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Keeping Track of Horse Training

Sep 13, 2008
When training your horse, it is a smart idea to keep a training diary. This is a book in which you keep track of what you have done each day, and how that training session went.

Training diaries are useful for a number of reasons. Have you ever felt that you are in a rut with your training and that nothing is improving? With a training diary you can go back and see if that feeling is justified. You might find that while it seems that you have made no progress, in fact you and your horse have improved steadily over the last few weeks without your even noticing it. If things are not going well, you might see that your training pattern has fallen into a rut and that you need to try making changes to your schedule to help jump start your training program.

If you have noticed that your horse is sore, or unhappy, you can use your training journal to find out if this is something that has been creeping up over time, or if it is a sudden development. A journal also allows you to take a look back a few months to see if that lameness in the right hind is the same as you remember from before, or if it is in fact something different.

What should you keep track of in your journal?

While it may seem obvious, you should keep track of all your training sessions. You should record how long the session was, what you did, and point out any improvements or set-backs you may have had. If your horse does anything unusual, even if it seems inconsequential, you should record it. Likewise any things you did differently, positive or negative, should be recorded.

Other things worth recording are any visits made by the vet or the farrier. Keep track of any cuts or scrapes, and how they happened if you know. If your barn owner makes any changes in your horse's feed, record it so that you can see if it makes any difference to his attitude or performance. If you try a new supplement, a new piece of equipment, or anything else new, be sure to record it.

Of course, it is great to keep track of any upcoming events and record your training plans for those events. If possible, keep a separate section for all of your show results. By comparing your training plans with what you actually did, you will be able to see if your training plan is sensible and if it is working.

What type of journal works best?

There are lots of options to consider when choosing a journal. For some, having a paper trail at the barn is absolutely necessary. Trying to remember everything by the time you get home can be very difficult.

One option is to buy a regular journal or diary from the store. Because often weekends have abbreviated pages, be careful to select one that has full weekend pages, or if you take days off mid week, try adjusting the days accordingly. Make sure that there is enough room to record everything.

A journal that does not have specific dates may be a better option. You might even find that a blank, bound book with lined pages does the trick. These are usually available at the dollar store, saving you lots of money.

You can buy special riding journals at the tack store if you look around. They are designed for the purpose. These often cost a fair bit of money, but are organized to suit the purpose.

Another option is to keep an online journal or a computer-based journal. The only difficulty is that most barns don't have computer access, so you would need to update things at home. One idea would be to create pages that you keep at the barn in a binder to fill out, then bring them home and update your computer journal with the information you recorded.

The type of journal that works best is really a matter of personal preference. It is more important that you are comfortable with your recording system than that it fits in with the norm. Use whatever works best for you, and be sure to keep it up to date. In the long run, the journal will be an excellent resource, and will also serve as a wonderful way to remember your experience years after your horse is gone.
About the Author
Lydia K Kelly is a writer for HorseClicks, classifieds of horses for sale North Dakota, horses for sale Ohio, horses for sale Oklahoma and other states. Lydia is also a featured author at www.ArticleKing.com
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