Ritual or Superstition?

As you know from last week’s video, I’ve been watching Cardinal baseball games.

This time, Adam Wainwright, one of their star pitchers, was warming up to be the starting pitcher for a game.

They put a mic on him while he was in the bullpen warming up his arm so he could talk to the TV audience.

He was great – friendly – warm – joking around!

I want to share another gem of inspiration from Adam Wainwright in this video.

In a TV interview, Adam Wainwright, a St. Louis Cardinal baseball player, discussed the power of doing a pre-event ritual.

He discussed his ritual to warm up his arm and focus his mind on the game. He said his practice makes all the difference in his performance.

As he talked, I was thinking about riding horses, of course.

Hopefully, you have a pre-ride ritual, and it’s meaningful to you – and your horse.

Back to Adam, he said baseball is unpredictable, and you never know exactly how much time you will have before you go into the game.

Boy, that sounds familiar!

When the amount of time for the warmup changes unexpectedly, he alters what he does, and it doesn’t bother him a bit.

He also said that some people get so stuck on a ritual’s time, sequence, and perfection that it almost becomes a superstition. If it’s not done in a certain way, they feel like they’ve been knocked off base (in baseball lingo!) And that’s not good!

I’ve never heard that point stated exactly that way, but I like it.

We never want anything to be superstitious because that would mean we had no responsibility for the outcome if things didn’t go perfectly. The power would belong to the routine, not the person doing it.

For riding, I think of a pre-ride ritual with a sequence that can be scheduled all day if you want. But as you get closer to riding time, the practice for you and your horse becomes more precise.

But as you know, stuff happens, and sometimes time gets cut short.

Here’s a rule of thumb: make your ritual’s final 20-30 seconds incredibly powerful. The feeling with your horse is, “We’re ready! Let’s go!”

If some of your ritual time is cut short, tell yourself, “No problem,” but still do last 20-30 seconds (no matter what) and anchor yourself and your horse in a calm, focused state of clarity, strength, and a never give up mindset. That’s why those last seconds are essential and need to be conditioned.

Okay, that’s what I have for you today.

Try on some of these ideas on. See what you think.

Let me know, and leave a comment for me. I love reading them.

Just sayin’ – go Cardinals!

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6 Comments on Ritual or Superstition?

  1. Juni Fisher on Sun, 4th Sep 2022 3:04 pm
  2. I love having a ritual. When I was eventing, I called it “suiting up for battle” (eventing was based on military exercises that prepare horse and rider for survival on the battle field) I had a ritual that kept me focused, and included 15 or 20 minutes of riding the cross country in my head, visualizing every fence, while sitting in front of my horse’s stall with his head on my shoulder. I’d be totally prepared. I use a similar routine going to the cutting pen these days. Thanks for the reminders!

  3. Carol MacGregor on Sun, 4th Sep 2022 3:15 pm
  4. Hi Barb, Thank you for sharing your beautiful view from your deck. I really appreciate what you have to say about having a good, healthy routine in the morning that helps you get grounded for the day. But that it does not make or break your day either. I think people and animals in general do well with a routine in their lives. I believe that is how God made us, and that’s why it is helpful to our soul–:) Hope you are feeling back to normal now!

  5. Jackie Snyder on Sun, 4th Sep 2022 3:45 pm
  6. Thank you, Barb, for sharing your heartfelt thoughts on rituals and in such a beautiful setting. I believe that the early morning has a special energy that provides an opportunity for each of us to engage in a ritual that grounds us for the day. I love to have a short meditation , along with several other practices. I agree that is essential, both for our daily morning ritual and for our pre-ride ritual to have a short fall-back practice that serves us well when time is short. For the many years that I showed in different disciplines, including eventing, I did not have a specific pre-ride ritual. Through your guidance and inspiration I have developed a pre-ride ritual to do before I enter the show pen now, with a short fall-back practice for when time or circumstances dictate.

  7. Margo on Sun, 4th Sep 2022 4:02 pm
  8. Thank you Barb, this makes so much sense. I haven’t done much riding lately and it will be a while before I ride again due to an accident (not horse related 😕). But I want to start some ground work this week, so will be putting this into practice.
    I also dog trial and I have a practice that I do at home, that I take I to the trial arena and it is as simple as closing my own gate when I enter the ring with my dog u der control beside me. Most male triallers always want to close the gate for you. It’s just something that relaxes me before I start.
    Thanks again 😊

  9. Elaine Bohlin on Mon, 5th Sep 2022 7:43 am
  10. Thank you Barb. Great advice to have both a way to center yourself for the day but also a fall back plan if life intervenes and you can’t do your full routine. I start my day with prayer and a Scripture or devotion but if I haven’t as much time, I have a shorter ‘fall back’prayer but both always start with giving thanks for my many blessings. I have found that I am in a better place for whatever comes each day if I take that time, even for just a quick prayer and moment of thankfulness.
    Thank you too for sharing this beautiful golden morning moment at your home.

  11. Robin Nichols on Mon, 5th Sep 2022 12:35 pm
  12. This is really powerful stuff. My mom was a huge baseball fan and living in the Pacific Northwest the Mariners were front and center. She had a ball signed by Edgar Martinez and whenever he was up to bat we rubbed the Edgar ball. That was a superstition but all done in fun. This was good though to focus the understanding on the difference and what can be done when time runs out. I am still working on the preparation of my horse to show. She needs a lot of warm up but it can’t be done too early or she recovers and gets fresh again so I have to make sure that I’m watching the time carefully and then be sure I’m grounded and just be prepared to keep showing and riding even if she’s naughty because something happened and I don’t have the time I thought I had.

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