Just do it. Sounds simple right?
Well, for many of us it’s not quite as easy as that. Whether you feel like you physically can’t achieve your goals or you’re just lacking in motivation, there are several things you can do and live by in order to get those small steps closer to being where you want to be by the end of 2018. Of course, where there are horses involved there’s always a fair amount of unpredictability and inconviniences that can get in the way, or delay us from doing what we want to do and some of this can be unavoidable. But, as long as you start out with realistic goals that you can adapt to your current situation if need be, then there should be no reason why you can’t achieve what you want this year. For more advice on goal setting, please refer back to my earlier blog post: ‘Plan Your Riding For 2018: a simple 4 step guide.’ So, In the spirit of this post, let’s not delay starting…
Tip 1: Book things in advance.
After you have your schedule of events you’d like to attend with your horse written out clearly and decisively, go ahead and book and enter the things for the month you’re on. So, book your January clinics, arrange your lessons with your instructor and enter all the Janurary comps you’d like to do. I know what your thinking, this can be risky as what happens if your horse loses a shoe the night before the event that you’ve already paid for? Well, unfortunatly that is a risk you’re just going to have to take. These things happen, as you know. But, booking in advance means that you HAVE to do it. You’ve already paid and secured your place, so there’s no reason why you can’t go now. It gives you a solid aim to train towards, and stops you flaking if you feel like you aren’t ready, and also stops you forgetting your riding plans and booking something else that day. If it seems too daunting to book everything at once, maybe start by booking the first two things on your list? A word of advice though – things like clinic get booked up fast as there’s often limited slots, so booking early is key here.
Tip 2: Don’t cancel based on the weather forecast.
I’ve done this one too many times. Seen a dreadful forecast the night before, agreed to cancel my plans for a hack, or a lesson or whatever, and then woken up that morning to a perfectly clear day! This is very annoying, and so I’ve now vowed to wait until the actual day to cancel any plans due to bad weather. Of course the weather sometimes is throwing a complete hooley, and so you do have to call off whatever it was you had planned, but more often than not, if you just waited to see for yourself what the morning will bring you may wake up to a pleasent surprise…
#side tip: if you do have to cancel, make sure you arrange another date STRAIGHT AWAY.
Tip 3: Plan things with other people.
We all get more motivation, but more helpful still – an increased sense of obligation, when we make plans with other people. Picture this: instead of thinking to yourself “I fancy going out for a hack today”, then ambling up to the stables at a leisurely place, feeling kinda tired after mucking out and not loving the idea of grooming your mud ridden mount for twenty minutes, before plodding round the same block you do every week; you could plan to ride with someone else, at your yard or nearby, and rush to get to the yard for 9 o’clock so you have time to groom and look presentable before heading out at your arranged time of 9:30, and having a more enjoyable and longer ride. Personally, as well, I find people are less nervous when they’re spending the ride chit chatting away as your focus is shifted away from what your horse is doing.
Similarly, if your goal is to do with jumping, plan with another livery or a friend to have a day where you can both help eachother – one person jumps and the other adjusts the jumps and gives moral support, and then swap so you both get a good session. This also takes away the excuse that everyone finds of not wanting to set up and put away the jumps, or have to get off if you knock one or want to change the height. An easy fix!
Tip 4: Have visual motivation.
My last tip may sound silly, but I promise you it works! Find images, articles, blog posts – anything that shows and descrbes people doing what you want to do. Look at and read things like this everyday so that you’re always reminded of what you want to achieve, and why you want to. Make a vision board online or manually stick it on your wall. Set your desktop background and lock screen to images of your favourite eventer or show jumper, or even of yourself competing or jumping something you were really proud of. This will both encourage you and act as a reminder for you to follow your dreams.
Following your horsey dreams is so important. So much time and money is spent on these wonderful animals, and why? Becuase they add endless joy and value to your life. Working towards goals has such a positive affect on your time with your horse, and it means that you will eventually be able to achieve both your, and your horse’s ultimate potential. And doesn’t your horse deserve that as much as you do?