Developing your own unique Equestrian Power means supporting your Mind, Breath, Body, and Passion. One of the keys to success is an intentional practice of experimenting with habits and building a program that aims keeps your body healthy - just as you do for your horse! “Sure, but how do I do that?” you ask. Building a practice is a playful process, it is not about being perfect but discovering what helps you soar!
Listen to yourself. How do you perceive the feelings in your body, the way certain foods make you feel, the voice in your head, or a warning from your gut, and even the way that you interact with others in the world. This ability to listen and feel in the moment will free you from judgement, in order to gain an unemotional viewpoint. Repeating this exercise will develop your intuition and your ability to understand your experiences.
No one knows YOU quite like you know yourself. With the demands of the equestrian lifestyle, and life in general really, it’s easy to become numb to our own needs. As opposed to dulling your senses, give yourself permission to get acquainted with the messages you receive from your mind and body. Taking time to be more attentive means creating space in your life, in your schedule, and in your expectations about yourself.
When we find ways to support ourselves we can expect to feel stronger, focused, energized, and more connected to ourselves and our horses.
Are you ready to build a framework that creates power in your life?
Let’s start by zooming out for a big picture point of view to look at the self-optimization categories introduced in Focus on the Body - 3 Skills to Improve Your Ride. Of course, for this picture to be a realistic "equestrian’s self care system," we must add Ride and Repeat.
Refuel - choose appropriate nutrients to build and repair.
Reshape - develop strength, suppleness, and proprioception.
Restore - enable our bodies to rest, rebuild, and repair.
Ride - pursue your passion.
Repeat - build a practice of growth and development for you and your equine partner.
“What are you going to do today to refuel, reshape, and restore your body so you can be at your best when you ride and repeat?” We realize that this can be a really big question to tackle! To help yourself discover the practices that work, we’ve developed a worksheet for you to print out and use weekly. For practices to become habits, we recommend working in quarterly, in 13 week increments, then reflect back to assess how your activities impacted the way you feel and perform.
When using this worksheet, here are some things to keep in mind:
Keep the worksheet in convenient place, like in your training journal or near your daily to do list. Easy access to the worksheet will keep it at the forefront of your thoughts and help implement the new habits. Set yourself up to succeed.
Start with small and simple practices so you have some “wins” right away. Find ways to celebrate your success that align with your achieved goals. A rewarding and fun practice is easier to integrate into your life. Great strides start with baby steps. Progress is not linear, sometimes we “Cha-Cha.”
Be kind to yourself. Over the course of a day, your best is not always the same. Coach yourself through challenges with a loving internal voice. This practice isn’t about identifying your “bad” behaviors, it’s about knowing what makes you thrive.
Stay present in the moment to increase your depth of understanding. Training your mind, breath, body, and passion is spiral-shaped journey with many layers and theme reiterations. Don’t get discouraged by the experience of repeated practice.
Look forward to feeling really good. Most people give up the idea of feeling really good and settle for short term fixes that are not only unsatisfying, but create setbacks. Imagine all of the energy you could ever want, a feeling of a deeply rested mind, a supple and strong body, steady emotional processing and easy cognitive responses from your brain.