One of the groovy things about me is that when I'm going through something, someone else is often going through it at the same time. This was confirmed to me when a friend and client reached out to me expressing how she's been a bit frustrated with her horses since they've hit a bit of a plateau. I hear you sister! And I'm sure there are many others reading right now that are feeling the same way.
We keep working away and tweaking things thinking we should either place higher or run faster (depending on your event) but we keep performing or running right in the same place. For me and one of my horses, I feel stuck chasing that elusive last second.
Taking a step back and gaining some perspective can help us from getting frustrated. For example, I've made 5 runs on my horse this season. That's really not enough runs under our belt to feel “stuck”. Also, I haven't been riding as much as I could or should be for “peak performance”. I'm not going to “shoulda coulda woulda” myself over it, but I'm going to give the horse the benefit of the doubt because of it.
Then, I'm going to look and see if there are any physical issues I need to take care of with my horse. After that, I'm going to look and see if there are any technical aspects I need to work on. In my case, I consulted with my horse trainer friend Andrea Udal to find my holes and make suggestions on what I need to work on in my dry work. We're still a work in progress there and I haven't had a chance to test my work yet.
I make this sound so logical and systematic but it really hasn't been. Here's how it's really been; it's been being proud of my horse for trying hard, but inside being disappointed it wasn't faster. It's been trying to go faster and being slower and having my pretty pattern fall apart. It's been trying to be smooth and being smooth – but also slow. It's been listening to my ego tell me I'm too big for my horse and that maybe I don't have enough horse after all…because you know, not all horses are 1D barrel horses. It's been wondering if my horse would run better if so and so ran her, it's been picking people to send my horse to, to ride for me. It's been shoving my ego aside to ask for help. That's an area I really need to get better at. Maybe these things run through your mind too.
It's been about growth, it's been about patience. And really that's what horses are all about. I know I can't make my horse do anything, but I can make her see and feel an easier way to do things. I can make her job easier by preparing her properly, both mentally and physically for the job. I can do the same for myself, or adjust my expectations accordingly.
So right now, I'm working on some technical things and once I've made headway there, I'll make another run and see how we fare. I'm covering all my bases rather than having a pity party about being slower than I'd like to be. Even though it's really easy to stay in that energy. I think it's easier to stay stuck and complain about it than it is to pull yourself out of the gutter and carry on. We talk about riding the wave and raising our vibe in the Mental Toughness Boot Camp. It's so important that we live a high vibe life between our runs as it affects the interactions with our horses and our runs. This is an area I'm currently working on too.
We horse people like a good challenge, that's part of why we love horses. Horses test us and some more than others. There's always a lesson involved and always more to grow and learn. If it was easy, we wouldn't feel the same level of satisfaction when we finally hit our target. Sounds so lovely when I write like that, don't get me wrong I'm all for the Easy Button right now.
Persevere, sisters – let's forge ahead. Together, we've got this.