5 Tips for Staying Motivated During the Off Season

5 Tips for Staying Motivated During the Off Season

With Sophie Warren

It’s usually relatively easy to stay motivated during the season. There is always an event around the corner to work towards and plenty of dressage test sheets from last weekend and the weekend before to refer to for points to improve. Videos from our successes and failures and plenty of pictures to analyse and learn from. But how do we stay motivated when we’ve got the long, hot summer ahead of us? Here are a 5 tips that I use to help….

    1. Set small, simple goals
    2. Create a vision board
    3. Make a weekly or monthly ride plan
    4. Take time out
    5.  Have fun!

1. Set small, simple goals

1. At the beginning of summer set a few very simple goals for each horse, and a couple for yourself. Make sure they are small and achievable, it’ll feel great when you’ve achieved them before the new year rolls around and you get to set some more with plenty of time before the season starts!!

2. Create a vision board

Create a vision board. Grab some old pictures of you having successes in the past, or perhaps some pictures of your idols achieving things you hope to one day. Add a few of your favourite quotes. One that is always on my vision board is “do what you said you would do”. This reminds me to refer back to my goals – I said I would work on those things so I must!

Pop this board in your tack room or somewhere you see it often. A board that is half pin up board and half whiteboard works great for this.

3. Make a weekly or monthly ride plan

Make a weekly or monthly plan for your rides. You don’t have to stick to it perfectly or make it too strict. For me it is more a case of each fortnight I will do (as an example) 4 x trail rides, 4 x jump sessions and 2 x flat sessions for horse “x”.

This way I can tick off the rides I’ve done and know I’m putting enough time into my jumping, getting enough conditioning hack outs in and enjoying my horse, plus having enough rest days. 

4. Take time out!

Take some time out. Give yourself and your horse a week or two off. Sometimes more. Sometimes less, but more frequently! Find out what works for you and you’ll come back to it all refreshed. For me I benefit from a week here and a week there rather than spelling them all for 4 weeks at once. But that is very individual.

Remember you don’t lose a huge amount of conditioning in your horse in 2 weeks so that’s a great timeframe for not going backwards too much, but still feeling refreshed as a rider.

5. Have fun!!!

Have FUN! Make sure you do the fun things that you love to do with your horse. The season robs us of the time to do these things, as well as bringing in moments where we worry about injuries or lost shoes before shows and so we may become more conservative.

Take them for that hack out, go for a gallop up the hill, do that picnic ride with friends or head to the beach. As long as it is a good experience for your horse and he is well conditioned for the task and exposed and established enough that it doesn’t become a surprise party for him – if it is an enjoyable experience for you it will likely also be a nice bonding session and you’ll get to enjoy that relationship you’re developing throughout next season!

Ally Doumany
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