Example Riding Plan for a Week-Day 5
After today, the plan would be to let your horse have the weekend(or whatever two days it may be) to just relax and be a horse. Let him do his thing with his horse friends, let the weeks work "soak in" so to speak. I know it may sound crazy, but I have found if you end your week on a positive note and then give your horse a couple days off, your lessons really do "soak in". I think you will pick up after the days of ahead of where you were last week.
Even though this is our easy fun day. We still want to do a good warm up. Remember, this is a safety issue, you need to figure out what you are sitting on that day and how he feels.
Even though we aren't going to be working on our new exercises, before we go off and forget about serious work for the day, we need to make sure our horse is responsive to our aids. Check the brakes, steering, gas pedal, etc..
You Aren't Off The Hook
You aren't off the hook for working on your skills! After your warm-up spending 10 or 15 minutes working on whatever it is that you have been focusing on as far as yourself this week. Maybe your two point position, sitting the trot, no stirrup work. It should make you feel good to know you have been putting just as much effort into improving yourself as improving your horse's skills.
Taking responsibility for improving yourself in the areas that need improvement is a huge thing when it comes to riding. Remember, when we have an issue with our horse, a miscommunication of some kind. Most likely it is just as much an issue of something we are doing wrong as it is the horse being bad.
The saying the horse is only as good and well trained as it's rider is absolutely the truth!
So Now What?
You warmed up, your horse is right on. You practiced your own exercise for the last time this week.
Now it is all about relaxed, easy and fun! Enjoying your time with your horse, and reaping the benefits of the communication you improved as you worked all week long.
Get Out Of The Ring
If you have been working in an indoor, ride him the outdoor arena instead. Even better, take a ride around the property with a friend. If you have the opportunity to get out in the woods on the trails, that is even better! As I have mentioned a change of scenery will do everyone good!
You could even do your 5th day ride bareback if you feel safe riding your horse bareback. As long as you will be able to still do a good warm up, and your 10 or 15 minutes working on yourself.
Why Aren't We Working On Our New Skill Exercises?
The reason we do a fun, easy day on the 5th day is to keep our horse a willing partner. Remember, many of the things we ask of our horses don't come naturally to them. It is a constant struggle for us to try to figure out how to "speak their language", so to speak.
Drilling the same exercises over and over is good to a point, that is how we improve. If you don't consider your horses mental well being though, you are working against yourself.
You want to keep your horse fresh and interested in his work. That way each day as you tack up you are hopefully throwing your leg over a willing partner and not a reluctant one.
It is our horse's jobs to do what we ask of them, safely and obediently. It is our job to try our hardest to be sensitive to their wellbeing. Both mentally and physically. To make the right behavior easy, and the wrong behavior hard. To try our hardest to "speak their language".
What Did You Learn This Week?
Hopefully, this week you learned that it helps to plan your rides. Hopefully, by thinking through your exercises you have learned a lot about where you and your horse stand. What you are good at and what areas still need improvement.
Hopefully, you have set your goals, and broken them down into the steps that you need to achieve them with your horse.
We need to be our horse's leader. By setting goals, and plans to go to that level or make those improvements is taking that leadership role to a new level. Remember, horsemanship is a journey, never stop learning! Look at all you learned in just the last 5 days?!