It is imperative that you schedule in regular times to pause and reflect.
Equestrian life is very time consuming. That, along with the busyness of our world today, does not leave us much time for reflection. Most of us are on that spinning wheel trying to keep doing more and trying do it better. That is an honorable mission. But if you don’t stop and reflect on what is working and what isn’t, what makes you happy and what doesn’t, what is necessary and what you can do without, where you are going and why you want to go there and what you need to get there you will just keep spinning your wheels. You may feel stuck, unfulfilled, disappointed, frustrated and frazzled. So, no matter how busy you feel and how full your schedule seems it is imperative that you schedule in regular times to pause and reflect so you can regroup, make changes, learn from your mistakes, create a plan and just plain take a breath and rest.
You can fit this into your schedule easier than you think.
You can fit this into your schedule easier than you think. At first you can add some time for reflection without even letting go of anything on your calendar. While you are driving to the barn listen to a guided mediation or some peaceful music and let your mind slow down and reset from your busy life. Once your mind is quiet you can then calmly reflect on your last ride/lesson and think about what worked and what didn’t. Do this without judgment. Just learn and decide what you need to change and make a plan. When you get to the barn you can continue your reflection while grooming your horse. Groom slowly and methodically and connect with your horse while you continue your reflection and planning.
You will be better able to notice what works and what doesn’t.
Once mounted you can start your walking warmup in the same mindset and take some time for deep calm breathing and relaxation. When ready to move on from your warmup you should have a good plan in place for your ride and be relaxed enough to be a feeling rider. You will be better able to notice what works and what doesn’t and make the necessary changes without judgment. Once done, while cooling down you can again reflect on your ride and take note of what worked and what you want to build on for next time as well as what didn’t and what changes you need to make. Keep this up as you groom again and clean your tack and drive home. Remember, this is not a time of self-judgment and worry, it is a time of peaceful reflection and planning.
You will notice that you can let go of all the ”doing” and busyness.
You will hopefully find that you enjoy this practice of reflection so much that you will find ways to let go of some of the unnecessary clutter on your calendar to make room for more quiet time of reflection. I am sure you will feel a benefit in your riding and begin to apply this practice to all parts of your life. You will notice that you can let go of all the ”doing” and busyness as you get so much more accomplished in a clam , reflective state and you will do it so much better. Some of my favorite times to be quiet and reflect are when I am cooking, gardening, driving, relaxing on my patio or taking a nice walk. I find such clarity in those times and I am able to move forward with a better plan of action for my whole life. Remember, it is a practice and some days we are better at it that others. So don’t be hard on yourself.