I'm calling these "unconventional" because these five tasks aren't really commonly prescribed to clients before a session. But I think they can be pretty important! Let's get right to it.
1. Get a Makeup Lesson
... from a professional you admire. I got a makeup lesson from one of my favorite makeup artists, Sonia Garza, before I eloped in Hawaii (so I didn't need to find a makeup artist at 4am for our sunrise wedding). This was such a valuable experience and I really recommend it for any girl that's unsure with their makeup skills. I of course always recommend hiring a professional for your session, but sometimes it just doesn't work out! We may have your session scheduled for sunrise on a Sunday at a location 2 hours away from any makeup professionals. These are skills you'll be able to use in the future over and over again so even if you don't use them for a session, it's good to have a good understanding on what products work best on you and how to apply them! Read this blog post Sonia wrote for 5 Makeup Tips for a Classy & Professional Horse Show Look to get a head start on learning!
2. Work on Your Horse's Ground Manners
This will of course take some time to see a lot of results... so start now! This is for your benefit in the long run, but will really help us all out at your session. They should know that you're the boss, you're in control, and you deserve respect. This is a never ending task, so don't go into it with the mindset of ever completing it. If you're not sure where to start, a simple YouTube search should bring up some good results on how to get started. The next step after general ground manners would be to teach them to set up. They don't have to be a star showmanship-er, but while they're getting their photos taken their feet need to be properly underneath them- if they know how to set up on command, this will save us a lot of time!
3. Update Your Tack
Use your session as an excuse to go shopping; not just for new clothes, but for new tack too (used but new-to-you is still new & considered shopping). This is for sure not a requirement and any of your current tack should definitely suffice (generally speaking), but if your leather halter is broken in three places and your reins have chew marks all over them, just consider how much better the photos would look with new-er tack.
4. Find Your Personal Style
I'm not sure if I've ever achieved this for myself (or ever will), but at least try to find your personal style with clothes, accessories, hair, and makeup in advance. This will make your life easier once it's time to pick outfits for your session and decide how you want your hair styled. Once you find your personal style, you may find yourself wanting to do some shopping. Download my free guide on shopping for your equestrian session!
5. Start Your Diet & Workouts
This task has a *HUGE* disclaimer: it is 100% no one's obligation to fit society's current "ideal body look" and it should be an individual's personal decision to take the steps towards fat loss only if they personally desire to make these changes for themselves. I hope it's clear I would never encourage anyone to ever go on a calorie restricting diet if they are only doing it because they feel pressured to do so. I don't care what size you are, how you look, what your weight is- you do not ever have to go on a diet if you don't want to and you're happy with how you look and feel. All of this is coming from a former competitive bodybuilder who spent several years with an eating disorder caused by dieting. Whew, now that we've got that out of the way: if you've been wanting to lose body fat, use your session date as a goal date to obtain a certain look. My number one recommendation for anyone who wants to lose fat: hire a coach. If you don't know where to start on hiring someone, please message me and I'll point you in the right direction. Read this blog post I created on 5 Gym Exercises to Help Improve Your Eq as a starting point for doing something in the gym. If you want to get serious though, just hire a coach for custom training and nutrition guidance! Your next step would be to schedule a session to get your goal date on the calendar! Send me an email to learn more.
There you have it! 5 things you can do before your session that all require more time than the typical preparation check list like bathing, clipping, etc. I hope this was helpful and don't hesitate to reach out if you need help with starting any of these!