I am considering keeping a riding journal. Do you keep one? I have just starting to ride my new horse and it seems like a good time to start. Her name is Willow and she is a 3 year old Friesian Thoroughbred cross. I have backed her and we are working on a lot of ground-work; it would be a great time to start keeping a journal. I have polled some of my friends who keep journals and this is what I found:
What are the advantages of keeping a riding journal?
1) Obviously keeping a riding journal allows you to track your successes and challenges so that you can plan your training.
2) It helps you to become a more confident rider as you see the progress you make.
3) A journal will motivate you to go and ride even when you don’t feel like it. It makes you more committed.
4) Keeping a record of extraneous factors such as the weather allows you to see if there is a pattern to your horse’s behavior. For example, horses often become extra exuberant on a cold day. You may find that things you think may affect your ride like the snow falling off the arena roof are of little concern when you look back.
5) Record your own physical issues and treatments as this impacts your horse. You may find interesting facts like your horse picks up the left canter lead more successfully after you have visited your chiropractor. Additionally, if you have stressful life situations, your riding may be impacted. It is interesting to see if there is a connection to your horse being naughty and the end of the fiscal quarter at work.
6) Anther benefit to keeping a journal is that you can look back in your journal when medical issues arise with your horse. For example, my old horse has a tumour in his mouth. I gradually noticed that he started to toss his head when riding. Initially I thought he needed his teeth floated but later found the tumour. I do not remember when the head tossing started but if I had been keeping a journal, it may have been helpful in tracking this new habit and the correlation to the growth of the tumour.
7) Each horse that you ride needs their own journal. The journal stays with the horse. You also record all vetting, blacksmithing, massage/chiropractor, saddle fitting and any other treatment. All lessons, schooling sessions, shows, hacks and even lunging sessions are recorded. This is a great resource to include with a horse sold.
Now, what is the drawback?
1) The only one I can think of one: once you start, you have to make a commitment to it and keep going with it.
This handy Journal from Red Scarf Equestrian is a welcome addition to any rider's tack box.