“Five Tips to Be Calm in the Herd”

We all would LOVE to be calm in the herd. We know that’s a good thing. But then the cattle start swirling; the helpers start saying different things; we can’t find a cow … etc, etc.

There is a common emotion we all feel when we are NOT calm on the inside. We feel like everything is going on around us at mach speed. It can all seem like a big jet-propelled blur.

So given that being scattered within feels fast, let’s define calmness in the herd as feeling slow on the inside no matter what’s going on around you. And when you feel that sense of calmness, you will be able to make the best possible on-your-feet decisions without feeling like you are rushed.

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Here are 5 tips to stay calm and cool in the herd:

1. When you hear instructions from your helpers, pause. Give yourself time to process what he or she said. Wait to move again until you understand what was said. If you didn’t hear them, speak up and clarify what you think they said or simply ask them to repeat it. In fact repeating what they said to you, will calm you and help you focus.

2. Have a planned script for what you say to yourself all along the way. “Stay cool; look up; wait for the last cow, etc” are all examples. Choose to write out a script for what you need to work on, too. Then, visualize great herdwork in your mind with your script. The more you visualize at home and mentally practice in detail, the more likely you will do the same in a pressure situation.

3. See your herdwork as a series of little moves … little moves with your horse, little moves in the herd and little moves getting set up on a cow. Keeping herdwork as a series of small moves is a powerful way to stay calm and be accurate, too.

4. When you feel rattled, talk to yourself … pause … breathe. This is under your control and can never be managed by your helpers. Notice how you feel and go back to being calm when possible. Again, the more you practice, the more skilled you will become.

5. Don’t allow an episode of poor cuts to ever shake your confidence. Keep visualizing yourself doing your job in a calm way. Your next series of cuts just might be the ones you’ve been waiting for.

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