Being a part of a horse show circuit meant that you have tangible goals to strive for. The next highest jump, the next dressage level, improving your time by a few seconds. But for those of us that don’t show, for whatever reason, goals can also help us learn more and become better athletes.
So let’s say you want to improve your horse’s skills, no matter the discipline. Your goals might be to:
- Take 4 clinics with four instructors in a year. Audit as many as you can, also!
- Take a few private lessons a month with your trainer instead of group lessons.
- Take a dressage lesson every month, or even more frequently - it doesn’t matter what type of saddle you ride in. Dressage is the basis of all other disciplines.
- Ride a trail weekly if you normally school in the ring. Ride in the ring if you normally trail ride.
- Switch saddles once a week to learn a new discipline.
- Play around with cavaletti! These are such fun and can help lots of horses balance and engage.
But what about improving your skills as a rider?
- Ride as many new horses as you can per month.
- Take the stirrups away at least once a week! Or even more often!
- Try bareback trotting.
- Read one book a month about riding techniques.
But what about improving your fitness as a rider?
- Start tracking your steps! There are tons of smartphone apps out there to help you. If you already track your steps, increase your daily minimum.
- Add one fitness class per week. If you already have a fitness routine, try one class that’s out of your comfort zone.
- Instead of riding your horse on a trail, take him for a hand walk on the trail. You will get a sense of how challenging some terrain can be, and both of you get a workout.
- Try yoga. There are many yoga breathing techniques that can help any anxieties at the barn.
What are your goals for this new year at the barn?