Oh gosh hasn’t this last 6 weeks in the UK been vile. My motivation has really taken a hit. If you have a way to keep going when the weather is this bad please put it in the comments below. Competition season has just begun and I’ve written out the list of events I’d love to get to. Competing horses takes planning and training and time. What seems to come with that in my mind is pressure. I make these lists and then hold myself to them like they are tablets of stone.
The pressure mounts until I am trying to forcing myself out the door in the cold and the dark for rides that neither myself nor my horse are really wanting to be on. Obviously once we are working there is always the joy of the conversation, but the sinking feeling I get before hand and the procrastination are not in anyway joyful.
A core tenet of how I work is self reflection. Choosing to practice what I preach, I tried stepping outside of myself and looking objectively at what is going on. I ride and compete for pleasure, so the only “Need” for going to the competitions I choose is my own personal enjoyment. That means that I have a choice, and if the displeasure of the training is sufficient then I could choose not to do it.
Would we ever put these levels of pressure on our dogs, cats or rabbits? In a training session on someone else’s horse (where our own goals are uninvolved) would we ever push as hard to achieve things as on our own? I wouldn’t. I always allow the training of someone else’s horse to progress exactly at the speed it is unfolding. And I do my darnedest to separate my goals from my own horse’s training. Why though can we not allow ourselves the same grace?
So my challenge to you this week is to stop. Stop and breathe. And read that book, paint because you enjoy it, or take a walk for the simple pleasure of it not because its good for you. Obviously, there is a balance between needing to make an effort to achieve the things you’d like to do in your life. Nothing happens without you putting it into the world. Too often though we get seduced too far into the push, push, push of achieving. That more is better and harder for longer is the way to be. That we will only be X when we achieve Y. Hard work alone will only exhaust you and leave you miserable. So simply stop, put half a day in your diary to relax. Spend no pressure time with your horse, grooming or sitting in the corner of the stable reading a book. Normally I’d say sitting in the field but no one likes a soggy bottom!!
It is OK to take a break. Life, as they rather cheesily say, is a journey. Lets make it a slow meandering wander not the Monday morning commuter train into central Birmingham.
Want to learn more about working with your horse in a way which is fulfilling for both of you? Get in touch below in the comments, by phone or email and lets talk about it.