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5 Steps To Success In Your Riding

Do you feel a bit stuck? Are you lacking motivation? Would you like to get some positive results and progress with your riding? First of all, you are not alone! We have all been there. As a riding instructor, our job is to help you on your journey and get you ‘unstuck’. We genuinely love seeing our students making progress and building amazing partnerships with their horses. Are you ready to make that positive change? Then read on 🙂 I would love to hear whether these tips worked for you. 

1. Practice GOOD HABITS OFTEN (On & off the horse)

Focus on getting the basics right and do them well as often as you can. Let’s say you want to improve your posture in the saddle. But how many hours do you spend riding each week? And how many hours each week are you not in the saddle? Incorporate your good habits into your daily routine. If you slouch when sitting by the desk or while waiting in a queue, it will be hard to change those habits in the limited amount of time you spend riding. Do you have weak ankles that affect your stability while doing rising trot or jumping? Include a few strengthening exercise in your daily schedule – you can do them while waiting for a bus or for a kettle to boil 🙂 There are lots of little things you can easily slot into your usual daily tasks that will make a big difference to your riding – do a little bit (5 minutes at least few times a week) but do it well. For example try standing on one leg while brushing your teeth – this will challenge your balance and strengthen your legs 🙂

2. Focus on ONE CHANGE at the time

Try to nail down each training session to just one thing you are going to try to get right. Most of us can only improve one thing (or two at best) in each session. Having too many goals can be overwhelming and can lead to frustration. Focus on one thing and DO IT WELL then move on. That does not mean riding the same exercise over and over again though. Let’s say you want to improve your halt so you start with a simple transition from walk next to the wall. Once you can do it well three time in a row, you can progress to doing the same transition away from the wall/fence to check that you can keep straight without the support of a wall/arena fence next to you. You can also use ground poles to help you with straightness. Next you can try it from trot and so on. Before you start your training session, try to think of 3 ways (exercises) how you can approach your training goal and try to come up with an easier and harder version for each so that you can adapt your session depending on how your horses responds to the exercises.

3. REFLECT on your learning

Remember the first time you tried to do a rising trot? Or got behind the wheel for the first time? I don’t know about you but I was really not great at either the first time I did it 🙂 But I bet that now you can do rising trot (or drive) without even thinking about it. We often focus on the things which are not going well and forget about all the things that were really really hard at first but now we do them without thinking or even remembering that we once struggled with them. I would encourage you to keep a journal where you can jot down whatever you are currently working on and then review your notes after a month and then again after a few months. You will be surprised at how many things you found challenging few months back and now you don’t even remember that they were difficult.

4. CELEBRATE success

Don’t just think about all the things you still need to get better at. We all have things to work on. ALL THE TIME. But it is important to enjoy the moments when you can finally get THAT transition or your first flying change or you do your first competition. Again, a journal can be a great idea as you can remind yourself about all the things that you once found hard but now do automatically or with ease. Remembering all the things that you have already achieved will help you get through the next challenge with a much more positive mindset.

5. Be HONEST with yourself

How much time do you commit to your riding? What are your aspirations? What level of skills do you currently have? All of these are important when setting goals and evaluating your progress. Think about what is achievable in terms of how often you ride, where you are at and where you want to get to. Goals should be challenging but also possible to achieve within the timeframe you set for yourself. If you have a busy lifestyle and you can only ride once a week, you might not be able to progress as quickly as someone who rides several horses every day. But that is ok! Because doing your best, within your circumstances, is good enough 🙂

If you are struggling with knowing where you are and how to get to the next goalpost, get some help. Find a riding instructor who understands your aspirations and gives you the skills and confidence to take your riding to the next level. A great riding coach will assess your strengths and weaknesses and they will also create a structured, progressive programme for you to follow. We all need eyes on the ground and a great riding instructor is a much better investment than spending money on a plethora of bits or gadgets.

I hope you found these helpful and I would love to hear from you if you have any specific training questions. And if you are looking for a riding instructor in Hertfordshire to help you get ‘unstuck’, book your first lesson now and let’s start your journey to success.

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