Getting Back to Regular Riding

Getting Back to Regular Riding

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Here we are at the end of May 2020 and looking forward to the easing of lockdown restrictions whilst, at the same time, having to maintain safety and social distancing going forwards into the “new normal”.

A couple of quick surveys have shown that most riders seem to be getting pretty much back to normal riding and are making plans for resuming training and lessons as appropriate. No competitions or shows on the horizon yet but there is still lots we can do and enjoy.

However, I am aware that a few riders are experiencing a little bit too much “nervous excitement” at the thought of riding again after a couple of months off so what can be done about that?

A few simple changes will help you to give yourself the best re-start and get your mind in the right place to be able to enjoy riding again.

The best view…. from a couple of years ago by Chloe Petrie

The first thing is to be aware of what your internal chatter is telling you and to take charge of it! Make sure that you are focussed on what you DO want to happen when you’re riding as this is what you focus on and affects how you are feeling. So think about your horse going in the direction of your choice at the pace of your choice in the manner of your choice – if that is what your horse is doing at any moment in time then all is well 🙂

Remember to set yourself some short term achievable goals. Whether this includes the number of times per week you plan to ride or whether it includes schooling and training goals will differ from rider to rider. But setting achievable goals boosts your confidence and will help you to quickly get back on track and heading in the direction you wish to go.

When you’re feeling a bit rusty and out of practice it’s common to feel full of doubt and as though you’ve forgotten everything. Never fear….you haven’t. All of your skills and experience are still there and ready for you to tap into. Perhaps things might be a little bit hidden initially but once you’ve ridden again a few times I suspect that the past couple of months will be forgotten. You will know your own horse so it’s probably wise to be sensible and have someone with you or close by to give you some reassurance if that’s necessary.

It might be that you feel you need to stay within your comfort zone initially and that’s OK. Be wary of the temptation to stay in your comfort zone for too long though so I would suggest that each time you ride you make sure to stretch yourself a little bit and, very quickly, your comfort zone will grow without overwhelming you.

Using a calming breathing technique will help you to let go of any physical tension and will also help to calm your mind too. Breathing in calmness to the count of three and breathing out tension to the count of six is a simple ratio method to use when you are feeling tense. Practice it before you ride so that you can use it comfortably when you need it.

My guess is that once you’ve been back on your horse a couple of times then the last few months of enforced rest will fade away and you’ll be back having fun before you know it.

If however, you need a bit of extra help and support then I have an “ESCAPE FROM LOCKDOWN” OFFER of 20 minute online sessions for only £20. These will help you to get your mind where you want it to be, identify your strengths and set some short term goals.

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