Growing and Handsome!

Growing and Handsome!.

Another Sterling Moment!

Another Sterling Moment!.

@ 2.5 years old, he reminds me of my human sons!

@ 2.5 years old, he reminds me of my human sons!.

Sports Psychology Simplified

What is it?  The difference between staying in the game and quitting! It is a behavioral science that helps athletes identify what is in the way of the athlete reaching her goal. What it is not is judgement.  It makes no difference what the issue is, it’s about putting strategies in place to put the past in the past and be in the present.

Many people athletes or otherwise have an internal conversation that is some version of I’m not good enough.  It could look like I’m not smart enough, fast enough, thin enough, tall enough; feel free to insert your own adjective.  It makes no difference  -how- we are not good enough; what does make a difference are the strategies we have in place to override this internal conversation, how is it we can not buy into the popular or personal ideas of what is ‘good enough.’  If we can quell this internal dialog, we can allow our passion to guide our sport of choice.  Michael Cleveland is a blind fiddle player considered by many of his peers to be the best in the world.  He leads his band on an album he calls “Let er go boys,”   He encourages his sighted band to do what he has learned;  to get out of his own way because he cannot see and not hold back but Let er go!

Many times this underlying “not good enough” conversation will outwardly look like fear, an unwillingness to take risks or put forth all of our effort, perhaps even inability for us to participate at all!  Many parents of young equestrians really want to ride but have a litany of reasons ( likely all valid!) why they are not, so they live their childhood dream of riding through their children.  This is an example of a “not good enough” conversation getting in the way of us living our dreams! It’s not about competition, but about having a life we love.

Putting aside raw talent, in competition, sports psychology is the difference between first and second place.  You don’t have to be the best that shows up, you just need to be the best who can fully ” be with” what’s so and do your best.  I heard a great performer say it this way ” I have butterflies in my belly every time I need to perform, it’s just that I’ve taught my butterflies to fly in formation!”  That is sports psychology.

We Must Progress!

  A Hot August Saturday Break Under a Tree

Who must progress?  Each in the horse and human team. Student, horse and teacher.  We all need to become calmer, braver and smarter, more coordinated, confident and athletic. We all need to progress to being better problem solvers, more aware, more able to see what we see, softer, more thoughtful, considerate and progressive! We need to blur the lines between who is teaching who and dwell in what is possible!

What is progress? Growth or development (dictionary.com) So that means we progress from wherever we are to somewhere else, a movement, in an appropriate increment,  toward a goal. It could mean progressing speed – doing something faster (extended trot) or slower (passage), distance – closer to you (cantering by your shoulder) or farther away from you (cantering at the end of your longest line) ,  or quality(more on this later.)

When should we progress?  Now.

Where? Wherever we are. Bring what you know with you!  Add to that or modify it.  Create excitement and interesting things right where you are.  This is where progressing our creativity from where it is to somewhere else comes in.  Here is where the impossible become possible.

Why? Because this is what keeps us all in this game! Because if we are not progressing we loose interest, horses become work and expensive.  When we are progressing it is a labor of love and money well spent!

How do we progress? Pay attention (Observe) to where you are now without judgement and keep track of your progress (compare)

Journal or at least keep a calendar where you can track your thoughts, the time you put in, your goals and then REMEMBER TO BE GRATEFUL FOR THE JOURNEY!

Stall Rest

Blog about Sterling and Hearty January 2012 (Autosaved)

It’s all about the relationship

She’s 9 and her pony is 16.  They attended a horsemanship workshop here at In the Company of Horses to better understand Focus. She was the youngest participant by far, but the most free to imagine and play with herself and her horse!

IMAGINE What's Possible!

The task was to ask her pony to stand on the tires or the balance beam with all four feet and if she found that too easy to somehow increase it’s quality.

She had lots of conversations with her pony over the course of the two day workshop, asking him to go with her or to go first, in circles, over jumps all in an effort to get to know one another.  They had a magical two days as they flitted about from one place to another always together challenging one another in the most playful ways.

The child had scary mental images in her mind of the times she had seen her pony ridden by some local teenagers.  Once the pony ran off with one of the teens, and another time; he bucked one of them off. But this day, he was lovely, looking to his little girl for reassurance if he got scared,  trying to do all that she could think of in her imaginative mind. Over, under, through, around, on top of,  in, forward, back; they played, both on the ground,  for hours the first morning as their confidence and trust in one another grew.

It was thought there were issues with the saddle and the little girl believed it.  All morning long she kept observing the pony having no problem with the saddle. Every now and again, she would head over to the tires to see what her pony thought  about stepping up on top and Lo and Behold ~ Done.

Knowing it was only the morning of day 1 she took me up on my suggestion to refine whatever you get!  If it’s too easy how can you improve the quality of your task.  See the tire in the foreground?  Well it has a pocket of water inside and whenever the pony would step on it, the water acted like a volcano and gushed out making a sucking noise!  When the pony finally stood next to the gushing volcano with all 4 feet at the end of Sunday, he looked at the water, then back at his girl. There was no doubt in anyone’s mind that her pony stood there because his little girl wanted him to. No force, she just stayed in the conversation for two days. Now that’s Focus!