Coming from a sporting background, mountain biking, skiing, hockey, cricket and rugby to mention a few, I knew riding a horse would fulfill my desire for that adrenalin rush you feel when you push yourself to the extreme.
Learning to ride a horse was probably the hardest thing I have ever done. Not only did I have to control my feelings, emotions and fears but I had to think about the horse’s feelings, emotions and fears. I realised this was a science, the ultimate challenge of the mind and body and the combination intrigued me.
I remember watching a lesson for the first time. I found it fascinating.
The intricate movements that had to be made, the rethinking process when things did not always go to plan, the shear dedication it took to listen to your trainer, implement the strategy and keep level headed really stood out for me. Riders had to think out of the box, attempt every training session differently, critically analyse each session before and after. Riders had to maximise their time white juggling a job, training in the early hours of the morning or after work, come rain or shine and manage a competition schedule. Fitting everything in and staying confident and resilient required sheer determination.
So, what steps should you take to stay confident and resilient? One think comes to mind. I have seen this happen repeatedly with the clients I have worked with. Not only in the equine world but also within my corporate training business. We take the stresses and distractions from other areas of our lives and take it into the arena with us. A bad day at work, arriving late for your lesson, a disastrous morning commute, extra family demands, or being asked to deliver an additional piece of work that will require you to work late into the night. However, you need to ride because you have an all-day meeting tomorrow.
Day to day stresses cause physical and mental tension that continues to affect you long after the event. Your stress then transfers into your horse, your lesson, your patience and your ability to learn and digest new information and processes.
What can you do to minimise the effects of everyday stress? One technique that immediately comes to mind is taking 5 minutes “out” and take yourself to a place that puts a smile to your face, a memory, a person, that perfect holiday. Breathe deeply from the bottom of your stomach in through your nose and out through your mouth. Do this several times. Give your mind a holiday. Notice, the effect it has on your thoughts, stress and mind? Find the positive, the reason why you ride and love your horse. Go on and Be the Change for yourself.