Time to Ride
We’re at the time of year where the nights are now longer and darker, and it can be difficult to maintain motivation to ride and keep our horses fit and strong. So how can we do the best for our horses and fit in time to ride? Here are my top tips…
Plan your week ahead to help you identify spaces or gaps where you could ride. It could be early morning, late at night, lunchtime, whenever!
- Select the activity
Sometimes, it’s completely impractical to school in the arena, so you might find that hacking is a better option. Consider avoiding hacking out on the roads during rush hour! Try working your horse from the ground to mix up his schooling; lunging, long reining, or in-hand work.
- Ride with friends
Schedule time to meet and ride with friends; this makes you accountable and more likely to get on and ride your horse.
- Share yard jobs
Collaborate with your friends on the yard to get yard jobs done to help each other out. You might do hay & water in the field for them, while they ride, and vice versa.
- Hire an indoor arena
If you’re lucky enough to have transport, book a slot at a local equestrian centre & make use of their indoor arena. It will give you something to focus on and aim towards, while giving you the opportunity to get on with some schooling.
- Set yourself a goal
Don’t keep goal-setting to the outdoor competition season, give yourself something to aim for over the tough winter months to measure your progress.
- Try a different discipline
TREC, arena eventing, dressage, western riding, whatever you choose is fine! Even better if you go with friends.
- Keep a log
This can really help to keep you motivated. By keeping a record of all your riding sessions and your progress, you’ll stay focussed and make the most of your riding time.
- Be flexible
Don’t get stressed if the weather gets in the way; there’s little to be gained by trying to school your horse in a hurricane! As long as you keep ticking along on other days, the odd day off won’t do you or your horse any harm.
- Go to a lecture/demo
Sometimes it can be really inspiring to watch and listen to a professional rider. You can pick up some great ideas and techniques, which you can go and try with your own horse.
- Have lessons with an instructor
Finding the right instructor can sometimes be different, but when you find the right one, it can be hugely motivating, and can keep you and your horse on track.
- Wear the right clothing
There’s nothing more miserable than being cold and wet-through. Invest in some decent riding gear and you’ll feel much better about getting in the saddle.
- Get help
If you’re really struggling to find time to ride, get some help! You could think about changing your livery package or finding a local groom to come & do your yard jobs to allow you time to ride.
Whatever your circumstances, there is always a way to make the most of the time with your horse. Be proactive, and think outside the box; your horse will thank you for it!