Keeping Motivated When You’re Out Of The Saddle January 22 2019

Keeping motivated when you’re out of the saddle
Early December, my dork, sorry, I mean my horse, Zeus, decided it would be fun to gallop head on into a tree. This was his first day in the herd paddock of a new place we’d moved to. He hit it so hard that he broke the branch after deciding to go for a hoon with the other OTTB.  
After a surprise pre-Christmas $350 vet bill, we found out that due to the massive bruising on his head, left eye and the jarring in his left shoulder, that our amazing progression of late was coming to a grinding halt for the next four weeks.  
Then, when he is good to go, we’ve had nothing but 35-40 degree temps in Canberra most of January.  
So, I was faced with the problem of keeping the motivation and momentum going while I couldn’t ride.  
Those who know me, know I ride with fear, which I am slowly beating, one ride after another—I was pretty worried that with having this downtime, my fear would increase again.  
I made the decision to keep up my motivation during this time and I’d love to share my tips with you!
Get reading, listening and watching
The first thing I did was contact my instructor to ask her for a reading list and then bought the books right away. It was fantastic to get reading and learn some awesome tips from the dressage masters.
There is also a number of fantastic YouTube channels and Podcasts that you can watch for ideas and motivation. I’ve started listening to podcasts in the car to and from work and wow, have I got some ideas now we’re back in the saddle—poor Zeus!
Make some goals
I also spent some time trying to understand my fear, what pushed me to fear, and how to find my brave. It involved writing a list, and reading a book plus watching some videos to understand how other riders tamed their fear.  
This helped me to move onto my goals for 2019. More on this in my next blog post.  
Get fit
The time out of the saddle has been a great opportunity to work on my fitness. I’ve seen the physio about my plantar fasciitis that I’ve ignored for two years, and am on the way to becoming a fitter stronger self and to be being a better, more balanced rider for Zeus.  
Do those chores you’ve been putting off
Clean your gear, sort through all of your horse stuff to sell, take the time to complete those annoying tasks, meaning you have more time in the saddle when you can ride.
Just be with your horse
This is something I love, just hanging out. No need to ride, or lunge, or do more than give him a brush and crack open a bottle of wine with my horsey friends. He still needs you and loves the time you spend with him.  
Have you got some fantastic tips to keep up the motivation when you’re out of the saddle? We’d love to hear them

From Little Things- An update blog from Fiona September 17 2018

Nearly two years ago now I received a call from a lady in Hobart who had somehow heard around the traps that I was working with and enjoyed coaching people with standarbreds. This lady won brownie points from me on two counts, one – she appeared to be on of those fantastic people who just found a way to get things done, and two – she was based in Tasmania! As a born and bred Tasmanian I’m always keen to visit my home state.


Sue Streit explained the state based standardbredassociation had faced challenges all too familiar to small committees and many of the core group were struggling to find the time and/or enthusiasm to continue running shows and events. However, Sue was involved in the local racing scene and had heard a whisper the good folk at TasRacing were looking to support some life after racing activities. Not one to leave an opportunity hanging Sue set about bringing me to Tasmania once every two months to coach. We ran Saturday clinics for those with standardbreds in the North with the assistance of MareePayne and Sunday clinics in the South.


Participants with standardbreds were invited to attend completely free of charge. We had a wonderful variety of participants turn up right from the start. We had horses competing very successfully on the local show scene through to people with horses who hadn’t been backed yet coming for an outing. We had riders who’d been gung ho riders in their younger years (including some I’d hunted with as a teenager!) who’d decided to try a more sedate horse. We had riders who were returning to riding or even starting riding as an adult. The over-riding (pun intended) feel Sue, Maree and myself wanted to have was one of total inclusion and support, regardless of the skill level of the participant.


Let’s fast-forward to now. TasRacing appointed the fabulous Dr Annie Knox as their welfare officer at the beginning of 2018. I now travel to coach one weekend a month and demand is so great we’ve involved local coaches as well. The Off The Track program now includes both thoroughbreds and standardbreds. Most weekends there is an Off The Track event covering things like trail riding, backing standardbreds, lectures in transitioning both breeds from racehorses to pleasure horses as well as dressage and jumping lessons. All of these events are fully sponsored by TasRacing, giving riders the confidence to take on an ex-racehorse with the knowledge they’ll have ongoing assistance.


The culture of inclusion and support continues and I’m incredibly proud to be a part of this program. I’ve had the pleasure of watching people go from starting their riding journey with their horse to enjoying them in competition, trail riding and even hunting. Watching these combinations grow in skill and confidence has been an absolute joy. Even better has been watching people create new friendships and see the happy updates of a fun ride out or a catch up at a competition.


This program, fully funded and supported by TasRacinghas made a huge difference to both riders and horses. Each Australian state racing body now has active Off The Track programs running, largely supporting re-trainers and offering sponsorships for competitions. The way TasRacing has approached their life after racing program is different to other states in some ways but it 100% works. The program is almost unrecognisable from our humble beginnings now but the important things haven’t changed!


If you’re in Tasmania and have an off the track horse from either harness or galloping background come and join us – you can find information at, or the Facebook page. I’d love to see you there!