How u gonna get there if you don’t know where u are going?
Seems like a str8 forward statement but I suspect some distance riders enter each season the same way- prep in exactly way they have done in the past with no specific goal in mind. We tend to be creatures of habit. Familiar stuff is safe stuff, right?
However if you want to do something extraordinary this year, if you want to reach for the stars- you need a plan. I think the first thing needed is a specific goal. Write it down, then below it write in detail how you plan to achieve it!
Ok, an example-
“This year I want to finish 5 -50 milers with my seasoned horse!”
There u go, a specific goal.
How am I gonna get there?
- Well if it was me I would first look closely at my goal, to finish 5 -50 milers. There is no speed goal here so I think the first thing for me to do is to mentally wrap my head around racing conservatively all year. I will have the mantra “I am gonna go slow today” and really mean it! All season long! Why slow? It is much easier on a horse to travel at a pace that is easy for them. Yet often even the most conservative riders feel the fresh horse under them early in the race and go much faster than they intend to. It happens every single race. Go into the race with a plan and stick to it! If it takes buddying up with a slower group or riding alone do it!
- I am gonna create a varied workout and diet schedule for myself to maintain my weight, stamina and strength.
- I am gonna create a varied workout and diet schedule for my horse to maintain his weight, stamina and strength.
- I am gonna look at the EDRA race schedule and space my 5 races optimally so that I can plan an optimal recovery, buildup and taper routine between each race.
- I will also pick races that best suit my horses and my own abilities. If we perform well on mountain races I will pick mountain races.
- I am gonna be tuned into the frequency of my horse. If at a hold I notice he is not eating well I am gonna take extra time. I am gonna find graze for him or borrow strange feed to try to get him eating well. Between races if I notice his back is tight prior to saddling (u do check his back prior to saddling no?) I will do belly raises and backing. I will research massage or acupuncture treatments, I will be proactive in finding solutions to small issues before they become huge problems!
- On and on. With the yearlong goal as well as how we plan to get there written down in front of us our chance of getting there will be greatly improved no? Be like that dog with a bone- grab on to that goal and don’t let go of it!
Giddy Up, Dennis