2021 New Year’s Resolutions for Competitive Riders

2021 New Year’s Resolutions for Competitive Riders


2020 taught us that our healthy time outdoors with our equines is more precious than we imagined. As we look forward to the new year, it’s time for riders to set some meaningful and fun resolutions.

From learning the basics of a new discipline to practicing your horse trailer loading and hauling skills, here are the Trails West Trailers Top New Year’s Resolutions for Riders.

Try a New Discipline in 2021

Fact: competition horses suffer from stress and mental burnout. This doesn’t apply much to greenies and youngsters, but a finished horse will eventually get bored and frustrated training for high-level competition. So, as a New Year’s resolution, swap your saddle and try something new!

Stumped for ideas? Barrel horses will benefit from ranch riding work or dressage basics, and your western pleasure mount will have a new outlook after heading to a gymkhana. The goal isn’t to be in the ribbons, but to change the routine and have some fun. Since you’re not chasing points or year-end scores, you can have a blast at a different event.

Challenge Yourself to Be a Better Rider (and Drop Your Stirrups) 

Improve your riding ability by dropping your stirrups once a week. Whether you take a whole lesson or roam around the pasture on a loose rein is up to you. Either way, you’ll develop a more balanced seat and improve your feel.

After a good warm-up, try these ideas from HorseandRider.com:

  • Work on your equitation at a walk and jog / sitting trot — train your muscles to ride as if the stirrups were there.
  • Once you’ve mastered that, work on gait extensions without stirrups.
  • Finally, master the one-rein stop, because tack emergencies like broken reins and broken stirrups happen.

You’ll be a more confident rider if you have the tools to handle an emergency in the saddle, even without stirrups. Now that you’re becoming a more confident rider, it’s time to apply your New Year’s resolutions to become a better livestock hauler.

Practice Hauling Your Horse Trailer Alone

Competitive equestrians spend a lot of time riding but not enough time hauling. Let’s imagine that — chores aside — you spend 60% of your barn time in the saddle, 20% socializing, 20% grooming, and maybe 0.00001% of your time hauling your horses. Sound about right?

In 2021, make it a point to hook up and haul your trailer by yourself several times. Getting that hitch lined up just right is one more equestrian skill that takes time and practice to master. But you’ll be the envy of the barn when you can do it yourself. Plus, you’ll sleep better at night knowing you have the skill to move your stock in an emergency.

Load Your Horses and Head to School

Nothing puts mileage on a green horse better than… well, actual mileage. Schooling shows are fantastic, but some horses need a training step between the barn and an outside schooling show. And it’s no secret the best way to fit your horse for a competitive schedule is to get them off the property often.

If you’re not sure where to go or running on a tight budget, try hauling your horse trailer to:

  • Your friend’s ranch down the road
  • The Fairgrounds or Rodeo Grounds when it’s empty (call ahead ask if it’s okay)
  • Any horse-friendly trails or campgrounds in your state

The goal is to get your horse comfortable loading, trailering, unloading, and performing his job somewhere other than home. Finally, since you’re doing all this schooling, competing, and practice hauling — make 2021 your year for a new horse trailer!

Get a Sparkling New Trails West Horse Trailer

At Trails West, we build horse trailers that last a lifetime. We know that competitive riding is more than a sport. It’s a lifestyle. We build all our horse trailers to withstand the wear and tear of cross-country travel. Our hybrid construction process keeps your best friend safe and comfortable, at a reasonable low price. If you’d like to learn more about our horse trailers, horse trailers with living quarters, or livestock trailerscontact us.