already know what you will be working on inside of the actual working part of your riding session with your horse, use this time to visualize how it will look and feel when you achieve it.
One of the best things we can do to support ourselves as riders is to begin taking the actions of someone who has already achieved what we want.
Maybe that looks like sitting up taller. Or use the time to ‘fine tune’ your position and aids. It might involve some breathing exercises. Closing your eyes and really get to feel what your horse is doing underneath you. The list is endless, and we have not even begun to mention your horse in the list!
Your warm-up and cool-down periods are valuable time you can work on improving, connecting with, or developing your relationship with your horse, or your skills as a rider.
4. Dedicate 15 to 20 Minutes
I think the biggest mistakes riders make are doing too much in a single session and then losing hope when they cannot sustain or see the results they were after for very long. As I mentioned at the beginning, when you’re training your horse alone, time is an important part of the process.
You will achieve more when training your horse alone if you can create more short, quality, focused sessions together. Rather than long, tiring rides that are too far apart.
When you know what you want to work on, commit to 15 or 20 minutes of quality work on it. This will allow both you and your horse to develop your concentration, physical strength, and fitness.
Regularly doing things will also allow you both to develop your confidence; in yourselves and each other. Both are key when successfully training your horse alone.
5. Keep Track of Your Training
Finally, as your horse’s trainer (yes, you are!), it is your responsibility to record and track your rides and your progress. Relying purely on feelings and emotions when it comes to training is a recipe for disaster.
It is only when you have actual evidence of each ride, and you review this evidence, that you can begin to see patterns that you can use to make even more progress.
It is also worth noticing what happens after you track for a significant period of time; your ideas about what works and what doesn’t become more clear. You will begin to instinctively know, without even having to think, what to do in most situations you find yourself with your horse.
The longer you track, the more you can begin to trust your feelings and emotions regarding your riding… And more ‘in tune’ you will become with both yourself and your horse.
For me, that makes all of the effort initially required to track worthwhile :)
Find in the Gaps In Your Horse’s Training
If you are interested in learning more about where you might be missing pieces in your riding, sign up for my new free training “ FIND THE GAPS IN YOUR HORSE’S TRAINING“. This audio training can be listened to, via podcast app, to help you figure out where to begin working with your horse.
You can sign up and get it, for free, HERE