Monday, August 19, 2013

Ticking Boxes to Save From Ticking Bombs

The universe has an awful habit of catching up to you, where ever you may hide. Once you open your eyes to what’s potentially out there, there is no going back. When you strip away the ego from life and push through the fear for even a moment, you see such brilliance.  “Light at the end of the tunnel” doesn’t come close to describing the view. But of course it’s so easy to slip back into old habits and let the humdrum take over.

When I’m riding and training, just bimbling about my daily life in and out of the stables, it’s easy to forget the light, to forget the things that make me truly happy. Everyday becomes about aims and ambitions.  Don’t get me wrong, these are great things. But sometimes this turns me into a ticking bomb just waiting to erupt with emotion in some form or other. Sometimes I forget why I’m doing something.

Because of this lunacy, I make it my job to tick some boxes every week to ensure I don’t get carried away in an egomaniacal, caffeine-driven quest for perfection. You all know how much I love coffee and how often I try to give it up or cut down. I love the buzz man! I don’t however love the frenetic energy while working, especially when I’m about some other poor soul.

I eat. It’s amazing how many horse folk don’t eat enough, or enough of the right things. I’m so much more level when I eat, so much more open to the idea that I might not always be right and maybe should change my point of view. If you ever have anything to ask me, always ask after a meal.

Each morning, as mad as it sounds I look my horse in the eye and I say hello to him, not at him, or near him. Sometimes it’s easy to forget we love them for what they are and concentrate instead on getting that perfect canter pirouette, or getting ready for the next competition.

I try to get very specific with the strengths and weaknesses of both me and my horse. The more specific the understanding of the training, the more easily I can find a solution and those days of randomly trotting about the arena in a mechanical fashion disappear.

Everyday I run through a list of questions in my head as I warm up trying to make sure I don’t fall for the ego’s desire for the movement to be perfect, to be established, finished. I check to see if I’m enjoying the journey or am I constantly looking for the finish line, the finished horse, the one I’d like him to be not the one he is at the minute. The second I sense that ego, I know it’s me driving the work and not my love of riding.

I ride my main horse first thing in the morning when I get home from the gym, when my brain is freshest for the challenge and my body is warmed up.

I make sure I have time enough so as not to rush his training to get onto the next thing.

Often I find myself in conversation with other riders trying to glean from them things that have worked for their horses, to see if something new, something different might help my own horse and training.

Just writing this down means I have a better chance of keeping my eye on the light ahead. Have you ticked any boxes today?  Why not try some of these.

Get out of the head and ego.
Let go of fears.
Sleep. (I haven’t conquered yet but I’m working on it.)
Make time for proper training.
Love what you do.
Be open to change.