(Usually I send short newsletters to a monthly VIP (not actively coaching) client membership group of people who have signed up to receive them, but today I am also sending this long, educational one out to all my active clients ... even though it will be a repeat for them, and they have probably already shifted with this issue since this is one of the first things I address with riders.
Anyway, this is an excerpt from my upcoming book. It contains a pretty common case study, and it is a good refresher.) As always, my information is copyrighted and registered and not for distribution or for anyone else's eyes. Thank you in advance.)
When riders first start coaching with me, most of them come with a pre-set mindset, opinion, and rule about errors or incidents that happen on their horses. And, it is VERY important to them that they are not at fault when something doesn’t go well. Why?
Because they have attached a label onto, or a meaning to, whose fault it is that is negative.
This is a BIG red flag!
For example, the rider falls off their horse, and they are SO HAPPY and relieved to have their trainer (and other people who witnessed the event) tell them it wasn't their fault.
Sometimes trainers will tell a client this because from what they could see, it DID appear as if it was the horse’s fault. But other times, if the trainer knows the rider might get upset or overreact to an incident being their fault, the trainer might tell a client that it is the horse’s fault to save their student’s feelings.
(I actually had an incident where a trainer told one of my riders that she would split the fault 50/50 between the horse and the rider!)
Another reason a trainer may tell a client this is because if the incident or mistake is happening at a horse show, and if the rider or the parents have been known to get upset with rider errors, the trainer may decide to not open that can of worms right then.
I have spent LOTS of time trying to console a rider who is crying because their parents just got upset with them for rider errors or not placing higher in the ribbons in the show ring! So, I get it that it may not be helpful for a rider to melt down into tears right at the showgrounds. (This is why emotional strength is so important for riders to develop!)
Obviously, the problem with that decision to not immediately tell a rider that falling off might have been their error is that the same incident could happen again right there at that show. And maybe this time, they WILL get hurt when they fall.
If we were in the world of tennis, holding off repeating a mistake may not be such a big deal, but the stakes are a little higher when jumping horses.
Now, some riders will hold on to that good news that it wasn’t their fault (which they then adopt as a belief) for dear life! (Holding on harder than they were able to do to stay on their horse!) They just can't stand the thought that it might be their fault.
The question we need to ask is:
Why is it being their fault such a horrible thing?
When the rider is told there was nothing they could have done and it wasn't their fault, it feels like a good thing for the rider, right? The rider is happy, the parents are happy, and the trainer is off the hook from having to have “the difficult” task or conversation of telling a rider and their family something they DON'T want to hear ... so happy trainer too, right?
This is one of THE MOST common beliefs and rules that are tripping riders up and holding them back.
Because the rider actually has mixed neuro-associations!
The incident being the rider's fault is NOT the bad news. It should actually be associated with being the GOOD news. And vice-versa; the horse being totally at fault is NOT the good news, it is actually the BAD news.
This is the concept behind adopting a personal “mission statement” of beliefs called Extreme Ownership that is a rule adopted by the Navy Seals. The link to the Ted Talk is at the bottom of this chapter. But how does this relate to riding horses?
Here is the process riders go through:
1. First of all, this typically happens to the rider that places a negative meaning on making any mistakes when they ride. The meaning might be that they are wrong or bad or not doing well or wasting money on riding or whatever. (Every rider will give it their own meaning.)
And this is why they keep making the same mistakes on their horses over and over. Because they resist the pain of looking at the mistake and owning it. In other words, they have not yet built up their inner emotional strength, to include learning the ability to reframe events from a negative connotation to a positive one.
The truth is, and this is the necessary re-frame for any rider, a mistake is actually “valuable feedback” if they choose to give that meaning. The benefit of giving it that meaning is that the rider will be open to learning from it and therefore become a better rider … and they won’t continue to make that same mistake!
2. The problem with seeing a “rider mistake” as a negative is that the rider “recoils” or wants to block in their mind the fact that they made a mistake, so they are NOT open to looking at the incident, picking it apart and analyzing it, and then learning from it.
However, when it is the horse's fault, the rider doesn't feel a need, and doesn’t want, to even talk about the incident.
3. Their unconscious thought pattern (which they adopt as a rule and their mission statement) goes like this: “Not my fault, not my problem.” Out of sight and out of mind, and they totally (and very happily) walk away from what COULD HAVE BEEN the golden learning opportunity that shifts everything!
But that means the opposite is true too, right? So, if not my problem, then not within my power to solve it or prevent it next time, either!
The rider may not consciously say this to themselves, but in the brain it translates like this; if it wasn't your “fault” (I hate that word, so let's call it responsibility), then you were basically a dis-empowered victim of that situation when you fell off, right? That was something that the horse did to you that you couldn't help.
(The brain organizes and “codes” this in your gut as you were helpless, right?)
When other “people” or events do something to us, we then blame them, and that makes us the victim of that event, right?
And here is where riders become stuck in the wrong mindset.
Victims; they feel dis-empowered. Dis-empowered and helpless people feel angry. You can always tell when this process is happening when you hear a person BLAME others, including horses, and if/when they get angry if you suggest it was their fault or that they should look at it from the point of view of extreme ownership.
So, you can see that “framing” an incident as the horse's fault causes us these problems:
1. We don't even think about the incident again, and therefore, we don't learn from it.
2. We end up pointing the finger elsewhere and blaming the horse, which makes us feel somewhat out of control of what happens when we're on a horse.
Now we are left feeling shaky, not really sure when or how the horse will successfully just “throw us off our game.” So, we feel uncertain and vulnerable. This is NOT a good feeling or belief or “history” to have when getting on a horse.
In fact, that feeling sometimes turns into an identity: I am vulnerable or unsafe.
When I coach riders, the goal is for them to feel totally empowered and in control of what happens when they are riding. The opposite of vulnerable and uncertain.
Now, is it possible to totally control a 1,200-pound horse 100% of the time?
Of course not! Everyone “gets that.”
But that’s the wrong focus. Success in anything is all about the focus. Instead, focus on this: how do you want to program your brain? Remember, it works like a computer.
Do you want to “set” your brain to focus on that belief/programming of being vulnerable and out of control, or do you want your brain to have a different, more empowering belief when you go into the ring so that you feel like a rock-solid leader who “totally has this?”
A rider who has decided they won’t become unseated, no matter what.
(We want this second choice because showing up as an empowered leader is what will help the rider and the horse to feel less uncertainty and more “safe.”)
This is the point at which a rider might dig in their heels, resisting the fact that they were at fault, and they will happily point out to me that even the Olympic riders sometime fall due to a mistake on the horse’s part.
Listen, one of the most important “secret sauces” that I tell my riders is this:
Success is sometimes lying to yourself!
Yup, choose a belief and self-talk that will serve you better!
What belief will help you to feel empowered and in control of your riding? You may not be in total control of a 1,200-pound animal, but you ARE 100% in control of your thoughts and emotions.
Which one of those two facts would you prefer to focus on? The answer to that question, and whether or not you are feeling and showing up as an empowered rider (regardless of how the horse is feeling at any given moment), is what will determine your success in riding.
When I tell riders this ... the answer from most of my brand-new clients is ...
“But that is not my truth!”
My response is: “Your truth is whatever you decide that it is, and up until when you started coaching with me, you have unconsciously chosen to believe that your truth is that you're scared or can't stop your horse from throwing you off ... or whatever.
We think and believe that we are stuck with whatever “truth” is inside of us, including past traumatic events, but actually ... learning how to decide to pick a new truth, even if at first it seems like a lie, is THE NUMBER ONE way to change and transform your riding and your life!
So, all my riders have to adopt new beliefs and truths ... whichever ones will help them to move forward and to be their best. (NOT what gets them off the hook of responsibility for when things don't go the way that they had hoped.)
And when they complain that being totally empowered and in control of their horse and riding is not REALLY their truth? The answer, of course, is ... drum roll, wait for it ...
Decide that is your truth and then “act as if.”
OK, so some of the riders go through the process with me with a lot of resistance and feeling annoyed ... ‘cause again, they are married to their other “off the hook and happily ever after” story ... the one the trainer gave them about how it wasn't their fault. The “feel good” story.
The rider needs to “divorce their story and marry the (new) truth.” Another quote by Tony Robbins.
Even though the rider prefers for it not to be their “fault,” so they don't have to take responsibility for the incident, as we “unpack” what happened, and I ask them what they were thinking and feeling from the horse stride by stride, they really start digging deep inside of themselves … and then they DO remember some things.
I had this conversation with a new client whose trainer and other witnesses to the event assured the rider that it wasn't their fault—it was totally on the horse, and there was nothing he could have done to not be thrown off.
After we peeled back the layers, and I asked him what he was feeling from the horse, he finally ended up remembering that he DID feel that the horse was “off” prior to being thrown. Or the horse was not riding and feeling as it usually did. The rider WAS aware that the horse was not its usual, relaxed self.
But he defensively followed that VERY VALUABLE insight with, “But it wasn't my fault, I wasn't feeling nervous at all about showing. I was feeling fine!” He just didn't see how he may have contributed to this event, and he didn't WANT to see how it might have been him.
That was his story, and he was sticking to it. And he tried to change the subject.
I asked him, “Well, what did you do when you felt that the horse wasn't its usual self?”
The rider paused and then finally said, “Nothing.”
And THAT was the problem.
OK, so it wasn't your fault because you were not nervous or feeling uncertainty, but your horse WAS possibly feeling those things. For whatever reason. (Hey, you are not the only one on the team. There is a horse, too!)
And you felt the horse was off somehow, or not relaxed, but did not ADJUST your approach! You did not take any ACTION to solve that problem. You did not respond. (Responsibility = the ability to respond!)
Not deciding to do something is a decision by default. So, that was the wrong decision.
We then had a conversation, where I taught him some tools that he had never been taught about how to bring certainty and calm to a horse that is feeling uncertainty.
This is an ACTION step. Not a “sit there and do nothing and just observe the situation” step as if you are watching TV. Observe is step 1, but the rider also has a golden opportunity to take step 2 or 3 or whatever is needed to turn the situation around.
BEFORE the situation gets worse and they get thrown off.
This rider then learned from me some tools for adding EXTRA certainty to the horse. This can be as subtle as just putting new thoughts in your head as if you are talking to your horse. You can say, “It's OK. I got this! Everything is just fine! You can calm down! Enjoy this beautiful day. All is good!”
Just changing your thoughts from how the horse doesn't feel right somehow to thinking about the exact words to calm down a horse would make a difference?
I learned this when I was riding horses at the only riding “academy” in New York City. Located up on the upper west side of the city, it was several very LONG city-wide blocks to ride the horses to Central Park. Now, some of these horses had been there longer than others, so some were more accustomed to the chaos.
Most were not.
You can imagine that the all drivers and cabbies, who knew nothing about horses, were racing towards us and just barely swerving and missing us … some on purpose … scaring the horses to death!
The horses would rear up and spin around, then buck and try to charge off, and as all that was happening, the drivers would just get pissed and then start honking their horns and yelling at us.
What did I do? I INSTANTLY changed leads (in my head)! I refocused away from the distraction of the horror movie I was currently a victim of having to watch unfold, and the fear I was feeling inside, and I stepped into being an empowered leader applying solutions!
I got out of myself and focused on talking to whatever horse I was riding that day about staying calm! I mirrored calm.
I projected STRONG leadership. I was all about letting the horse know that WE GOT THIS. I KNOW WHAT TO DO AND EVERYTHING WILL BE FINE, AND YOU WILL BE OK. SEE, I’M NOT UPSET, SO YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE EITHER.
Not rocket science, right? But you have to take action and DO IT and not just be an observer stuck in the pause gear. And timing is everything! You have to assume the window for taking that action, to actually succeed in turning around your horse, is very short and narrow!
Knowing that an uncertain horse can go downhill within milliseconds is basic horsemanship, and riding is not a passive sport! In fact, depending upon the situation, forget the long sentences in your head. Just focus on the word CALM!
We don't always feel our thoughts actually making a change to our internal chemistry and also our outside responses with our body, but horses CAN actually feel it. Our thoughts can create or decrease the stress hormones racing through our bodies and increase or decrease our heart rate, our blood pressure or even our temperature.
There are stress hormones building up that we may not always be aware we have, but the horse FEELS IT!
This is what many riders don’t understand or want to believe. So, learning to know yourself, especially your thoughts, is critical for riders.
There are several ways to change our stress hormone surging through us. Change your thoughts or the meaning that you give to your thoughts. Or, you can change your physiology by moving parts of your body in a certain way.
Example: sitting up straight and putting our shoulders back reduces the stress hormones in our bodies! AND makes us feel more confident!
(Trust me, when I was on an out-of-control horse freaking out in the middle of the streets in Manhattan, I did NOT roll my shoulders forward, lean over into the fetal position, and look down at the hard pavement I was afraid to hit!)
I also didn't allow myself to think, "Uh, oh, I hope I don't get thrown" as the horse was bucking.)
Wrong gut instincts! (Coming from un-resourceful thoughts and emotions!)
I also told that rider who was thrown from his horse that, next time, he can double check each part of his body and make sure to “relax” them; think ... relax fingers, relax wrists, relax legs, etc. Relax (soften instead of going rigid) with your back. Go through each part of your body. You still keep contact and good posture, but you just let the horse know ... hey, relax ... it's all good! Nothing to worry about!
I have to remember this lesson myself. I was at WEF down here in Wellington during a Saturday Night Lights event and was standing at the warm up ring watching the top riders with my German Shepherd on a leash. As the crowd of people were walking behind me on the walkway, my dog was uncharacteristically acting hyper, whining, and worried about them.
Of course, the problem wasn’t me … I was focused on the riders in the warm up ring.
I said to a man standing next to me, “This is not like her.”
He said, “It's because you have your fist clenched around her leash. She senses YOU are concerned about the crowd. It is making her tense. Relax your fingers around the leash.”
(I guess there WAS a part of me that subconsciously decided to hold on to her tighter with such a big crowd and lots of kids running around everywhere.)
Many times, riders don't practice actually relaxing every muscle in their body. And this includes on their face! Yes, there is actual science about the changes inside of your body that happens when you add a smile to your face! (Or transition away from a frown.)
How many riders have trained themselves to automatically smile when the shit hits the fan?)
So, OK, you are not conscious of the fact that you are nervous, and maybe you're not. But maybe also you are not AS relaxed as normal (because it IS a horse show) and the horse is thinking, “Jeez, he does not feel his normal, relaxed self. There must be something wrong.”
Some riders might actually take BIG action and pet or stroke their horse to help give them certainty, depending upon if they are in the ring or not.
And this is why trainers saying, “It's the horses fault, not yours” is not the always the most helpful to riders. But we all have our own ways of doing things, so I am not judging; just suggesting another alternative that has been proven to be more helpful, and SAFE, in the long run.
My rule for all my clients is, unless a vet or farrier tells you otherwise, go with Extreme Ownership and see what pearls or gems you can learn to polish up your next round.
Don't label this YOUR FAULT if you have a negative meaning attached to those two words. Reframe it and label it as extreme ownership; which means YOUR GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY TO BECOME A BETTER RIDER.
That perspective will serve you better.
Sidebar: my husband is a former Olympic gymnast, and after all his rounds, he would go around the gym pleading with everyone to tell him what he did wrong or what wasn't perfect and “soaking up” what the other gymnasts had seen about his round.
He WANTED to know what he did that he could have done better so that he could “polish it up for [his] next round” and then win the event.
Finding out what you did wrong is THE way to do it better next time! It's the good news, NOT the bad news. We don’t run from it, we TOTALLY EMBRACE it!
It is a completely different shift deep down inside. It is a focus on becoming better rather than focusing on the need to prevent feeling bad that “it is my fault.”
So, when anyone tells a rider an incident is “not their fault,” the question is ... can trainers (parents, team mates, etc.) read your thoughts? Not always. Can trainers feel what you are feeling with what is going on with the horse? Not always.
Can a rider always be aware of their own thoughts and unconscious patterns? Not always, but that IS the goal, and THAT is what I help them to uncover and use to their advantage.
Yes, sometimes it is obvious that a rider is nervous, or the horse is when we are on the sidelines observing an incident, but many times it is only something a self-aware and experienced rider can learn to feel, unpack, and figure out.
Other people cannot possibly read our minds about what our thoughts are, and they can't always know the slight degree to which we have more tension in our fingers, but your mount can!
I actually have an eventer client that trains with an Olympic medal winner. She got really frustrated with her trainer because there were many times when she would ask her a question about some problem with her horse and her riding, and the trainer would say, “I don't know. I'm not on your horse and feeling your horse. You are. So, you figure it out and tell me!”
Now, what is interesting about this is that the rider had bought the trainer’s old eventing horse from her, so actually, the trainer knew that horse better than the rider or anyone else. But still, the trainer acknowledged that she can't know everything when she is on the ground and the rider is the one on the horse!
Also, the trainer can't always know what the rider’s thoughts and feelings that are is being transferred to her horse. And that is why the rider ended up coming to me ... to help her unpack what was happening in her head.
This is why that trainer is an Olympic rider and one of the best trainers. Here is some more brilliance in how she handled this rider. Basically, her actions said:
“Even if I did know the answer, I might not tell you. This is A Golden Opportunity for YOU to take ownership and pick up the reins and figure it out yourself!”
After all, the trainer is NOT going to be on the horse on the eventing course or in the stadium jumper ring figuring out the puzzle for the rider about what's happening and what she needs to do! The trainer placed a higher value on NOT taking away the rider's own power to learn how to listen to and feel her horse and to figure things out on her own.
That is horsemanship.
The trainer did not want to breed dependency AND she did what was right ... not what the rider wanted to hear. And, yeah, the rider got annoyed with the trainer about it. Until she “got it” why that was the best course of action for her to take.
But that was only AFTER she learned to figure out the puzzle of herself and her horse. And, boy, when she did that all on her own? Wow, did that make a shift in her riding. Because that is such a powerful feeling and accomplishment!
That is what being a good rider is all about: being an expert at figuring out not only your horse's puzzle, but more importantly, your OWN puzzle. Figure out what you are doing that you might be able to tweak to improve. Have a large supply of tools (solutions) in your skill set.
Become more aware of your own thoughts and physical reactions, inside and outside of your body, and how that may be affecting your horse. And how to QUICKLY adjust those things to create a better outcome with your horse.
But that process will never happen if you give an incident the story that it was all the horse’s fault.
Whose fault is it?
Wrong question. The more helpful and more powerful question is, “If I took extreme ownership of this and looked at it as if I did contribute to the problem (my fault), or could have prevented the fall, what could I learn from this experience?”
Extreme Ownership: with this new rule that we place on ourselves, we immediately EMBRACE (rather than ignore) looking at an incident (or ourselves) from every angle possible to see if there are some pearls there that we can learn and benefit from that we can then utilize for possibly preventing the same incident from happening next time.
Now, I say possibly because, do I know for a fact that what I taught that rider—that, had they taken ACTION to try to prevent the problem from getting worse—that it would have 100% solved the problem and they wouldn't have gotten thrown?
No, I don't know that for a fact. No one does. Not even the horse. But was there value in thinking it through as if it were their fault and therefore learning new tools and techniques?
Was there value in looking at the incident from the point of view of extreme ownership and having a discussion with the rider to take ACTION and try SOMETHING instead of doing nothing?
Was there also value in discussing with the rider that TIMING IS EVERYTHING when it comes to riding and jumping horses and how their slower timing may have contributed to that incident?
Was there value in learning to take action sooner rather than later when it comes to bringing certainty to a horse that is feeling “not quite as they usually do?”
Tony Robbins has another quote I love ... and nowhere is it more applicable than in riding horses. He says, “Pain is doing the RIGHT thing at the WRONG time.”
And this is the valuable feedback that is never revealed and “gifted” to a rider when other people want to make the rider feel better about a fall by saying it was the horse's fault and there was nothing the rider could have done.
Even if that IS true, do we want the rider to feel better short term or to ride better long term?
(Or can they experience both?)
Riders can experience both by changing the meaning they associated with “feeling better.” Because it DOES feel better when you are an empowered rider that figures out the puzzle of the horse and the ride to where you and the horse are riding like an amazing team.
“I bravely accepted extreme ownership and unpacked what happened and solved the puzzle and am better skilled at interrupting potential problems with my horse,” actually feels better than, “Not my fault, not my problem, and there was no solution because I can't always control what a horse does. And I don’t like it that you want to make me the one at fault despite what my trainer told me.”
Maybe we can't always control a horse ... but horses “acting up” are always mirroring us and offering us a golden opportunity to learn more about ourselves and the art of riding.
They are letting us know that we are not in total control of what they choose to do, BUT we can take a hint and figure out the puzzle and learn how to better INFLUENCE them to assist in their need to be heard and to feel safe ... and do it in a timely manner ... BEFORE a seemingly uncertain situation turns into a potentially dangerous one.
Extreme Ownership is power. Extreme Ownership is an opportunity for preventing mistakes from repeating themselves.
Blaming the horse, or anyone else, is about dis-empowerment and being a victim with that incident as well as all the future ones that might occur again when we don't learn and adjust from the first incident.
What if We Can't Believe the Reframe?
Even with all this said, sometimes riders just still can't embrace the learning opportunity, and they hold on tight to their “story” of things not being their fault.
This is an issue of a rider not having yet learned the skill of being resilient; of being able to reframe events. (Step 1 is the willingness to LET GO of the old story!)
Whenever we are upset about an incident or a person or something someone else said ... we are giving our power away to that event or person. No one can make us feel angry or bad about ourselves, and no one can make us feel annoyed or any other negative feeling, UNLESS WE VOLUNTEER TO HAND THAT POWER TO THEM.
Want to change your emotions or how you feel about other people, places or things? Learn to train your brain to reframe negatives into positives.
A Tony Robbins quote ... my last one for this article ... this is what he calls “conscious blame.” His mother had been an emotionally abusive to him when he was growing up. And this was his reframe … years later after he turned his life around.
“If my mother had been the person that I wanted her to be, I wouldn't be the man that I am proud to be today.”
Yup, that pain is what forced him go on his journey to learn how to take the problems her abuse caused him as a human being and turn that all around. (Note: he may not have gone on that journey for self-knowledge if he blamed his mother and stayed in the disempowered victim mode!)
We can also say, “If my trainer (or mental skills coach or even George Morris) had been the person I wanted them to be, I would not be the amazing rider that I am proud to be today!”
Fact Check: I never liked any of my tough teachers, trainers or peak performance coaches. Then again, I wasn’t too thrilled with my father’s parenting style, and he was a former Marine that fought in those horrific battles on the islands of Japan in WWII.
(Warm and fuzzy wasn’t his approach.)
But, mainly, I didn't like accountability and being told what to do. But I especially didn’t like coaching and looking at the mirror at my worst characteristics and having to swallow all that reality and painful stuff.
I eventually accepted the “insight” from my coaches that it wasn’t just about how it was said to me and the style. In fact, if I were to be REALLY honest with myself, ANY presentation style was experienced more painfully than it should have been if I had to hear about or deal with something I didn’t want to face.
But despite that ego buster, I continued to hire, pay for, and work with the best coaches because … drum roll … wait for it … they DO push me to look at and do that which I don’t really want to look at and do! They DO force me to be the best that I can be. And I have learned to embrace feeling uncomfortable.
And this is why even Tony Robbins has his own coach!
My past tough coaches taught me how to consciously make a decision to value honesty, courage, and progress more than my comfort, feeling in control by avoiding and hiding, and holding on to my “stories” and excuses.
We don't hire these coaches and trainers to be our best friends. (And the good ones don't claim to offer that, either!) It would be nice if it ended up that way, and most of the time it does (but maybe not till we see ourselves transforming and getting the results we want in riding and our lives), but the FIRST priority for the good trainers ... is RESULSTS.
And when it comes to a dangerous sport like riding or gymnastics … accuracy and TIMING is everything. You need to identify and turn around mistakes quickly. That is why immediately telling riders the truth, or helping them to discover their truths about what really happened when they were on that horse (or the gymnastics beam), could prevent a future disaster. Maybe even the next time they performed in or on the rings!
The best trainers are the ones that have the courage to have the tough (unpopular or uncomfortable) and REALLY life-changing conversations with us.
They love and respect themselves, and us, enough to do the right thing.
Some riders run away no matter what the style or presentation is. No matter who the presenter is. Heck, it is human nature, right? Our whole culture is based upon using distractions, excuses or addictions to run away from stuff we don't like.
Our culture today values comfort over embracing the hard times that will truly transform us and make us tougher. In the current culture, quitting is OK if you’re not “comfortable,” not having fun or if you are “feeling offended.”
I, too, was known to hide from my very expensive peak performance coaches. They even had to track me down at my office at work, on social media or through online groups. Yup, I was pretty slick when it came to avoidance and winning the control game.
Of course, I was never running away or avoiding … I was just “too busy with other things.” Or I made the decision that I had already learned all that I needed to. (Hint: if you’re quitting or running away, or if you are annoyed about the feedback your coach gave you, you still have a lot more to learn!)
But it is adversity and uncertainty, not comfort, that magically changes us IF we allow it to.
The head trainer for the Tony Robbins coaching school program warned potential clients and students, “Coaching is not for the faint of heart.”
I would add … neither is doing the fire walk at the Tony Robbins event.
Most of my clients, when they first start coaching with me, will insist there is no way in hell they will ever do the firewalk.
But as they work my program, I know if they “get it” and have really transformed deep down inside when they say to me;
“Yup, I know how to generate the feeling inside of absolute certainty at the snap of a finger, and I can reframe all negative events and issues with people and horses into a positive that will serve me better. I have absolute certainty in the ring, and I’m riding better than I ever have in my life! Hell, I could probably even walk on fire!”
Great, but …
“How do you feel about it being your fault if something does go wrong when you’re riding? How about if you get thrown and your trainer says it wasn’t your fault? What would your answer be to that?”
Gary Vee, the infamous entrepreneur who became a millionaire selling wine on the internet and is now the top digital marketing consultant in the country, put up a video post on Instagram with a rant on this subject. He said:
“The reason I am so happy is because I ALWAYS blame myself first!”
It is also the reason he is so successful.
Yup, blaming horses is the number one biggest bad habit that riders have, and it will always keep them stuck. Take that completely off the table as a consideration. It doesn’t serve anyone.
For those who decide to “walk over the hot coals” (a metaphor for facing our fears and demons) because they understand that we don’t wait for courage before we walk through fire (the courage will never magically appear), but rather it is the process of walking over the fire FIRST that will build our courage muscle, it is life changing.
No matter what happens to you ... it's all good. Reframe it. Find the purpose and learning opportunity behind every event and behind every teacher, trainer, coach and horse!
Emotional strength and resiliency … you know you’ve got it when it’s ALL good, you don’t blame and make excuses, and you don’t quit and run away.
My book with more anonymous case studies is coming out soon. Between now and then, you can find more articles on my blog Reset Mindset.
Here is the Ted Talk Video by the Navy Seal on why they use Extreme Ownership.
Enjoy Your New Year (And New YOU)!
Breakthrough Equestrian Mental Skills Coach
Emotional Strength & Resiliency Trainer