Not sure if anyone else has heard about this Facebook Group, but in the beginning of January a horse group went around on my Facebook feed that challenges riders to ride throughout the winter. I joined, reading the info and seeing that the challenge was for 30 rides and 40 horsemanship hours. After the first couple days into January, the challenge closed to additional entrants, some 600 people are a part of the challenge!
I thought that 30 rides and 40 hours would be pretty easy to do. It certainly would have been just two short years ago. But I have found that it is much harder to clock those hours then I originally thought. I am currently at eleven rides and eleven hours. We are halfway through the challenge and I havent made it halfway yet! Clearly once or twice a week rides isnt really cutting it. But in the end, even if we dont make those magic numbers, I am grateful for the challenge. It really has helped motivate me to get in the saddle more after work. It sure can be difficult when the dark comes quickly and the rain wont go away. This challenge has helped me take advantage of the few and far between nice days and prime opportunities to ride, allowing me to see the moment to ride when I may otherwise work on laundry instead.
Aside from general motivation, seeing the activities that others are working on has encouraged me to work on other elements to our rides rather then just exercising. As many single riders may know, sometimes its hard to stay focused when in the saddle riding by yourself, or even knowing what to work on next without an instructor there. Thats were the challenge, magazine articles, and talking with other really helps me find some tasks to work on undersaddle. For instance, when the weather cooperates again to allow for a ride (and work schedule, I am working overtime tomorrow), I am going to start working on dragging a log on Milo. This exercise was inspired from reading an article in this month's Horse and Rider Magazine.
Just some food for thought. How many hours are you really logging in the saddle this winter? Seems simple when you arent challenged to actually saddle up!