Wednesday, April 6, 2016

What Do Wednesday: Planning


I have reset my human button and feel recovered. I had such plans to work out and ride yesterday AM after not doing either for almost a week, but woke up and saw the temp was 25* and said HELL NO and went back to sleep.

Wise decision.

With that information, I know you all are highly intrigued for whats next, considering its Wednesday and you know what that means...

So after feeling incredibly guilty for not even touching my other horse for a week (yeah, I never even made it to the barn once just to stuff his face with food), I started planning out what this week would look like with school, gym, OT and now, stall cleaning.

Kill me.

I love Yankee and missed his sweet face, but god bless it I did not miss barn chores and keep forgetting they are here sometimes.

Anyways. Bacardi. Other horse I own. Neglected. Suffering.

"Feed me cookies I'm dying"
I am sure he enjoyed his time off, and hopefully its helped him stay sound. He pulled a shoe last week while riding, which is still a mystery how and when, but he did. Jerk.

BUT, show season is upon us and I will go broke trying to show this lil bitch. Hashtag life goals amirite?

This week I have planned to ride 3 times and lunge once (tomorrow). That sufficient right? But then again Ohio is fucking insane and decides its going to be colder than a witches tit after a week of gorgeous, sunny, 70* days...and snow 3/7 days in the week and then thunderstorm randomly and then get cold as balls again.

So who knows if that is actually how many times I will work le red horse.

Anyways, what I realized while carefully planning out my week to the minute, per usual, is that I never actually plan on WHAT I will be doing in my rides.

Like ever.

Maybe Sundays, where I usually jump since no one is ever there and I can jump in peace (read: everyone doesn't have to deal with my spaz pony) and quiet and force my slave boyfriend to video.

Older adorable pic as a text break
Other than that, I don't plan. At all. Never. This practice actually has stemmed from my insane overplanning I used to do in college, and my best laid plans always went to shit because horses. Seriously when do horses ever cooperate? Why don't they just know our plans and stick to them?

I had special calendars all color coded and labeled with exact movements we would work on and what tack I planned to use etc. I am a crazy person.

It always seemed that when I planned to flat and work on halting/transitions/whatever, horse would instead decide that galloping madly was a better way to spend our session. Or if I planned on jumping, someone wold have recently removed ALL the jumps and dragged arena, or horse would come up lame or missing a shoe.

So now, I just don't give a fuck.

Drinking, riding, & not giving a rats ass; the best way to do shows
I show up,  step one. Then I see what the lesson schedule is like, if there are jumps in the arena, how B is feeling (snazzy or less snazzy), if its cold, raining, sunny or how tired/sore I am. SO many factors.

Generally I do one hack, 2 flat and a jump sesh, but sometimes the ring is too full of jumps and I just jump every day that week because why not. Or I WANTED to hack, but its pouring. Or I wanted to flat, but there are too many horses in the ring/hes feeling too fresh and I just don't ride at all.

So, no plans.

Maybe this is why we have only done 2 schooling shows in our 2 year career together and I was stuck at training with Yankee for 5 years but whatever, details. Planning my rides don't work for me and only lead to disappointment.

One of our million rides at training level
So dear readers, what do? Do you meticulously plan your rides? Or do you wing it like I do? Feed me your secrets, I must know!


  1. As you said, horses are unpredictable: sometimes I have an idea or a goal in my mind for a particular ride, and Roger's all "ehhh nahhhhh let's not". I try to vary my rides between flat and jumping, but it really depends on how Roger's feeling on a particular day, or if we have a show or something coming up that I'd like to prepare for. However, there are some days that I get to the barn and I'm so drained from work, that I just hop on him and take a stroll around our field, or just do some light walk/trot and call it a day. You can't knock the value of some quiet pony time :)

  2. I do try to plan ahead for my rides, but will adjust if the pony doesn't seem to be on board with whatever I wanted to work on that day. Weekly, I try to ride 5-6 days a week with at least one hack/conditioning day, 2-3 dressage rides, and 1-2 jump rides. I tend to have an idea of what I want to focus on that day before I get to the barn, but as we know, horses often have other ideas! It's good to be flexible.

  3. I only plan as far as "is it a conditioning day vs dressage day vs jump day". I've found that for a horse like mine (and likely, yours) if I roll up in there thinking "today we are going to do so much haunches-in and a bunch of lengthenings!" or whatever, it's way counterproductive. I have to see how the horse feels. Some days his brain might be delicate, in which case it's a lot more productive to work on stretchy work and very basic lateral work. Other days he might be randomly feeling very uphill, in which case we can work on more advanced lateral work and lengthenings. Then there are the days he's really really quiet and I'm able to do a crapton of transitions without him getting upset. I feel like that approach actually works a lot better, and produces more progress, than if I get on with a rigorous set of very specific things in mind to work on. Big believer in riding the horse you have that day. The horse and the human are both happier for it.

    I do plan the conditioning days though, because we're working toward a goal. So I'll get on knowing that it's a long trot day of X minutes, or an interval day doing however many sets of whatever, and do exactly those. That's about as stringent as I get.

  4. I like to have a plan, so that I work on things that actually need work. But I've also worked really hard on being flexible, because as you said, sometimes your horse just didn't get the memo.


    I don't even take tack out when I show up at the barn. I get a lead rope and go see if I can catch my horse. Once that is accomplished (2 seconds or an hour, whatever), then we figure out how much energy I have left/what I think he needs to do.

  6. I ride kind of like Amanda. I play for basically what our dress up day will be, and then go with whatever my horse has to offer. So, in a week I try to do one dressage day, one jump day, one lunge day and one western day. If I have another one or two days where I feel good enough to ride, I add another ride in whatever I think we need to do the most. Or just make it a bareback play day.

  7. Wing it. Sometimes I think of a plan but normally it doesn't work

  8. I'm def a planner. Not every minute of every ride, and sometimes my game plan will change completely based on whatever my horse is acting like... But I try to strike. General balance of flat work, jumping and trail riding from week to week, month to month. And plans are subject to change based on show schedule.

  9. My only plan is.... do I get on or not? Haha. It's all weather dependent for me without a barn or arena. It also depends on how I'm feeling or if I'm injured (which seems to be frequently lately grr). I'm very fortunate that my boy is pretty much the same day in and day out, so I don't have to worry about that, but we also don't work on anything complicated... if we were actually training for something or trying to compete I might have to plan more, but right now I don't. I was an over planner like you and would get horribly upset if my plan didn't go exactly how I imagined (not just horses)... it was bad. So I kind of gave up on planning and decided to learn to just go with the flow. It's a lot less stressful this way hehe. :D


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