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5 Ways to be Constantly Improving

Horseback riding and showing requires us to be constantly improving our skills and ourselves. We all know what we need to work on whether that be keeping our heels down, our heads up, or making sure our hands are staying soft. But did you ever think that understanding how to develop skills is actually a skill itself? Below are 5 steps you can take to be constantly improving:

  1. Seek feedback! While your trainer or instructor is there to let you know what to work on, ask other riders who might share, or have been through, the same struggles. However, make sure you are ready and in the right frame of mind to hear feedback.

  2. Focus on small wins. We’ve all had lessons or shows where nothing goes right and you come away feeling like you took 5 steps back. Take a few moments at the end of each show and lesson and reflect on some things that you did well. It doesn’t have to be you went clear or got your highest test score. Maybe you only knocked down one pole or remembered your whole test without a reader for the first time. The only one you should be competing against every time is yourself.

  3. Go with the flow! Accept that things aren’t always going to go great. Horses are unpredictable and have off days just like we do. Sometimes you just have to stop and let things roll off your back. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and feel defeated but persevering and getting back on will only make you a stronger rider.

  4. Learn from your mistakes. We all make mistakes. We go off course, we forget things, we get in our own heads. Taking the time to appreciate and learn from our mistakes can only benefit you in the long run. How else are we supposed to learn? If you find you’re always forgetting things - try a checklist in the trailer. Forgetting your course? Try drawing it on a piece of paper or setting up a miniature course with pens.

  5. Don’t rush yourself. Not rushing is different than not pushing yourself. Don’t rush yourself to do something before you're ready. It is easy to compare yourself to other riders at your barn and at shows. What works for one pair may not work for you. Each horse and rider is going to get certain things faster than others. Trust your gut and be honest with your trainer if you don’t feel you’re ready for something. A good trainer will encourage you - not rush you to do something before you’re ready and will know when you’re maybe just a little scared or if you’re truly not ready. We all get nervous and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone is important and healthy - within reason.

Goal setting is also important for constant improvement! Check our our previous blog post to learn more!

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