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Happy New Year Everyone! It’s that time of year where we all feel a bit fresh faced and full of enthusiasm for the year to come. It’s a great time to set goals and try and be a better you. As horse owners, a lot of our goals also involve our horses. Maybe you want to move up a level, try a new discipline or just generally improve and enjoy your horse more.
These are all great things to do but don’t overdo it to early on! You need to think ahead. How many of us make a plan for the year and give up on it after a month or two? I’m usually lucky if I last a month with my New Year’s resolutions. But thanks to some coaching last year, I am hoping to be more successful. These are my top tips for sticking to the new you!
While it can be tempting to jump right in, there is a good chance that you (and your horse) have had a lazy few weeks over the Christmas period. Hitting the gym hard will quite likely leave you sore and achy for a few days. And while you might be happy to work through the pain, our horses don’t feel the same way and while you have great intentions, you might regret this running start to the year down the line!
Building up over time will also help you stick with it. I am mentally lazy and if I find something hard, it quickly becomes uninviting and I slowly stop doing it. If your aim is to go for 40 min runs every day, don’t start at the 40 min mark if you don’t really run at the moment. Start with a 20-30 min powerwalk with a bit of jogging along the way. As this becomes more comfortable and part of your routine you can build up the jogging and the time you spend out.
Work on yourself off the horse
I think we are all guilty of putting everything into our horse’s wellbeing that we often forget ourselves. I bet you think long and hard about what your horse eats, how much exercise they get, that they have their back checked regularly etc. But do you give yourself the same care?
Our horses are fantastic athletes. But us being unfit, weak through the core, stiff, sore or a little overweight can stop them performing to the best of their abilities. So think about what steps you can take to improve yourself alongside your horse.
I’m super lucky to be a brand ambassador for Cherry Tree Training, so I get lots of help with exercises to help my core and fitness. While I’m not riding at the moment, I am really hoping to get back in the saddle at some point this year. I am also treating myself to a physio session to hopefully improve my general aches and pains what come from owning a horse and not looking after myself as well as I should.
Planning makes good habits
If your goals involve doing something you don’t usually do more regularly, you need to learn to build them into your routine to become a habit. Cherry Tree Training talks about this in a really helpful way in their Habits and Consistency course which I can highly recommend! But the basics are, if you want to make a change, the best way to make the change is to actually plan when you are going to do it each day/week etc.
For example, if your goal is to go to the gym, don’t just sign up to the gym. Schedule it into your phone/diary. You will finish the horse in the morning and go to the gym for an hour on the way to work.
Finally experiment with what works best for you
We are all different and we all need to find a routine what works best for us. If I want a productive schooling session, I am better riding before I muck out and do my yard jobs. Try doing things in a different order or at different times of day and see how you feel afterwards. You are more likely to stick to things what make you feel better. So try and identify them and use them to your advantage.