I started keeping a journal of my riding lessons just over a year ago. I’ve found it really helpful in keeping track of my rides, progress, and achievements, so I thought I would share what I’ve learnt with you!!
I keep my riding journal in note form rather than full sentences because it’s quicker and I find it means I’m more likely to keep it up to date. Here are a few extracts from various entries over the past year!
jumping lesson with superstar little pony, jumped grid of about 2’6″, need to keep my hips further back in jump position (I have the bad habit of standing up rather than actually going into jump position), need to kick on just before the jump even if I know the pony I’m riding will jump it
– extract from my riding journal, January 2015
first time ridden pony, jumped like the Irish hunting pony he is: very fast & very big, he “jumps like a stag” as my instructor said, told to give with my hands more over the jumps than I normally would, grid built up to 3’ (usually I only jump about 2’6”), amazing lesson
– extract from my riding journal, February 2015
rode two horses as we swapped half way through the lesson so we could compare different horses’ way of going:
first pony forward going & fun but not very responsive breaks, very speedy & hard to slow down, took ages to get downward transition, he didn’t have any rhythm so needed to work on that, 20m circles in walk while encouraging him to stretch & relax, some improvement
second horse not very off the leg & hard work, slow walk but more active trot, felt had to rely on tugging reins to steer (which I don’t normally do), he was heavy on the bit & on the forehand, worked on trying to get off the forehand, told not to do lots of long trots as that would put him more on the forehand
– extract from my riding diary, May 2015
flat lesson, tried to collect & extend paces , difficult, didn’t really understand how, instructor explained differently how to collect & extend & it suddenly all made sense, I had to “bounce him” along the short sides of the arena to collect & “then let him go” down the long sides to extend, much better after that
– extract from my riding diary, June 2015
Some people like to keep a traditional paper diary in their tack box so they can write in it straight after their ride, others write it on the computer or their phones. It doesn’t really matter how you keep a riding journal, but I recommend that you do! It really helps you remember all the tips your riding instructor gives you, and you can look back to see how much you’ve improved your riding!!
If you have your own horse it can be useful for recording his/her training. If, like me, you go to a riding school you probably ride a lot of different horses, and keeping a riding journal is useful for remembering each horse’s character for the next time you ride them.
Do you keep a riding journal? What’s the best tip you’ve ever learnt for riding?
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading the extracts from my riding diary – part two will be coming soon!!!
Horse Daydreamer xxx