5 Motivational Tips
By Bridget Braden-Olson
Everyone loses motivation from time to time, riders included. Motivation doesn’t come easy. Situations such as your horse going lame or being stuck at a training plateau for a long time can make any rider lose motivation. These are the times when you have to really push yourself. The only way to find motivation is to create it.
Motivation can be found in a variety of ways. Here are my top five motivational tips:
1) Setting Goals on the Horse
No matter what stage you are at in fitness or riding, you can always set goals. Take five minutes and write down two short-term goals and one long-term goal. I prefer six-month goals and a one-year goal. An example of a goal might be to take a clinic with your favourite instructor, or enter a horse show. Another goal could be to ride an additional day or two each week.
Any goal involving the horse should entail physical training. You will see results faster by training off the horse than by riding alone. When there is a direct objective with your horse, you will do what it takes to achieve it. Setting an unrealistic goal is only going to set you up for failure.
The same goes for your own physical training. Being able to do exercises you couldn’t do before is an excellent accomplishment; it means your mind-to-muscle coordination and stability are connecting. You are more physically capable than before. Keep doing this with different exercises and you’ll be in better shape and a better athletic partner for your horse.
2) Go to the Gym
You’ll find self-motivated people at the gym. Many women stay away from the gym because of their self-image and insecurity in the gym environment. Change your perception of the gym – working out with other people, whether by taking a class or doing a cardio session, will fire motivation within you. When you put yourself in a situation where you only want to do better, it’s a great way to self-motivate.
3) Positive Self-Talk
My good friend who is a sports psychologist advocates positive self-talk as the number one way to avoid limiting yourself. The saying “we are our own worst enemy” is even truer for horseback riders. When you think positively, you’re more likely to overcome life’s obstacles.
Being positive is not easy. Society is more accepting of negativity than positivity. Protect your self-talk by building yourself up rather than holding yourself back. The easy way out is to crumble and quit. Talk to yourself in a positive manner.
4) Tune Out Negativity
The saying “misery loves company” is so true. When you’re surrounded by people who are complaining, you start thinking negatively too. Life is hard. There is almost always something we could be complaining about, but we should be incredibly grateful that we have our “horse life” to help clarify things. Focus on the positive – there is always some of that too.
When someone starts to talk negatively about their ride or their horse, tune them out. Don’t absorb their negativity because your horse will feel it – your horse feels everything. If you’re having a problem with riding, reflect on the problem and how to fix it when you are away from the barn. Ask your trainer for help outside of the lesson.
5) Make Working Out a Routine
There’s nothing like a workout to erase negativity. By increasing power and strength you’ll feel more confident. And working out is one of the easiest things you can do to stay motivated.
Set aside 10 to 20 minutes every day to do a couple of exercises with stretches. When working out is part of your routine, it won’t be difficult to find the motivation to do it. The longer you wait to work out, the harder it will be to find the motivation. And when you’re not able to ride for any reason, be sure to work out. Keep yourself in a routine and you’ll feel better.
Main blog photo: Canstock/Fizkes