As much as we love our horses and the joy of riding and competing them, there will come a time in every equestrian’s life when we lack motivation and find getting up in the saddle a bit of a chore. This season, try to find ways to stay motivated whatever the weather and whatever your mood, as preventing emotional peaks and troughs is a lot easier than trying to break out of a disinterested or unmotivated mind set once you enter one.
So what can we do to ensure our heads stay firmly in the game this competition season? We’d love to hear your tips on keeping motivated so please get in touch if you have anything to add to our list.
Continue to set goals – it’s great if you’ve already achieved what you set out to achieve this season, but it doesn’t have to stop there. There is nothing more motivating than an upcoming competition or show and when there is something to aim for, your drive and determination doubles! Have a think about what makes you excited or eager to get in the saddle and make time for it in your daily life. For every goal achieved, allow yourself a small reward to keep your spirits up and your sights set on even greater successes.
Make and break routines – having routines is important when you’re practicing and training but they can also cause repetition fatigue which is detrimental to your motivation. Every so often try something new or do something differently. Go for a ride somewhere you’ve never been before or practice new exercises in the school. Your horse will probably appreciate you mixing things up a bit too!
Stay fit, hydrated and get plenty of sleep – if you’re sluggish, tired and haven’t had enough to eat or drink, you’re not going to perform well or be in the best frame of mind to go out riding. Your horse is also going to pick up on your lack of interest and energy and mirror your behaviour. Make exercising a routine you stick to, as well as drinking plenty of water and getting in some early nights, especially in the lead up to a show.
School with friends and other riders – plan to ride as a group rather than independently so you are more encouraged to get in the saddle. It will also be a lot more fun and possibly more rewarding as you can learn from each other and share in each other's positive energy. That way you’re much more likely to stay motivated and look forward to your next ride.
Clean your tack – it’s a really simple one but cleaning your tack is actually a great motivation booster! What could be better than riding out on a horse kitted out in super shiny tack? If you and your horse look good then you’re also more likely to feel good and make time for that daily ride. Why not treat yourself to something new? We stock a wide range of horse and rider wear which could be just the ticket!
Remind yourself of all the reasons you love riding – maybe you fell in love with horses after watching Black Beauty as a child or reading a particular novel or magazine, so why not revisit it and remind yourself of how your love of horses began! You might find it helpful to write down your reasons so you can always look back on them when you’re feeling uninspired or indifferent and rekindle that passion for horses.
Comment below if you have any motivation tips you find work, so our other readers can benefit from them! :)
Written by Hannah Dyball