The new year is here, which means it's time to take a deep breath, dust off the New Years celebration confetti, and decide on your riding goals for 2019. We've created a few resolutions of our own to keep us grounded and motivated as we take on new challenges both in and out of the saddle!
Keep a ride journal
- Keeping track your rides at home and at shows is a great way to track progress, and the beginning of a new show year is a great time to start. Write down the good and the not-so-good from every ride so you won’t forget all the little details that made it shine or that you need to work on. You’ll be able to look back on these entries later when you’re struggling with what to focus on for your next ride, or for a little pick-me-up when you’re going through a rough patch. Don't forget to write down how every ride makes you feel, not just the movements you accomplish or the ribbons you earn. This sport IS all about having fun, after all! Our friends over at View Halloo make a great product just for equestrians. We're also a big fan of Rifle Paper Co.'s great big planner - take a look!
- Get out that label maker, its time to get your stuff together. Tag your bridles, blankets and girths, label your boots, saddle pads, brushes…everything that isn’t nailed down needs to have your name on it. Why? Because stuff gets lost! Especially if you ride at a large show barn where things co-mingle in common space. Not only does it make it much easier for you to track down your own tack later, but labeling your horses equipment also helps other people identify it and put it away for you. Making things easier for everyone is always appreciated, no matter how big or small your barn is! This goes for your horses feed and supplements too. Label all of your bottles, tubs and containers with their name and dosing instructions, and remember to update these should your horses needs change. Make a vow to get organized and stay organized in 2019!
Lose the stirrups
- Every fall we’re bombarded with #NoStirrupNovember, but we all know riding without irons is more beneficial to you and better of your horses back if you do a little bit year-round. Make a plan to ride without stirrups (or even better, bareback!) once a week - your trainer will thank you! It's also a great way to mix up your rides so your horse doesn't get ring sour and bored with their normal routine. If you've never ridden bareback before, start out doing a lot of walking and gradually add in trot and canter work as you start to feel more confident and balanced. This is a good thing to keep track of in that riding journal you’re going to start keeping, yeah? If you're looking for a stellar bareback pad, Thinline always has our vote. So nix the stirrups or lose the saddle completely - either way, changing up your normal routine has benefits for both you AND your horse!
Learn a new skill
- The beautiful thing about this sport is that there are ALWAYS new things for us to learn. Make it your goal to learn something new once a month - anything from packing feet to clipping, lunging, bandaging and beyond. Bribe your barn friends, grooms, trainer or farrier with baked goods and ask them to teach you something you've always wanted to learn how to do! This can extend to new disciplines as well. Take that polo lesson you’ve been dreaming about, catch a ride on your friend’s trail horse, or visit a breed show and ask a billion questions. There’s always room to become a better horsewoman (or horseman). Ask questions constantly, read voraciously, and make a resolution to never stop learning this year.
Mainfest gratitude & positivity
- Set the tone for your year with a commitment to focusing on positivity in everything you do and gratitude for the opportunity to do it. After every ride, lesson, or round at a show, pick out three positive things that happened and write them down in that riding journal you’ll be keeping. By writing them down you are forcing yourself to focus on the positive takeaways, rather than dwelling on the distances you may have missed or movements you may have messed up. Pair this list of positive takeaways with three things you are grateful to have experienced on that particular day. The science behind writing down things for which we are grateful is wide-ranging, but at it's purest form gratitude buoys our spirits, grounds us in the present, and encourages us to treasure every moment. Kick off the new year with a positive state of mind, and who know what amazing things you'll be able to accomplish!