Last year I set out to improve both my skills as a trainer and rider, and subsequently my fitness, and that of my horses. My horses did very well, my skill level rose a bit, but I fell short on my own fitness as it ended up taking the back burner.
My skills are still not peaked at where I had them in 2011 – 2012, but they are getting there. By the end of Summer 2011 this was what I had gained:
The ability to ride bareback and bridle-less with my horse Mac. Pictured we are going slow, but I was able to lope, stop, perform small pattern and circles, and all the basic maneuvers (turn on the haunches and forehand and side-pass). Every time I look at this picture I have a mixture of remorse (for not continuing with what I had accomplished) and excitement (to gain that level of training all over again!)
Back then I was also a lot fitter, and I know I won’t be able to ride like that if I don’t get myself into shape as well. So what did I do? – anyone who know’s me at all will know – I made a list! A plan really, to start working my horses and myself more.
For my own fitness I have joined The Athletic Rider Fit Club which is a Facebook group run Leah Hinnefeld, that provides a 30 day challenge every month. I am currently on day 3 of the February challenge, and am looking forward to seeing some results in my fitness by the end of the “30” days – actually 28 this month 😀 – of course I also have a good meal plan going, and am taking other steps to eat right.
For my horses, I have come up with this 4 week plan to start getting them back in shape, along with it I also have a long term goal list, of everything I want to teach them this year.
This Years Goals
- Regain ability to ride bareback
- Become more fit, so as to be able to keep up with all my other crazy goals!
- Teach Advanced Groundwork: Finished bow, lay-down.
- Regain ability to ride bareback and bridle-less.
- Finish her basic training, and maybe compete by the end of the year.
- Teach to drive
- Teach to ride English
- Train to run barrels, and maybe other gymkhana events.
Attached is my 4 week plan for Maggie and Mac, the other mares will get started later around March.
Training Schedule (Mac and Maggie)
Note that in Maggie’s breakdown it mentions “Watch out for biting” I added this because she has developed this little habit of nipping since she has been off work. I am not sure why it has started this late as she has never even nibbled before, and she will be 5 this year. I have noticed however that she is starting to passively defy Mac, and I think she is playing with the idea of becoming the lead in their little herd of two. And I guess she is thinking it could work on me to, so I have to watch myself and make sure I am quick to correct it so it doesn’t get me in trouble.
What are your plans for yourself and your horse for this year?