What this episode is all about:-
- Myth No. 1:- Riders are either natural or they’re not
- Myth No. 2:- ‘Feel’ takes years to learn
- Myth No. 3:- I need to have…
- Myth No. 4:- I’ll ruin my horse if…
Myths and legends… Most things have few surrounding them. Horse riding is no different and I often find that simple mindset ‘white lies’ (or myths) are the very thing applying the brakes to any progress in riding.
In this episode of the Daily Strides Podcast we are going to dig in to the 4 top mindset myths that I see, day in and day out in the saddle. What they are and, if they do seem a little all too familiar to you, how to over come them.
Myth Number 1:- Riders Are Either Natural or They’re Not
This is the sort of mindset block that can be difficult to overcome for many riders. This is because it almost lets them off the hook a little when it comes to becoming the best version of themselves in the saddle.
This myth allows riders to feel okay about playing small, staying within their comfort zone and not really having to try so hard…
Riders who claim to have this issue will often say things like “I’m not very natural in the saddle, so there is not much point in dedicating hours and dollars to improving.” Hmmm, I can bet their morning coffee that their horse does not see things quite that way!
Yes, some people are more natural than others. Just like, yes, some horses are more naturally talented than others. Does that mean we ignore the ‘B+ horses’ and only focus our attention, love and training on the ‘A+ horses’? No, of course not. This applies to riders as well.
It is also worth remembering that very often the people at the top (or who are really good at something) are rarely the ‘talented’ people. It is rather the people who have to try a little harder in order to be ‘great’, and are willing to do just that. They are dedicated and more consistent in their trying.
This myth affects riders at all levels. Riders play small due to their age, their weight, their job, their conformation. They see restrictions due to income, location, time, responsibilities…
Yes, these things do exist; most are real hurdles which will require a little effort to overcome. However, using them as an excuse as to not improve yourself as a rider… That doesn’t really hold much water!
Myth Number 2:- ‘Feel’ Takes Years to Learn
‘Feel’ can often feel like the Holy Grail of horse riding. Due to this many riders, again, don’t think that they can ever improve it, and are content to ride the same ride for years on end.
Let’s be honest here; ‘feel’ takes time. I don’t believe it can really be ‘learned’. It must be developed. It starts off as being the awareness of what you are doing coupled with the why. It later shifts into more of an instinctive response, rather than a conscious mindful one.
However, before the change to instinctive happens, you must first become aware. You must be mindful of every move and word you are saying to your horse in the saddle.
This can be practised today in the saddle. Notice your seat. Notice how you are connecting with your horse. Notice how you are moving with, or against, your horse. Notice the tension in your lower back. Notice the effect of momentum on your seat.
This noticing of a particular aid, in this case the seat, is mindfulness. By bringing your attention to your seat, you can then, today, begin improving your feel in the saddle.
Myth Number 3:- I need to have…
I think most riders, if they’re honest, are guilty of this every now and then. Noticing what you don’t have. I don’t have an arena. I don’t have a dressage saddle. I don’t have… fill in the blank.
I believe this is a myth because you don’t need to have anything special or fancy to get started. Start where you are now, with what you have now.
What I have found is that if riders can just get started, doing something, a shift occurs. Their mindset changes. They begin prioritising their riding more – and resources seem to appear.
I believe it is because the rider is thinking and focusing on the ‘doing’, rather than the ‘I can’t do’… However, regardless of why I think it happens, the fact remains that it does indeed usually occur.
If you have a horse to work with, you are already ahead of so many other riders. If you don’t have a horse to work with, make a plan! There are so many ways that you can involved yourself with horses or a horse. Be helpful, be useful, be willing and see what opportunities open up for you.
So, start where you are right now and see how things open up. You are also welcome to join our free FB Group if you need ideas or support. You can do that HERE
Myth Number 4:- I’ll ruin my horse if…
This one is a big one for many riders. They worry that if they do ‘something’ they will cause permanent damage to their horses overall training. So they do nothing. I am of the opinion that doing nothing can often be far more detrimental to your horses training!
Our horses have an amazing ability to forgive and ‘move on’ when it comes to mistakes we make as riders or on the ground equestrians.
They generally live in the present and don’t tend to hold on to the past as much as we do. Meaning that they take each new day as just that. New and a clean sheet.
Of course, it is your responsibility to make sure that you are trying to create a way to move forward with the conversation you are having. Small steps, day by day.
Doing nothing is often worse than doing the wrong thing with the right intention behind it. Simply learn from your mistake, course correct, and carry on.
There are very few instances where things go so badly that the horse is ‘ruined’ in the long-term. Remember, you can always dismount. Sometimes it is better to just leave things alone until the next day.
This myth really prevents riders from moving forward because they are so worried about doing things ‘wrong’. Making mistakes is how we learn.
What’s important is how you are moving forward and making changes, based on what you learned from your mistakes.
What ‘mindset myths’ are holding you back?
Links mentioned in the episode:-