Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Positive Thinking

Riding and running colts can be a humbling time.  Well, really horses in general can be a humbling experience.  They always keep you on your toes but it seems with futurity age colts, you have to ride the lows to be able to get to the highs and then when you least expect it, you hit the lows again.  This roller coaster ride comes with the territory and isn't limited to just colts. Not everyone can handle it, which this includes myself sometimes.

Whether you're naturally a pessimist or an optimist; when things aren't going right, it's easy to get into that "Negative Nelly" kind of attitude.  However, you won't ever get ahead of the game if you keep that kind of attitude.  When you have a negative attitude, you've beat yourself before you ever make it to the arena, and many times before you even leave the arena.

It's easy to come out of the arena and think of all the bad things that happened.  Your horse tipped a barrel, you sat down too soon, he shouldered, etc. etc.  In fact it's so easy to think of all the bad things that it's hard sometimes to think of the good things.  When these negative thoughts flood our minds when we leave the arena, they start to infiltrate our minds before we go into the arena next time - setting us up for failure.

We've all heard about the power of positive thinking, but how many of us put that to use?  There are many exercises to do to help you achieve a higher power of positive thinking.  I'm by no means an expert but here is one thing that I will leave you;  Instead of thinking of all the negative things that happened in a run, I want you to also make sure you count and credit the positive things too.  It might be as simple as I stayed on! or my horse was quieter at the gate.  It doesn't matter how big the positive it is we need to make sure we acknowledge it.

Now, I'm not going to say that we are supposed to forget the negatives.  Looking back on what went wrong in a run is just as important as what went right.  We need to look at the negatives so that we know what we need to work on to turn that negative into a positive the next time.  However, too often we focus solely on the negative.  Try to have a time frame after your run that you're allowed to dissect and think about the negatives AND the positives.  For me, I will allow myself five minutes.  It might not be right after a run since often times I'm riding more than one horse, but I will pick out five minutes when I will go through my run.  I'll pick out all the negatives, not forgetting about those positives too, and will form a game plan for the next run or what I'll do in the time I have until the next run to turn those negatives into positives.

Too often we overlook the positives.  My challenge to you is the next run you make, as soon as you come out of the arena, think of at least one positive thing in your run BEFORE you think of the negatives.  Get yourself out of the negative mindset and start working towards one that is positive!

Photo by Tina Graham