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.
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?