Unicorn Journal - If you can record it, you can improve it.
A very important, yet often overlooked, fundamental of training or improving your performance on your horse is setting a goal and having a plan. Every horse is different. Every rider is different. Goals should be set accordingly. Set difficult but attainable goals in the short term and maybe some more difficult, pie-in-the-sky dreams in the long term. Something you can really strive for. Goals are VERY important.
Once that goal is set and a mission is accepted, how do you go about tracking your progress towards that ever-evolving goal. VOILA! Your UNICORN JOURNAL! What’s a unicorn journal you ask? GREAT QUESTION! A unicorn journal is a notebook you keep or an app on your phone where you keep track of the progress on your horse. You make notes after runs. You gather a plan for the weeks training or riding days. You regroup or re-evaluate your methods, your hot buttons, and set a plan to accomplish your stated goals!
We recommend that you take time after every run (be sure to watch your video first if you can) to decompress and take notes about what went right or wrong in each run. Break it down. Jackie’s process is (as you can see with the attached photo) is to break it down by barrel. This picture is Jackie’s notes from a run from yesterday morning in Dripping Springs, TX at the Gunner Thames Memorial (the video is attached as well). In this video Jackie and King hit the 2nd barrel. They clocked a time that would’ve split the win at the race. There were both positives and negatives here. This is an example of how Jackie would make notes about her run so she could set a plan to improve upon the negatives and continue to create positives.
A couple of other things to possibly consider when you start your unicorn journal...
- Consider using a different notebook per horse or keeping tabs to separate with each horse, etc. Jackie finds it helpful to be able to easily flip through her journal on each individual horse to help find patterns or possible issues that correlate. We recommend a small 5.5”x8” notebook that you can get a 3 or 5 pack of on Amazon... OR we will be having our own version of the Unicorn Journal coming out soon!
- Don’t over look breaking up your journal by place in the pattern or some other manner (i.e. at the trailer, warmup, alley way, first barrel, second barrel, third barrel, home, and cool down). This also helps to form patterns which will help you find solutions.
- Use the journal to create and keep track of your plan day to day with each horse!
While we certainly believe that this is very, very important to the novice or beginner (both horse and rider), it’s also important for those finished horses or more experience horses who have maybe hit a plateau or having issues that they want to see resolved.
If you’d like a little more info on the Unicorn Journal be sure and ask! You can also hear us discuss it on Episode 7 of the Married With Horses podcast!
Be sure to follow us on social media on Instagram, FACEBOOK, and Twitter. Also, sign up to receive our weekly newsletter “THE UNICORN TRAINING GUIDE” that will have some cool features in it like details about upcoming guests, links to topics we talk about in the show, links to other things we find interesting, and some great tips from Jackie about all things horse or barrel racing related. ALSO, be sure to SUBSCRIBE, RATE, and REVIEW the podcast on your podcast listening app of choice! As always... Life is short! Ride a Unicorn!