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How to Create a Strategy for a Successful Year

Updated: Mar 25

(It’s Not What You Might Think)

One of the biggest mistakes I see horsewomen make is: being distraught over the fluctuations of their scale because their only focus is getting to a smaller size. By not accepting the dynamic nature of their bodies, they actually hinder their ability to improve their riding performance.

Girl sitting in gym with water bottle

I, myself, have struggled with this beast, especially in the face of accomplishing goals. My body's fluctuations made me feel like I would never reach my goals, or slide backwards even after achieving them.

Over many years of coaching horsewomen to reach their goals, I have learned that you HAVE to have a realistic, dynamic strategy if you want to see progress. 

Let’s talk about how to do this!

When shooting for any type of performance or health goals, you have to allow yourself to have phases. This does not mean a year of "dieting." In fact, a year of “dieting” is not just going to leave you stressed and bored, but it is also going to set you up for failure!

In personal training, we have what are called Macrocycles and Mesocycles.

  • Macrocycles refer to your season as a whole.

  • Mesocycles are the different blocks or phases within the Macrocycle.

(I also have phases of Macrocycles but that’s something we’ll get into later.)

How do you use Macro and Mesocycles?

I do this for both myself and my horse when I plan our performance programming for the year. I make the year the Macrocycle and then create Mesocycles within that. This allows me to phase my training and nutrition priorities more logically and keeps me from making spur-of-the-moment decisions when I’m mad at the scale. 

  1. Set your riding performance goal for the year. (For example mine and Sandy’s goal this year is to do our first 50-mile Endurance ride together.)

  2. Create her Macrocycle and Mesocycles for the year with that goal and intention in mind. You’ll need to include strength phases, conditioning phases, in-season phases, and leg-up phases for your horse, all of which will also dictate changes in her nutrition as well.

  3. Look at your personal goals. It’s super important that you do this AFTER setting your riding performance goals or you’ll end up sabotaging yourself without meaning to. For instance, one of the worst things I could do is plan a fat loss phase for myself during Sandy’s leg-up or in-season phases. This would leave her with a rider who isn’t at full capacity and would severely hinder our performance. 

  4. Create a Macrocycle for myself, splitting my plan into mesocycles that include specific training nutrition phases. (For example: My nutrition includes fat loss phases, metabolic rebuild phases, maintenance phases, and building phases. My physical training includes building phases, strength phases, conditioning phases, and de-load phases.)

Remember that each year will look different for both of us depending on the overall goal. 

It’s super important as riders that we don’t pigeon hole ourselves into trying to stay a certain size or phase for years on end. This will only leave you feeling less confident, unable to progress, and frustrated! Remember that our bodies are supposed to change and be dynamic.

Please keep in mind, however, that every person and every horse are very different. It’s important to talk with your doctor and vet before undertaking any changes in training, exercise, or nutrition! 

I hope this walk-through was helpful for you!

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