Training the Mind of the Horse and Rider

Training the Mind of the Horse and Rider
Click on Logo (Original artwork by Lanie Frick for Messick Quarter Horses. Not permitted to be copied)

Monday, January 19, 2009

New Years Ponderings

A New Year has begun. Traditionally, everyone makes New Year’s Resolutions. We all make choices and promises. Some healthy and some soul searching, others just for fun. But do the promises come to be reality? How good are we in keeping our promise to ourselves? What motivates us to change? What keeps us from making our goals? Why do we get discouraged? What keeps us on track? How do we keep the initial excitement alive and forge ahead? How do we make resolutions that are attainable?

We are always excited to start a new year. It’s a new beginning. It’s a fresh start. Motivation comes from being excited and from doing something new. Time to set goals. I plan on doing something for myself this year. What do I want to accomplish? How will I meet my goal? I know HOW I will do it: I will set a plan! I live by a calendar. I can never lose my calendar. I did that once, and I had the whole family looking for it!!! I love the organizational data and commitment of writing something down that a calendar offers. I’ll incorporate my goals into my calendar. I’ll write down WHAT I want to achieve. I’ll write down WHEN I want to achieve my goal. And I’ll write down what I achieved and HOW I did it. WHY? So I feel good about myself, for helping others, and for helping my horses.

Should I meet daily, weekly or monthly goals? How small of tasks can I break down the big goal into? To reach any goal, I should start out with little steps, that can grow into larger steps as I’m conditioned in working on my goal. Maybe I don’t need as much physically conditioning as I need mentally conditioning in working on my goal each day. I’ll write down what I want to do each day or each week, or by the end of each month. I’ll also write down what I accomplished each day or week, and what I was able to achieve at the end of the month. That way, for future reference in setting goals, I’ll be able to determine what times of the year it is easier for me to achieve certain parts of a goal.

I need to be conditioned into working a little each day on my goal. Mentally, I’ll need to work on a mindset that no matter what else happens, my goal for the year is what I need to work on that day. My goal is possible. Maybe all that I accomplish is a thought about the goal, but I need to keep that goal alive and positive in my head. Keep that initial excitement alive.

Maybe it will take a week to make that first tiny step, or a month. Does it really matter how long, as long as I’m further ahead in a month than where I am today? Look towards the finished product. What do I want that end result to look like? How do I want to feel about what I have accomplished? Maybe whatever we do, we need to feel good about ourselves.

So what promise should I make myself this year? I will list out some thoughts, then look at them realistically.

Every day, tell Tom that I love him, and tell him that more often.
Clean my tack once a week, because I know I’ll never get it cleaned every day! I may get the bit rinsed off once a week though!
Ride Finny 5 days a week during conditioning and ride season, or at least average 5 times a week.
Compete in 5 CTR’s, Competitive Trail Rides. I have those dates on the calendar already.
Set some goals to accomplish at the CTRs:
Have Finny stand quiet when other horses walk away.
Work on Finny’s maneuvers so we perform better obstacles.
Condition long and slow - set a mileage and speed chart and stick to it.
Ride a few day long conditioning rides.
Participate in some clinics this year. I have already scheduled a Centered Riding clinic. I would like to do 1 more riding one with Finny.
Instruct a Riding Clinic.
Start and ride my 2 young geldings, who are now 5 and 6, more than 30 days! Maybe 90 days on the 5 year old, and 6 months on the 6 year old.
Organize my home office. It’s a mess, and it’s so bad, that I just let the piles grow!

Maybe some of the goals are too large, and we need to decide to break those large goals down and accomplish a small portion this year. If a goal is too large, then I may never start it if I feel like I could never achieve it. Decide on the most important part of a goal that you want to accomplish and work on that the first year, and decide on the next part for the 2nd year, and so on. You want to ride better, than maybe work on body position or keeping your legs back.

I read somewhere that you should always do the worse job first. That would definitely be working on organizing the home office. Then it is actually getting started with the 2 young horses! I just need to get those 2 in the barn for a week and put a solid first week on them. Then a habit has started! This is something I really need to do this year, and I have the desire to do this, but I also know that it is going to be work. I have decided that if I work a little bit at this, then it will start not to be work, and will turn into fun. When it’s not fun, I will give myself, and my horses, a break!

What happens if we work hard at our goal and nothing is happening? If we are physically exercising and we don’t lose weight? If we are doing something we love, and it begins to be work? If we get disappointed in ourselves, we get frustrated, and we’ll stop trying. Make the goals something you want to do, not just what is going to make you healthy. Don’t set a goal because you know that is what other people want you to do. Work on your mental health first. If you are working on any goal, you will feel better about yourself, therefore being healthier because you have a healthy mindset. Then maybe you will achieve a physical goal without even realizing it.

Maybe that is what makes New Year’s Resolutions possible - make them a habit! Keep your promises by having a plan and sticking to it. Make the goals reachable. Make the goal something you want to do. And don’t forget to add the fun in there. Do something that means a lot to you.

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