When you compete do you focus on the negative or the positive aspects when you reflect on you and your horse’s performance?
Equestrianism is a tough sport, anyone who has had a horse for a significant amount of time will know that it is easy to get disheartened by horse accidents, human accidents, large bills and difficult competition experiences. So a pattern of negative thinking can creep in and influence your mindset.
What can you do about it?
Identify areas where you want to become more positive. For example if you are struggling to be positive about your competition experience then think of what you can do to make the experience less stressful, and more enjoyable. It might be taking a supportive friend with you, getting help from an NLP practitioner or having a plan for the competition. All things that can help you to start in a positive way from the moment you get up to the moment you leave the show ground.
Check your mind and how you are feeling throughout the day. So every now and then throughout the day, stop and evaluate whether you are feeling positive or mainly negative. Turn the thoughts around and find a way to put a positive spin on things. Why did you start thinking negatively? What changed your mood? How can you stop yourself from going down a ‘doom loop’?
You are allowed to have fun! Laugh, crack a joke, watch some dogs ‘doing silly things’ videos or tiktoks, it really helps with stress. I can’t remember who said that ‘Laughter keeps the doctor away’ but I definitely feel it!!
Trying to stick to a routine of some sort both food, sleep and exercise wise. This is an aspect that I have learnt really helps me. We all need chocolate and wine in our life but sometimes food can bring feelings of guilt and self loathing if we eat the wrong thing and feel lethargic or have sugar rushes. So if at all possible being sensible with food and drink habits makes a massive difference to mental and physical health. I really wish we had more healthy food at competitions as opposed to stodgy, carb heavy offerings!!
This next one is something I totally and utterly believe in. Surround yourself with positive people. You want ‘Radiators’ in your life not “Drains”. So radiators are people that exude warmth and positivity, they help and assist you. These people do have down days as they are human but they predominantly are positive mindset people. Drains are the ones that suck the life and emotion out of you! They are always seeing doom and gloom everywhere, they drain you of your positivity and always need propping up emotionally. I am not talking about when a friend is going through a rough patch, these people are always having a worse time than you, worse ride, bigger vets bill etc., I am sure you know the sort!
Finally practice being positive and talking to yourself. So when you are thinking or listening to your inner voice do not say anything to yourself that you wouldn’t say to anyone else. Try to encourage your inner self with positive affirmations and encouraging thoughts. Evaluate any negative thought rationally and check the positivity aspect. Be thankful of what you have in your life, be grateful of the people and animals in your life and keep working on that positive mindset.
I look forward to hearing about your positive thoughts and riding experiences.