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  1. #1
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    Aug. 14, 2004
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    Default pushing thru mental barriers....

    I would love to hear how folks who had mental barriers (ie not being determined enough, not asking enough, etc etc) were able to work thru them and come out a better and stronger rider .....

    i need some inspiration!



  2. #2
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    Jul. 19, 2003
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    Middleburg, VA
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    I have a VERY hard time trusting that I am a good enough rider. I went through a REALLY rough patch this summer after a particularly nasty show jumping round (my tough phase). I started having issues at home (there was some comfort issues associated in this for my horse- his feet were stingy- so that just compounded my brain issues), and I really lost my confidence and really doubted I was worthy of my nice horse and worried I was ruining him.

    Now, I am hardly "recovered", but I've made a good bit of progress the last couple of months. Things that have helped:
    • Taking a little bit of a break from events. We went to a few jumper shows and focused on the mental things that got in my way at events, but are always unable to fix because it was just one chance (things like not letting mistakes frazzle me, sticking to a plan, etc)
      Breaking the jumping down at home back to very core basics. I have a friend who is a VERY good h/j/eq trainer, and she gave me a couple of great lessons that really honed in on things that I could think about in the ring to KEEP ME RIDING instead of dwelling on mistakes or falling apart, mentally.
      Gently pushing myself back toward where I needed to be (jumping prelim height+), with a few bigger jumps at the end of each ride, proving to myself that when I ride right, it's fun! (getting Toby's feet sorted out helped this a lot, too...but that's a different topic).
      Jumping a little bit, even over little things, almost every ride. This kept the core basics fresh in my head. If I was constantly practicing rhythm, line, relaxation, focus, etc, even over just poles on the ground, I found it easier to click into the same zone once the fences went up.


    Two other big things helped a lot. One was being FORCED into more independence than I have had in years (another story). I had to start relying on myself a lot this fall season, which has really, really forced me to make a plan on my own and STICK TO IT. I think getting minimal input on how to ride a course is making me take a lot more responsibility for the choices I make. I've always had very good coaching, and at some point I was going to have to develop the independence, but it was funny how getting forced into before I thought I was ready has helped.

    The other thing that has helped is just forcing myself to suck it up and stop letting my inner demons get to me, ESPECIALLY on course. So, like at my last event, I made a mistake in show jumping, and instead of dwelling on it for the next 3 fences, I shook it off, sat up, and focused on my plan for the NEXT fence. The round wasn't mistake free, but I feel like I made a good effort to think my way all the way around. I DO have to do a lot of inner pep talking and positive thinking, but when I do it, it helps. (It has been suggested that I speak to a sports psychologist...I've considered it, but right now have to be my own...if I also want to take lessons and eat!).

    I am still very much a work in progress...and my results don't really show the progress (I've had a strange string of events this year which have resulted in a lot of letters for results and not numbers, but those letters do NOT tell the whole story AT ALL!). But, I am getting better....slowly...painfully slowly.



  3. #3
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    May. 26, 2011
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    For me, it was like the first step of a twelve step program, admitting that there was a problem. After a bad event, I went to my trainer and said I have to learn how to do X. No more excuses.



  4. #4
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    Aug. 28, 2007
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    Triangle Area, NC
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    When that little voice tries to say negative things, I always ask myself "why do you ride?"


    Works every time
    KTU
    (Keep tacking up)
    www.destinationconsensusequus.com
    chaque pas est fait ensemble



  5. #5
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    Thanks for the thoughtful responses....i resonate with alot posted! My inner demons are really holding me back and if i want to get where i want to go i need to break thru them...... And as mentioned it was a show that really really convinced me that i need to get thru this. I am thinking of a sports psychologist but hoping i can work thru it on my own.



  6. #6
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    Oct. 21, 2003
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    For me the mental barriers are typically from when I am making something into something bigger or worse than it really is. What helps is video. Video allows me to both see that things are not as bad as I think, and also allows me to see with my own two eyes what is happening and I can SEE how to fix it. It shows me REALITY, and usually your mental barriers are not based in reality.



  7. #7
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    Apr. 20, 2009
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    Raeford, North Carolina
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    Quote Originally Posted by Perfect Pony View Post
    For me the mental barriers are typically from when I am making something into something bigger or worse than it really is. What helps is video. Video allows me to both see that things are not as bad as I think, and also allows me to see with my own two eyes what is happening and I can SEE how to fix it. It shows me REALITY, and usually your mental barriers are not based in reality.
    Plus one.

    I have perpetual confidence issues that come and go at will. Some days I feel like Zena, Warrior Queen and somedays I'm sucking my thumb in the corner of the room. Just have to ride the wave and know that tomorrow will be better.
    "Drawing on my fine command of the English language, I said nothing" - Robert Benchley
    Cotton would fight.
    http://buildingthegrove.blogspot.com/



  8. #8
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    Agree video is super. What i am working on probably wont be helped by video.? ... I am not having that kind of issue i dont think....More along the lines of needing to ask a lot more of my horse and me being afraid of being a meanie. Both my trainer and i Agree on this point and the proof is how horse goes
    Last edited by mbm; Oct. 6, 2012 at 09:16 PM. Reason: On iphone!



  9. #9
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    Oct. 21, 2003
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    Quote Originally Posted by mbm View Post
    Agree video is super. What i am working on probably wont be helped by video.? ... I am not having that kind of issue i dont think....More along the lines of needing to ask a lot more of my horse and me being afraid of being a meanie. Both my trainer and i Agree on this point and the proof is how horse goes
    It absolutely will help. What you will see is how he looks when you aren't asking enough, and how he looks when you do push through and get what your trainer is asking for. You will be able to see the expression on your pony's face and his body language. You will also get to see what things you might be doing unconsciously with your body that are blocking him.

    Video helps me get through almost every single issue every time. Without truly visualizing the reality it's all just in your head.



  10. #10
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    Jan. 27, 2003
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    I second (third?) the video.

    I love it when my So videos my rides for me. We just use my digital camera, but I'm thinking of getting a camcorder for this specific purpose.



  11. #11
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    I don't mean to argue. But i am WELL aware of the consequences of this issue and i know that working thru it will be of enormous benefit... I am working against many years of misinformation (aka bad training "advice" ) and displaced "concern" (aka i am emotionally worried that this or that will hurt my horse when i in fact know it will not)

    my specific issue is upping the anti in what i ask of myself and my horses..... this will require much much more work and is the only way i will get where i want to go..... however i have a big fat block that i need to get thru.
    Trainer says i am well able to do it it isnt a skills issue or anything... i just have to get out of my own way - sounds so easy

    i edited this to be more clear as i was on my iphone which is hard to type on!
    Last edited by mbm; Oct. 6, 2012 at 10:51 PM.



  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by mbm View Post
    Dont mean to argue. But i am WELL aware of the consequences of this issue and i know that working thru it will be of enourmous benefit... I am working against many years of misinformation and displaced "concern" aka all that crap that i learned that is well crap :/ ...... I am also stupidly, worried about "what people will say".... I know what i need to do i just for some reason have a hard time doing it! gah!!! Lol!

    While I'm not quite sure I'm understading what you're saying. But I constantly second guess myself and wonder if what I'm doing is correct/looks okay. And I hate riding in front of people.

    Using video allows me to see what my ride looks like, and where I need to improve.

    I will stop my ride and watch some of video. Then go try something else. And then watch that clip and compare if it's better or worse.

    It helps when you don't have access to a regular trainer, especially in the winter when they all migrate south with the geese.

    Or I'll have my SO video a lesson and my next ride and I'll watch parts of the lesson video during breaks in my current ride to compare the two rides. It helps to determine if I'm doing an exercise correctly during my practice ride. I also write down my lesson in a journal too.

    Videoing and journalling my lessons help me mentally as it helps me realise 'yes I'm not a perfect rider and I have a lot to improve, but I'm really working on that.'



  13. #13
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    i understand videoing helps a great deal - i have spent a lot of time watching myself ride i always learn a lot from it....

    this is not a *riding* issue per se - it is a mind issue - i know exactly what i need to do - and in fact - when i do it my rides are fantastic - it is getting my mind to be a believer.... and to allow me to get past the white noise that gets in the way....

    so i am looking for ways folks have gotten past the *mental* blocks that have stood in the way of reaching whatever goals they set for themselves - whether riding or biking or working - whatever.

    i suppose i will need to look into a sports physiologist - but i thought i would ask here first



  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by yellowbritches View Post
    The other thing that has helped is just forcing myself to suck it up and stop letting my inner demons get to me
    how did you do this? this sounds veeery familiar ;-)



  15. #15
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    Aug. 30, 2011
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    Massachusetts
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    Quote Originally Posted by FitToBeTied View Post
    For me, it was like the first step of a twelve step program, admitting that there was a problem. After a bad event, I went to my trainer and said I have to learn how to do X. No more excuses.
    Yeah. Breaking through the denial, and not feeling bad about whatever the issue is, just realizing it is what is, and how do I fix this/ move on.

    I haven't had a ton of blocks in my riding life, I know what I have to do to get to where I want to be riding wise, and am pretty fearless about it. Some of that I think is that I'm confident in my capabilities and not afraid to call myself out, and admit what I suck at, and seek out the appropriate help (eg lessons).

    That said I have dealt with so much fear and blocks in my life outside of riding. I made some serious and radical changes in the last 5 years (career, diet, lifestyle, location etc) and it was and is so scary!

    My friend always says FEAR is: false emotions appearing real.

    When I FEEL like I can't do something, something that I KNOW I should be able to do, or have to try for, I take a step back ( a time out) and really look at why I'm having a problem with something. Usually, I can take some time and get to the root of the issue, and work it out. For me, almost always the root issue is fear, and for me, fear causes blocks.

    Good luck!



  16. #16
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    Dec. 25, 2005
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    For me, when I'm not asking enough, its usually related to my horse not listening 100% to the aids, which usually means allowing her to get behind the leg. To help (and I'm also really bad about not being "mean" enough), I start the ride focusing on getting the horse to listen to little aids, and NOT COMPROMISING. At the walk, they need to move off a light leg. Then they need to bend around that light leg. Then they need to yield laterally to that light leg. Then they need to lengthen off that light leg. At no time do I allow myself to give a big squeeze and lower the standard. At no time are they allowed to get behind it (even during walk breaks).

    Maintain the standard. If you can set a standard before the ride that you think is fair, then its much easier to tell yourself to stop trying to be nice, since you are demanding more of the horse but you know its appropriate. But you need to have these standards in your mind BEFORE you put a foot in the stirrup, and you need to discipline YOURSELF to keep them throughout the ride. Thats the hardest part- making sure you don't start "slacking off."



  17. #17
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    Nov. 1, 2010
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    VA
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    Keep your eye firmly on your goal. Then figure out what it takes to get there. Then do it even if it makes you uncomfortable or it is really hard or scary.

    Watch the video with your instructor--if it is from the event and your instructor did not see you go or all of your ride.

    The most beneficial thing for me when I was going intermediate and advanced and riding with Woff almost every week there was a great video company out there. They would get your xc video back to you in about a week. We were eventing about every other week. So Jimmy got to see it before the next event. Wow, that was really helpful!!

    Before that I was riding dressage and eventing and riding with Gabor Foltenyi, an internationally rated dressage judge and former show jumper. We sat and watched the videos together, sometimes in slow motion. Wow!

    Tried a sports psychologist once. Read her book then went to see her. She was just. plain. nuts! The main problem turned out to be that my horse had a problem in his hind end. Was having trouble leaving the ground which made me a bit nervous. We both got better!



  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Judysmom View Post

    My friend always says FEAR is: false emotions appearing real.

    When I FEEL like I can't do something, something that I KNOW I should be able to do, or have to try for, I take a step back ( a time out) and really look at why I'm having a problem with something. Usually, I can take some time and get to the root of the issue, and work it out. For me, almost always the root issue is fear, and for me, fear causes blocks.

    Good luck!
    thanks for this! while i am not afraid of the actual riding part - i *am* worried that somehow i am being "mean" by asking my horses to work hard and use their bodies to the best of their (and my) ability.

    its a block i have had for the past few years.... it started when i started listening to too much woo woo horse "theory" ..... i did a lot better before i thought too much and when i just rode by feel....

    so i will try to weasel out the kernel of this block and try to see why it is i am blocking....

    thanks for the idea!



  19. #19
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    Dec. 25, 2005
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    Just read a little more-- when you say you are worried you will hurt your horse, can you give an example? Are you, say, asking for more uphill movement that is harder work and you feel bad? Or is it more along the lines of you're cantering down to a big oxer and you're afraid you'll miss and land in the middle of the jump, and hurt your horse?

    I've had experience with both, and I think they're pretty different "blocks."



  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eventer13 View Post
    NOT COMPROMISING.
    Maintain the standard.
    perfect reminder!

    Quote Originally Posted by LookmaNohands View Post
    Keep your eye firmly on your goal. Then figure out what it takes to get there. Then do it even if it makes you uncomfortable or it is really hard or scary.
    thanks! this is where i am! i am doing it, it is uncomfortable, and i will get thru it! i just wish it was easier

    thanks for the tips!



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