Maintain motivation when you just don't feel like riding!

What do you do to maintain motivation when you just don't feel like riding?

Question: To the adult rider, that has decided they want to add “Equestrian” to their list of accomplishments how does one keep and maintain motivation to ride with the complexities of daily life?
Let’s face it, to pick up this activity as an adult you’re more than likely doing it as a hobby. (Most top level & International riders have been riding since childhood but if you have the will it could happen!) After years of focusing on kids and family you now have the time and the means to assert some attention to the personal goals you’ve aspired to. Which included taking riding lessons? Or learning enough to trail ride with friends and or your spouse.

Whatever the reason, horse ownership is a responsibility that will have taken many months if not years to decide to undertake. It’s not a team sport so you can’t depend on someone else to pick up the slack where you are weak. How well you do is solely dependent on you and the effort you put in. Neither is it like golf in which you can just quit and put your clubs in the closet when you get bored or too busy or don’t want to play anymore.
You have purchased an animal, that requires care and maintenance at a sizeable expense. So I would hope should you decided to take on this hobby you do your research and discover the best option for you. Own or Lease. Or maybe just take lessons?!
With regards to myself, I have always wanted to ride horses. When I was young I was fortunate enough, to have had friends that owned horses, which was how I was introduced. But Unfortunately, at the time my family didn’t have the means for lessons nor the time to shuffle me back and forth to the barn during school season So my visions of riding at the international level were put in perspective. Fast forward to 2009. I returned to the United States from attending university abroad, degree in hand and finance job secured, I now had the time and financial means to refine my riding skills which at that time were basic. I started taking lessons and competed in my first show! Apparently, I am quite competitive?! I placed in few of my showings I was hooked. Four years later I purchased my first horse and the rest is history. I have been riding for 8 years now and I don’t believe I will ever give it up, but with my ever increasing duties outside the arena it has been hard at times to maintain the motivation to push myself train as consistently as I did when I first began.
We at Page Mill Pastures have a wonderful large outdoor arena. And for me, I love to ride on the weekends when the sun is out, right after the early morning riders have finished their chores and have begun to depart. The arena is basically empty which allows Phury and I to W/T/C our training routine. With that said, my objective with him is ride 3-4 times a week. (including either Saturday or Sunday!) That’s my goal, but the reality I am sorry to say is quite different.
Now, I don’t know what you’re thinking but…Keep in mind, I have to stable and care for this handsome beast which means I have to work 40+ hours a week (which if you live on the peninsula you know traffic has become a nightmare! So after work rides are a challenge as I commute) as wells as, I have maintain my home, family and I would be lying if I said I didn’t value my social life! #cocktailsanddinnerwiththegirls! And last but not least the endeavor of this magazine. How can I get it all in? Somethings gotta give right? I mean, I would like to think that I am superwoman! And on the occasions where I am able to pull it off I pat myself on the back for being able to accomplish it! Many times I’m so tired, I feel like I just want to crawl underneath the covers and forget I have duties and responsibilities! But what keeps me going, and ultimately the bottom line, is I love my animals (dog and horse) and I will do whatever is necessary to keep them happy and healthy.  But the struggle is real! I simply have too much going on. So the reality is I probably ride once or twice a week and on weekends.

Note: To supplement my not being able to ride, I arranged for my trainer to ride him as well as one of her advanced students to maintain his training and exercise.

But I can’t help but to feel disappointed at times because I would love nothing more than to be out at the barn! So for all those times where I think I need to hit pause in my riding schedule I give myself a good mind lashing and think to myself:

A. I bought this animal and he deserves to be trained. I am a bit of a perfectionist and extremely prideful when it comes to him and I want him to look and be at his best! He is a beautiful creature and when he is tuned in, and ready to work he is incredible!  - “Get to the barn! I say to myself, It’s going to be fun!”

B.  Riding therapeutic (and I am sure every rider will attest to this!) When you’re having a bad day or your mind is running with the things you have to do in your daily life, the best thing you could do is get to the barn and tack up your horse! Because however scrambled your brain feels or whatever pressures seem to be weighing heavy, it all dematerializes after you sit in that saddle! All of your actions and thoughts focus completely on the horse and remain there for however long you ride. Amazing isn’t it? Then when the ride is over those same obligations still may be there but they seem a little more manageable somehow?! As if you just took a rake into a Japanese garden and raked patterns in the sand. - “Get to the barn! I say, You’re going to love it!”

C. I love my horse! I also enjoy being able to recognize the continuing evolution of my relationship with my horse as well as my improved riding skills. - “Get to the barn! I say, he’s waiting for you!”

Without fail this short internal chat seems to work!

Do you sometimes get unmotivated? What do you do to keep yourself on schedule and in the saddle?

Email us: kwase@thatbarnlife.com