Isn’t it strange how, sometimes, when we look back over something ‘big’ or ‘long’ – like a year – we only remember 1 or 2 key events or things? And yet, when you truly sit down and begin reviewing your year in the saddle, there is so much more there to be mined!
Today, I want to give you a few simple ways you can look back over the past 12 months (or whatever time frame you choose), and see it for all that it was for you and your horse.
Reviewing Your Year
I have been guilty of ‘skipping’ the whole reviewing process. Thinking about and planning for the ‘new’ definitely feels more exciting. Setting goals and beginning to play with the feelings of actually achieving those goals is a potent and powerful practice.
But, to truly make that work for you, I think it is just as important to go back over what has happened. To use the past as a guide for creating more in your future.
Identifying patterns is one of the best ways to either create or remove something from your riding. By going through the year, month by month, you can really see what works and what doesn’t when it comes to you and your horse.
Use Your Photos as a Guide
This is one of the best tools you have to help you revisit the year. Set yourself up with something nice to drink, a quiet and relaxing space and get started. By going through the photos on your phone, you will get to revisit the whole year, month by month. When I do this I regularly find photos of different things that happened that I had completely forgotten about!
And even if the photos are not horse-related, often the memory of something else can trigger a memory about your horse or your riding…
I am going to suggest writing down all of the different things in chronological order in your riding journal. This way you can really begin to notice patterns; good ones and the not so helpful ones! It also helps you to really understand your schedule, which will be important when it comes to creating realistic goals for the next year.
Ask Yourself Questions
Once you have the year laid out you can begin using this as a reference so that you can find out more about what the year held for you. I do think that it can be helpful to approach your riding and your horse’s training separately.
1. Skill Development and Training:
- What new skills or disciplines did you and your horse work on during the year?
- How has your horse’s training progressed, and what areas still need improvement?
- Did you achieve the training goals you set at the beginning of the year?
- What adjustments can be made to your training plan to enhance both your and your horse’s abilities?
2. Relationship and Communication:
- How has the bond between you and your horse developed over the past year?
- Did you effectively communicate with your horse, and were there any notable improvements in your partnership?
- Were there any challenges in understanding and responding to your horse’s behavior?
- What steps can you take to strengthen the connection with your horse in the upcoming year?
3. Equipment, Time, and Facilities
- Did you encounter any challenges with the logistics of horse care, such as boarding, transportation, or scheduling?
- Were there any facility improvements or changes that positively or negatively affected your riding, training, or just being with your horse?
- How well did your current setup meet the needs of both you and your horse?
- What adjustments or changes in logistics can enhance the overall efficiency and enjoyment of your equestrian activities in the next year?
Review Your Riding Journal
If you are not already, let this week be the week you begin tracking your riding. Trust me, when you begin to do this, you will have a powerful tool to use when you are completing your review. You can keep track of your horse’s training progress, note achievements, and identify areas for improvement.
When you begin to regularly record training sessions, noting exercises, challenges, and successes, you can use that knowledge going forward. By reflecting on the effectiveness of different training approaches, you can set your goals for the future – and increase your chances of making them happen!
Using Your Review to Plan Ahead
Once you have a clear idea of what the previous 12 months looked like in your riding, you are then ready to begin mapping out the coming 12… And you can do it in a way that will work for you and your horse.
Reviewing your year may seem time-consuming and not all that helpful, but I hope that you will take my advice and give it a go for you and your horse this week!
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