I hope you’ve had a lovely Christmas and New Year and perhaps had a little time off to spend with your horse.
This time is probably one of the very few times throughout the year where I really do try to slow down and let my work brain rest a little.
I also find it’s a great time to do a little more research on things I’m interested in for my own ponies so that I can get inspired for the coming year.
I am an avid goal setter within my business. I am also a goal setter within my personal life and in particular my ponies but I tend to make these smaller. Not because I am “unambitious” but because I have a very busy schedule and don’t have a massive desire to do anything huge with my ponies other than enjoy my time with them. That doesn’t mean I don’t make plans or have goals it just that they don’t necessarily have anything to do with competitions. I looking forward to getting on with the first Canter on PoppyMayand hopefully getting out and about with Douglas both driving and possibly some Pony Ploughing (yes really!).
I do however have some lovely clients who have bigger ambitions with their horses than me. These aren’t all professional riders, they are people like you and me who have full time jobs, partners etc. who have that burning desire to succeed in their chosen discipline. We’ve got those aiming to qualify and compete at Dressage Regionals and possibly Nationals, Show riders aiming for HOYS and some aiming to do their first ODE or move up a level at Eventing.
Whichever camp you are in though both levels of aspiration require the same method of planning and then following input of work.
New Year is a great time to look forward to what you would like to achieve in the next 12 months. What would you like to be doing with your horse next summer? Is there a competition you would like to compete at? Maybe you would just like to hack through the forest or ride on the beach?
Sit down with a diary, a notebook whatever now and write that goal down.
Is there a time limit on it? For example if it is competition based. If so, work backwards from that date and plan what you need to be doing at each point to get you to that goal-make sure you have some wiggle room for inevitable days/weeks off due to work, weather, lameness or illness.
Does your horse need bringing back up to fitness first? Do you need bringing back into fitness??
Will you need checks from Saddlers, Physios, and Dentists etc? Do you need to have a conversation with your trainer so that they know what your plans are and can help you work towards them?
Write all of this down and map it out.
Then start to plan the training schedule. I don’t want to discourage you but be realistic. If thus far in your horse ownership to date you have never consistently ridden 6 days per week most of the year don’t imagine you are going to start in 2019 unless you are prepare for the dedication and sacrifice that this will take. If it’s more likely to be 3-5 times per week make your plan based on that.
If like me you have more ground level, less time dependant goals the theory is the same but the time element does not need to be there. I still write down my training plan however the steps are not time dependant and are more in the nature of achieve step 1, once this has been done move on to step 2.
If you think you need to up your game with your riding fitness in 2019 get in touch I would love to help you achieve your goals!