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Riding Journal, have one?

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  • Riding Journal, have one?

    Its been mentioned several times now, and I even tried it once but kept being more of a challenge than it was worth. So, do you keep a riding journal? If so, what sorts of things do you put in it? Narritive form or 'note' style? How have you found it useful? Where do you keep it? (paper notebook/journal, on the computer, on your phone...something else)

    I did try to google this but most of what I was seeing was 'do keep one' rather than 'here's how I do mine' which is more of what I want to know.

  • #2
    I do have one and it is more in a note style since I write out more on my Blog. I find the journal good for more detailed notes and things that I may not be comfortable posting in my more public blog. Sometimes my entries are only a couple of sentences long and sometimes they are pages long. I love having one because when I look back over the past year I can see the improvement that I've made even though sometimes I doubt that I'm making any.
    My little girl, Katai - 13.2 Haflinger/Unicorn
    and her blog

    "Ponies are the new black. Welcome to the darkside!" - Manahmanah


    • #3
      I have one - sort of.. I have a weekly calendar on my dresser and every night I write down anything of note about the horse (such as got shoes, saw the vet etc) and if I rode I write a couple keys words and how long I rode. I have found it incredibly useful to be able to look back and see when a problem started, or when we had a key training moment.


      • #4
        I keep record of anything health related - shoeing, dentist, vet, meds I administer, odd stuff I notice about the horse,...

        I used to keep a journal describing every lesson I had, with stuff I learnt and mistakes I did and how to correct them. This was many years ago when I started to ride more seriously. Now its all a lot more intuitive so I don't find the need to write stuff down.


        • #5
          Have keep a journal for the past 10 years. I just have a terrible memory. So I write everything down. Just a date and notes. Who I rode, how long, what we did, lesson notes. Horse show notes. Vet notes. Everything. It helps a lot for training logs. So I can see our progress. And for long rehab layups.


          • #6
            I started a blog last fall that I write an entry for a few times a week. It's private right now, but it helps me pay more attention to my riding. It also allows me to go back and see progress or if something isn't working. Even if no one else ever reads it, it's worth it to me.


            • #7
              I keep one of every ride and/or issue if I don't ride that day. It is kept on the computer, however, when the month is done - I print it out and place it in a binder for easy reference (and keep that binder at the barn). It's in a MS Word document format - with Date, length of ride, details of ride, Issues, Concerns, Feeding, Feet, Medication, Other.

              PM me your email address and I will send you copies of my journal for the last couple of months, if that will help
              Green Cove Springs, FL


              • #8
                I got out of the habit for a while, but started up again with my new horse. Now that we're progressing beyond training level, I find it helpful to write down notes about lessons, exercises to try, and reminders to myself about position, etc. Sometimes I go back and look, sometimes I don't. But I found that over time, the journal can be helpful in remembering exercises to help with certain issues, and as an indicator of progress.

                I keep mine in a small notebook in my barn, because if I don't write it down pretty much right after my ride, I won't do it at all. I love the idea of doing it on the computer, but that would involve going inside and sitting down at the computer, which is what I do all day, which is unappealing.
                Here Be Dragons: My blog about venturing beyond the lower levels as a dressage amateur.


                • #9
                  I have kept a journal for years. I like to review the past years notes to see the progress that I have made. I ride a lot on my own, so I find it helpful to write down what my trainer says to get me to where we were in the lessons. It has helped me to be able to replicate the work when I focus on the exact words she said to get the desired result.


                  • #10
                    I find a journal useful just to keep track of progression, whether training or fitness.
                    Going without one, is like riding without a watch. Some days, some horses, a 15 min ride seems like an hour, others days, or horses, an hour feels like 15 min.
                    Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

                    Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.


                    • Original Poster

                      Thank you everyone.


                      • #12
                        I have kept a riding "journal" for many years and it has morphed as I figured out what works best for me - at any given time. At first, it was an actual paper journal and I'd try to write after each ride, but found myself being too wordy and then I wouldn't do it because it took too long. I do still have a paper journal, but I use it sporadically to take to clinic and note interesting exercises I'd like to try or notes when I'm auditing. My primary journal is a calendar with big boxes for each day - like 1.5" squares. I write short notes...who I rode, what we worked on, any notes on issues or energy. I keep the calendars and have several years now. It does help to be able to go back and glance at what we were doing, or when we moved to the winter barn and came home. It takes all of about 2 minutes each day, if that. Works for me.


                        • #13
                          I've done one for almost five years, and it's REALLY helpful for looking up health and training patterns. Mine is a Wordpress blog- they are free and simple to use.

                          I'd recommend doing it electronically, because it makes it easier to search old entries for keywords ("lameness" or "saddle fit" or anything like that). As was mentioned above, some of my entries are a sentence or two long and some are pages long.

                          For my own amusement, I also numbered my rides. With my dearly-departed Alibar, I always wondered how many times I rode him in our almost 20 years together. With Wizard, I've ridden or done ground work with him close to 500 times in our close to 5 years together

                          Have fun- it's worth it!
                          Sarah K. Andrew | Twitter | Instagram | Flickr | Calendar


                          • #14
                            Yes, started it for the DD since I was relearning dressage with her and now she keeps up with it. It's on the pc via word format and it's always interesting to see her take on the lessons. I'll think a lesson went brilliantly from my stand point but she'll detail that pony was being a snot and felt heavy in her hands. Also that trainer's help with the heavy didn't work like she wanted. Course there are plenty of didn't like ride/she was bored/ trainer took my stirrups (lots of pouty smileys for that one!) typical kid stuff entries but she likes it and it does help her.
                            Adoring fan of A Fine Romance
                            Originally Posted by alicen:
                            What serious breeder would think that a horse at that performance level is push button? Even so, that's still a lot of buttons to push.


                            • #15
                              I have one. I use a calendar book and every time I ride or do anything with my horse I jot down what we did and how it went. Helps to me to see progress (or regression some days!) I also make it a point to write down vet visits and farrier visits. I keep my notes short and to the point. I definitely find keeping a journal helpful.


                              • #16
                                I have a paper planner in my truck that I record vet/farrier/worming/big injuries/shows etc. quickly in before I forget. It has a block calender at the beginning of the month, and then breaks down each week so I can jot down notes. I also keep all my business cards for anything equine related in there. I have a separate one for household stuff.

                                I have a blog, but just recently decided that I wanted to do one focusing just on myself and Willow and our progress, so I write more detailed recaps of our rides on there. There are only two entries so far, but the link is http://www.willowbronze.blogspot.com. Having my 'horse life' and my 'family life' split works better for me than combining everything, because then I can focus on one or the other.


                                • #17
                                  I keep a blog as my journal. Obviously it is filled with all sorts of stuff, but I tag lesson posts and things like that so it's easy to search. I'm also more inclined to type than to hand write something. Plus I can read it later.


                                  • #18
                                    Honestly, I use the bulletin boards as my journal for several reasons. I can post pictures and video. They are dated. They are easy to search, especially if I keep all the logs under each horse's names. It's not daily, but it's great to track milestones.

                                    The fact that it's public, well, it's bad and good. Hearing unwanted, unsolicited, or unwelcome advice, no matter how true it is, can be painful. So, I tried to get a thick skin quick. But the fact that it's public can be monumentally helpful because others can look, see, comment, give feedback, empathize, cheer, jeer, or just go along for the ride. It is an interactive journal which inspires me to write.


                                    • #19
                                      Yes, its essential for me. I write down every ride in a typical journal format. I roughly outline goals for each month/week.

                                      A typical entry is something like this made up entry:

                                      "Horse was very wiggly tonight. I think its because I am missing (XYZ). I had trouble with my outside rein. We worked on canter lenghenings-- this is coming better but I still need him to be straighter. I will develop straightness by shoulder fore.

                                      I could feel his back up in the stretching trot and the contact was better.
                                      Horse got strong in the shoulder in so I had to do several transitions.

                                      I am working on keeping my elbows at the side and its becoming more ingrained each week.

                                      The ride was medium intensity and lasted 45 mins. Horse managed the hot temp well. I was able to recover after a spook and working through fear issues. Yay!

                                      My next ride will be stretching work with tempo being key. "

                                      I also use Ical to track vet, mark when I ride, and lessons. I have a blog but its just for my own use. I add videos to each months' training notes and add photos.


                                      • #20
                                        I use my blog to keep track of how riding is going. Before I had a blog, I had a notebook and kept it journal-style, with the date, a description of what we worked on and a description of what happened.

                                        Separately, I keep a health log for my horse that has her vaccination records, nutrition/weight/feed information, record of fecal tests/worming schedule, dental records, a section that includes her date of most-recent shoeing and a few sentences about her feet, chiro/massage records, saddle and tack records, and injuries and illnesses records. I keep it in a word document with summaries of all of this information, and I also keep a binder with back-up (vet records, notes from chiro exam, etc.)