With the cold, wet weather and darker days, it becomes more and more difficult to get yourself out to the barn and into the saddle. Finding that initial motivation to go ride can be a real challenge, so here are some tips to get yourself out to the barn.
Schedule a Ride with a Friend
Put peer pressure to work and schedule a ride with a friend. When you have to meet a friend, you won’t want to cancel on them. This little bit of guilt can be helpful in getting yourself out to the barn, and riding with a friend can be more fun than riding solo. Misery loves company?
Remind Yourself About Riding After Time Off
Do you remember how it feels to get back into the saddle after weeks or months off? Your legs are weak and nothing feels graceful or easy. Even after missing just a few days of riding, your coordination is a little off and you have to work more than usual. When you’re trying to convince yourself to get out to the barn, think about what it will feel like if you don’t go riding for a few days.
Don’t Get Distracted After Work Or School
It’s all too easy to come home after work or school, sit down, have a snack, turn on the computer or TV, and lose an hour or more of time. Don’t do it. Grab a snack and set your phone’s timer for fifteen minutes to ensure that you get up and moving again. Don’t lose your momentum!
Set Up Your Equipment Ahead of Time
If you’re truly fighting the mental battle to go ride, then try setting up your equipment ahead of time. Have your breeches, boots, and shirt ready and waiting before you leave for work. Having a water bottle filled and a snack ready to go can also help you to get out of the house quickly.
Break Riding Into Short Sessions
Does the thought of schooling your horse for an hour overwhelm you after work? Then don’t head to the barn with the goal of schooling. Instead, make the task smaller and break your ride into more manageable pieces. Tell yourself that you will go ride for half an hour to keep your horse and yourself in shape – no intense schooling required.
Once you're at the barn and in the saddle, chances are that you’ll be feeling better and will likely extend the duration and up the intensity of your ride.
Remember, February 2nd is the half-way point of winter so everything gets better after that!