As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve been leveraging some of the mental skills that Tonya Johnston outlines in her book Inside Your Ride (affiliate link) to improve my riding- specifically journaling my rides. I started by taking pen and paper to a notebook, but quickly realized I wasn’t being consistent with it. I’d leave the notebook on my nightstand or in the office, and then there’s be an entire week’s worth of rides to try to remember and write about. Then I just kind of gave up for about a month or so.
Even though I’m not a big New Years Resolution kind of person, I made a resolution to log all of my rides on Petunia in 2017. I also made the decision to move my riding journal to Evernote.
What I like about Evernote is I can access it from my computer and my phone. I can also attach photos, links, and even draw it in on my phone. It makes it super easy to always be able to take notes immediately or whenever/wherever I have the chance and include all the pertinent information.
So What Exactly Do I Journal?
Every entry is titled the same: Date and Horse’s Name. From there, I list a few more factors:
- Time of Day
- Type of Ride (Lesson, Show, Show Schooling, Hack, Hack in Field, Trail Ride, etc)
- Whether or not I used Ear Plugs (Spoiler Alert: I always do on P)
- Bit Type
- Whether I used spurs or a crop
- Martingale Type
- Any other training aids (Such as draw reins, a DeGogue, neck stretcher, etc)
- Saddle (This was helpful when I was playing musical saddles while waiting for my CWD)
Then I just give a synopsis of my ride – what we did, how she reacted, any changes or tweaks – basically anything and everything I can think of that might be worth noting. I mentioned if she just got new shoes, if she had a snack, if she was recently adjusted (plus what her chiro said), if she’s coughing, if she got any sort of medication (and doses), etc. It’s all about being able to look back and find patterns or trends as well as tracking progress.
I’ve found journaling to be very beneficial for pinpointing just how far we’ve come. As an ammy with a greenie, it’s easy to feel like we’re stagnant or not progressing. With the journal, I can look back and see that “Hey, she’s not doing that bulgy corner thing anymore!” or “Trainer doesn’t yell at me to sit up anymore!” That mental boost is great for my confidence level. It’s also helped me learn that she definitely need a snack before a late afternoon ride and that the wind is super scary. As time goes on, I’m sure this wealth of information will be invaluable for our training and a significant contributor to our (hopeful!) success.