Sometimes you can’t seem to find any fun in it anymore. Maybe it becomes a drag or the last couple of times it didn’t go as planned. To keep you motivated, here are zeven tips to get you back in there.
1. Mix it up
Doing the same thing over and over again, can get pretty boring. And the worse part, it does not help you improve your riding at all. Instead, mix up your training routine with different kinds of flat work or gymnastics and change the environment for a breath of fresh air. Your horses will love you for it.
2. Work on your confidence
Being focused on improvement is great, but it’s also important to acknowledge the things that are already going well. Make sure you always reflect on your training and shows, starting with what went well. Challenge your brain to also appreciate the things you are doing well. That one mistake you made should not outway the rest of the course you cleared and rode beautifully. After acknowledging the good stuff, you also want to learn from your mistakes. So you ask a second question, which is, what could have been better (make sure you use this positive language) and lastly, once you have established what you can improve upon, make a clear plan on how you will train this specific skill.
3. Everybody makes mistakes!
Don’t take your mistakes too personal and see them for what they are, feedback. You can work with feedback, but you can’t do anything constructive when only criticizing yourself. So, realize that everybody, yes everybody, including the top riders in the world, make mistakes. Better yet, get used to it, as it’s the only way to become a great rider. Perfect doesn’t exist, so instead of only being satisfied with perfection, keep working on small steps of improvement.
4. Take time off to recharge
I hear it all the time, “I don’t have time to take a day off, I’ve got horses to take care off”. But, where there is a will, there is a way. The benefits of recharging yourself (and your horses) far outway working 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Experiment with different ways to recharge your (and your horses) energy to stay excited and motivated about working hard.
5. The will to win
Striving for perfection kills ambition and motivation. Aiming for that perfect round can actually stand in the way of you winning some classes. And although I often talk about how we should focus on the process and less on the results, bringing home those ribbons does contribute to you staying motivated. So ask yourself, when was the last time I rode to win? When you decide to go for it, make a clear plan, visualize how you will zoom around the course in harmony with your horse and enjoy the ride.
6. Lower your expectations
You might have tried the above and aimed to win but it resulted in you feeling anxious and making silly mistakes. If that’s the case, you want to lower your expectations. Probably the only thing that is standing in the way of you doing well, is you putting the bar too high for yourself. Why not go down a level to feel more in control and to enjoy going for the win. There is no shame in competing at a lower level. There is no need to prove yourself all the time. Paradoxically, going down a level might actually help you improve instead of staying stuck.
7. Make time to play
Investing lots of energy, time and money into your sport or hobby might mean you focus less (or not at all) on having fun. Remember, however, why you do what you do and smile, have fun with your horses, goof around, ride bareback or just spend time with your four legged friends without any time pressure. Again, your horses will love you for it!