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There is a saying that if you always do what you’ve always done, you continue to get what you’ve always got. This applies to every aspect of life, but is particularly true of riding.

It is easy to carry on doing what we’ve always done – after all some of us learned to ride years ago and are unaware that we may have developed bad habits, perhaps to compensate for physical changes in our bodies, or not realizing that we are capable of riding more effectively.

Horses that continually do the same thing quickly become bored and unmotivated. This January, why not resolve to put some sparkle back in to your lives and try something new?

You will be surprised at just how much fun and enjoyment you can have, and how your confidence and relationship with your horse can be strengthened, simply by stepping out of your comfort zone.


Here are ten ways to ensure that 2012 really is a happy new year!…


-Review your riding and make positive changes. If your schooling routine consists of endless circles or practising dressage tests that your horse knows inside out, resolve to do something new each day, perhaps by incorporating some pole work, or hacking over to a friend’s yard occasionally to school with them.

-Watch children riding and note the fun they have with their ponies. Allow you and your horse to have a little ‘yee-hah’ time where you have a good gallop now and again, or invite friends over to ride with.

-Try a new discipline and set yourself a realistic goal, such as learning a musical dressage routine and entering a competition. Sharing your goals with a friend can help to keep you both motivated.

-Why not book a holiday for you and your horse? Check out listings in an Equine Directory like or classified advertisements in equine magazines for farms that offer accommodation for horse and rider. Imagine cantering along a beach on your own horse, or exploring new countryside. Make it happen!

-Consider taking lessons with a new instructor. No matter how old you are, or how long you have been riding you will benefit from lessons and a new instructor can motivate and improve your confidence so that you have renewed enthusiasm.

-Check your tack. Do you need that martingale now? Or that drop noseband? Can you begin to go without them? Remember, if you always do what you’ve always done…be even braver and try bitless…your horse will thank you!

-Invest in some new everyday riding clothes. A new jacket, hat or boots can do wonders for your comfort and self confidence.

-Check out summer camps for adult riders. They are great fun and a wonderful way of trying new disciplines and making new friends. Alternatively, organize a summer gymkhana on your yard. Buy some cheap prizes and have fun, perhaps teaming up with a child and reliving the joys of a bending race!

-Buy a good ordnance survey map and find new places to go trail riding. Arrange to meet other horsey friends for a ride and a picnic lunch.

-This winter, book up for any lectures or demos in your area. Make it into a yard outing, so that you can get to know other people and have fun together.

Remember – horse riding is fun!

Adapted from the article by Author: Andrea McHugh

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