I feel that it is very beneficial for every rider to have a journal to keep track of and up to date on what they have been learning in their riding lessons. Whether it is to keep track of a training schedule, lesson plan, or achievements in your riding, a journal is very helpful. You can find journals literally ANYWHERE and they are also very cost effective. Today, I am going to be giving you three benefits that I feel come from investing in a riding journal. If you are a new rider or have been riding for awhile, this post is for every rider, because it is never too soon or too late to start journaling your riding experiences.
First of all, buying a journal for horseback riding can be easily used as a lesson schedule planner. In my journal, I like to write down all of the times of my riding lessons or when I am going to be riding my horse for the upcoming week. So, for example you could write down the days and times your riding lessons are planned for, so that you can easily remember.
You can also write down the “topic” of the lesson or what you want to work on such as a groundwork lesson, bending lesson, jumping lesson, etc. This allows you to ensure you are working on a variety of skills with your horse and not getting too focused on only one area. This tracking will also allow you to go back months later to review what you did previously as it is easy to forget. Laying out your lesson schedule allows you to plan when you are going to spend the time to ride your horse that week to work around your other commitments. As much as we would all love to be riding 24/7, we do have other responsibilities to tend to. Having a schedule creates balance.
Tracks Progression and Improvements
Secondly, a riding journal tracks progression and improvements. For example, you could write down what you accomplished in your lesson for that day and for each lesson you have. Gradually as you are recording each lesson in your journal, you are able to see the improvements and also things you might need to work on. This helps to build confidence as you feel a sense of accomplishment. Below are some questions you can ask yourself and write down the answers in your journal based on your lesson…
1. What was the lesson about? What were the new skills you learned?
2. What was challenging about the lesson? What was easy to understand?
3. What do you need to improve on for next lesson?
4. Did you improve from the previous lesson?
Lastly, buying a journal allows you to write down the riding goals you have set for yourself. Setting goals is so important to do in riding because it helps to work towards something great and strive to become better than you were yesterday or last month. Goals have really helped me move forward and to become a better rider. Below are three examples of goals that you could record in your journal…
Weekly Goals: Small goals that you want to accomplish in a week. Examples of these goals could be understanding how to do a shoulder-in or doing groundwork with your horse twice a week. Remember that these are small goals that can be achievable within a week, so don’t set the bar too high.
Monthly Goals: Goals such as teaching your horse to bow or do a trick, attending a clinic, or going on a trail ride in the mountains. These goals are going to take longer than a week to achieve, but with some consistent time with your horse, these can be accomplished in a month.
Yearly Goals: Attending a horse show, learning to jump, or overcoming your fear of cantering. The possibilities are endless!
These are just some of the benefits that I feel come from investing in a horse journal. Now, you don’t need to buy the fancy horse riding journals from horse specialty stores as they tend to be very expensive and any journal will do. I bought my journal from Chapters and it has worked perfectly for me! I hope that you have enjoyed this post and it may have even persuaded you to buy a journal and start tracking your progress now.
One last sentimental idea I wanted to share…as we grow and mature in our riding and maybe one day have the opportunity to mentor a young person, wouldn’t it be cool to pull out one of our “old” riding journals to show this new rider (or could even be your own daughter one day) that we were just where they are now. So, lastly, a journal makes a very special keepsake. Anyways, until next time… don’t forget to hug your horse!