At times we can really feel like we are on a motivation streak, that time period where you are focused, feeling refreshed and ready to take on a challenge head on. Which is probably one of the best feelings, especially being an equestrian!
But, as they say, ‘what goes up, comes down’. I’m not talking about the measurement of success by winning a dressage test at every competition for months on end then hitting a rough patch being knocked off your winning place.
I’m talking about behind the scenes, your usual day to day the stuff that keeps you motivated to jump out of bed every morning.
Now by all means, I am not a State or National champion rider. But I am amateur rider and I know how challenging it can be at times! Here are a few of my top tips that help me keep my head in the game and focus on my training and competition goals.
Sounds simple. But it is one of the more difficult things to master and get into a routine! One wise person (my Mum!) told me once, it’s the hours before midnight that count. It is so, so true. Heading to bed at an early yet reasonable hour, even though you might not fall asleep instantly (unlike me, who falls asleep within minutes of my head from hitting the pillow!!), it’s great practise to hit the sack early. Getting into that routine early to bed early to rise. Even if you are giving your horse the day off or are planning to ride after work, it’s a great feeling getting up early and seizing the day – so to speak!
Now I call it nutrition, but I don’t want to call it diet. As diet to me implies just that, dieting, limiting or restricting the food intake. To be completely honest with you all, I’m not too sure what to call this part!
This has always been a yoyo with me. I eat great then not so great, then great again. I am no way qualified in this area, but when I start to get into the routine with my sleep, getting up early to kick arse in the day. I tend to eat ‘well’, by this I mean a decent amount of fruit/veg during the week. Less chocolate and less snacks during the day. Because let’s face it, we never feel like riding horses after we’ve had a Big Mac meal from McDonalds!!
I really enjoy scheduling out my week with the horses. From Monday – Sunday. I like to kick my week off on a Monday, I know some who enjoy Sunday being the start of the week…. (who are these people?!)
I map out on a white board in columns and rows with the horses I have in work with the week. I have letters symbolising lunging, riding, hacking and days off. I know at the moment being winter, I’m not going to have much luck during the week after work. So, I usually plan my weekends both as riding days. At the moment (weather permitting) I usually plan around 3-4 days riding, with 1-2 lunge days and the rest days off. Riding during the week I usually keep them short and sweet and have longer rides on weekends when I can focus on a few areas.
I find by mapping it out and planning it really takes some stress off my mind, especially if I start panicking that I missed a day. I can just work around it.
One of the most important things! Resting. Know when to rest, know when to take a day off, take a break. If you’re feeling stressed or burnt out, chances are so is your horse! If you really don’t want to take a day off, then go do something different. Trail ride or a nice hack out!
Of course, all these things work great when you get into a routine. Getting into a routine and making it a habit.
What are your tips for helping you stay motivated? Would love to hear them!