Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you can’t seem to progress in your riding. Maybe you’re struggling with a particular skill, or maybe you just don’t seem to be improving at all. Everyone dreads these riding blocks – here are six ways that you can break through the slump.
Work on Something Else
If you’re drilling a specific skill, like a flying lead change, and aren’t making progress, it may be time to work on something else. Constantly drilling a skill that isn’t improving will only lead to frustration and boredom in both you and your horse. If you let yourself work on a different skill for a bit, then you may be able to make better progress on that original skill when you return to it in the future.
Ride a Different Horse
Sometimes we can hit roadblocks when we’re trying to simultaneously learn a new skill and teach our horse at the same time. Try riding a different horse who is well schooled in the skill that you’re learning. Once you perfect the skill yourself, you can better help your own horse learn the skill.
Ride with a Different Trainer
If you find that you’ve hit a riding block and your trainer cannot seem to help you around it, then it may be worth it to try taking some lessons with a different trainer. A different trainer may have a different perspective on the issue, and their advice may just help you past your riding block.
Change Things Up
Instead of focusing on progressing with your horse, change up your schooling schedule entirely. If you ride dressage, work your horse over some poles. If you are training your horse to jump, then head out on the trails. A change of pace can sometimes be all that you need in order to help both you and your horse start progressing again.
Focus on Having Fun
Sometimes you just need a break. Rather than drilling on improving your skills, take some time to just have fun with your horse. Go out on a trail ride, take him swimming, try out a new discipline. Do anything that sounds like fun. The break will let you return to riding refreshed and ready for a new challenge.
Are you really not progressing at all, or are you just progressing slowly? Riding and training a horse is a slow, ongoing process, and sometimes it’s hard to see our progress when it’s not marked by significant achievements. Before you get critical about your lack of progress, look for the little areas in which you and your horse may be improving. Truth is, you’re probably making more progress than you realize.
Be patient with yourself – soon you’ll break through your riding block and feel great about riding again.