The new year is here and many people find it a good time for reflection and planning. Reflecting includes things like what worked, what didnít and what you could improve. It probably shouldnít include gazing at your bank statement because this is supposed to be a happy time of year, so why go there. There will be plenty of time over the winter months for that activity.
Some of you may already have a good idea of what you and your horse will be doing over the next year. Maybe youíre already involved in a specific sport or show circuit, and youíre aiming to do even better next year. But, just in case you don't have a plan already in place, there are lots of things you can put on your 2018 bucket list.
Plan that Photo Shoot
I donít know anyone that has a horse that wouldnít love a great portrait done by a professional photographer. Sure, you have 1428 pictures of your horse on Instagram, but the different perspective, composition and professional eye will yield photos you just canít get with your cellphone. Many photographers specialize in horse photos and will know how to work with your horse and you.
Ride on the Beach
In some places, you may have to get permission to do this, so call the park office, or whoever else is in charge so you'll be prepared. Decide whether you trust your horse enough to ride bareback, or use a saddle. Be prepared for your saddle to get wet. This might be a good time to dust off that old synthetic one in the back of the tack room. Be aware that traveling on the sand is harder work for a horse than many surfaces you normally ride on. They'll tire quickly and be more susceptible to strain. Same with galloping through the water. you'll also want to know where any rocks or other things on the bottom are, so you don't go splashing into them. And, because it's a new environment, your horse might be a little extra excited. Some horses love a good splash in the water, some will require a little coaxing.
Volunteer at an Event
The WEG, the Olympics, and other top-level events often have opportunities for volunteers. Volunteering is a great opportunity to learn, meet people and be a part of the atmosphere. You might have to travel quite a ways, but thatís all part of the adventure. Or, maybe there is an opportunity closer to home. And, it may not be a major event. Pony Club and 4-H welcome volunteers with open arms. Small shows are always in need of volunteers. In fact, you might enjoy being a 4-H leader, which is a bit longer-term commitment, but many find very rewarding.
Be the Judge for a Change
You might compete regularly, and are used to being judged. But, why not try being the judge. There are many judging competitions offered by breed associations other others, like universities, colleges, and 4-H. You will have a variety of classes to choose from including in-hand and performance classes. Not only will you gain confidence in forming and expressing your opinions, youíll be developing your eye for conformation, good riding skills, and ideal performance.
Here are more ideas:
Attend or participate in a historical reenactment
Take a lesson with a top rider
Try a different discipline
Create a costume
Visit a horse museum
Attend or participate in a clinic
Try brideless riding
Ride your dream breed
Meet a famous horse or horse person
Gallop on a racetrack
Complete a long distance ride
Go on a multi-day trail ride
Ride your English horse western or visa versa
Take a driving lesson
Take a side saddle lesson
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