So winter is the time when I can struggle to keep up my daily training routine. The days are so short now and thick clouds darken the sky over Poland since what feels like forever. I must admit I’m not good with bad weather. I’m cold easily and I don’t like wind, although I own all kinds of warm clothes. When my student Carrie from Canada saw pictures of me during a clinic in winter, she said I totally look like a Canadian. I have learned to arrange with winter but I definitively don’t love it. Some people just don’t bother and they say there is no bad weather, only inadequate clothing. While clothing definitively helps, it doesn’t help with the darkness and the feeling that I would rather stay home with a tea and blanket.
A few years ago I came across a post by Monika Sanders in which she wrote that she did a micro training with her horses that day. I don’t remember the exact content of the post anymore but the idea of micro training has stuck with me ever since and it really helps me to get out there and train the horses.
The idea is to have a really short training session. Just a few minutes, for example focusing on one detail and immediately releasing the horse when it has done well. I also do a very short routine of a few exercises strung together. I realise this is probably much easier when you have your horse at your own yard or close by. When I do micro training I also don’t brush the horses. I just put on a cavesson and off we go.
When I think about just doing a very short session with the horses, it’s a lot easier to actually go and do it. Sometimes I end up doing a proper session once I’m there. Sometimes I freeze my but off due to the strong winds we always have at our place, and then I can tell myself: just a quick one today!
The side effect is, that the horses become incredibly motivated through these mini training sessions. They still hang out by the arena for a long time after their session as if to say “what, that was all?”. And I have to actually focus on what it is I want to do when I have only a few minutes. This can help you when you have the tendency to practice “everything” in one session.
So if you are struggling with motivation in winter – just join the micro training club!