Organisation is key. This is something I heard a lot when I was growing up – at school, at home, at work. I’m a relatively organised person naturally (I like to think anyway!) but I had never really thought about how much of an impact organisation would make to my progress and achievements. Since I started having lessons (which must be coming up for two years now) I realised that I really wanted to better myself and Hamish, to keep him in the best shape possible as he got older. I look back now and I am so proud of how far we have some on and how correct he is in his work.
If someone were to ask me what helped me to achieve my goals, I would have to say that planning my week has and is still, the key to our progress. I often used to feel so busy and unorganised and I would end up not riding or putting it off for another day and then the next day it would rain… you know the feeling when you just keep stalling. I hate it actually, it would always leave me feeling guilty and disappointed in myself.
If you want to progress and succeed at something, then you need to make it work. Make it happen. Make sure you fit it in. Your progress and success is essentially down to you. The moment I finally realised that just getting on and riding when I could, without much determination or effort wasn’t going to get me results, was the moment everything changed. The easiest and most achievable way I found to stay on track and meet my goals, is planning in advance. It doesn’t take much time and it has made me feel so much more organised and relaxed about my schedule. Aren’t we all trying to juggle work life, partners, a social life and somewhere in there a little bit of time for ourselves (once in a blue moon!)?! If you want to start planning, you’ll need only 2 things:
A Diary – I have my pink LEROY AND BONGO PLANNER, which is specifically designed for organising your horse life, they’ve really thought about the detail and I LOVE mine; I couldn’t live without it now. I would really highly recommend getting one if your on the hunt for a diary. But you could just use a normal diary or even just the calendar on your phone!
A reliable weather app on your phone – I find the MET Office most reliable for me, but if you have a few you can compare them and see what seems to be most reliable.
A Cup of Tea – It is essential. I promise!
On a Sunday afternoon / evening, I sit down with a cup of tea and my Leroy and Bongo planner and plan my week. I think about what I know I need to do, for example, I need to school twice and hack twice, so I know I need to plan 4 days’ worth of riding in the week. For Hamish, this needs to be evenly spread out, so he doesn’t have too many days off in a row.
I then go to my weather app to see what options I have for riding, do any days look like they might be a total write off? Once I know my options for the days I can ride, I will then make a plan for the week. I always have a lesson on a Tuesday, so that’s one day schooling, then I might Hack on Wednesday evening, Thursday off, School Friday, Hack Saturday and Sunday off. This way in my head, I know exactly what evenings I am riding and I can organise my week around this. I then also know when I have free time to fit in other plans throughout the week.
When I have this all written out in my planner, I generally tend to stick to it. But it’s important to be able to be flexible too. Sometimes things will change and you might not be able to stick to the plan, but don’t worry as you’ll have options to move your days around and still be able to stay on track with your goals.
Whilst we’re talking about my planner, I thought I would just add that each day has a section for notes. After I have ridden I write a little note each day to say how Hamish went, what we did, what went well etc. Keep it positive and short. I think one positive comment each session is really important. Then if you have something you think you need to work on you can jot this down too. I really enjoy looking back and reading these every so often, and seeing our progress.
I hope you found this helpful and you can use some of these tips to keep your horsey life organised. I would love to hear your tips on how you keep on top of your riding schedule too.