8 New Year's Resolutions Every Rider Should Have
2018 is here, and if you’re like me you’ve probably wasted a whole month of the USEF year, putting off any self-improvement until the New Years that the rest of the world celebrates. But hey, it’s better late than never, right? So, here are 8 New Year’s resolutions every rider should have.
1. Drop those stirrups
If you saw Taylor St. Jacques go at the Dover Saddlery/USEF Hunter Seat Medal finals this past year, without her stirrups, you’ll understand this goal. Riding without your stirrups can be the worst, but there’s so much to benefit from it. However, I wouldn’t go ripping your stirrups off right away. That’s how you fail to achieve your resolution. Start slow, maybe 5 minutes a day for the first week, and build up from there. I promise this will make no stirrup November much less painful.
2. Get to the gym
It’s so easy to think that just riding your horse is enough exercise for the day. However, this is far from true. Athletes from every other sport are training constantly, working on strength and cardio fitness, apart from their practices. So, why is riding any different? We’re an Olympic sport too. So, ggo hit the weights, jump on the treadmill, or if that’s too boring, try a boxing class, or swimming. Improving your overall fitness will make your riding easier and goals much more achievable.
3. Dress for Success
This goes for you and your horse. If you look good in the show ring, you’ll feel good. Well fitting clothing and tack helps your trainer see your position, and helps your horse perform better. So, go grab yourself a new, embroidered baby pad and a fancy stitched belt, and get yourself and your partner looking your best every time you step in the ring.
4. Learn you something
I am constantly learning new things in the horse world. There are so many disciplines, so many types of horses, and so many different ways to care for our partners, that there really is a never-ending wealth of knowledge for us to obtain. So, make a goal to learn something new, at least once a week, to improve your overall horsemanship. Take a lesson, go to a clinic, or read a book. You never know when you’re going to need to know something.
5. Try something new
It is so easy for us to get stuck in our ways, but how will you ever know if you like something if you never try it? In the horse world there are 1000 different training techniques, tack options, and products to try. So if you find yourself unhappy with something, or you feel that your progress as a rider has plateaued, maybe it’s time for something new.
6. Just do it!
There is no time like now. Seriously, stop procrastinating. Drop those stirrups today, clean your bridle today, stop being scared and go to that show, you are ready! Stop saying you’ll do things tomorrow; otherwise, it’ll never get done. Doing things now gives you more time in the future to do others. So, stop putting your progress on hold, and start getting things done.
7. Take care of yourself
You are the most important part of your own riding career. If you’re not healthy, your partnership with your horse isn’t healthy. This begins with simply eating right. So next time you go out to get Mexican with all your barn friends, maybe opt for the taco salad, or just make healthier choices throughout the week, so that you can eat that burrito-mex with steak when you go out.
8. Think positive
Sometimes your mind is your own worst enemy. I am constantly being held back by fears that really stem from one bad experience. I challenge you to think of the best thing that could happen, rather than the worst; otherwise, you’ll be stuck in the same rut, until you overcome your own negative thinking. Try reading a book on positive thinking, seeing a sport psychologist, or even trying a power pose before you go in the ring . However you choose to change your mindset, simply thinking positive will help you continue in your riding career.