Last week I caught myself telling a story. One about not really having a ’suitable’ horse to ride. Now, a while ago that was the case. However, now? Now I am blessed to have a farm filled with ‘suitable’ horses…
Stories are a funny thing. They are usually part of an experience that was very real at some point. However, as a rider, it is important to always update and be aware of your stories. And this requires you to begin actively analyzing what you are saying to yourself on a moment-by-moment basis.
Your Stories on Autopilot
This sounds relatively easy… However, when we are doing something which we have done often and regularly before, we can become a little complacent.
Our actions and our thoughts, so, therefore, our stories, tend to just repeat themselves. Without a whole lot of effort from you.
This is great when the story is causing a positive outcome. For example, “my horse really listens to me when we work together on the ground” might be something you say on a regular basis and, therefore, believe. However, these same stories can really work against us at other times. The story, maybe “I struggle to control my horse when he spooks” begins to negatively affect your riding.
The story itself is not that important. However, the actions that accompany this story can often cause us to become literally ‘stuck’ where our riding is concerned.
The same story causing the same outcome, over and over without any real conscious intention or questioning.
Your Horse Riding on Autopilot
As I said before, I believe that one of the reasons many riders fall into this trap is due to the routines we create for ourselves when with our horses. Horse riding is, usually, an ‘often and regular’ activity. Don’t believe me? Think about the last time you tacked up or mounted up.
I can bet that you were not being 100% present and mindful. You probably just ‘did both without very little thought at all. In fact, you were most likely thinking about something else. And it is in these types of activities that a less than great story can begin to take hold when it comes to your riding.
Being present is a bit of a ‘buzzword’ lately. However, very often the difference between a mediocre experience and a great experience with your horse comes down to how present you are in each other’s company.
Being Present To Your Stories
The next time you are with your horse, see how truly present you can be. Notice each action you take. See each one as being a sentence of the conversation. Is it adding to the overall quality of your interaction with your horse? Or are you doing it simply because it’s what you’ve always done?
Notice what your intentions are for the time you have with your horse. Staying alive is not a great intention! Neither is ‘staying on’. If you are approaching your riding with this low energy, is it possible that your story about the interaction is producing the outcome?
By setting a clear intention for the interaction, you can begin to create stories (either updating existing ones or creating brand new ones) about what you want to happen.
Stories Versus Fairy Tales
Maybe you feel a little silly or ambiguous telling a new story. Your mind will probably be reminding you about all of the evidence to ‘prove’ your existing story. And pointing out the complete lack of evidence for anything else.
However, you can help to ease this actively by looking for proof. If you don’t have this for yourself yet, try this; find others who are doing or who have done what it is you want to do.
Use their example to help you begin to create a new story for yourself. Instead of saying “I struggle to control my horse when he spooks”, you can start by saying “I’m actively working towards developing my abilities to remain present and with my horse when he spooks”. This is not a lie, it is an intention for each interaction with your horse.
Upgrading Your Stories
Once you begin to practice upgrading your stories, you will notice that you can begin really changing the outcome of your conversations with your horse. Think of it as being a little like having a road map and then traveling on an actual road. On the map, it’s mostly straight lines and everything looks close together.
However, when you get on the road and being traveling, things always take a little longer. Creating new stories and seeing long-term positive results will most likely be a similar process for you with your horse.
If you can understand and expect this from the get to, it will help you to begin making the necessary small adjustments that will eventually take you to the destination you’re looking for.
It all starts with identifying what you’re telling yourself on autopilot, and then from there, making consistent tweaks and changes.
Additional Links to Help You:-
- What are You Willing to Do Differently As a Rider?
- Stop Wasting and Start Investing Time with Your Horse
- Reacting Versus Responding in Your Riding
- Daily Strides Premium Newsletter
- Lunging for Riding
- Online Community for Equestrian focusing on Planning and Mindset
- Equestrian Virtual Lounge Online Community
- Connection; the Online Membership for Equestrians