In The Saddle

Organise Your Riding Time

By Alison Kenward Dressage

BHS Accredited Professional Coach, Rider and Stable Manager. BD Competition Rider, Trainee Judge. Mindset and Performance Coach. UKCC3.

This blog is not a time management strategy. This blog is about recognising that time is limited and a horse rider’s time has many demands placed upon it.

To steal a cliché time flies when your having fun…. In my experience time flies anyway and there will be days when it’s hard to imagine how on earth you will balance the needs and expectations of family, work, deadlines and still find the space and energy for the things you have scheduled for yourself.

Whatever our personal competitive or leisure goals, most riders agree they want to enjoy the time they spend with their horse.

How do we as riders prepare for our riding time so that we are in the right frame of mind to be with our horses?

Think about the challenges you face.

· Can you be ready to ride quickly?

· Have you organised your kit and riding clothes?

· Do you manage to schedule riding time or do you have diary gaps that you could fill with horse time?

· Do you have access to an arena or different places to ride out?

Be clear about the time it takes.

· How long is your journey to the yard?

· How long does it take to get ready to ride?

· How long will you ride for?

· How long does it take to make your horse comfortable after riding?

· How long will it take to get ready for what you need/ plan to do next?

What do you need to do to ride at your best?

· Be Present. Find a routine that works for you to switch off from outside distractions.

· Plan. Be creative with your riding time. Think about what you would do in a 20 minute schooling session. What would you develop in a 40 minute session. Where could you go on a 1 or 2 hour hack?

· Process. Be clear about what you are aiming to do and break down your challenges into smaller steps.

What things do you most enjoy about being in the saddle?

· Take some time to reflect on your riding time.

· Find ways to celebrate these moments.

· Focus on why you ride and allow yourself to be comfortable with your riding choices.

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