maximize your motivation to ride
Stop making excuses & get your fanny in the saddle
There are lots of reasons why we lose our motivation to ride. It’s easy to pick a riding goal start with lots of momentum then have a few setbacks, abandon the goal, feel like crap about ourselves.
So how the heck do we make riding a priority when life gets busy or we get lazy or our horse is grumpy?
Just wanting to do something isn’t enough. You need to picture what it takes to make it happen then be willing to actually do those things.
These strategies will keep you dedicated to making your riding dreams become reality.
10x Your Motivation To Ride
1. Choose your top five wisely
You’ve probably heard that people are most influenced by the five people they are closest to. It’s worth making a point to choose people that are making life happen for them rather than letting life happen to them. Even if they aren’t horse people; surrounding yourself with planners, go-getters, people who think big, and have resilience is invaluable. Let their energy inspire every area of your life including your horsemanship.
2. Stop saying you don't have time
Tough love moment here… When you say you don’t have time to ride it’s not that you actually time. It’s that you just aren’t prioritizing it. Next time you’re tempted to say you don’t have time try saying it’s not a priority. See how that feels. I’ve done it – it feels horrendous! When I started doing this it hit me like a ton of bricks. Horses are a priority for me, no more letting my self off the hook with being too lazy-busy.
3. Disregard imperfect conditions
It’s too windy. It’s too cold. I’m too busy. Too … you fill in the blank. I used to have a teacher that would say excuses are like armpits everyone’s got a couple and they all stink. If you’re coming up with every reason why you aren’t spending time with your horse you need to do some digging. There is something causing you to pass up your horse time. Maybe you need to work on some fear issues or there is a communication gap between you and your equine buddy. Whatever is stealing your motivation to ride, it’s sucking the fun out of your hobby and it’s worth getting to the root of it so you can address it and get back to having fun.
4. Get a riding buddy
Accountability makes a huge difference when it comes to sticking with your riding goals. If you can plan to ride together you’re way more likely to show up cause they’re counting on you. Boost your motivation to ride on days when saddle times don’t match up by sharing your progress and keep each other on track. A riding buddy can also help you stay positive on the rides that don’t go as planned.
5. Lack of vision
Working with horses is not always hearts and flowers. Much of the time it’s a ton of work. If you don’t have a vision of how you want to feel in your relationship with your horse the work is going to overwhelm your motivation. You need to go beyond just setting goals and set your focus on how you want to feel while working toward those goals. Those emotions are going to be what keeps you showing up when it’s below freezing and you can’t feel your feet.
6. Keep learning
Picture the last fun horse event you went to. Maybe it was a clinic, horse fair, show, or seminar. You probably left feeling fired up to get out to the barn. Ready to share your learnings with your horse. So why not make a point to cultivate that motivation to ride on a regular basis? If there aren’t a ton of events in your area right now I would check out my recommended reading list to get started with some home study in the meantime.
7. Write down your wins
Did you know we are naturally wired to notice and remember more negative experiences than positive ones? It makes sense since avoiding negative experiences is part of how we stay alive but it doesn’t do much for boosting one’s motivation to ride if you’ve had a few trying experiences. By regularly noting the fun you’re having and the progress you’re making with your horse you’ll be much more likely to stay motivated by the positive experiences.
8.Schedule your rides
Making appointments to ride just like you do for everything else is a great way to organize your time so it doesn’t get moved to the back burner when your week starts filling up.
9. Use rewards and consequences
Setting rewards for yourself can be very motivating. Schedule 15 rides for yourself this month and make them all you get that cute riding top you’ve been eyeing. On the flip side, you can double your motivation to ride by setting consequences for canceling your riding appointments. Skip a ride no Facebook for a week or no sugar for four days. Avoiding hitting a pain point becomes your motivation to ride.
10. Apply the five-second rule
The five-second rule basically consists of taking action within five seconds of thinking of doing something (for the full background and science behind it you can check out Mel Robbins 5 Second Rule on youtube). In the instance of finding more motivation to ride it might look something like this… you’re doing morning chores you think I should ride quick before I turn horses out. Then your brain kicks in and you start thinking of all the reasons not to ride. The horses want to go out, its cold, it’ll take too long- before you know it you’ve talked yourself out of it. Instead, if you take action right when you have the thought- like heading to the tack room instead of the feed room- the action causes your brain to shut up and you go ride your horse. In the case of thinking I should ride tomorrow the action might look a bit different such as scheduling a ride time with a friend or setting a reminder in your phone but it still needs to be done within the first 5 seconds.
The cool thing about this rule is the more you use it the better you get at it. Start with small things- I should drink more water: get up grab 8oz, I should oil my boots: get the oil out set it on the counter, I want to eat healthier: make your grocery list asap. Stop thinking and start doing!