10 Everyday Habits You Can Make to be a Better Equestrian
Hey #RIDENation! I've recently noticed that the areas that I'm slacking in during everyday life outside of the saddle, interfere with my communication with my horses, and expectations for myself in the saddle, too! As a refresher, I put together a list of "10 Everyday Habits You Can Make to be a Better Equestrian!" Enjoy!
We all know that you can't just sit on your horse, you actually have to ride- which takes strength and stamina. Really focus on stretching, agility, aerobic exercise, and improving core and leg strength every week. Running everyday and working the areas I use most while riding has helped me improve tremendously!
Wake up earlier
So you don't have to be at class or work until 9 am? Saddle your horse and be ready to get on by sunrise! Wake up extra early and take a little time to set your goals and get your mind right for the day. That way when the day gets busy or something unexpected comes up, you'll already at least have one horse rode before-hand.
Set goals for each week
Setting goals on Sunday night usually helps me get optimistic about the week. I'm not a grouch on Mondays anymore because I know it's a fresh new week to do better for myself! Another habit I got into was setting a separate set of goals for each day I ride. This has helped me stay focused and push myself.
Surround yourself with motivated equestrians
It's much harder to make it without a support system! I'm starting to realize how important it is to be around other people with similar goals who are going to push you to be a better athlete. From a day to day perspective, you can pick up on their healthy habits that will help you succeed as an equestrian.
Be ready to make sacrifices
Learn to be flexible and committed, how to weigh your options and outcomes, and really just how to make stuff work! I came across a problem recently where I realized my only day to make it to a barrel race each week was to go on Sunday mornings.. well I go to church on Sunday mornings! I finally decided that I can move some stuff around and go to Wednesday night services instead, or find another local church that has an earlier start time on Sundays.. it knocked me out of my routine, but it all worked out in the end!
Eat for energy
Looking back as a soccer player, the number one thing I wish I would have changed, was how I ate! Eating healthier will help control weight, hair and skin quality, mood, and energy. I always had the 'I'll run it off later' mentality, and while that was true, I know I could have performed much better if I would have taken the care to put better foods in my body. Now that I eat healthier, I'm more efficient, my daily mood has improved, I have better skin, and my hair grows more quickly! I always stock up on fruits, vegetables, and white meats at the grocery store, I cook with coconut oil instead of vegetable oil, and I meal prep on Sundays. Also, I've noticed that drinking a ton of water helps to control appetite, and contributes to hair and skin health as well. Here's where you can find a list of the healthiest fast food options!
Spend all of your time wisely
With goals in mind, who really has time to sit in front of the T.V. everyday?! Put your phone down and get busy! There's only so many hours in the day, so why waste them when you can be using them to get better?
I'll admit, there's times when I let riding feel like a chore! Get in the mindset of being grateful for the lifestyle! For me, I think about how badly I wanted horses growing up and how I wasn't able to ride or own them. Now that I can, I try to make it count! There's going to be a day when I don't get to #RIDE anymore, so staying grateful has helped me focus on building bonds with my horses everyday, increasing the probability of a successful future with them.
Don't follow the crowd
Being in college, I get asked to go out A LOT! But when weighing out my goals and priorities, it's rarely worth it for me. I would rather wake up early and feel on top of my game throughout the day, than spend a few hours at the bar killing precious time. It's paying off in the long run! Do what you need to do every day to be your own hero! I'm the only one that has to live with myself for my entire life!
Don't make excuses
There's always plennnntttttty of excuses available, but never any room for them for those who want to succeed! There's absolutely no reason to settle with an excuse! There's always work to be done, even if you have to get creative to find out what that work is.
Making these ten lifestyle changes will translate over into your riding, and make you a better, more focused equestrian! If you have any more tips for how to be a better person and athlete, let us know in the comment section below!