Boy oh boy it can be tough training horses at this time of year! The dark evenings, the cold, the wet and the mud. If it’s not raining and blowing it’s freezing. It can be hard to get motivated, sometimes leading to feelings of failure. As if we need to add negative thinking to our struggles!
If this rings true for you, read on!
When things are difficult, instead of focusing on the problems look instead for what can be done – today - however small.
A wet or windy day will often make our usual training routine difficult or even impossible. But, because we know this, we should change our expectations and set a new, more realistic goal. It's a fantastic opportunity! We can teach a horse how to relax, how to behave when he is stressed. We can set up a "safe spot" in the arena that we can gradually expand. And this will improve the trust in our relationship. How wonderful will it be when we can go out and train without even having to think about how the weather will affect our horse!
And if time is short it is perfectly possible to make progress with just 3 x 15-minute training sessions in a week. Successful, short training sessions can be hugely rewarding for both you and your horse.
Here are 3 simple things to help you keep momentum:
Achieving our goals, however small, makes us feel successfuland allows us to make progress, and that, in turn, brings motivation in difficult circumstances.
And if it is all impossible, as long as your horse has adequate turnout on dry ground and good equine company to keep him stimulated it is perfectly fine to give him a break from training. After a 4-6 week break he (and you) might even come back better than before!
Check out Marijke de Jong's 4 part Facebook post for some really awesome advise about goal setting in 2018 below.
Wendy Poore, Licensed Straightness Training Instructor with Marijke de Jong