If you have seen my Top Barn Challenge 2019 post you will have seen that I took on the challenge of committing to 3 hours of riding/horsemanship a week for 12 weeks. The 12 weeks ended today and I’m pleased to say that I completed the challenge! Not only did I rack up the hours but I ticked off some of the mini challenges and I also feel like taking part in this has helped me in so many ways these past few months.
Quite early in the challenge I ticked off the dressage competition mini challenge and the new venue one to boot! Reaching for the 3 hour time target each week has helped me to commit to making my schooling sessions a bit longer than they used to be. I’ve discovered the magic of putting the time into a proper warm up which has undoubtedly helped me to achieve more schooling wise. The proof was in the pudding in our last lesson when my instructor was impressed with how much progress we had made with accepting the contact.
Hacking has probably been the biggest success of the challenge. I’ve been riding out on my own so much more and not just for little half hour hacks but for proper hour hacks (and occasionally longer!) I am so much more confident hacking out and have embraced the challenges that bad weather and spooky changes in the environment have thrown our way. I’ve also finally got around to cantering out for the first time since my hip replacement!
I intended on doing more groundwork than I actually managed during the challenge but I’ve been much better at doing stretches with Pea. I’ve also played around with getting her to stand and stay as well as follow. She was pretty well behaved before but she just keeps getting better!
After The Challenge
I’m going to try to keep up the 3 hours a week (although probably won’t keep track) and hopefully I can I want to keep building Pea’s fitness and my own so the hacking will continue and, all things being well, I will keep my solo hacking confidence! Obviously our dressage goals still very much stand and I’m hoping to get competing again in April.