Start the New Year off with a bang!
There’s no better time to set goals, then at the beginning of a new year. And while many may be planning to kick a bad habit, join a gym, or pick up a hobby, horse riders have their own version of resolutions. Our dreams and goals almost always include our four-legged equine friends. Now’s your opportunity to get you and your horse ready for your best year yet!
Ride More Frequently
Don’t let winter sabotage your riding. Develop a schedule that will motivate you to ride even during the colder months. A riding journal can be helpful in keeping the momentum going. Jot down what you’re working on, your struggles, and how your horse is improving. More than anything, make riding a priority. Let your family know the days you plan on heading to the barn and stick to it!
Keep Your Horse Sharp
Now is your chance to teach your horse something new. Use the start of this New Year to focus on expanding your horse’s knowledge. Teach them a trick, work through a difficult movement, or fine-tune a previously learned maneuver. You may even want to evaluate your horse’s ground manners. With patience and consistent work, your horse should stand patiently, yield away from pressure, and respond quickly to voice commands.
Become a Better Rider
So often we focus on the horse, but neglect our own education. Even experienced riders can benefit from another set of eyes. Make it a goal to attend clinics or receive a lesson every once in a while. Your riding skills will improve immensely! We all know that a better rider makes for a better horse.
You don’t have to limit yourself to just lessons though. Watch videos and read books or magazines on horsemanship. Ask your trainer if you can watch a few of their rides. There are endless opportunities to learn, if you’re willing to put yourself out there.
Give Back to the Horse World
This season is the perfect reason to give back. There are so many ways you can make a difference in the lives of horses and other riders. For starters, many horse rescues are on the lookout for volunteers. They need people to muck stalls, ride and train horses, organize events, and gather supplies. Chances are they could greatly use someone with your unique skillset.
Another approach could be to welcome a newbie to the barn. We all started off as beginners. Why not share your knowledge and help someone learn their way around the farm. You might just make a new friend in the process!
Enjoy Every Moment
So many times, we fall into barn drama or get wrapped up in crazy expenses. Take time this year to slow down and enjoy each and every moment. Remember why you started riding! Fancy saddles are nice, but don’t allow the glitz and glam to steal your joy. Sneak away and enjoy some quiet time at the barn. I love using these moments to bond better with my horse. How about you?
This New Year is here! Get ready by setting some resolutions that you can actually accomplish. Don’t let 2019 pass you by without making some of your horse dreams a reality!
**Emily Fought discovered her passion for horses early on in life. When she isn’t writing about them, you can find her in the barn riding. Although Emily’s background is in dressage, she enjoys cross-training and is an avid trail rider. She resides in Northwestern Pennsylvania with her husband and small dog. Together, they own and operate Humblewood Farm.