When we’re training horses with a goal in mind, it’s easy to get set so focused on the goal that things get boring, both for us and our horses. Drilling on the same exercises every day won’t result in much progress, especially if our horses get sour with the routine. These tips can help you to break up the boredom so that riding becomes fun and engaging again.
1. Find New Exercises
If your current training exercises are getting old, it’s time to find a new way to train your horse. If you’re working with a trainer, then ask them to suggest new exercises during your next lesson. Alternatively, you can find all sorts of training exercises in books on riding, as well as in magazines and even online.
2. Hit the Trails
A trip out of the arena may be just what both you and your horse need in order to return to your training refreshed. Schedule a day to head out on the trails with a friend and take your focus off of training. Instead, focus on just enjoying the ride – there will be time to train tomorrow.
3. Add a Challenge
There’s nothing like adding a challenge to make riding more entertaining again. You can give yourself a new challenge in any number of ways. Consider riding without stirrups, focusing on your counter canter, adding ground poles into your training, or incorporating any other type of challenge into your regular riding routine. You’ll further develop your skills while avoiding burnout.
4. Use the Whole Ring
When we train, we often get set on going around and around the ring as we focus on different movements. Instead, focus on using the whole ring during your ride. Incorporate figure-eights, serpentines, and changes of direction to make your ride less mundane. These exercises have the added benefit of keeping your horse focused on you for directions.
5. Ride With Music
Introducing music to your ride can help to make your riding more enjoyable. Try to choose music that is up-tempo and that will instill energy into your ride. Don’t listen to music using earbuds, since doing so can restrict your ability to hear anything aside from the music. Instead, either play music using your phone’s speakers, or play music over your arena’s loudspeaker.
6. Head to a Clinic
Consider participating in a clinic to learn some new skills and new approaches that can revitalize your riding. Spending even just a short time working with a different trainer can put new energy into your riding, and you may find that a different trainer can help you break through issues that you’d previously been struggling with. Even if you can’t ride in a clinic, auditing one can help to give you new approaches, and you’re sure to pick up some new exercises to implement with your horse back home.
We all go through times when riding gets to feel a bit dull. Making a conscious effort to change things up can have both you and your horse feeling a bit more enthusiastic about riding and training.