Psychology

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Preparing yourself for a good ride may not be as difficult as you think. Developing a pre-ride routine is an easy and effective way to make sure your rides count. And as a bonus, you may just end up with a very thankful horse. Riding is a team sport. You are partnered with an animal in order to achieve certain goals. As you are the leader, you determine the direction and effort necessary to reach those targets. It is your task to communicate these directives in a way your equine teammate can understand. From this perspective, every ride can be thought of as a conversation.

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Fall fairs, circuit championships, and club awards banquets signal the end of another horse show season. So how did it go? Did your shows, rodeos, or competitive trail rides meet your expectations? For the majority of horse owners, the answer to this question will likely be no. Stuff happens. And so we look toward the next year. But with chilly fall and winter weather looming, we all need some goals to motivate us to get off the couch and out to the arena on those cold nights!

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By Lindsay Grice - Each of us memorizes material in a different way. Knowing your learning style is helpful. Try a number of memorization styles in each of these categories and see what works.

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There may come a time in your riding career when you find yourself saying: Why do I put myself through this? Why do I show? It usually arises when you’re under considerable stress, or after a cycle of disappointment. It can happen for many reasons, and when it does, it’s time to put the joy back into competing with your horse.

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I am not good enough - I don’t have an equitation body - I’m too nervous - I’m such a wimp. Have you ever tried to shame yourself into better riding with discouraging statements like these? Shame goes beyond garden variety negativity. The message you send yourself is: “I am useless” or “I am worthless,” and the implication is that there is something wrong with you as opposed to you having done something wrong. You label yourself, so that every time something goes wrong with your ride, you can say, “I knew it, I am just hopeless.”

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When someone loses a family member or friend, often others rush in to see what they can do to lessen the pain. However, when your loss involves a companion of the four-legged variety, sometimes the response you receive is less than sympathetic.

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What’s the Antidote? We are inundated with images and stories of shaming these days. Some are humorous, some very hurtful. Shaming is attempting to make someone feel pain and remorse for something they have done – or worse yet, for just being themselves. Shaming and blaming are close cousins. When you shame, you are also saying: You are the one who is responsible for the wrongdoing. Sure, there is also humourous and harmless horse shaming. We’ve all heard things like: “I poop in my water bucket every day,” or “I don’t play well with others,” when people pretend to speak for their horses. Then there’s the other kind of shaming, when a rider speaks openly about the shortcomings of their horse, or uses their inside voice to shame, blame, and complain about their mount.

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