Rider’s To Do List

We all have strengths and weaknesses that affect every aspect of our lives — including riding. I’m at my best when I’m organized, have a plan and set clear goals with realistic expectations. I’m not always good at coming up with creative riding ideas on my own or staying motivated to ride when I don’t have something to look forward to, like a lesson or a show.

So with my trainer headed out of town for Thanksgiving, I decided to work with her to come up with a Rider’s To Do List for myself. What should I work on while she’s away? What exercises would be most beneficial? This list will help me be my best equestrian self while she’s gone, instead of just toodling around for two weeks and wondering why I’m so terribly out of shape when she returns.

Mclain Ward at New Albany Classic 2017

Goals: Ride like Mclain Ward

What’s on my list? It’s a lot of basics, but I’m excited to have some goals down in writing and hoping I can impress trainer when she returns with at least a little bit of forward progress:

  1. Hand position
  2. Weight down in heels
  3. Maintain forward
  4. Transitions within gaits
  5. Sitting canter

These aren’t mind-blowing ideas, but I like having them fresh on my mind. The next piece my trainer and I discussed were exercises to help me focus on these points and improve them. Sometimes it’s hard for me to be creative on the flat, so having a list of ideas will help me not get stuck doing the same routine over and over:

  1. Change every 5 strides (speed of gait or seat position)
  2. Gallop ground poles (work on moving up to each pole)
  3. Two-point, no stirrups, up/up/down (for leg strength)
  4. Dressage tests (riding patterns ensures I’m always changing something)
  5. Ride with friends and critique each other

Again, not that these ideas are ground-breaking, but when I’m feeling lazy after a long day at work, picking an exercise or two from the list makes having a productive ride really easy.

Riders To Do List

While these are all things we’ve been working on in lessons, and exercises we’ve been practicing, I appreciate having them written down in a list that I can easily refer to. In fact, I liked the idea so much that I put together a free Rider’s To Do List printable, wrote in my trainer’s suggestions and hung it up at the barn. Now I have no excuse to not improve while my trainer’s gone!

  • L. Williams
    Posted at 06:12h, 22 November Reply

    It’s always good to have an action plan!

  • Dom
    Posted at 18:29h, 02 December Reply

    What a great idea! Putting these things down in black and white really helps keep the ride focused! I should assign these to my students for their weekly homework!

  • Liz
    Posted at 12:33h, 04 December Reply

    This is such a fantastic idea. Thank you for sharing with us.

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