When you think about your training plan for your horse, what does it entail? A riding lesson with a trainer? 30 minute/day rides a few times a week? Do you have a specific program you follow? Is there a group you ride with? Does your horse have a lesson a week or you? How many hours a day is spent on conditioning your horse?
The answers to these questions may vary on you, your horse, their level of training and your goals. However the one thing ALL riders should have in common is a PLAN. A plan gives you guidance, goals, measures to monitor progress, and overall help make you reach your goals faster.
The first step is to set your goal. You should set a short term 30 day goal, a 6 month goal and a ultimate performance goal for your horse. Setting this objective goal gives you a place to always work towards. It helps you from getting lost in the day to day routine or individual set backs. Horses are athletes, riding is a sport. We need to start treating it as such. If you have a goal to loose 20 lbs and get in better shape- you need a plan for the gym and your diet. You need to set specific guidelines for your self. If you set out a specific diet and daily exercise plan you are significantly more likely to reach your goal faster by being more efficient. Without a plan, you may head to the gym for a 1 hour workout. Then you spend half the time walking around trying to think of what to do vs heading in with a plan and knocking out the workout. A plan makes you more efficient. We need to start giving plans to our horse training. We need to treat it like the athletic sport it should be.
You need a plan for your growth as a rider. This could be discipline specific, personal fitness goals, balance and body control work or working on having better feel for your horse. Your horse needs a plan for improvement. This could be discipline specific, body control specific, cardiovascular conditioning, or physical therapies to correct some weak spots. These are all different but important goals for growth. It also means you may need more than one professional helping you to achieve your goals.
Create a plan for you and your horse to get better faster. Set goals to achieve towards and then take the steps to make that goal happen. Be specific and set out the baby steps to get you closer. Journaling is a great way to set out you and your horses work out routine, document how the sessions went and adjust goals along the way. Its also fun to be able to look back on what you have accomplished.
“A goal without a plan is a wish”