What is Stopping You From Riding More? Part 1

What is Stopping You From Riding More? Part 1

What is Stopping You From Riding More? Part 1

Now, if you answer this with ‘because we’re up to our eyeballs in snow’… Okay, fair enough! However, if you answer this with ‘I don’t know’ or an answer that you, yourself, can quickly tear apart…  This is for you!
So many riders ‘say’ that they want to ride more.  But the difference between the saying and the doing can be a big one.  Which, when you think about how much enjoyment and connection we get from being with our horses, is a terrible pity.
In this episode of the Daily Strides Podcast, we’ll delve into five of the more common obstacles that can prevent more time in the saddle, and chat about how you can overcome them.  Whether it’s time management, inadequate facilities, or the pressure to please others, identifying the specific challenge you are facing is the first step toward a schedule that includes more riding time.

 1. Time Habits

Notice that I did not say ‘a lack of time’. This was intentional.  You see, I think that most riders actually do have the time, but it’s how they are spending their time that causes there to be ‘lack’ when it comes to the ‘time for riding kitty’.  For me, I often find myself doing things that I actually no longer need to or want to spend time doing.  I do them out of habit.  And while, at some point, they definitely were necessary or needed to be done; now… Nope!
Have an honest look at your time habits (I have a free workbook  HEREthat you can download to help you) and see where you can potentially reallocate more time to riding. 
I also think that becoming really clear on your priorities will also help here. Are you devoting time to the things you say are your priorities? A quick review of the past week in your life, and your list of top priorities should clear this up for you and your horse.

 2. Lack of Facilities

Not having the facilities to ride can also be caused by our habits.  Now, I realize that this might sound a little odd initially, but bear with me.  Just like our time, we can fall into these habits around specific areas and places. Maybe it’s a certain barn or stables.  Or a group of riders. Whatever the attraction initially was, the truth is that we become ‘comfortable’ there.  EVEN when that place, group, or facility is no longer serving us!

In fact, just the thought of moving or going somewhere different can fee REALLY uncomfortable, and so we tend to ‘settle’. This is true when it comes to both riding facilites, but can also apply to resources.

So, for example, if lack of time is really an issue, maybe you need to consider moving to a facility where your horse can be closer to the barn or stables. Or where there is someone there to actually bring your horse in and tack him up for you… And I get it that, as riders, we want to do it all ourselves.  But if this is stopping you from riding, it makes sense to begin exploring becoming a little uncomfortable, and making a change to support you now.

 3. Facilities that Don’t Support You

You will outgrow things.  It is inevitable.  The trouble comes if you, intentionally or not, remain tied to a barn, yard, or farm that no longer supports you and your horse in your journey together. Usually, this is where the yard was great initially. It had the right-sized arenas, or suitable trails to help you and your horse on the specific part of the journey…  But now, you have both changed.  Maybe you need a bigger ring or arena.  More jumps or poles.  An actual stable.
There are so many things that change over the course of time with your riding and your training; it makes sense that the facilities you need will also have to change and evolve to continue to support you both going forward.
And this can also work the opposite way.  Having access to only huge open riding areas if you are feeling less than confident can also put a pause on your riding.  Make sure that the facilities you do have access to are truly supporting you and your horse where you are right now in your riding journey.

 4. Not Enough Prep Being Done

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; to make consistent progress in your riding, you MUST have a strategic plan that you are taking consistent action on in your riding and training.  Riding for the sake of riding just will not work in the long run.
Yes, you may have clocked 4 rides this week, each 35 minutes long.  But what did you actually do to move your partnership, or your training forward?  If the answer is ‘I don’t know’, or ‘nothing’, then this is where you need to begin developing your skills as a trainer for your horse!
Planning out your rides will require you to have something to actually work towards (more on that in the next episode, Why Aren’t You Riding More Part 2). And then being able to work backward, ride by ride, to fill in the missing gaps between there and here. If you are feeling a little overwhelmed by this, start with just having a basic intention…
Remind yourself of that intention throughout your ride and bring your focus back when you notice that it has wandered. This is one of the most simple ways to begin measuring the quality of each ride, versus the quantity.

 5. People Pleasing

This one might seem a little odd initially, however, it is a very real block for many riders. I hear from so many riders about the challenge of avoiding the ‘Chatty Cathys’ at the barn or the yard!  You know the person (or people) who seem to always corner you into a fairly mundane chat – and 30 minutes later you’re still stuck there!
If you only have a set amount of time to do all of the things that you want to do with your horse, this is something you will have to become a little more strict on!
My advice is to greet and be lovely to the people. Then simply say something along the lines of ‘I’m going to have to keep moving if I’m to get through everything I have planned for today. You’re more than welcome to walk and talk with me’… Most people won’t!  They will go find someone else to chat to.  But this way, you have given them the option, and you will also get your tasks for the day done as well.
Another way people pleasing can become a block when it comes to riding is to do with the V.I.P.s in your life.  Especially if horses and ridign is not a huge priority for them! And balancing this can be tricky. 
In my experience, the best way to navigate this is to have an open, honest, and friendly conversation.  Explain that, ideally, you would like to spend X amount of the days or hours at the stables each week.  Then also create days and hours during the week that you are committed to them.  The key word there is ‘committed’.  I
If you show up and be present with them when you say you will, it usually results in them becoming more supportive of you and your riding.
If you need help making riding a reoccurring activity in your life again, make sure you check out Returning to Riding; a way that we can work together to get you back in the saddle and back on track to enjoy horse riding again.
Happy Riding

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