Keep a Riding Journal

Write about your ride to learn from your mistakes.

The beginning of this year, I was having a hard time with the reining horse I ride for the equestrian team at Murray State University.
So to help me remember what we worked on, fixed or had problems with, I wrote in a journal.
After just a few weeks, I started to see improvement in the sorrel gelding, Rugged Colonel. And, not only was he getting better, but our relationship and communication was also getting better.

I wrote in my riding journal every time after I rode. It only took a few minutes, and at school, I kept it in my car so I could write in it as soon as I was finished. At home, I keep it in the tack room.

I included what bit I rode in, what we worked on, how long we worked and what improved or got worse.

Here are some examples:

1-15-11 Saturday
We rode in the spring-loaded correction bit today. Power steering is showing a lot of improvement. He is still having trouble stopping hard with his head down but only when I ride one handed. He is also having trouble keeping his head low in his small circles. All in all, it was decent ride. *Note: He was much more comfortable in the looser curb strap.
45 minutes
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1-18-11 Tuesday
We rode in the spring-loaded bit again. Lark was very calm and relaxed warming up but tossed his head loping to the right while being guided. There was a lot going on in the arena. He did well going over trot poles, and we got a lot of compliments. Overall, it was a very nice ride in his circles and spins.
55 minutes, hosed off, wrapped legs
1-20-11 Thursday
8 a.m. 3 CCs of Rompin, floated teeth, cleaned sheath, can’t ride until Friday p.m.
6 p.m. Treated legs with liniment and wrapped them
1-28-11 Friday
We had Ranch Team practice, rode in the twisted snaffle and worked cows. We did very well on boxing but not running down the arena. He was very bad on his collection and stops. But he was much better in his spins! *Reminder: Take right leg off in left spins!

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Keeping these journals has improved not only my horses but also my riding. Sometimes, it can be hard to remember exactly what you worked on the last time you rode, especially if you ride several horses or have a lot of time between rides. It can also help you keep track of when you treated your horse for one thing or another, like a sore tendon or floating his teeth.
Try keeping a riding journal and see if it improves your relationship with your horse.