The time has come; it’s a new year full of new possibilities. When setting New Year’s Resolutions, we tend to focus on working out more, eating healthier, and maybe sticking to our budget this year. One of my favorite New Year’s resolutions is those that have to do with my horse! From finally organizing your mountains of horse gear to continuing your education under saddle, we compiled a list of New Year Resolutions that should be on every Equestrian’s list this year.

  1. Clean out your tack room/grooming and riding supplies
  2. This resolution is often a task we tend to put off. The best way to set yourself up for success is FINALLY to clean out and organize your tack room or supplies. This means taking everything out, cleaning it, organizing it, throwing it away, or donating the stuff we don’t use or is broken. I put this first because when our stuff is cleaned and organized, we can head into the new year feeling much better about the tasks at hand.

    Read Lifehacks to Organize Your Tack Room for tips and tricks on finally getting your tack room organized.

    Actionable Resolution Examples:
    • I will deep clean my tack room by February 2nd and re-organize it every month thereafter.
    • I will go through my tack and throw away or donate everything that I don’t use or is broken by January 28th.

  3. Read a book / watch a course to further your horsemanship education (nutrition, training, etc.)
  4. One resolution that can benefit every horseman or horsewoman is taking time to learn more ABOUT their horses. Do you want to learn more about nutrition? The relationship between horse and rider? Or what about improving your mental skills as a competitor? Investigate the books and learning resources that can help you further these skills. Remember - being a horseman or woman is more than riding.

    Actionable Resolution Examples:
    • I will read 1 book per month to further my education.
    • I will read 6 books this year about nutrition, hoof care, and training.
    • I will watch one video per week to learn more about my horses.

  5. Sign-up for a clinic to continue your education under saddle
  6. So, we’ve set a goal for furthering our skills outside the saddle; what about in it? Sign-up for a clinic this year to continue your education. Taking the time to listen and learn from experts in your discipline is a great way to improve your riding. It doesn’t matter if you’re just getting started or a professional rider. There is someone out there that can teach you new skills to improve your skillset.

    Actionable Resolution Examples:
    • I will sign-up for 4 clinics this year to improve my riding.

  7. Incorporate more groundwork into your training routine
  8. Our horse’s trust in us begins on the ground. If you have a horse that doesn’t stand still, is pushy, or walks off at the mounting block, take the time to add some groundwork training into your normal routine. This time we spend with our horse makes our experience more enjoyable on the ground and improves our relationship with our horse, which reflects in our riding.

    Actionable Resolution Examples:
    • I will spend 40 minutes weekly working on ground skills with my horse.
    • I will teach my horse how to stand still in the crossties by incorporating groundwork training into my routine.

  9. Try something new with your horse
  10. Often we find ourselves doing the same training routines over and over again. We may LOVE IT, but is our horse bored? Are we heading toward burnout? We sometimes need to remember the beauty of how versatile the horse is, so why not try something new? If you’re a competitive hunter/jumper, maybe you take your horse on a trail ride. If you’re a barrel racer, perhaps you take a dressage lesson. If you’re an eventer, perhaps you try polo. You might find that your horse lightens up with the new challenge, or you just spend the day laughing at yourself as you learn something new!

    Actionable Resolution Examples:
    • I will take my horse on one trail ride per month to give them an active day to refresh their brain.
    • I will look up public events I can take my horse to and try something new every 3 months.

  11. Take care of your horse by adding more therapeutic practices to your routine
  12. How are you caring for your horse to keep them performing their best? Today, you can find several therapeutic products that help prevent soreness or injuries. This year, I challenge you to take the BEST CARE of your horse by adding therapeutic practices into your routine to help your horse feel their best! Start by adding 20 minutes into your barn routine to cold-wrap your horse’s legs! Your horse will certainly enjoy it!

    Actionable Resolution Examples:
    • I will spend 20 minutes after riding to cold-wrap my horse’s legs.
    • I’ll budget for a massage therapist to see my horse every month.

  13. Start documenting your training sessions for reference
  14. We put in all this work and spend more money than we care to admit to becoming better riders, but sometimes we forget all the progress we’ve made! This year, challenge yourself to document your lessons! What went well? What went wrong? What did your trainer say that made the lightbulb go off? Write it all down! How amazing would it be to read all of your amazing progress at the end of the year? Plus, you can do this while your horse is enjoying their newly added therapy session (see resolution #6).

    Actionable Resolution Examples:
    • I will spend 20 minutes after riding to document my learnings from each ride.
    • I’ll document every ride and reread all my learnings at the end of each month.

  15. Set realistic riding and competition goals
  16. This year, I challenge everyone to make realistic goals regarding our riding. I think we all imagine that we’re going to ride in the Olympics one day (guilty), but what can we achieve this year? Maybe it’s taking that young horse you’ve been working on to their first show! Maybe it’s signing up for your first show! Maybe you will go from jumping 2’9 to 3’ this year! Or, you just take more lessons per month to improve your riding. No matter what level you are (even if you are Olympic level), there’s always room to improve and grow!

    Actionable Resolution Examples:
    • Instead of 1 lesson per month, this year I will take 3 lessons per month.
    • I will work with my trainer to develop a plan to jump 3’ by the end of the show season.