Ever made a New Year's resolution?
The ones where you pledge to be a better person; be kind too all and sundry; think only kind thoughts, even about the person who hogs the entire warm up arena; promise to never ever succumb to road rage; eat something green at least once a day; stop going to work with half the field under your nails; take better care of yourself, including cleansing your face thoroughly everyday twice a day; stop eating chocolate for breakfast; stop buying saddle pads and spend the money on self-improvement (a lesson); stop buying matchy matchy sets and spend the money on more self improvement (more lessons).
If you’re anything like us, your New Year resolutions, whatever they are, will last about a month, but if you choose resolutions that centre on your horse, you might just stick to them.
Here are a few ideas. 1. Spend more time with your horse. In the winter it can be really tricky, so be realistic and make a plan so that it works around your daily work schedule. For example, you could pledge to spend every Saturday morning giving your horse a thorough groom, and then during the week fit in a 20 minute lunging session, 20 mins schooling session and an hour’s hack on the Sunday.
2. Create a calendar that includes your horse’s worming programme and contact your local vets who will often give free advice.
3. Think about strengthening your own body so that you ride better, in particular your core. You’ll find lots of programmes on YouTube specifically for building your core strength and brilliant stretching exercises too which are great to keep you strong and supple.
4. Get your saddle checked. Your aim should be to ensure your horse is as comfortable as possible.
5. Train, train, train. Tempted to buy a new jumper, and then find out you’ve run out of money for a lesson? Go for the lesson!
We asked some of our Team Animalife riders about their New Year resolutions
Christy McLean My New Years resolution is to do more outside my comfort zone.
Liz Diegutis Find time for a holiday without the horses!
Sharon Edwards Keep enough time for me to really enjoy my horses. I’ve worked so hard to have such a super string, I’d like to do them proud.
Laura Gulliver Not feel so guilty when I need to rest and to say NO more often, especially when I am over stretching myself.
Cassey Gadsby My New Years resolution will be to crack on with British Dressage this year with my young mare (Leni). We’re aiming Novice/Elem and would like to do the Inter Counties.
India Wishart Do the plank everyday - I’m not very good at sticking to resolutions so I will keep you posted on how that goes! Alex Holman My New Year's resolution is to jump more clear rounds out eventing! Hopefully over the winter I will fit in sufficient training outings and lessons to achieve this.