By Shana Ritter

How To Switch Focus (What to do when it’s not going well)

How To Switch Focus (What to do when it’s not going well)

It happens to all driven and focused riders at some point. We get so focused in on what we are trying to work on that we lose perspective or we forget to add in enough variety of other things because we want to “fix” this certain issue (and we want to fix it TODAY!).

On the one hand it is important to have a level of perseverance. Giving up at the sign of the slightest resistance or problem is not a path to success, but there comes a point where our dogged perseverance can backfire and make the matter worse. In those circumstances, we need to shift our gears, pivot in our approach, and shift our perspective.

You have to fall in love with the process

You have to fall in love with the process

To become a great rider (hell… to become great at ANYTHING…). You have to fall in love with the process. Because that is what it is about. It is ABOUT the process. In other words, you have to be willing to do the work. You have to want it bad enough to endure the struggle… to get back on the horse when you’ve come off unexpectedly… to come back the next day after a bad ride and do it all again (hopefully better)…

 

2018 Goal Setting (for Riders)

2018 Goal Setting (for Riders)

It’s that time again! The New Year is upon us... and I'm willing to bet that you want 2018 to be the BIG BREAKTHROUGH year for you and your riding, right?  Have you set New Year’s Resolutions before and not kept them? I know… silly question. WE ALL HAVE! You know why? Because it is human nature, and the nature of resolutions sort of sets us up to fail. This is why...

 

A question about elbows and hand position

A question about elbows and hand position

In one of our Facebook groups someone asked a question about elbows and hand position. She had been told by a trainer that she should keep her hands forward, close to the withers of the horse. Since she is not very tall, she has to round her shoulders or tip forward with her torso in order to put her hands where the trainer wants them to be. That compromises the integrity and the effectiveness of the seat, of course.

Develop your own training plan

Develop your own training plan

The thing is, every training problem can look slightly different, so I can’t really outline every possible problem and the process I go through to fix each of those problems. Not right here, anyway. But what I can do is share with you my own personal process for dealing with any problem and bringing it to a successful resolution. For the purposes of this article I must be quite general, of course, but I do give a couple of brief examples of how the process can look in certain scenarios.

Goal Setting for Riders

Goal Setting for Riders

One of the keys to success is to learn how to set clear goals, and then to set up a plan to achieve them. For me, personally, the process involves considering the logistics so that I can determine where I am overestimating my time and energy available (because I tend to dream big, but that dreaming process is important, too) but also so I can make some decisions about how to prioritize my time and energy so that I CAN achieve those goals. Without clearly thinking these things through, it is all too easy to get distracted by all of the things that happen in life. There is SO much to be distracted about! And whereas we cannot - nor should we - put the rest of our lives on hold in order to move forward in our riding - if we have clearly laid out our goals, prioritized which things need to make way in order for us to achieve these goals, and then revisit these goals regularly (I review and visualize my goals DAILY - that is a topic for a whole ‘nother newsletter!), then we stack the odds in our favor that we will at least get closer to our goals, if not achieve or surpass them altogether.

Learning to ride in a new era

Learning to ride in a new era

Equestrian culture has changed drastically throughout the centuries, and it continues to change at a rapid pace. Many spend their time and energy bemoaning the loss of the bygone methods, culture, and ideology, and I, too, used to belong to that camp… the camp that idolises the old masters and thinks they and everything they did was infallible. But with age and experience come some hard-earned insights, and I no longer view the history with such rose-colored glasses. There was a lot of good then, indeed, but it was not all good. It was not perfect,  and like all other arts, equestrian art is evolving. It continues to evolve. It flows through time, adopting some new values while relinquishing others. Equestrian art is, therefore, a dynamic art. It changes and it can be changed.