Had a rough year? Really, who hasn’t?
For those of you with horses, hopefully, you have been able to spend time with them and got some reprieve from the isolation of this crazy time in 2020.
Many of you may not have been able to spend as much time as you wanted to with your horse and feel that it is time to make a change.
2021 is almost here and it's a good time to plan to have the best year ever with your horse. Try these 5 tips and step into the New Year with success!
Rituals give structure to our time, especially when we often only have limited time with our horses each week. You may already be practicing a ritual of meditation, or exercise, or spending quality time with your family. Double up on tasks and include your horse. Use the time you go to your horse to meditate, or read a good book, or listen to podcasts that you want to catch up on. Creating a regular time to spend with your horse during the week is a great way to impact and improve your relationship.
If you don’t have a set time to begin or restart your training program, you risk procrastinating your start. It doesn’t matter if it’s December 29th, January 4th, or some other date. Having a start date and a time that works for you is what’s important.
Because of lockdowns, you may have a very different schedule than you’re used to from years past. Take a look at your 2021 calendar and choose a consistent time to go to your horse, whether it be weekly or daily, when you go to your horse at the same time each day, you will see that your horse begins to look for you and waits for your visit. This will help deepen the bond and make the time you have together even more enjoyable. Choose the date and stick to it. If you take the time to make this a priority you will reap the benefits more quickly!
The best way to be productive after a break is to know what you’re getting into. Organizing your thoughts before the New Year begins will allow you to pick up and begin without a lot of hesitation and confusion.
Use this holiday time to make a reasonable training plan that you will stick to. Choose an exercise and practice it regularly with your horse. This will give you a strategy when you go to your horse and will create many special moments to enjoy together. It doesn’t have to be an activity that takes a lot of prep or energy – that’s not the point! Instead, choose something that is easy for you and will bring a connection to you and your horse.
You might set aside these:
It’s tempting to get into working with your horse before spending time doing nothing with your horse, just to get ahead. If you find that you’re inclined to do that, there is one type of work you can do. Share Territory more than anything else you do. Just “BE” with your horse. There is a reason we are so close to our dogs. We live with them and spend many hours each day with them. Spending lots of time doing nothing with your horse will actually passively advance the horse’s training!
Clear out the fears that you’ve had for years, or the new ones that may have been created in 2020. Clear out the voice that tells you you have to get to work and do something with your horse. Being in what we call a trainer's mind can be debilitating to the relationship. Trying new things can sometimes be a challenge, pay attention to the signs that it is too much for your horse and when it doesn't work out, go back to what was working! Always look for an entry point of connection with a horse.
Starting 2021 with a renewed and refreshed mindset will be one of the best gifts you can give your horse and yourself!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Carolyn Resnick and Nan Zintsmaster
P.S. - If you need help getting started, sign up for a FREE Strategy Session with us! (During a Strategy Session, we will talk you through some of the challenges that may be holding you back, as well as help you to develop a plan with your horse for the New Year!)