How many times a week do you ride on average? I know only too well how ‘life’ can just get in the way. How other things just seem to crop up and demand your attention.
In fact, I have seen how even with a scheduled riding lesson, most adults find it difficult to keep that appointment in their calendar. This is often due to unforeseen circumstances. It leads to feelings of frustration in all involved parties: the rider, the instructor, and the horse.
Let’s have a quick look at a few action steps you can put into practice today that will increase your chances of actually getting to the barn and into the saddle more often.
- Schedule time with your horse
- Make that time non-negotiable
- Pack and plan ahead
- Ask for help if necessary
- Keep motivated and inspired
- Set yourself a goal or challenge
So let’s go through each of these in a little more detail.
1. Schedule Time for Horse Riding
We all have a schedule, whether it be in our heads, in our journals, or on our phone, p.c, iPad. Each day there are certain things we have to get done, our tasks. The thing is, we will often put aside other projects in favor of those which we prioritize. In order to make your horse riding a priority, you need to begin to fit it into your schedule. This is so that other ‘less important’ things can work around it, and not vice versa.
Remember when you are scheduling your time for horse riding to allow for all of the things. The drive to and from the stables, tacking up, warming up, cooling down. Also the general care of your horse.
2. Make This Time Non-Negotiable
Now, this can often be difficult for us to do, particularly if we have other responsibilities elsewhere. Family, business, work, all demand both time and energy from us. However, making time for yourself and something you enjoy is also an important part of continuing to show up for the other things. Particularly if you want to do well and be of greater service to these other areas of your life.
Block out the time on the office calendar, there is no need to tell others what you are doing with your time. Switch off your phone or, if you really do need to stay in contact, put it onto ‘Do not disturb’ or ‘Silence’ mode. You can then monitor who you speak or communicate with within that time block.
Lastly, assess every so-called ‘Emergency’ that you have to deal with. Often, these things are only taking your attention and focus from your goals, in order to facilitate someone else’s agenda.
I realize this sounds a bit uncaring initially. However, trust me! Once you begin to really give thought to what is an emergency and what can wait two or three hours without the world ending, you will begin to notice a feeling of freedom. It will also give you a sense of more control in your life.
3. Pack and Plan Ahead
This is a no-brainer, but it often surprises me how many people fail to do this. Pack your riding gear the night before. Then either put it in the car or by the front door to pick it up as you leave. Have your tack cleaned and ready to go, again packed and waiting. Always have a raincoat or jacket in the car if necessary, as well as your helmet and gloves.
Boots are another thing to have prepared. In fact, depending on where you live, you could keep a pair of Hunters or similar in the boot of your car at all times. Then, even if you forget your actual riding boots, you are still good to go! The other thing that I recommend packing ahead is a snack or food.
Often, after a busy day at work we feel tired and hungry… Those feelings being to put those ‘oh I will just ride tomorrow’ thoughts into your head! Be prepared for it!
4. Ask for Help if Necessary
Often, no matter what we do, we still cannot seem to make enough time available to do everything. All of the things that we feel are expected of us. You need to begin accepting this and looking for ways others can help you.
For example, bringing your horse in from the paddock and tacking up. This takes time that perhaps you don’t have. Ask your barn manager if they can perhaps have your horse in and ready for you on certain days and times. They will probably charge a small fee; remember now their time is being spent, not yours, which makes this fee only fair. Or, ask your spouse or partner to arrange to cook dinner two nights a week… Even have take out once a week!
Begin to look at your schedule with a fresh perspective for things that you are currently doing, but which others could easily do for you… Then ask for help!
5. Set Yourself a Riding Goal or Challenge
I know, it sounds often childish (memories of my parents playing the “Go fetch my shoes…. I’ll time you!” come rushing back!). But, it often works. There are some great Apps that you can download and use. Now, while not actually for horse riding, they work the same.
Nike Running allows you to set challenges that are supposed to be completed under your own steam, running. But, this app can easily be used for riding, allowing you to clock your ‘workouts’ time-wise and set goals to spend a certain amount of time in the saddle each week. You can also get the Equestrian Fitness Challenge that I have created. You can use it while you ride to help keep you accountable, moving forward.
I also have a free riding planner you can use HERE. In there you will learn how to take one exercise and make it work for a month in your riding.
The most extreme ‘challenge’ that I can imagine is actually entering you and your horse into an event or competition. The date is set, you have spent the money… Great motivation to get to the yard and into the saddle!
6. Stay Motivated and Inspired
This is different for everyone. What inspires one person, can turn the next person off completely! Sit down at some point over the coming days and try to recall what makes you excited and eager to get into the saddle. Then look for ways to incorporate more of this into your daily life.
Whether it be reading your favorite magazine, watching the showjumping on the T.V, beautiful photos of dressage on Pinterest… Whatever floats your boat!
Often the challenges or goals that we spoke about in point 5 are enough to make us jump up out of bed each morning, rearing to go. But more often than not, we need a little extra something to help keep moving the ball down the field or the horse around the arena!
Podcasts (like the Daily Strides Podcast) are also a great way, as you can listen to them while you make the journey to work or the barn, imagining what you will do when you actually ride, creating excitement all the way.
Another idea for creating motivation to ride is cleaning your tack! Seriously… How well does it feel to ride your beautiful horse, all kitted out in pristine tack? The little things :-)
Make Time For Horse Riding This Week
Have you any helpful tips or ideas that our other readers can use to increase their time in the saddle? If so, we would love to hear about them in our free online community for equestrians HERE.
I am also going to add links to other episodes and blog posts on this topic below. They will help you create more time for horse riding in your life.
So, take some time today. Review your schedule and look at where you can take more time to invest in yourself and your horse! You will both thank you for it!
Additional Resources for Equestrians
- Free Planner for Riders; One Exercise Multiple Ways
- Planning Your Rides – Part 1 Fun
- Planning Your Rides – Part 2 Partnership
- Planning Your Rides – Part 3 Training & Developing
- Planning Your Rides – Part 4 FREE Exercise & Plan
- Stop Wasting and Start Investing Time with Your Horse
- What’s Your Number in Your Riding?
- Daily Strides Premium Newsletter
- Lunging for Riding
- Groundwork For Riding
- Connect in the Mindset & Fitness for Equestrians Private Group
- Connect in the Virtual Stable Lounge Private Group