The phrase, “practice makes perfect,” is well known, but people sometimes don’t think about it enough to realize that if you’re practicing incorrectly, you’ll never be very good at riding. It’s not how many times you ride each week or how long you ride each time, but how much you improve during practice sessions that makes a difference in your riding level and showing record.
For example, if a rider is practicing without stirrups, but doesn’t keep the knees in place, the calves on the side of the horse, or the toe pulled upward so that the Achilles tendon is stretched, then the leg position will never improve. You have to strive for a perfect position to even achieve a good one, must less an excellent one.
When teenagers ride after school, sometimes they chat a lot with their friends in the arena, never doing much more than walking around on their horses. Yet these same riders seem very disappointed when they don’t place well at a horse show. Success is partly due to talent, but largely due to self-discipline and hard work. As someone once said, “No one can give you self-esteem. You have to earn it.” So the next time you’re riding your horse, work on something specific that will improve your skills. You’ll find lots of ideas for things to work on in the “Horse Articles” section of this website.
Make good use of Fall’s beautiful riding weather and work hard to strengthen your position before the horses get rambunctious in the cold of Winter! Talk to you next week–AJ