The Stables

Get On With It! How To Keep Yourself Motivated To Ride

I’d love to ride today – but I don’t have the time. Just looking at that sentence saddens me. What has happened to the person who as a child spent every spare moment looking for horses just to stroke over field gates – and the person who as a horse owner got up at 4am in the summer to ride before starting a 6am shift at work? Somehow all of that drive and love of riding has evaporated… but why?

Owning horses and not riding is sheer madness. It costs an enormous amount of money to keep a horse, livery, the vet, farrier, and all the other miscellaneous costs are too much not to taking full advantage of being able to ride.

Sometimes though it just all seems too much trouble. The thought of getting up at 5am to muck out on a freezing cold morning or riding a horse that is going to misbehave is just not worth the effort.

So what is the secret to staying motivated when it’s too cold, too expensive, too hard?

The secret, like with anything else that requires motivation is self-discipline. If you lack self-discipline, you may find yourself procrastinating, once this horrible little ball starts rolling you develop all kinds of ingrained and very unhelpful habits and your motivation goes out of the window.

Without self-discipline our lives would be chaos – think of all of the things you have to do on a daily or weekly basis just to keep your life running smoothly – work, buying food, personal hygiene, even going to bed in time to get enough sleep to get up the next morning all require a certain amount of discipline.

It is that discipline that is essential when you need to stay motivated. In order to stay motivated it is important to bear in mind the pay off from being disciplined. Why get up at 5 to muck out – so you can ride later in the day. Why ride at all – so that you can achieve your horse dreams or just relax and have some ‘downtime.’

It’s important to bear in mind the benefits of riding – healthy exercise, time to free your mind and escape the stress and worries of the day. If you are working towards a competition and find that you are losing your motivation, which is easy if things aren’t going to plan – take a step back. You may need to make smaller steps towards your goal.

An important thing to remember is that your mind can turn itself against you! You can easily let ‘your self’ talk your self out of jumping, competing even riding. Use visualization to see yourself succeeding and read inspirational books and spend time with good trainers rather than those who will happily talk you out of riding “Oh it’s too cold today, let’s sit in the tack room and drink coffee.”

Blogging helps!  You can chart your goals and see the steps you are taking – and possibly identify if there are reasons why you are losing your motivation, fears that are making you procrastinate.

Sometimes you need to be very honest with yourself and delve into the reasons why you aren’t riding. Is your horse too much for you and the fear of riding is making you procrastinate. Possibly your horse is too slow or quiet and the lack of challenge is making you bored with riding.

Maybe you are having schooling problems that are making you put off riding. Occasionally, a relaxing hack is in order, just to clear the air between you and your horse.

But if you really can’t be bothered with riding, or are just not riding enough, examine why. But don’t make excuses to yourself. No one has enough time to ride if you have a full time job, or a really hectic lifestyle. After an eight to ten hour day including your commute time, is there really enough energy left in you to ride. There is if you really want to.

You started riding for a reason. You longed to own a horse for a reason. You went without holidays and luxuries to keep you horse for a reason. Did that reason go away? If it has then maybe it’s time to call it a day. There are easier ways to spend your hard earned money. Somehow I doubt that reason has gone away. It’s just that life has got in the way.

The New Year is upon us which means only a couple of gutsy months of winter and then we head towards spring. Think of riding out, with the flowers in bloom and the sun on you and your horses back to keep you motivated. With any challenge, the secret to horse riding success is to invest as much time in your mental as in your physical training.

Written By Jacqui Broderick of LAVENDER AND WHITE EQUESTRIAN PUBLISHING which offers top quality equestrian content for the reader right across the board from contemporary fiction to the very best in expert advice from our non-fiction writers.