When it comes to riding you have a lifetime to keep learning and improving your skills. Nevertheless, it can sometimes be the little things you do in a single day that really make a difference. Here are ten ways to improve your riding in just 24 hours:
- Book a lesson with a new instructor. You may be really happy with the instructor you have been using for years but it’s time for a change, so pick up the phone and book a lesson with someone new. Everyone has different teaching methods and you can learn a huge amount from a lesson with a professional instructor.
- Ride a friend’s horse. Ask a pal on the yard if you can swap horses for an hour, whether it is for a schooling session or a hack. Riding as many horses as possible will expose your weaknesses and strengths.
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- School whilst you hack. At this time of year schooling and riding regularly can be difficult, so maximize every opportunity by including some schooling into your hacks. Practising half halts, leg yielding and transitions whilst you are out will really help the next time you are in the ménage.
- Have fun! Sometimes we forget that riding is supposed to be fun, and letting our hair down and really enjoying ourselves whilst out riding can be a great reminder. Have a ‘coffee morning hack’ with a couple of fun friends.
- Watch this space. Ask a friend to video you whilst you are having a lesson or schooling. When you watch it back you will see how you ride through your instructor’s eyes and be able to monitor your improvement as the lesson progresses.
- Stay grounded. Spending time with your horse off the ground is as important as the time you spend riding. Grooming, taking him for a graze on some fresh grass and just chilling out together are all great ways or improving the bond between you and this will translate into your riding.
- Attend a clinic. The autumn and winter months are a great time to go and learn something new at a riding clinic or a practical workshop. Check out local equestrian colleges and venues for details of a clinic near you.
- Show time! You can learn a lot by going to a winter indoor show, either with your horse or as a spectator. Even if you are not particularly interested in dressage or indoor show jumping, it will be great experience and who knows, you may enjoy it!
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- Be a bookworm. Check out the Internet or your local tack shop and you will find hundreds of great books and DVDs by top riders. This winter why not treat yourself to a selection, or put them on your wish list for Santa? Alternatively, a visit to the library could prove very worthwhile!
- Daydream a little. Research shows that the power of the imagination is unimaginable. Spend some time mediating and picturing yourself riding perfectly in your preferred discipline. Athletes that do this regularly really improve their performances in competition.