Thursday, December 31, 2015

Conditioning Log

I used to keep a big wall calendar to record my rides on, as well as other things related to Nimo's care, like hoof trimming or dentist appointments.  It was wonderful and really helped me stay on track because I could so clearly see how I was doing at a glance.

But, more and more crap started cluttering my desk and workspace, and the large size just didn't fit anymore.  So I used a regular calendar for awhile, but it never had the same motivational effect as the big calendar.

Then, I decided that maybe a leather journal would be worth trying.  I adore leather journals, but I don't actually journal (you know, except for broadcasting all my horse-related stuff on the internet).  I can type so much faster than I can write that I hate to hand-write anything these days.  But, I do really love leather journals.  So, I decided to order a journal from the same company I got our wedding album from.  It was a gorgeous album worthy of a medieval monastery, and I thought something along the same lines, only substantially cheaper, would be fun to play around with.  I eventually decided on this journal (size large, bomber jacket color), and had it customized a bit.  Here's how it turned out:

Handcrafted Rustic Wrap Leather Journal
Close-up of the embossing I had done
I LOVE the medieval-looking stitching for the pages!
The pages of the album were blank, which was an intentional choice.  I had looked at a lot of pre-made journals and planners, and just couldn't find anything quite right, so I decided to draw/create the pages myself.  Here's what I came up with:

I stamped the front page using this stamp.  I still need to add Nimo's name and maybe something else, but it's good enough to start with.

I created a three-year calendar using Microsoft Excel to fit the page size of the journal (about 6x8), and then I printed it and adhered it to the inside of the front page.  I feel lost without an annual calendar, and since this journal has enough pages for 3 years, I wanted to have all three years at a glance.  I may do something like circle the days I ride (color-coded by type of ride, of course) or write micro-scopic weekly/monthly totals on it as well to give me an overview and help me see patterns.

Then, I drew in lines to give me spaces for each day of the week, plus one extra blank box for maybe weekly notes or comments, and a little space at the top for the same.  I made sure the boxes for Saturday and Sunday were a little bigger than the other days of the week, because I tend to do my conditioning rides on the weekends and I wanted more space for notes.  I stamped the days of the week in the boxes using a Studio Calico stamp from an old Project Life subscription kit, and I used this stamp set to create a monthly stamp with a red oval showing me what week it is.

Stamp set that I used to create monthly calendars
I also got some planner stickers off of Etsy that I can use to remind me when board is due, when Nimo has a dentist or vet appointment, and what day/time my lessons are.  (The scrapbooker in me couldn't resist decorating the pages somehow.)

Anyway, I think the journal is beautiful and functional, and I hope it keeps me motivated to ride.

If, however, you are not interested in doing a whole lot of work to create something that you can buy for a lot less money, check out Mel's post on what she is doing for her running and riding logs this coming year.

Happy training!


  1. Hi Gail,
    My name is Lo and I do social media for Jenni Bick. I hope it's ok I'm messaging you here, I couldn't locate any other contact info for you.
    First off, your blog is wonderful, I used to ride for many years & I miss it terribly! I'd love to chat with you about sharing your photos from this post and mentioning your blog in a post for our blog. The combination of you and Nimo's story, as well as the way you implemented an awesome organizational system with our Rustic Leather Wrap, are things I think our customers would really enjoy.
    If you'd be interested in chatting you can reach me by email at:
    Thanks so much & I look forward to speaking with you!
    Best, Lo