In my July blog post for KA Equestrian I talked about what to expect when you consult a professional, in particular a psychological coach or therapist so let’s continue the theme for another month and look at what to expect when you ‘Take on the Challenge’ of tackling issues around your riding which are coming from what you are thinking, believing and feeling about riding horses.
It can be a huge challenge for some riders to take that first step of asking for help but I know, from many years of working with riders, that once you take that first step you have already started working towards overcoming whatever it is that is concerning you. Please note that I am deliberately using words like ‘challenge’ and ‘working’ in order to stress that making the necessary changes isn’t necessarily particularly easy. However, once you do ask for help then you are no longer alone and you will have support whilst you are making those changes.
How about thinking back to something you have done in your life which you have found difficult. Anything really, it doesn’t have to be horse riding related. How did you tackle it? Who helped you? How long did it take you to overcome the difficulty? Did you have any setbacks along the way and how did you deal with those? Did you break the task down into smaller stages or did you try to tackle it in one go? AND THEN …..How did you feel when you accomplished your goal and overcame the challenge?
Things which spring to mind that you might apply this to are perhaps, learning to ride a bike aged about 6yrs, learning to play the piano, studying for school exams, learning a language, learning to play tennis, learning to ski and a horsey one….learning to reverse a trailer!! For me, I can remember a huge sense of satisfaction and delight when I first worked out that I could reverse a trailer in a straight line using my wing mirrors and from then I built up to being able to reverse the trailer into it’s parking spot - what a thrill that gave me!
My point, in talking about taking on challenges, is that we all have challenges right throughout our lives and we all develop ways of overcoming those challenges. The same goes for having difficulties with our horse riding. If those difficulties are coming from your thoughts and beliefs then how about looking at changing those thoughts and beliefs and relating making those changes to other challenges which you have already overcome in your life? You might surprise yourself with just how much inner strength you do have when you dig a little deeper.
Riders who are struggling with confidence, at any level, often have a tendency to look at other riders who are apparently full of confidence and achieving great things. I would strongly advise you to avoid comparing yourself to others and I would also suggest that the vast majority of those other riders have had to overcome challenges of their own in one way or another. There aren’t many people who ‘have it all easy’ throughout their lives.
So go on, take those steps, ask for help, take on the challenge and look forward to that sense of achievement when you overcome whatever it is which is challenging you. You might even feel like commenting on this blog and sharing your stories of taking on the challenge so that we can all learn from them.