Do you consider yourself an athlete? If you ride regularly you are and may not even realize it! An athlete is anywhere from someone competing in high school sports to a recreational athlete who competes in weekend races (or horse shows!) or local sporting leagues (weekly lessons, anyone?). Of course, it is also professional athletes. So why does this matter? ALL athletes from the weekend warrior to the seasoned professional need GOALS combined with PROPER TRAINING to makes sure they keep improving.
What does this mean for riders? Training OFF the horse. Your horse is not your gym! He is your athletic partner and your ride should be a reflection of the off-horse training you have done to prepare for that ride. Consider the time on your horse as his conditioning or your time together spent doing something called “sports specific drills” (jumping, flat work, etc-the skills you must do on horseback).