Can we sit down and have a quick and honest conversation?
If you’re game, let’s go!
As I write this, we are on the brink of a new year and a new decade. The timing seems ripe for making some serious changes in your riding and your approach to riding.
I would love you to be honest with yourself here… I know that you know the answers to these questions. Being honest will truly be the key to making progress with your riding moving forwards; regardless of when you are reading this.
Your ‘Better Version’
You have a better version of yourself already created in your mind. This is the person that you want to show up as, but for whatever reason, you’re not. This is the rider you ‘want’ to become, but there are things holding you back. Things that are keeping you ‘stuck’ where you are right now.
Now, this isn’t to say that where you are right now is bad or wrong. However, there is a part of you that knows things could be different. Things could be ‘better’.
Let’s do a little digging and figure out what it will take for you to step into that person’s shoes. What it will take for you to begin thinking and acting, therefore becoming, that person. The rider you want to be for your horse. For you, this may be a more
- Confident rider
- Coordinated rider
- Responsive rider rather than a reactive one!
- Intuitive rider
- ‘Quiet’ rider
What Does that Rider ‘Do’?
Now that you have identified that rider, I want you to imagine the ‘you right now’ side by side with the ‘better version’ of you. what is it that they are doing that you admire or aspire to? What is the difference between you and them?
Putting the two versions of yourself side by side will allow you to see the differences. List as many of those differences as you can.
Is it how they are showing up? Perhaps it is their consistency? Or maybe their mindfulness and presence? Is it the way they dress? Or where they ride? It could simply be the mood that they hold before, during and after each ride. Coordination is a big one for many riders, but rather than just saying they are coordinated, try to figure out why they are? Are they fitter, or do they practice more?
What is it that this ‘Better Version’ is doing that you are not which is making all the difference in their riding on a day to day basis?
Closing the Gap
Finding ‘the gap’ is essential if you’re to get from ‘you right now’ to the ‘better version’ of yourself. What stops so many riders from closing the gap is a fear of feeling discomfort. Usually, this discomfort is an emotional one, and often it is a fear of failing.
It is sad, but most adults have forgotten what learning something new is like. We have allowed ourselves to become conditioned to being able to do something.
To the point where, when we do try something new, the discomfort of not fully knowing what to do or how to do it is too great to overcome. We step back, away, from that feeling. We remain stuck in our comfort zone.
If you are going to really close the gap between you now and the ‘better you’, becoming used to feeling uncomfortable is the key to getting there.
Noticing Your Patterns
Answer this; when was the last time you felt uncomfortable? How did you react to that? If we are not mindful of how we are dealing with these feelings, we are in danger of allowing ourselves to fall into patterns. Patterns can either serve us, most of them did infect do that at some point – which is why your brain hung on to it. But a lot of patterns are outdated and no longer fit or work for where we are right now in our lives.
As riders, when we come up against something that we are simply unsure of, we often fall into patterns that are actually nothing to do with riding itself!
This is because the pattern we choose feels more comfortable than the discomfort we are experiencing because of the new situation that we find ourselves in.
Frustration is one example of this. We allow ourselves to become frustrated when we can’t do something with our horse, rather than digging deep and looking for new ways of overcoming the block. Dismounting is another. Often this can be an aversion to confrontation in day to day life. In riding, we literally just give up. Dismount and be done with it.
However, far from resolving the issue, this usually leads to even more problems in our riding. The irony, of course, being that they all now exist because of something that has nothing to do with riding in the first place!
Develop Compassion for Yourself
The first step is to admit that you are learning something new. This is causing all of these ‘feelings’ to show up. It is also causing you to question your own abilities. Your confidence in your abilities is being tested. Imagine someone you love or a toddler in this same situation. What would you do?
You would encourage, support and ‘cheer’ them all the way. You would become a support squad of sorts for them as they figure this new thing out.
Well, you know what I am going to suggest next; become that cheerleader for yourself. Support yourself. Find proof of things that you have successfully learned in the past. Yes, there are thousands of examples. Think of the toddler learning to walk. They will fall down over and over. But each time, they are encouraged to get back up and keep going.
How you approach learning in your riding and as a rider will dictate whether or not you will ‘close the gap’ and step into the ‘Better Version’ of yourself.
So, Again, What Is Different?
Let’s ask the question and see, after shifting perspective a little, if you can come up with a few actionable items. What is the ‘Better Version’ of you in the saddle doing (or not doing) that you could, with a little discomfort, begin implementing in your riding?
If you are feeling like this is your time to shine and grow as an equestrian and a rider, I am asking you to get uncomfortable. Commit to feeling a little discomfort where your riding is concerned in order to really begin seeing the differences you want in your riding.
Your 5 Actions
Choose 5 actions that you can begin taking (or doing) that close the gap between ‘you right now’ and the ‘Better Version’ of you that you desire to become
Let these 5 actions become the safety ropes that guide you from where you are to where you want to be. Literally, but doing these things consistently over the coming days, weeks and months, they will guide you to this new version of yourself.
Consistent application of these 5 actions will allow you to really become the ‘Better Version’ in just 3 short months from now. 90 days…
What are your 5 actions? Let me know inside of my free group HERE
Have a super, if a little uncomfortable, 3 months…
Other Resources, Episodes and Posts Relating to This Topic:-
- Lunging for Riding -success in just 10 minutes or less each day
- Groundwork for Riding – Successfully Take the Conversation from the Ground into the Saddle
- Responsibility is a Two Way Street for Horse & Rider
- Riding & Acting – The Connection
- The Daily Strides Podcast
- The Free Group filled with other like-minded riders
- 2020 Equestrian Fitness Challenge