I did say that I’d get on your case about keeping a riding journal! I’m obsessive about documenting things and checking things off lists. I admit, the way I do it is probably to an extreme. I suggest if you keep no other journal in your life, that you keep a riding journal.
Why is that? You are going to want to be able to look back and see the progress that you have made over time. It will be great to have to look back on if you have a frustrating lesson. It might even
Riding involves so much multi-tasking. It is quite common that we learn one skill, and in the process of building on it and learning the next skill, start to forget the first things we learned. Maybe not totally forget, but until you get the muscle memory that is necessary for good riding, it is easy for old habits to come back when you put your focus on something else.
So what should you write in your riding journal?
- Horse you rode
- Instructor if it was someone other than your normal one
- Where did you ride? outdoor arena? indoor arena?
- Your mood and your horses’ mood before your ride
- A quick little summary of the whole experience. Something like ” learned how to groom, picked the horses feet for the first time, then spent the mounted part of the lesson learning the proper position.
- What skills you learned that
- What skills you feel you improved on
- Things you most need to work on
- Any specific comments you remember from your instructor, both good and constructive criticism
- How you felt it went, was it fun? easy? hard? Were you happy with how things went? What do you want to do differently next time?
- Any questions that you may have forgotten to ask your instructor.
- Write about something you learned from another rider if you’re in a group lesson
Why it Helps You
By taking the time to write about your riding, not only will you have physical documentation of your progress (it’s nice to have something to hold in your hands and look at), you are also taking the time to sit down and think about your lesson. This allows you to really analyze it.
Your horsemanship will improve to a whole new level when you take just a few minutes to sit down, think about all you did and write it down. It helps you soak up everything you learned like a sponge. You might be surprised how many things slip out of your mind in between lessons.
If you are a crafty person, you can, of course, have all kinds of fun with it, adding scrapbook pages with stickers and photos. If that is not your thing, no worries! It’s the taking the time to think about what you learned and what you still need to work on that is most important.
To help you get started we put together a printable riding template that has 31 days worth of pages for you to download to kickstart your first month of keeping a riding journal! Click the image below to download.