New Year's resolutions for the equestrian

If you normally ride western, maybe it’s time to try jumping or even side-saddle? Doing the same discipline day after day can become dull and you have a tendency to not grow as much as you could as a rider.

Happy New Year! Are you ready to start out the new year with your best foot forward? Below are a few New Year’s resolutions with an equestrian’s twist to them, of course. Try one or try them all, keep a positive outlook and take on the new year with style and grace. Happy New Year & Happy Trails!

Try new things

Shake things up a notch! If you normally ride western, maybe it’s time to try jumping or even side-saddle? Doing the same discipline day after day can become dull and you have a tendency to not grow as much as you could as a rider. Take a clinic, view a new DVD or grab up some new lessons to freshen up your routine and you may even improve your usual riding style as well.

Improve your and your horse’s fitness

Truth be told, most of us, horses included, could use a little more conditioning and perhaps weight loss. Horses and humans alike need to be in their best possible condition to get the most out of their rides and workouts. Get fit and you will become more flexible, healthier and your rides will require less effort.

Make new friends

There is nothing like riding or being around horse crazy friends. It’s great to talk to other horse enthusiasts. They understand your passion and don’t question it, unlike what happens with non-horsey friends. Take a chance, make some new friends by joining the local riding club, attending a clinic or even a trail ride. Trade numbers and keep up the riding together during the year.

Be more consistent

If there was one thing that you could do that would guarantee greater success with your horse skills, would you do it? The answer would be, consistency. Horses love consistency. They like to do the same thing over and over without stress. You don’t have to work your horse into a sweat every time you ride. If you ride or work with your horse on a regular schedule you will soon find that the horse seems to remember the previous lesson quicker and the workouts become much more successful. Don’t make the lessons a marathon. Keep it simple and short. It’s better to do a short ride more often than a long ride every once in a while. If you get yourself on a consistent schedule you will find your horse improving incrementally, not just a little at a time.

Clean up and clean out your tack room

We are all guilty of this one. Rushing around we put away tack that should have been wiped down first. Tack gathers dust and maybe even mold. Now, during this slower time of the year, is the best time to clean it up and if you aren’t using it on a consistent basis, sell it. Turn that wasted space into easy cash for items you will use.

LORI RICIGLIANO is a horse judge, trainer, riding instructor, equine photographer and clinician. She also hosts a weekly syndicated equine radio talk show “Hoof Beats with Lori”. Lori has held her horse judges license as a USEF / AHA — “R” rated licensed horse judge for more than 25 years and currently operates Ricigliano Farms Horse Training and Riding Academy near Kent, Minn. She can be reached by email or phone for any questions at 218- 557-8762 or riciglianofarms@gmail. com. Her website is www. RiciglianoFarms.com

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