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Why we need to check in as a rider

On Monday night we ran through a whole body check in, which can be now found in the Whole Rider Balance section by clicking the link above. This session is great for those of you that are not sure where your weakness lies, or have been doing some work and now don't know where to go next. By coming back to this session you will always be finding the "next bit" that needs some specific focus. Why is it important to check in? Within the academy there's an audio lesson that give you a chance to check in with your horse and riding of "Where you are" and also two full body check in's in the unmounted work. So why do I include these? In our learning progression we can easily get stuck in the same rut, focussing on one particular area and normally for too long. We don't recognise the progress and still keep working away at that specific thing, even when it now has become our strongest point and there are other things that need to be more of a priority.

If you take a look at the very sketchy image above, you'll see how we want to work, take our weakest point and make it the strongest and so on. You end up back round again with the same list but a whole level higher. There are two other things though that we have to chuck into the mix with riding, how our nervous system responds to these changes and how our horse responds to these changes. You may find that you work on your seat and your legs suddenly improve, or your horse that wasn't going forwards is now free flowing. This is where regular check ins are key, to make sure you don't over concentrate on one thing for too long and waste your precious training time, but to also make sure you are fully aware of how your body and your horses body is responding at each step. How to use the regular checkins for your best results.. The best way to super charge your improvement is to run regular riding and unmounted checkins, the ridden one is highlighted above and the unmounted one is the class from Monday. Once you have done these, take a moment with a cup of coffee and a note pad and record what you find (trust me this is not a waste of your time) by writing down your weak points and your strengths you can make a list like above of what order you find things are in. The top being your strongest and the bottom being your weakest. This gives you a basic plan of what you need to focus on in your ridden and unmounted training. From here you can take that and make a daily actionable plan to work on that weak area, only focus on the bottom one, don't try and do them all, then after a set time (dictated by you) you do another check in, see where you are, write it all down and go again. By drilling down on your focus you can then make big changes quickly, wrapping all your training around one specific focus will help you improve and be able to move onto the next, no more wasted training sessions or wasted money on a session you didn't need. From a coaches eye As a coach this is what is in my mind all of the time, analysing where the rider needs to focus their work and building a plan around this, until it becomes their strongest and moving on. It is key for the rider to understand this, as sometimes it can not make sense, they come to me and ask me to focus on their wobbly hands, but when I watch them I see the wobbly hands aren't their weakest point it's their seat that's throwing the whole balance out. So we draw the focus of the training on this, and through different exercises I am constantly checking in to where we are, once the seat feels like it's strong for example then I asses where next. Whilst doing the same for their horse too. Having this way f coaching means that riders get the most from their sessions, and homework to action that supports the session. Thos of you that have virtual sessions with me will know you get your session summary with homework back that all focus around what we found. This improves development and creates a deeper understanding of what and why. Two key things for learning, motivation and outcome. If you want to supercharge your learning start with the audio lesson check in next time you ride and Monday nights equistretch, take some notes, make a plan and see where you are. Then plan your sessions around this. It can be really interesting to note what you really are good at and what needs work, a lot of people get these wrong. Make sure you are specific, when it comes back to assessing your check in you must be specific, transitions is too broad, a transition on the straight from walk to canter is much more focused and will help you get clear on what you need to do. Set your next check in date but be prepared to pull it forwards NEVER push it back, you may find you quickly sort an issue out and so can do another check in, but don't push it back as this may mean you miss an improvement. Let me know how you get on Megs xxx


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