When you ride, ride with purpose. While you head out to catch your horse, while you are tacking up, think about your plan for the ride. In order to accomplish goals, you need a plan and parts of that plan are being executed with every ride. You don’t want to miss an opportunity to get closer to your goals by riding aimlessly.
Here is an example of how I might ride with purpose with one of my horses throughout the week.
Monday: Arena work. We will work the pattern with the purpose of keeping the horse free and moving smoothly around the barrels without anticipation.
Tuesday: Outside the arena. We will head out to the field to increase fitness and a “brain break” from the arena.
Wednesday: Outside the arena. Lets head to the hills to work on muscle building going up some hills a few times. We will do some perfect circles while we are out there too and work on staying supple in wide open spaces.
Thursday: Arena work. Set up drills. Will do circle tires drill to improve hip strength and bending.
Friday: etc, Saturday etc,
You get the picture – ride with purpose and know what your plan is for the ride. This way you aren’t out there just putting in time. You can get out there, ride with a plan in mind that is going to take you one step closer to achieving your goals and dreams.
You may find your rides are more successful and your horse appreciates your new “purpose driven rides”. Lay out the expectations for yourself and the horse and work towards making improvements throughout your ride.
It is not necessary to plan your week ahead, but it is important to ride with purpose each time if you want to progress towards your goals most efficiently.
My barrel horse was in a bad fall a couple of years ago that involved a barrel, and now she will not go anywhere near a barrel. My parents say that if I can’t find a way to get her to work them again, we will have to sell her and buy me a new barrel horse. We had the doctor check her several times just in case there was in old injury still hanging around, but there wasn’t anything wrong with any of her legs. Our doc said she should be able to do anything she did before the accident. We figure that she must just still be skittish.
Any tips on how to get her readjusted to the barrels?
I would start by putting some barrels in the area where she lives. Maybe near where she has to eat and drink. Once she is used to that, I would leave them up in the arena when you are riding and not do barrels. When she is ok with that I would put one barrel in the middle of the arena and do really big circles around it. Every day as she accepts it, move in closer and closer. I would always keep your goal to make being near a barrel a good experience. Pet her, love her and tell he how great she is near the barrels.