By Phillipa

Have you heard that saying, ‘Fail to prepare and prepare to fail’?

We can apply this mode of thought to almost any aspect of life, whether practical, intellectual or emotional.

The saying certainly applies to many facets of horse ownership. Taking your beautifully turned out horse to a show is a real buzz but it’s the hours of (usually extremely unglamorous!) hard work that goes in for weeks and months before which truly pays dividends.

Preparing oneself either for competition or even just when improving your general riding ability is also all about the foundations you lay down.  Your own fitness is as important as the condition of the horse and our own health concerns should never be secondary to our equine’s. Investment in quality clothing – particularly where safety is concerned – should not be overlooked either.

The prep work for you should also encompass your mental attitude. It’s easy to say ‘believe in yourself’, or ‘don’t be scared’ or many other glib phrases. But you need to really FEEL confident, safe and able, too and that takes perseverance. For some, life experience is enough to give you that boost but there are riders that may need to take a confidence course or maybe try a home hypnosis course. By integrating Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) which retrains the mind, old, negative thoughts are replaced with positive and helpful ones. It may not be riding specific, but having used the Paul McKenna I can make you confident MP3 download, I can say it definitely helps.

Part of feeling confident and believing in yourself also means learning how to deal with disappointment. Naturally, you are not going to want to set off either to your competition or out on a ride with the idea of failure in your head. But having the right attitude towards setbacks is critical.

It happens to us all. It has happened to our idols. They have all fallen off, they’ve all come last and they have come out of the ring red-faced and wondering where it all went wrong. None of us are perfect yet anyone who started riding as a child will probably remember our instructors urging us to get up, dust ourselves down and get right back in the saddle after every fall. And I guess, a broken bone aside, that’s exactly what you all did just as I did. We may have shrugged it off or we may have been analytical and learned from our mistakes.

What I believe is most important when we face a setback is to take charge of the critical internal voice. This is a huge subject and I suggest that you do your own research (again, Paul McKenna’s books, website and audio books are a superb place to start) but it’s worth it. For many people, understanding where this voice comes from and more importantly how we can diminish it and control it is absolutely key to freeing oneself from destructive patterns of thought.

The internal voice embeds itself into your mind and can criticize, mock and belittle you. Its power is that for some it’s more effective in destroying their ambitions than anything said by other people. It’s that unbidden comment you get when something goes wrong.

‘Oh that’s just typical of you,’ it might say. Or ‘don’t know why you’re even bothering trying to do that, you’re useless, you’ll never get it right.’

It’s a dangerous thing.

Using NLP the negative voice can be eradicated and replaced by a much more encouraging and positive one.

So doing the preparation you need to achieve your goals is the 80% of the iceberg that’s below the water line. But it absolutely has to be there.

© 2017 Chapelstone Developments Ltd.

At Chapelstone, we also believe in laying the right foundations. Take a look at our groundworks page and contact us today to find out more.

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