Riding – the mental part

Since the Ride for Life I’ve been back to the usual, get up, drink coffee while surfing internet to wake up, ride, feed, run inside, bolt breakfast, shower, put dripping hair in pony tail, throw on clothes, zoom to work, work, home, turn out horses, clean barn, ride, cook dinner, surf internet for an hour or so while eating/cooking, read, bed. Depending on the day, add in some mowing and dragging the arena, re-bedding stalls, etc. Obviously not writing up blog entries!

I’ve been keeping this insane schedule for a while now. I sometimes wonder why I bother, but then I remember that I am chasing these pesky riding goals, and riding makes me happy. I have no delusions of grandeur, I don’t think I’ll be International Velvet and get picked to ride for The Team, but I still love riding and want to improve, and who knows, maybe I’ll get my picture in a magazine…hopefully not a falling off shot! I look to other people who are still getting to the top levels at my age and older. My jumping nerve has gotten small, so I have this idea that I’ll work on my USDF Medals.

Other riders are often toxic. Even if they think they are being helpful, they are not. If you doubt this in real life, go to a horse show and stand behind some spectators, you’ll hear them saying how it should be done, with the tone that they would do a much better job if they were out there riding. But, the problem with the railbird experts is that too many of them like to say how some goal cannot be accomplished.

I have little demons that let me listen to the negative people more than I should, but I’m working on exorcising those demons. I started with a sports psychology type book for riding, and one recommendation was to stop thinking negative thoughts. Then, I read another book, How Good Riders Get Good by Denny Emerson and I realized that I have been shaping my entire life around being able to ride and improve, I had years of only riding, no showing, no lessons, but always trying to improve. Now I can take lessons and riding an average of 9.5x a week, all year, and it is actually paying off. I am improving. It is hard to do, easy to say.

I recently stumbled into a group of amazingly upbeat, and can-do people, and enough of them at once, was like the light shining onto the possibilities and combined with some supportive friends, I’m feeling really positive that my goals are attainable…and I’ve found some people who are truly encouraging spectators. Not “yeah, but…let’s-poke-holes-in-those-goals-before-you-even-try” fake enthusiasm.

Oh, it turns out all these can-do people…have done it.

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About Mel

Random musings in a riding journal
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