Benefits of Tracking Your Time
By Brandy Von Holten
Tracking your time in the saddle or driving your mule can be exponentially beneficial. Using a tracking system can be fun and rewarding. Let’s explore reasons to track your time and the effects of your efforts, either intentional or unintentional.
To accomplish something, you need to set goals that have achievable and measurable markers. Writing your goals in a highly visible area and look at them regularly. Instead of trying to achieve a momentous goal; divide your main goal into smaller goals. Just as someone might set out to lose 20 pounds. The first goal would be to lose 5 pounds. Vague goals such as “I want to ride more” do not really give you anything to measure. Make a goal that sounds like “I want to ride 200 hours”. Now you can get busy with setting weekly and monthly goals to reach your ultimate goal of 200 hours.
Bonding with Your Mule or Donkey
I can say without a doubt that my mule enjoys being around humans. Sometimes life gets too chaotic and I end up not going out to the pasture. If I had a goal of getting on or spending time each day with my beloved equine, we would have a better bond. Just wanting to not miss putting a simple little check mark in a box can help you have a better bond with your mule/donkey.
Equal Training Time
With my husband and I owning a trail riding facility with rental horses and lesson horses, I could not survive without my equine training log book that I designed. We have had several trainers host clinics here that have sent clients to us just to purchase a log book. One major area I was not efficient in was equally training all our equine. Some equine require more time. For example, some of our rental horses I ride one time for every five times they are rented. Some of our other rental horses require a one to three ride ratio, some a one to ten ride ratio. Setting a goal can equally space your training out or ensure that you are giving the correct amount of time to the different personalities in the herd.
Riding more is going to increase your fitness and your equine’s fitness level. This is just way healthier for everyone involved and could increase the longevity of your mule. One of our smaller equine needed shorter rides but consistent rides at the beginning of her training. It was imperative to stay on top of her training to develop muscles, but at a slow rate. By setting goals and tracking my seat time, I now have a “muscled up” stocky equine that has a high level of fitness.
If you are going to spend more time either driving your mule or riding your mule, bring a friend. There are five main love languages of people. Quality time is one of those love languages. Join a saddle club, set a goal of competing, travel to another state and visit a trail riding facility. Just do something and take a friend along. These cherished moments can be started with setting a goal and tracking your time.
Prizes and Awards
There are so many different associations and clubs that have riding programs. The North American Saddle Mule Association (NASMA) has a tracking program that awards plaques for 50, 100, 250, 500, 750, 1,000, and 2,000 hours. To enroll into the Versatility Trail Program (VTP) with NASMA, you can contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org since I am the chair of the VTP program.
Unintentional Training Moments
Think about how much time you spend leading your mule. If you made sure and ask for him or her to back up and get squared up before you walked forward, that would be just good horsemanship. Or if you ask him or her to back up with a soft cue, that would transfer to a soft back up while in the saddle. The partnership and extra little training would add up to a huge positive step in the right direction. Most people are so focused on the riding that they miss the time that they did not intend upon. It you aren’t training, you are still training.
Some people do not care about tracking their time or miles, but some people do. I enjoy tracking my time to set goals, bond with my mule, make sure I spend the appropriate amount of time with each equine, keep everyone more fit, create new friendships, and to win prizes and awards. Get a pen and start logging!