Make Yours a Positive New Year
Have you ever wondered who actually decided New Year was all about making yourself miserable?! Why should you give something up only to give in two days later and end up feeling more miserable than you were before you started? Why not turn things around this year and start 2013 with a positive resolution?
When it comes to horses there is no easier way to create tension than trying too hard or starting a battle. Saying no is by far the easiest way to do both! Why not set yourself a new goal this year? Try something you’ve always wanted to have a go at, something you perhaps thought was beyond your capabilities – or your horse’s.
What’s stopping you having a go at anything? The thought you might get it wrong? Many riders set themselves goals that are unrealistic – perfection is a nice idea and something to aim for but it isn’t essential! If you get something wrong will it really matter? Get something wrong and you’ll rarely do the same thing again. Eventually you’ll only be left with the right way – right?!
If you’re learning to ride why not challenge yourself to riding a dressage test by the end of this year? Introductory A doesn’t ask you to canter and is within any rider’s capabilities. You’ve got a whole year ahead of you to learn it too!
Have you always steered clear of jumping? Why not give it a go? Start off trotting and cantering over poles to get your confidence and balance and then build up to a small jump by the end of the summer. Nothing has to be done overnight and even if jumping really isn’t ‘your thing’ having a go at a something small won’t have you reaching for an air bag and it might just make you relax a bit more on the flat!
Riders with more experience are often the worst perfectionists. Once you can achieve a fair degree of success at putting a horse on the bit it’s easy to trot along in a bubble of ‘niceness’ and not dare to spoil things. What’s stopping you having a go at half pass? Counter canter? Or shoulder-in? Start now by getting your horse listening to your leg aids. Read up and watch videos on line about your chosen movement so by the time you get to ride it you really understand what you’re asking him to do.
If you have a young horse plan ahead. Look at the whole year not the next week. Work on one pace per month – sharpen up transitions between them all on another. Stop pressuring yourself and thinking you should have done all these things yesterday! If by the end of the year you have a horse that’s moving forward into a good contact and one that’s straight you’ll have achieved what many riders never do!
Whatever you choose to do if things get tense stop and ask yourself why what you’re asking your horse to do has to be done by tomorrow. This is your hobby but it can often become too much like hard work. Take your time, plan ahead and make 2013 the year you really started to enjoy your horse.
Happy New Year.