As an adult amateur, I often have things that get in the way of my riding and training. In July and August, my riding was put on hold first by a week long business trip, then by an unexpected family emergency, and finally by two weeks of sickness. In five weeks, I rode exactly three times and managed to put back on 4 pounds. That not only set back my riding goals but also drove my motivation into the ground. I knew (1) that my horse would be a jerk when I did finally ride him and (2) that I wasn’t going to be as fit as I was five weeks before.
I know I’m not the only one who has been through this. I see posts on Facebook and talk to friends who have the same kind of setbacks. The hardest part is getting back in the saddle and getting back to training. The frustration builds and makes it that much harder. Thankfully, since we’re not alone, we can find support and encouragement. Here are three things I do to get my motivation back.
#1 – Take a lesson!
Trainers get paid to help us reach our goals. All too often as adult amateurs, especially those of us who have ridden since we were kids, we forget that trainers add value to our riding and training. We think we can handle it ourselves. After all, we’ve been riding most of our lives. What we forget is that over the years we pick up bad habits, try new challenges, and move to new disciplines and/or horses. Each time, the help of a trained eye can be invaluable. It is absolutely worth the money to spend an hour working with a trainer.
#2 – Ride with a friend
Remember when riding was fun? Do you remember why? You loved your horse, and you loved your horse friends. As adult amateurs, we so often ride and train alone, but there are enough of us out there that it just isn’t necessary! Call a horse friend and make a plans to ride together. Getting the fun back in your riding reminds you of why you love your horse and why there is no better place to be than in the saddle!
#3 – Register for a show or clinic
Sometimes the best motivation is accountability. When you know you have to walk, trot, and canter in front of other people, you tend to get in gear and get ready! If funds are an issue, find a local schooling show where the classes are $5 a class but really commit to going. Having that goal will help remind you that you have something to work towards.
Remember… You can always reach out to other adult amateurs. We know what you’re going through. We’ve been there. If nothing else, we can listen and encourage.