Why are you still holding on?
(What were your goals?)
1. Stop blaming your horse.
2. Stop being afraid of making a mistake in the show ring.
3. Stop pressuring yourself to win because you are worried about all the money you (or your family) are spending on this sport.
4. Stop making the SAME mistakes in the ring over and over.
5. Stop blaming your trainer.
6. Stop showing up to your riding with fear, anxiety or doubts.
7. Stop feeling embarrassed or ashamed of how you are performing.
8. Stop procrastinating from taking the action that will help you to change.
9. Stop allowing other people to trigger you emotionally.
10. Stop comparing yourself to, and being jealous of, other riders.
11. Stop being negative.
12. Stop being diffident and unassertive.
All of the above are self-made prisons. And patterns of self-sabotage.
It is 2019. Did you grab the rope and bring that weight with you into the New Year?
Let them all go.
These self-made prisons remind me of when I was a child and testing for my Junior Life Saving certificate at my family's large, overnight sports camp in Vermont. The swimming instructor tied a rope around a heavy cement block and threw it into the lake and it sunk to the bottom.
My test was to then dive down and grab the rope and swim the weight back up to the surface. Since I grew up a camp on a lake with swimming lessons twice a day, I was a very strong swimmer, but I can tell you that while I dove down and was able to grab the rope ... and even able to swim back up towards the surface ... I only made it halfway up to the surface. I tried over and over and here's what I learned:
If I didn't let go of the rope, I would have drowned.
Here's what I concluded: Sometimes success starts with letting go.
Sidebar: (Of what is not working and pulling you down!)
And that may be what is happening to you as a rider. While you may be performing well, you are still being held back, and under, and not performing at your personal best because of the weight of this cement block.
While you understand all this intellectually, if this pattern is continuing, you have not been successful at cutting those ties that are binding you. You have not shifted.
Here is how you can change ANY bad habit:
Focus on and associate massive pain to NOT letting go of that rope. Really FEEL how awful and what a waste it will be if you allowed that weight to keep you from performing your best for all of a circuit and/or the rest of the year.
If you fear, for example, wasting your family's money by not winning your classes, then use that exact fear to move you to cut that rope because it WILL be a waste of money!
(This is where knowing your true leverage that really works comes in handy.)
Then, after you have really FELT the extreme pain of not letting go of a pattern, to the point where you are ready to FINALLY cut that rope, focus on and really enjoy the pleasurable feeling of how great it will be to have that off your shoulder; and then able to focus on executing the details of the ride and to watch yourself moving up the ranks and how great that will feel.
Focus on how exciting that will be instead of focusing on the fear of making mistakes, fear of a horse stopping, fear of not winning, fear of falling off, and/or fear of wasting your family's money.
Or just plain unable to focus and perform due to anxiety ... maybe from the fact that "everyone" is watching you? Or your own pressure to perform well?
Right now, you may be afraid of making mistakes in the ring so much so that it is tying you up. You are like the race car driver worried about hitting the wall during a spin out and looking at the wall (focusing on the thing you fear happening) instead of focusing on where you are going and how to keep the car driving forward on the track.
We NEVER focus on the thing we fear. We ALWAYS stay focused on staying on the track that will take us where we want to go. The joy of the outcome that we want.
Riding is all or nothing. If you aren't ALL IN on moving forward and winning and giving it all you got, then you are in a hesitant mode. It is like shifting the gear into forward or staying in the gear of idle or even reverse ... and sometimes usually stripping the gears.
None of those other "half-assed" gears will work for riding.
So if you see a pattern of making the same mistakes over and over, then you know that you have not discovered the gems that you can learn from and then correct to polish your round the next time. The horse does not spook in every class.
Let's stop making the same old mistakes this year. Let's cut the ties to anything that is holding us back from being the best that we can be. Let's choose not to drown in our own self-sabotaging patterns.
If you're having trouble letting go of a habitual pattern of thinking or behaving, ask yourself how that pattern is serving you. I guarantee you that it IS serving you somehow or you would have cut it loose a long time ago. Would you like to know why you are holding onto it?
Enjoy the ride!
Breakthrough Equestrian Mindset Coach
Emotional Strength & Resilience Trainer