Our schedules are busy. Many of us are working more than one job to make ends meet, funding our horse addiction on our own. So for the everyday amateur with an office job and a thinner budget, what opportunities are there to improve your riding?
Taking regular lessons with a trusted coach, of course, is one of the best ways to really make improvements – but what if taking weekly lessons isn’t an option? Maybe the closest trainer is a two-hour haul, or you don’t have a trailer, or your budget simply won’t allow for it this week. Whatever your reason, here are some ways to continue your education without breaking the bank.
Even if you can’t ride in the lesson, stick around and watch anyway. There is a lot that can be gleaned from just watching – whether it’s a lesson, clinic, show, or even a live stream. Maybe your coach is working through an issue with a horse that is similar to yours – perhaps you could pick up a few new tools to use on your own. Is there a clinic nearby that you can go and audit? Take advantage of opportunities like this, even if you can’t ride.
Find a role model. I’m sure you already have one or two, but find a rider who you admire who has a similar shape and height. Watching someone who is built similarly to you ride can help you learn how to effectively use your body.
Use your bullet journal. If you haven’t started bullet journaling yet, trust me, you should. It’s a lifesaver for organization, and it’s a great outlet for creativity. Using your bullet journal to make your riding plan for the week can help you stay fresh and motivated. Take the time to plan out your riding schedule just like you would plan your work schedule. Of course, some things won’t go exactly as planned, but at least you have a guideline. This is particularly helpful if you don’t have a lesson scheduled that week, to keep you on track for what you want to be honing in on.
Catch a ride. Do you know of anyone who needs help getting their horse exercised? Depending on your level of riding and experience, you might be able to get some extra time in the saddle with some catch riding. Just as with any sport, practice makes perfect, so more riding time means more time to work on your skills.