When Poor Practice Works

We all have those dreaded mistakes we tend to make over and over. Ugh!

But what if you looked those repeat offenders right in the eye and said, “You don’t scare me, you little twerps!”

That’s what this video is all about.


Our natural tendency is to try not to do something.

  • I don’t want to be nervous! I won’t get jittery this time!
  • I’m determined to stop leaning. No more!
  • I’m going to quit moving my hand in such a jerky way. It doesn’t look good, and my horse hates it.

But our brains are wired to skip the word “not,” and instead, it puts the word we don’t want to do in a neon sign in our mind. Our brain gets these messages instead of the “not” ones:

  • I’m always nervous.
  • Leaning is what I do.
  • My hands are fast.

There’s a two-part method for overcoming poor habits, and it’s easy to remember and practice.

  1. Convert the negative to the positive. Know precisely what you want to do instead. For example, instead of being nervous, you want to be calm; instead of leaning, you wish to sit square; instead of making abrupt moves with your hands, you want to be smooth and deliberate. Know what you want instead, and do what you need to figure out how to do it.
  2. Convert the positive to the negative. Next, deliberately make the error and consciously replace it with the positive. Get in touch with what the poor habit feels like and how to correct it. You will establish a new automatic self-correction habit. Conjure up feeling nervous. Take as long as it takes to be calm. Exaggeratedly lean in the saddle and then find that sweet, grounded seat. On your horse, but without the reins, make wild 😊 moves with your hands, and then rehearse smooth moves.

You need both modes to do negative practice well: the positive replacement and the poor default behavior you’re doing now.

The conscious exaggeration of the faulty action with an immediate replacement with the proper practice trains you to recognize the old and immediately fix it yourself. Eventually, your previous errors will melt away, and the new replacements will be how you ride!

Enjoy this exercise. Have fun with it. And let me know what you think by leaving a comment.

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7 Comments on When Poor Practice Works

  1. Noreen Whyte on Sun, 11th Sep 2022 2:33 pm
  2. Thanks Barb. Just what I need right now! Will let you know progress as I practice.

  3. Jess Jones Jr on Sun, 11th Sep 2022 4:17 pm
  4. Good info. My wife is going to do this in her barrel racing. Her hands are her nemesis!

  5. Cindi Pimentel on Sun, 11th Sep 2022 6:34 pm
  6. Love this!!!

  7. Carol MacGregor on Sun, 11th Sep 2022 11:40 pm
  8. Thanks Barb, That is good information and interesting how you have to “do” the unwanted behavior, and then replace it with your “wanted” behavior. Thank you, I will try this. 🙂 Your arena looked awesome–good moisture and groomed nicely!! I watered my arena today and it’s been so hot here, you’d never know I put a drop of water on it. So yours looked great!!

  9. Elli Pospischil on Mon, 12th Sep 2022 9:13 am
  10. Very true!!! I like to use an imaginary baseball bat to get rid of negative self-talk, whether that’s in the show pen or in the middle of the night in bed! 😉

  11. Tania on Fri, 16th Sep 2022 1:41 pm
  12. Love love the the video contents so much to work on. Hate those nerves.
    Thank you

  13. Caroline Mackinnon on Wed, 21st Sep 2022 3:48 am
  14. Sound advice, thank you Barb. It will give me something to work on for quite awhile.

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