Well, actually it began yesterday. But it’s officially here, and no stirrups November begins now! I’m excited, because I have a plan for the month, and I have a goal. It’s good to have goals right? And with a ribbon (or two) as the end goal for the month I want to have a plan in place to help me achieve these goals.
Planning My Rides
I have printed out the calendars for both challenges I am participating in. The first is the Chronicle of the Horse Lose the Leathers Challenge, and the second is Equisarte No Stirrups November Challenge. And for the month, I should be able to get in 14 rides. That is, if the weather holds. I hope the weather holds! If you want to join the challenges, just click on the links and they will take you to each Facebook group with all the details.
So I have my calendars ready. And these are the printed calendars. I also have calendars on my computer that I can update after each ride. And I do this by using the Equilab app.
I am not the best at remembering to turn on the app before every ride. That is unless there is a ribbon on the line! So before every ride, I turn on the app. And after the ride, when I review what we did, I capture a photo, and then I send it to myself through email.
Next I use paint.net and cut out the photo, and paste it onto my digital calendar.
It works really well, and then I have a record of each ride throughout the month. This is really important because on December 1st, I have to send the calendars to each challenge organizer in order to prove my riding for the month. By adding the photos, it makes me feel better to be able to ‘show’ what I have done during the month. Go big or go home right?
For me, this is really important. It helps me to stay focused on my goal. So this past weekend, I cleaned the barn thoroughly.
I did my hay nets for the week.
And I moved my saddle upstairs, so it’s in my face and easy to get too. I also moved one of my DIY saddle stands out to the barn, so my fancy saddle has a fancy place to sit while I’m not using it.
Last year I rode my Frisby boy for the challenge, and I did it bareback.
I’m not feeling to confident at riding Plezant bareback. And he has super prominent withers which would not be comfortable at all. So I will be riding him with my saddle.
I think I am going to leave my synthetic saddle out in my tack room. It will make it easier for those days that I run out of time and don’t want to bring my nice saddle out.
This little synthetic saddle is pretty awesome. I feel very secure in it, and it’s rough out material and deep seat are perfect for riding Plezant.
I also cleaned out my grooming tote and put everything back where it lives in the tack room. This makes it a lot easier to find everything quickly when I have limited time in the saddle.
No More Lights
Last year for the challenge, I made some outdoor lights that would light up an area I could ride. And while they were awesome, I pulled them down over the summer. So I don’t have a huge lighted area to ride. And I’m ok with that this year.
This year I don’t want to feel rushed or riding just because of a ribbon. While the ribbon is awesome, I am really doing this to improve my balance in the saddle, as well as my position and my leg. I don’t want to feel rushed. I want to take my time, and do this right. Because ultimately, that is the most important part of this challenge, right? To be a better rider, that is what I want to get out of the challenge this year.
So I took out the lights, and will be making the most of the daylight. This also keeps me motivated to ride during the day, on the days that I can.
Grooming the Arena
And of course, I need to get my arena in shape. So I spent Saturday morning dragging my arena with my awesome arena tool.
This is the EZ Groomer. And I love it. It has made my arena a true joy to ride in. And it works fantastic. I really need to bring in more sand, or arena mix for my arena. And I probably will next spring. But for now, I have to work with what I have. And this groomer does an incredible job.
It was a little challenging to get it, and took a little longer than I expected, but it was worth the wait. We keep it hooked up to our tractor at all times, so all I have to do is drive the tractor out to the arena, drop the drag and I’m set.
20 or 30 minutes later, my ground is awesome. No more hooking things up to the tractor. And this is a time saver. And time saved getting ready to ride means more time in the saddle.
There is just something so satisfying about riding out into a freshly groomed arena.
No Stirrups November Begins Now!
All right, that’s it! I am ready for the No stirrups November challenges that I have committed too. I have everything ready to go, and I have a plan in place. This should make it easier for me to achieve the 10 rides needed to complete the challenge. I’m excited as well as motivated. And hopefully, I will be able to get it done. Time will tell. But by having a plan for the challenges, I feel I am setting myself up for success!
How about you? Are you planning on losing your leathers for November? Have you signed up for either of these challenges? If you have, let me know. That way we can encourage each other as we move through November!