(And it doesn’t involve riding lessons or learning to become a horse trainer)
You’ve been riding horses for years. You’ve taken lessons, purchased a nice horse (or several!), and you’re keen to learn everything you can.
Even though you ride primarily for fun – you still want to be the best you can be.
Maybe you simply want to be able to compete at Adult Riding Club and dabble in a little Dressage.
Maybe you wish to perfect your jumping technique and reach a certain level.
You’re not aiming for the Olympics – yet you take pride in your abilities and in furthering your skills.
When you go out to the paddock, catch your horse, and ride you have everything you need.
A safe saddle and boots, a good helmet, a nice enough bridle and a neat saddle pad. You throw on a pair of comfy breeches that you’ve worn to death for the past 3 years (but they still do the job) and an old tee-shirt that can handle a little dirt and horse slobber.
You groom your horse with your trusty brushes that possibly have seen better years – tack up – and jump aboard.
You have a great ride, no doubt about it. Yet you’ve been struggling with a few old bad habits. Maybe it’s your position. Or your lack of balance. Or simply just not quite feeling ‘right’ in the saddle.
This issue could stem from a lot of things – and may simply need more coaching and practice to perfect.
Yet there is another little secret tip that many pleasure or ‘every-day’ riders don’t even think about…
Have you stopped to look at your horse gear and your riding clothes?
I mean really stopped, to focus your attention, on how your gear and attire might be making you FEEL.
Did you know that how you FEEL about the gear you use or the clothes that you ride in – can actually have a massive impact on how WELL you ride?
Whether you are aware of it or not?
Think about how a professional rider might dress to ride horses.
Would they put up with a pair of daggy old jeans, or joddies with holes in them?
Possibly not – they would value the advantages, comfort AND style of a nice, new pair of breeches to give them that professional look and (most importantly) FEEL – even when no one is around to watch them.
Would a ‘pro’ put up with a saddle that works ok – but isn’t anything special – and makes you feel a little off balance?
Um, no. Most likely, they would use a good quality saddle that puts them in the correct position and helps them to feel and look good on the horse.
Once upon a time, I was ‘just a pleasure rider’. I dabbled in a little horsemanship, trail rode, and generally had fun. The property I agisted my horses on – only had a small group of us who rode regularly (the other horses were retirees). So chances are, no one much would see me whilst I was out there ‘playing ponies’.
And horses are dirty, right? So I figured, best to wear my daggy OLD clothes, so nothing decent gets ruined.
And my old pair of jeans and a daggy tee will do the job.
Yet then I met my now husband, and he was a professional Show jumper.
Well, he could not get over my choice of attire for riding!
Yes, he had been provided with many more riding opportunities than I ever had and had been bought up through the ranks of the professional horse world.
And yes, he was very fortunate to have done so.
But I found it fascinating that he could not even THINK about climbing aboard a horse – not even my daggy old pleasure horses – and not even for a trail ride – because he was ‘a ‘proper’ English rider, who wore ‘proper’ riding clothes’.
No. Matter. What.
He told me it was because he had been taught that there were standards to uphold. That a rider should be presented correctly and neatly – regardless of what they were doing.
And at first, I thought it to be a little snooty.
(And I’m guessing you may well be thinking the same right now!)
But these days I completely understand why he feels this way.
From running One Stop Horse Shop I’ve indulged a little the past few years in allowing myself to invest in some really nice, professional looking riding clothes.
I’ve also gone to great lengths to dress up my young horse Trigger – not just for vanities sake – but purely because of the way it makes ME FEEL!
If I go to the extra effort in putting on my professional looking riding clothes – and dress my handsome young Thoroughbred up so he looks really pretty – I feel better. And it turns me into a better RIDER – because I FEEL like a ‘Pro’.
My riding has completely transformed within the past two years that I have been doing this – and nope – I haven’t had any extra lessons.
When I feel good about the way I look – it leads to increased confidence when I climb aboard. And that extra confidence, makes me sit up taller in the saddle. I strive that little bit harder to give myself that professional seat, position, balance and LOOK whilst I’m riding.
And when you combine it all – it leads to much better riding and far more progress.
But you’re possibly thinking – ‘well it’s easy for a saddlery store owner to afford such things. I just don’t have the spare money to splash around on new horse gear.’
And I get that – ‘cause I’ve been there. It’s exactly why I am writing this.
Because my ultimate aim when leading the charge for One Stop Horse Shop – has always been sourcing the quality gear, that provides a professional look and experience – at affordable prices for the every-day rider.
‘Cause quite frankly, I am an every-day rider. There is nothing special about my abilities or riding style. I’m not out there winning gold medals or ribbons.
Yet I love my horses. I love riding and working with such incredibly intelligent and willing creatures. And I owe it to my horses to be the best that I CAN be.
So now my dear husband likes to gloat incessantly.
About how he magically transformed me from ‘daggy-jeaned-wanna-be-rider’ to ‘a-little-bit-closer-to-pro-rider’.
But I can live with that.
It was a valuable lesson to learn.
And I challenge you to give it a try!
I’m certainly not saying that you need to go out and buy a completely new outfit – or a brand new, wizz bang saddle (although you can if you like!).
But maybe it’s time to start thinking about one single, small upgrade you could make – to start acting and looking more like a ‘pro’.
Perhaps it’s a new saddle pad, or a new pair of breeches. Maybe it’s as simple as buying a new brush or two.
And then to diligently work your way up towards a more ‘professional’ looking level.
Over time, I here-by promise, that upgrading your gear will transform the way you ride.
(And of course - you can get your amazing new gear right here - with AfterPay & ZipPay!)