This is for all of you that are busy surviving winter and all the lovely mud, rain, snow and having hay EVERYWHERE that it brings!
If you're like me it's hard to get inspired at this time of year but now is the best time to make plans so I thought I'd share an idea to get you started and help you make the most of the good weather when it comes.
Each year I make a plan for my horse to help motivate me and ensure that we make progress. Without it I find I end up just doing the same things over and over and we both end up getting bored and sometimes even regressing.
I start by thinking of my overall long term goal for us and then look at some realistic goals that I can set for this year that will help us towards it. I find it helps if I have events on certain dates that I can work towards as they keep me on track.
So here's your challenge... Get a piece of paper and write down your long term goal(s) or dream with your horse.
Now think of some realistic goals for this year and write them down.
This will give you something to work towards and keep you motivated. Examples could be... passing a Parelli level or being able to do specifc tasks like ride bridleless or jump etc, or maybe its to go on a riding holiday or fun ride or competition.
Now you have your goals you can start to plan steps to achieving them. I find having events on certain dates to work towards helps keep me focused and gives purpose to what I'm working on. Plan events in your diary that you and your horse will enjoy and will keep you moving towards your goals.
Courses and lessons really help as they keep you progressing by teaching you new things and also keep you motivated to practice and improve ready for your next one.
Other events that you could plan into your calendar might be meeting a friend regularly for a play session or a hack. Whichever events you decide on, make sure you actually put the dates in your diary now so it already motivates you. If you leave things until the last minute before you commit it's too easy to find an excuse not to do it and you tend not to practice as much as you haven't really committed, we all do it! So get your diary out now and put those dates in!
Now comes the easy bit... If you have your goals and events planned just pick 3 or 4 tasks from the Parelli level you are working in and give yourself a time frame to try to be able to do them by. It doesn't matter if you don't quite get there as you can be flexible but you'll be surprised how much you do improve just because you have a strong focus.
As an example... My goals this year are to get Ellie ready for a demo in November, have her be a strong level 4 before September and to have her travelling really confidently and be relaxed enough to eat on the journey by my Peak Adventure Trek in May.
Events I have planned for us are: various 2 day courses throughout the year (starting next week). Riding holidays in May and Bissell wood in June, A trip to the beach, a course with Linda Parelli and some small demonstrations at home.
The tasks that I am focusing on right now with her are: loading her and leaving her to relax in the trailer. Canter leads zone 5 driving, Impulsion patterns in canter, working on more suppleness in the ribs and lying down at Liberty. I also hack regularly as we both love it.
Having an overall goal and a plan for the year really does get you motivated. It's funny because even just typing out my goals in this newsletter and thinking of how my first 'event' is only next week has already got me wanting to get out there right now and get practicing more, especially her loading. So go on TRY IT! just spend 10 mins and write down your goals, plan some events and pick some tasks to start getting you there.
I am always here to help and love helping people make progress so do feel free to get in touch if you need help with this or would like to know which courses would be best for you. If it helps I've made you a blank plan that you can download and fill in to get you started.
When you've finished your plan stick it somewhere where you'll see it every day!
You can also send it to me so I can help keep you on track and get you where you want to go.
I hope this helps get your year off to a flying start.