It's easy to get in the winter time blues. Just stand out in the cold cutting baling twine on bale after bale until you can't feel your fingers as you're trying to feed cows. Or see your horse trailer get buried under snow after your husband had just cleared it and the road the day before. Or dealing with frozen water hoses for the umpteenth time. Or... Or.... Or...The struggles of winter have a way of wearing on a person and in case you haven't noticed already, they've worn on me.
Beating the winter time blues can be easily remedied by going somewhere where it's warmer for the duration; so in Montana, expect to be gone until June. Unfortunately for me, my life situation doesn't quite allow me to pick up and leave. As I was wallowing in the blues, I started thinking about things. It's easy to sit stagnant in the house, wishing you could be somewhere warm, riding, not worrying about frozen water hoses, thawing out your coveralls and if your toes will return back to normal color, etc. Right now the opportunity to ride is slim, but the opportunity to grow, to prepare, and achieve your goals is right at your grasp! I've decided that since moving to Arizona right now is impossible, there has to be other ways to beat the winter time blues and be improving myself and my barrel racing game. I started asking myself with everything I was doing, "Am I walking towards destruction or to destiny?" That time that I'm wasting time and energy wishing that I could be in the saddle, I can be putting to good use to improve my barrel racing game without actually stepping foot out of my warm, toasty, climate controlled house.
Here's a couple things I've found to help me beat the winter time blues:
- GOAL SETTING - I'm not a big goal setter, you know the "2017 is a whole new year - whole new life" kind of person. But when it comes to my horses, I need to know and focus on where I'm going with each individual, what is my ultimate goal and where I do I need them to be by a certain time, etc. If I don't have that in mind, I won't know if I'm behind or on schedule. Because I ride mostly colts that I hope to futurity, this is an important factor for me.
- DIET AND EXERCISE - yeah I know, we're coming off the holidays and we've been packing on a couple extra pounds, now is the time to take careful watch over what you eat and start working out on those six pack abs (they've gotta be in there somewhere right?)
- So at first glance I realize this doesn't sound all that fun, but once you get into the habit, the feel good feeling you get after completing a work out, you'll be seeing what I mean about beating the blues.
- MAKE A GAME PLAN - Get out a yearly calendar and write down the races that have been scheduled. Some you may make and some you may not, but focus on the ones that you're wanting to make. Refer to your Goal Setting to know what will be most beneficial to you, your horse, and your ultimate goal.
- IMPROVING THE MENTAL GAME - The mental aspect of barrel racing is vital. You may have the horse and you may have the ability but if your mind isn't in the game, your ship has sunk. I listen to a lot of motivational speeches or read up on mental toughness. My favorite book is Mind Gym by Gary Mack but there are several out there that I've enjoyed and revisited through the years.
- RESEARCH - Instead of scrolling through Facebook seeing all the videos and pictures of your friends riding in t shirts in Texas or Arizona, spend some time researching a topic that would be beneficial to you and your horses. For instance, if you have a bleeder, learn more about EIPH, what is it? what does it do? how to prevent it? how to treat? you get the picture. Have a problem last fall with a horse, watch barrel racing or horsemanship videos. Study, take notes, and be prepared to use it when you saddle up. Knowledge is power and here's a chance to educate yourself.
- CLEAN & DECLUTTER - Get your equipment ready to use. Now's a great time to clean those saddles, check chicago screws, make repairs as needed, etc. Get everything in order and ready to go so that when the day comes to ride, all you have to do is saddle up!
- CATCH UP - For me being a mom of three boys, trying to help my husband with the cattle, my horses, all the while managing the house, I realize that now is a great time to be catching up on things in the house so that when it's nice outside, I can utilize that sunshine. Spring cleaning starts now (it may be 8 years late but better late then never right?), meal planning and making freezer meals, doing things now that will make my life and my family's lives easier come spring.
In thinking of ways to help improve my barrel racing game as well as life in general; I was amazed at all that I could do and work on from the comforts of home. There's so much more that you can do, maybe you do this already, maybe you do some of it. Regardless I hope that this helps those that are in the same position as me and needing to beat those winter time blues. Ask yourself, are you on the road for destruction (wasting time when you could be doing something to benefit yourself and your family) or are you on the road to your destiny (taking meaningful steps that will improve and help you reach your ultimate goals). Make your your actions meaningful!
Hold strong my friends, there's light at the end of the tunnel! I see 20s and even 30s in the 10 day forecast!