What this episode is all about & how it can help you plan your:-
- Goal – especially that is it ‘do-able’
- Calendar – figuring out what days you actually can ride this month
- Themes – the stepping-stones that will take you to your goal
- Exercises – what you will actually be doing each and every ride
I want you to be honest with me here… If I was to compare the picture that is you and your horse from this day last year, to todays picture, would there be a positive change? Is it evident that you have both made progress in your training and your relationship?
In this episode of the Daily Strides Podcast I give the actual step by step process I recommend riders go through when creating a plan for their progress on a month by month basis. If we were to work together, actually in the arena with me as your trainer / coach / instructor, there will be a plan we are working on.
We would have sat down, discussed things. Figured out what you want, first and foremost, and what we can do to get you there in the most enjoyable way possible for you and your horse. This ‘plan’ would also be ‘do-able’.
Riders who are working alone are not doing this for themselves. They are ‘thumb-sucking‘ when it comes to what to work on each ride. This is leading to, at best, mediocre results for all their hard work.
Creating a ‘do-able’ plan does not have to be difficult or hard. It also does not have to be time-consuming or challenging.
Here is a basic template you can use, month on month, to ensure that the ‘picture’ you see today will be very different from the ‘picture’ you will see this time next year.
Your Goal – It Must Be Do-Able
Do-Able. It is a great word, isn’t it? It is also a word that a lot of riders seem to forget about when it comes to setting goals within specific timelines! They choose monthly goals that, given where they currently are in their riding or training, are just not realistic.
In my experience, riders tend to overestimate what they can achieve in a month and underestimate what they can achieve in a year…
Tony Robbins said this about people, using a one year and 10 year time frame. The good news is that, as a rider, you don’t need 10 years to make big changes a reality. You can do so, so much in one year. It all starts with becoming realistic about those monthly goals.
Most people will tell you to ‘think big’ when it comes to your goals. I am going to tell you the opposite for your monthly ones. Think ‘steps’ not great big bounds forward.
Think simple and do-able. It is the smaller stepping stone. The ‘big goal’ is your yearly one. I am also going to suggest writing 4 or 5 different ideas for this first ‘do-able’ goal. You are not going to choose one just yet; the goal will depend on your schedule…
Your Calendar – Planning Out What Days You Can Ride
Next step is actually getting your calendar out and having fun with markers. Okay, you don’t actually have to do that, but I highly recommend it ;). Get your calendar out and literally cross off the days where you cannot ride. The work trips. Or the hospital and doctor appointments. Perhaps it is days where you have project deadlines for work.
Crossing off the days you cannot ride, allows you to quickly see what days you actually can ride. This allows you to create a plan that actually works with your current schedule.
Ideally, try to ride four days a week. Four is greater than three and it is a great number to really move forward in your riding. Four days a week means sixteen rides a month. Sixteen opportunities to move things forwards towards your goal for you and your horse.
If you can only ride two or even once a week, make that work for you as well. The important thing is that you are actually specifying the days that you have decided that riding is one of the top priorities for that day.
From here, have a look at your list of potential goals. Choose the one that is actually ‘do-able’ with your upcoming schedule. This way, you are setting yourself up for success, rather than disappointment.
Your Themes – They Will Take You Towards Your Goal
Now that you have decided on the goal and you have identified the days you can actually work on making it happen, you need to break that goal down. I suggest having two different ‘themes’ that will, when worked on individually, come together to help you get to the goal.
Horse riding, like most things, usually requires more than one thing to happen in order to see results. Working on two themes simultaneously will help you increase your chances of making your goal a reality.
The themes must be ‘do-able’ and they must be something you are currently doing at a basic level. Choosing two themes that both involve you and your horse to learn something new will only confuse you and slow you down. Think simple and ‘do-able’…
Think of the themes as being the details that will take you to the goal. Two paths that are running side by side in order to create the path to take you to the goal.
Your Exercises – What You Will Actually Be Doing Each Ride
Once you have decided on your ‘themes’, you can enjoy choosing the exercises that will focus on those themes. Many riders find they hit a wall at this point. You might feel that you can’t think of one exercise, never mind four! You will, I promise you.
In fact, often simply allowing the ideas to percolate for a while will result in you having a flash of inspiration for the first exercise. And then the floodgates open. You will have 6, 10, 12 exercises that you want to work on.
Rein it in… Choose the four most do-able.Two exercises for each theme consisting of a longer one for rides of 40+ minutes and a shorter exercise for those days where time is not on your side.
However, don’t discard the other ideas for exercises. Make a note of them as you can will more than likely use them in the coming months. Having a ‘back up’ is also a good idea if you find that, two weeks in, things are not quite going to plan as you wanted. Swap one of your exercises out for one of the ‘wait list’ exercises.
Remember that most riding exercises or schooling exercises are often very similar. It is the filter we approach them with that changes. Same exercises with different variations.
Your Plan is Ready – Now Go Follow It!
The final step is to plot the exercises into your calendar or schedule. Once you have this done, you will have a plan for the month ahead. If you find yourself feeling tired or less than inspired on a particular day, it won’t matter as you already know what you are doing.
Taking action on your plan is essential to actually achieving the goal. It is the consistent deliberate actions that moves things forward for riders who make progress. By following this system, you too can make progress in your riding.
I have a free audio download ready and waiting for you HERE which goes into more details on all the above. It is a recording of a live online call that I hosted where I took riders through the process of planning their rides for a month. It goes into more detail on each step and, hopefully, will help to inspire you to take action. You can download it HERE .
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