Have you ever wondered why some days everything just comes together and flows and you and your horse are working like a well-rehearsed team? Other days nothing seems to flow or go right. The days when all the stars line up, your horse is right there underneath you waiting to fulfill your every command, it is really easy to have focus and commitment.
It is on the days when you don’t seem to be able to get your thoughts together, and for whatever reason your usually pretty steady horse companion is all flustered and upset about something and the two of you are not able to work things out or be on the same page. It is on those days that you have to pull out your resources of Focus and Commitment. When everything flows and comes easily to both of you the amount of focus you need is minimal compared to the days when nothing seems to go right.
Focus alone will not get you there; you need commitment to back up your focus. The definition of Focus is: The center of interest or activity; the state or quality of producing clear visual definition. In other words you have to know the principle or core of what you want to achieve and be able to recall the tools it takes to get you there.
Definition of Commitment is: the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause or activity. It means that having the tools alone won’t get you there, you have to be willing to properly use them which happens through commitment.
On the day when nothing seems to go right you need to pull all your focus together and get committed to the principles of riding. Here are those principles that you unwaveringly need to stick to and not get distracted by anything. Your focus and commitment will bring you and your horse back into the game.
– Eyes on the Track make sure your horse’s body shape matches the Track
– Metronome in the back of your head counting your Momentum/Rhythm
– Stay centered on the balance beam of your horse’s spine and relax
– Be clear about your aids; have them synchronized and strong enough
– What you want him to do has to be easier than what he wants to do
When things go wrong, especially on course, DO NOT focus on what is wrong, and start micromanaging that, believe me more things will go wrong. Bring your focus back onto the points listed above and be committed to doing them.
If you got to the last fence really bad and a pole came down do not let your thoughts linger on that, it is ancient history by now. On the first step on the landing side, focus on what is ahead, on rebalancing and organizing what you have to make things better at the next corner, or jump. Let your eye look ahead, put the bit on the track and let the rest of the horse follow that.
You know the old saying: When the going gets Tough, the Tough get going. Get mentally tough by getting focused and back it up with commitment. The next time you are on course or at home schooling don’t focus on what’s going wrong, but use T-M-B and the principles of riding and commit to what you can do to fix it, don’t get stuck on the problem.