I’m sure we have all been there, I know I certainly have… When you get off after your ride feeling negative and disappointed. Sometimes it just doesn’t quite go as planned, right? But I think there’s a lot to be said for analysing your ride the right way, even when things don’t go quite to plan, there’s a lot to take away from it.
If you take one thing away from this post, please remember, don’t miss out on the opportunity to progress by trying to forget your ride and move on… Even though I know that’s all you might want to do at the time.
If you’re thinking this sounds like something you need to implement but don’t know how, then keep reading, you’re certainly in the right place.
I’ve created a simple 8 step plan, to leave you feeling positive after every ride. When you’re answering these questions, remember think about both your horse and yourself. Yes agreed, sometimes it’s the horse but sometimes we’re the ones in the way of progress too, as hard as that is to hear.
And finally, the answers to these questions are for your eyes only, so be honest with yourself in order to get the most out of it!
Q1 Remember your why.
Example Answer: I love schooling and we want to enter our first novice dressage test in the spring and compete affiliated.
Q2 What did you do during your ride today?
Example Answer: Today we schooled. Working on staying connected through the transitions and working on staying straight.
Q3 What had you planned to do today?
Example Answer: Today I had planned to work on our lateral movements and using shapes to increase bend and flexion, in preparation for our dressage test and carry out some progression to our canter work.
Q4 If these are different, if so, why did you have to change your plan?
Example Answer: He wasn’t straight and through at the beginning of the ride and as a result he was hollowing through the transitions, so we had to spend time working on transitions and straightness and didn’t get a chance to work on lateral movements or run through the test.
Q5 Consider other external factors that may have affected your ride?
Example: Weather, or perhaps the amount of work they have done this week.
Q6 What could you do next time to improve this?
Example Answer: Continue to work on the transitions throughout training sessions. Start to incorporate these transitions into the other shapes and movements, to combine these with the bending exercises for progression.
Q7 What did you achieve / accomplish?
Example Answer: Managed to get him through, during the transitions and was able to effectively ride ‘off of the track’, keeping him straight. Practiced center lines for the test. Worked on my own position, keeping quiet and calm.
Q8 What did you learn?
Example Answer: Being able to adapt to the situation and circumstances at the time is important, you cannot always control the situation but you can control the way you react to it. I felt I had a good ‘feel’ today and was able to adapt my riding accordingly.
To try and help you to log your progress, I have created a PDF template for you with all of these questions included. Feel free to download, print or save the template and use it until your hearts content. Logging your progress to positively analyse your ride.
I really, really hope this is helpful and I would absolutely love to know if you used the template and how it worked for you. Or even better, do you have any advice on how you reflect on your ride for the most positive outcome? I’d really love to know.