Every New Year’s many of us make resolutions to improve areas of ourselves and our lives that will help us be happier and live better in the new year. As equestrians, so much of our life is about the time we spend with our horses, so this year we came up with some resolutions just for riders. Not sure what to commit to doing this year? Here are some of our favorite New Year’s resolutions for horseback riders:
- Clean tack after every ride: It’s easy to finish riding and doing any barn chores and feel like maybe you don’t really need to clean your tack before you head home. Keeping tack clean, however, keeps it in good condition and allows it to last longer. Cleaning all your tack after every ride also gives you an opportunity to spot areas where repairs may be needed, helping ensure that everything you’re using in your rides is always fully functional. This year resolve to carry out proper leather care for saddles, bridles and other leather tack, brush off horse boots and saddle pads with a stiff brush and wipe bits clean after every ride.
- Ride/lesson more often: One of the most common wishes from riders is to either ride more often or, if they already ride daily, to take lessons more often. This is the year to do it! If you’re only making it to the barn a couple days a week, a concentrated effort to carve out time in your schedule for riding can help get you to the activity you love more frequently. If you are riding often already but wishing you had the valuable input of an instructor more, making a budget for lessons and setting up a recurring schedule with your trainer can help make taking lessons a more regular occurrence. No matter what level rider you are, there is always something to learn or improve upon!
- Ride without stirrups regularly: The most common New Year’s resolution in the non-equestrian world is to stay fit or get in shape, and riding without stirrups regularly is one of the equestrian versions of this. Make it a goal to drop those irons and ride without stirrups for a portion of every ride or, alternatively, for one entire ride per week. Riding without stirrups strengthens your core, improves balance and as a winter bonus helps warm up your toes!
- Trail ride/compete more: It can be beneficial, and also fun, to step outside your normal routine and try something you and your horse don’t normally do together. If you spend a lot of time in the ring preparing for and competing in shows, make it a point to go trail riding with your horse and give them a chance to relax and do something totally different and engaging. If you mostly ride around the barn, on local trails and just for fun, try to challenge yourself and your horse to something different and find an appropriate show or event to enter. Step outside your comfort zone this year and try something different that you and your horse are capable of.
- Remember treats for the horse: Because horses live in the moment, they don’t make resolutions, but if they could, this is the one they would want you to make! Remember to bring horse treats with you to the barn this year, so at the end of every ride you can reward your horse for his efforts throughout the year.
Happy New Year!
Let us know in the comments what your New Year’s riding resolution is this year!