Worry and Horses

It’s the misuse of imagination according to renowned motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar.

“What if..?” scenarios of doom, leave us sleepless the night before a horse show. “What ifs” leave us tongue tied in a difficult conversation with our coach.  Or gripping the reins, white knuckles, prepared for a blow-up. 

“In riding, there’s a fine line between awareness and overreaction – between having a solution ready in case a problem arises and anticipating the problem so much that you actually trigger it.“ Olympic rider, Ann Kursinski

A nagging worry is like a rope drag obstacle in competitive trail events. The longer we drag it, the heavier it seems. We’re not free until we cut it loose by putting the “What if…” in its proper perspective.  When my thoughts are tethered to a trouble, I lighten the load by remembering:

  1. To control the things I can control and let go of the things I can’t.  I CAN prepare my horse for challenging horse show situations – by riding in inclement weather and schooling when the arena’s shared by other riders. I CAN practice tougher things than I’ll be asked to do in a class. I CAN review my rulebook before judging and rehearse my main points aloud before a presentation. 
  2. To contemplate what would be the worst case scenario and consider, in the unlikely event it did occur, if I could live with the outcome. In most cases the result, although unpleasant, wouldn’t kill me. It might even make me wiser and more resilient.
  3. Looking back, half of what I’ve worried about hasn’t happened. So why let worry eat up the joy of today?

“Anxiety never releases tomorrow of its problems. It only empties today of its strengths”. Corrie Ten Boom, Holocaust concentration camp survivor.

“Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?”  Jesus Christ ( The Bible, Matthew 6:27)

Lindsay Grice is an equestrian coach, horse show judge and specialist in
equine behavioural science.
Her love for teaching riders was sparked as a summer staff riding
instructor at Teen Ranch. Visit her blog “It’s More Than Horse Shows” at lindsaygriceridingcoach.com

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