Positive rider actions and attitudes will make your life easier

Following a series of tried and true tips will help your rides become more positive and ensure results.

Practice makes perfect.

It takes muscle memory to create an action that becomes an automatic response. Muscle memory is defined as “doing something often, with repetition, without having to think about doing it, to become an automatic response.”

Muscle memory is important, especially when you are doing a quick task that requires instant response. You don’t want to think about what to do, you just need to do it quickly and automatically.

Automatic functions are good to establish positive habits in your life. The below suggestions will help to make your life easier as an equestrian rider.

Your rides will become more positive and your results will allow you to move forward at a quicker pace. Happy Trails!

Start and end your riding sessions on a positive note

One of the most important things we can do as a rider is to know when “good enough” really is the correct stopping point.

A horse remembers its last ride and builds future rides from that one. Make your final action a positive one. A horse reacts well to praise. Praise the horse before you start the ride as well as when the session is over.

Remember, several short sessions are more effective than one extended session. The horse will remember how he felt and build on that. What happens if nothing you are doing is causing a positive response? What should you do?

The answer is to go back to basics, even if that’s just walking and stopping quietly. Always end the lesson on a positive note.

Set achievable goals

Goals give you something to work towards with your riding. Write your goals down on paper. The old fashioned way of taking a small pad of paper and putting down your goals or to do list on it works well. It actually is more effective than just using your phone’s to do list feature.

The reason that a pad of paper is more effective is you can see what you have accomplished afterwards. Goals are met and are not just erased. You can see how much you have done and feel a sense of pride and accomplishment. Set both short and long term goals.

Be confident in your actions

Don’t second guess yourself. Read or watch lessons on how to improve your rides. Learn breathing techniques to help battle stressful situations.

As you become more confident in your riding ability, your time in the saddle will become more enjoyable. Your goal is to feel one with the horse.

Find a riding mentor or go to a riding clinic

Never stop learning. This is by far one of the most important things you can do for yourself. Going to a clinic or taking lessons with an accomplished trainer builds your own confidence and gives you an amazing amount of knowledge.

Take from each clinic you attend little tidbits and then create your own way of doing something that works best for you.

Finally, ride while thinking. Don’t just ride a horse mindlessly. Be in the moment, be in the here and now.

Most of all, be present and enjoy the ride!

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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