Lets recap the previous season. For those who compete, whatever the discipline, lets take a look at what issues/obstacles arose and identify how we can problem solve and improve.
Long standing issues, whatever they may be… Perhaps its time to take a fresh approach to deal with long standing issues. It doesn’t make sense to repeat what isn’t working and expect different results does it?
Tip 1 - Take the time to return to the basics of techniques. We all ‘get bored’ with the fundamental aspects. Sometimes however we can greatly benefit from a few weeks returning to the start and fine tuning these foundation skills.
Have you looked at all aspects of your situation?? Holistic care does not just mean health. Holistic care also looks at the dynamics of the daily routine of your horse. Maybe it is time to review your feed, add or remove supplements, check your equipment fits (again yes!), get your horses teeth checked (naturally if necessary also have them done).
Tip 2 - Ask experts! This is not to undermine your knowledge, but there will always be someone who knows more, that is their profession! Plus there is a feeling of satisfaction when you call an expert to review teeth, equipment, feed etc and they tell you that you are doing the right things!
Equipment; always a touchy subject… Saddle fit, bits, nosebands, its a landmine out there with sooo many options. And of course everyone has their well founded opinion and experience (yes me too!!). Yes a saddle must fit the horse, but it also must fit the RIDER! Nosebands should NOT be extremely tight, nor should girths.
Tip 3 - Just because it worked in the past, does not mean it will continue to work in the future so look for a different option. For example; trying a new bit instead of tightening your noseband may assist with avoidance problems.
Take a look at you. How is your fitness, core strength and balance? Do you have tension or stress? Do you regularly exercise other than with your horse? Tension in your body can cause tension in your horse. It also subtly changes your cues when riding.
Tip 4 - It is necessary as a rider to look after your own fitness too. Make sure you remain flexible and relaxed. You can also tailor your training program to peak energy levels at competitions.
Remember the successes! Use these experiences as a guide. When you have a recipe that works well, repeat it. And reward your horse and yourself for every improvement.
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