What time of year might you ask? Well, for me, it's my birthday week! For the rest of the world, it's more like summer winding down, which for many people, means getting back into work routines and school routines.
So what you might say?! This time of year happens every year, so what's the big deal? The big deal is that if you take advantage of it, this can be a great time of year for you and your horse.
Nicer Temperatures and Fewer Flies
The weather is cooler and fewer flies around the farm make life a lot more pleasant for all of us. You don't have to get up first thing in the morning or stay out half the night to ride your horse without getting heat exhaustion. I'd say those two things are pretty positive.
Going Back to School is About Getting Back Into a Routine
If you are an adult and not going back to school, I'm sure seeing summer go makes you a little sad. But now is the time to get back to the grind and back into a routine!
Horses thrive on routine (and so do most people). That being said, use the upcoming fall season to your best advantage. Get into a routine and make some goals and plans for how to make them happen!
Everyone's Goals Will Be Different
We can use mine as an example, even though they are sort of only indirectly horse related. I sustained a TB (brain injury) on March 13 and have since developed post-concussive syndrome, so I'm in the midst of a long recovery.
My goal for the fall is to get comfortable walking with my walker outside and get back to working a few days a week. Obviously, beginner lessons aren't an option since they are to hands on, but I plan to get back to teaching my more advanced students that don't need my help on the ground.
My plan to make this happen is to continue practicing using my outdoor walker and to continue doing my physical therapy exercises. Most importantly though, to start reintegrating myself back into the barn atmosphere since it is very intimidating to me being back there after all these months off.
My support system for this is my boyfriend, who understands how I feel, knows what I want to accomplish, and is going to support me in doing so, even if that does involve a little pushing every now and then.
What Should Your Goals Be?
The possibilities and scenarios are endless really. If you spent most of the summer out of the saddle, your goal may be as simple as to get back into good physical riding condition. So your plan would maybe involve an exercise routine or be riding without stirrups.
If you worked hard and showed your horse every weekend all summer, maybe your goal for the fall should be to decompress and relax, to just have fun and bond with your horse again.
Maybe you hope to show in the springtime so want to get a jump start on new skills in case winter weather slows you down for a while.
You Don't Have to Own a Horse or Even be Involved With Them Yet to Set a Goal
That is the great thing about horsemanship. It's a journey. We all get on it at different times. Some stay on forever (me) and some enjoy it for a little and then get off.
If you ride in a lesson program, your trainer will be able to guide you in setting goals and a plan to achieve them.
If you are a kid still dreaming of convincing your parents to let you take lessons, ask for odd jobs to earn money to help pay for lessons. Research local farms that have beginner programs and read as many horse books as you can. That way, when the time comes, you will be more than prepared. Your parents will also be impressed with your responsibility!
If you are a working adult who always dreamed about getting involved with horses, treat yourself and look into a local place to trail ride. Fall is perfect trail riding weather. Volunteer at a local horse rescue. They always are looking for help. If you want to take lessons, look into local farms with adult riding programs. There are many who start riding as adults, so don't be afraid to give lessons a try. You are not alone.
If you interested in horses, but not sure in what capacity yet, use the fall and winter to learn as much as you can. Go to county fairs and attend horse shows. Research local farms and see what they offer. Read about horses in books and magazines and figure out how you'd like to begin your journey with horses. Whether it is a big way or a small way, you will be glad you did.
Hints to Help You Achieve Them
Tell other people about it! Telling people will get them excited about it with you. They will ask you about how things are going and inspire you to push forward.
Write it down! Written goals seem a lot more legit if you ask me. Write your goals where you will be forced to see them. If you are an adult, a post-it note at work or reminder on your phone. If you own a horse, keep a written copy with your things at the barn. Make sure your instructor knows so they can hold you accountable. If you're a kid, tell your parents. They want to know what you are interested in and will be proud of your maturity making goals and working towards them.
Just a Few More Things
The fall is time for the beautiful weather that we should all take advantage before the cold of winter sets in.
We are all on our own individual journey with horses for our own individual reasons. A life with horses is no different than a life pursuing any other passion. If you set goals, work hard and hold yourself accountable, you can do whatever you set your mind to with horses.
If you are well on your way on the journey, I think it is great that you have found the horse life. There really is nothing like it!
If you are just embarking on your journey with horses, I'm glad you have decided to. You won't regret it.
Whether you are already on the crazy horse train or are looking to get involved, feel free to contact me. I'd be glad to help you with your riding plans and goals. If you are just now considering getting involved, I'd be just as happy to give you guidance as well.
Best of luck to everyone on their fall horsey endeavors!