A Job Only You Can Do

In the past two weeks, I talked about how this time of year is a great opportunity to pause, reflect and get intentional about what you want to accomplish next year.

As an important next step, in this mini-podcast, I share what I know about the impact of upping the mental game part of riding for both you and your horse.

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Heh, it’s Barb, and In the past two videos, I talked about how this time of year is a great opportunity to pause, reflect and get intentional about what you want to accomplish next year.

I broke it down into broad categories like:

  • Pursuing what you love
  • Thinking about the next steps technically for you, for your horse, and the two of you together
  • Inner game considerations – calmness and focus for both you and your horse

In this video, I share what I know about upping your mental game and the impact that has on your riding – for both you and your horse.

First, many people in the horse world allude to mental skills without structure or clarity.

They might concede that ‘mental skills’ have some relevance, but most think learning them is elusive and not that productive as compared to getting good at technical skills. The myth is as you become a better rider mechanically, you will automatically up your mental game, and that’s not always true – and haphazard at best.

In all the years I’ve pursued and studied the inner game of both horse and rider, I have two facts for you to consider as you design your 2022 plan.

First, research has shown that inner game skills unlock both horse and rider’s physical abilities. Calmness and focus are not something hanging out on the fringe that are nice to tap into. How we think and feel are inseparably connected to our body.

You want to be deeply centered and balanced in the saddle with loose limbs, eyes up, and breathing. These are just a few basics that allow you to do your job and feel your horse.

When you feel calm and think in specific ways, you predispose your body to have just the right amount of muscle tension, heart rate, breathing, etc. And the same is true for your horse.

So mental skills are not a sideshow – and – they can be studied, learned, and practiced. Whether you focus on them or not, they impact the quality of your ride for better or for worse.

Here’s the next critical point. You are the one responsible for developing these skills. Some mentors, but not most, incorporate them into their technical training. But, by and large, it’s up to you to cultivate internal calmness, strength and focus.

The good news is they are skills you can learn – complete with tools you can practice. And the best part is, when you do, you will positively impact your entire life.

So there you have it.

As you plan your technical goals for 2022, consider weaving inner game skills into all you do. They are fun and unlock the door to your potential and your horse’s potential. And, it will always be your job to learn and practice them.

What do you think? Leave a comment for me. I’d love to hear from you.

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8 Comments on A Job Only You Can Do

  1. Mayra on Sun, 12th Dec 2021 10:39 am
  2. Barb, I do agree w/u that it is completely up to each individual to develop their mental skills. I am in the process of setting my 2022 mental skills: I want to work on clarity, balance, relationship & results.
    I have started already working on this & I have noticed it has slowed me down in everything I do. I feel that this is going to show me, my horse & everything around me, that I need to listen to myself & respect my thoughts, decisions & actions. Therefore, by keeping this in mind I have already slowed down. This is my personal journey & there’s no time limit. I like what’s happening within & w/my surroundings. I feel a bit lighter & happier. Thank you, Mayra Segovia

  3. Cindy Newell on Sun, 12th Dec 2021 6:03 pm
  4. Not only do I think mental skills are immensely helpful, but I love learning about them!

  5. Katrina Thompson on Sun, 12th Dec 2021 9:02 pm
  6. I caught myself “growing” the last few weeks. Mental clarity and focus in the moment is coming a lot faster. I am catching my “mistakes” and resolving them without being hard on myself at all. All of this has been snowballing for the better and I feel much wiser and look forward to correcting my next misstep opportunity.🤭 Thank you Barb!
    Katrina & Raven💜

  7. Carol on Mon, 13th Dec 2021 6:28 am
  8. Your words inspire and encourage me beyond belief! Thank you.

  9. April on Mon, 13th Dec 2021 7:11 am
  10. Can you please define inner game skills?

  11. Deanna Leigh on Mon, 13th Dec 2021 3:46 pm
  12. Thank you Barb for your unique way of teaching and patience in helping me with becoming a better rider and more confident.

  13. DeAnna Ball on Mon, 13th Dec 2021 5:52 pm
  14. Time spent listening to Barb is a treasure to me!

  15. Barbra Schulte on Tue, 14th Dec 2021 12:02 pm
  16. Thank you to everyone for your wonderful comments. April, inner game skills are synonymous with ‘mental skills’ and ‘performer skills.” It refers in a general way to the work of getting calm and focused within by aligning our mind, body, and emotions which enables us to be present and do our job at our highest level with our horses.

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