How to Improve Your Riding At Home
We all know there’s no better way to practice riding than...riding!
Nowadays, we are all stuck at home a little more than we would prefer. Though nothing can compare to the real thing, there are plenty of ways you can improve as a rider and as a horse person from the safety of your own space.
Youtube your way to better riding. Youtube has been around for fifteen years now (allow a moment for some of us to feel very aged by this fact), and there is a wealth of information to be found there. Watching the pros tackle big classes is educational no matter what your discipline! FEI TV’s Youtube channel is a great place to start. Watch a class in its entirety to see how different horse-and-rider combinations tackle challenges. You can also search for recordings of lessons with the greats, tours of their home barns, and post-ride interviews.
Read up. Ours is a very technical sport that requires a depth of knowledge and know-how that can feel endless. Use this opportunity to read up on everything you can—for example, what kind of bit does your horse go in, and does that change when you’re at home as opposed to a show? Cultivate an understanding behind why we do what we do. Consider starting with our house favorite, The United States Pony Club Manual of Horsemanship.
Write to ride. This is an excellent time to reflect on your riding goals by journaling. What were your goals before 2020, and how have they changed or evolved? How can you shift them in a productive way, even if you don’t know when you will ride or show again? What are some things you want to work on that you can only develop from the ground, or in lessons at your home barn? Keep this journal entry to share with your trainer so you can discuss ways to apply them to your situation in the future.
Most of all, remember to approach yourself with kindness. The more positive you can be about your future as a rider, the more these suggestions will help you. Send a supportive text to the essential caretakers making sure your horse stays healthy.
Let’s take this time to remember what captivates us about the sport, and hold onto that feeling when we go back to the barn.