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Mental tenacity for the rest of us

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  • Mental tenacity for the rest of us

    I wrote a short blog post about mental tenacity, inspired by my weekend at Rolex and also Kate Samuels's post on Eventing Nation this morning. I just wanted to recognize the perseverance and courage that every one of us has. Enjoy!
    http://sporthorseriders.com/2013/04/...-mere-mortals/
    SportHorseRiders.com
    Taco Blog
    *T3DE 2010 Pact*

  • #2
    Well said. And a timely thought for me.

    This weekend marks the end of what has been a very long and difficult road for me. Toby and I actually completed a prelim together. After a season from hell last year, at least in the mental game department (peaking in a total meltdown in show jumping warm up at MDHT, I have had to really, really push myself to get to the bottom of the issues, both in the saddle and in my head.

    It was a long winter, but we did it! And did it with some pretty epic polish at that (well, our dressage tanked as our jumping excelled, but that's way easier to fix!).

    You've GOT to be mentally tough in this sport, or learn how to be. It's physically, mentally, and emotionally demanding (well, horses in general, really) and you have to be willing to learn how to roll with the punches and keep pushing on.
    Amanda

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    • #3
      CookiePony great blog post!

      I think one develops a level of tenacity in just sticking with horses. They are such fragile creatures, and the ups and downs of soundness, the hopes that are dashed when a promising young one has to be PTS, the sadness when you realize the horse you have doesn't want to or can't play ball, and you get up and keep doing it, year after year, takes some tenacity in it of itself IMO.
      Unrepentant carb eater

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        Agree 100%, yb and Judysmom. yb, your post brought tears to my eyes. And Jm, I was thinking to mention loss of a horse due to injury or illness-- maybe I will do a blog post specifically about that sometime.
        SportHorseRiders.com
        Taco Blog
        *T3DE 2010 Pact*

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        • #5
          I've often wondered if it's tenacity or insanity, LOL, but whatever you call it, we definitely just keep coming back for the next blow. The bar of goals is ever-shifting; right now, I'd love to just FINISH a horse trial with a sound, happy horse!
          Life doesn't have perfect footing.

          Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
          We Are Flying Solo

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          • #6
            Originally posted by yellowbritches View Post
            Well said. And a timely thought for me.

            This weekend marks the end of what has been a very long and difficult road for me. Toby and I actually completed a prelim together. After a season from hell last year, at least in the mental game department (peaking in a total meltdown in show jumping warm up at MDHT, I have had to really, really push myself to get to the bottom of the issues, both in the saddle and in my head.

            It was a long winter, but we did it! And did it with some pretty epic polish at that (well, our dressage tanked as our jumping excelled, but that's way easier to fix!).

            You've GOT to be mentally tough in this sport, or learn how to be. It's physically, mentally, and emotionally demanding (well, horses in general, really) and you have to be willing to learn how to roll with the punches and keep pushing on.
            Exactly the season I had last year with my Training mount. It is more a mental game for me than it is for my horse. The issues were 100% my fault near the end. This year I plan to go out there bigger bolder stronger. I hate the mental game that goes on in my head as I walk a course or as I go towards that start box. It umbs my body and takes over. I am an over thinker which is my worst enemy. With all the great posts lately about lying to yourself and taking control over the mental game, I plan to put it to test at my first event this season next weekend.

            I wish I could just forget the crap and just go out there bold.

            Comment


            • #7
              I don't know, y'all. I don't really feel particularly tenacious, or bold, or like much of a mover/shaker in eventing.

              Yeah, I get nervous (don't ever try to talk to me in XC warmup) but that's not performance anxiety--that's just plain FEAR.

              I do eventing because it's FUN. The nerves part is not fun, but it doesn't appear to keep me from coming back for more, and as near as I can tell my performance is the same whether I'm nervous (say, when I did my first Prelim) or going around at Novice on a packer.

              I guess I'm not serious-minded enough about it, because dang . . . other than the drive home and cleaning out the trailer on Tuesday morning, I think it's one big old GOOD TIME and not this deadly serious, mentally imposing thing. Probably the fact that I suck and always will is a result of my lack of mental toughness or something, but sheesh--I save that for the job.
              Click here before you buy.

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              • #8
                I don't know, dw. You push on through a lot of the horse related stuff (various and a sundry lameness things, including some weird ones). I think that's pretty tenacious. AND, you rarely seem to let it get you down- mental toughness. There's a lot of people who WOULDN'T keep going on with a grin on their face with stuff like that. It's different for everyone....remember, I've spent all winter sitting on a couch talking to a sports psychologist! I'm getting GOOD at all this mental game mumbo-jumbo.
                Amanda

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                • #9
                  LOL--if you say so!

                  Just about a year ago after Keebler came hopping out of his stall on 3 legs (AGAIN) after a fantastic weekend and I sat there sobbing with my arms around his neck I didn't feel very mentally tough. Of course I wanted to WRING his neck when he was quite sound 3 days later, leaving us with no firm diagnosis . . .

                  That's just LIFE. Horses simply magnify the whole "sh*t happens" thing.
                  Click here before you buy.

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                  • #10
                    I think it is even harder for us who aren't professional riders with strings of horses. Out of curiosity, how many riders who competed at rolex are not professional riders and have jobs outside the horse industry? I think it is even more mentally draining when you're an ammy and only have that one upper level horse to compete because then everything is riding on that one horse

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by StrawberryFields View Post
                      I think it is even harder for us who aren't professional riders with strings of horses. Out of curiosity, how many riders who competed at rolex are not professional riders and have jobs outside the horse industry? I think it is even more mentally draining when you're an ammy and only have that one upper level horse to compete because then everything is riding on that one horse

                      I'm not sure though--I think the skills of dealing with pressure are an individual thing. For me...horses are a big part of my life but are not my life. For someone who makes horses their living--there is more pressure IMO.

                      I've had a lot of crap happen with the horses...enough to fill books. I've had more than one vet comment at how well I deal with some tough times. But to me...it is just how I'm wired. I have a very high pressured high stressed Job (non-horses). Probably not as bad as DW (to my mind) but more high pressured than most jobs. But I do think those sort of jobs make horses and the pressures of horses--no big deal.

                      I know pro riders that struggle with the pressure and others that do not.

                      Dealing with pressure is a skill--but some of it comes more naturally to some people than others. How hard you have to work at dealing with the pressure really depends on the individual.
                      ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        bornfree and dw-- both of you are some of the most tenacious people I know! Tenacity need not always be a grit-the-teeth/ get-her-done machismo. Both of you have patiently rehabbed multiple injuries and you still get out there and do what you love. And LadyB-- the fact that you do this even though boldness does not come easily is an amazing achievement. Kudos to you.

                        Speaking as an ammy, there are definitely things to deal with specific to my situation-- different but not more or less than a full-time pro has to deal with.

                        Perhaps horsepeople are a little bit more persistent than the general population?
                        SportHorseRiders.com
                        Taco Blog
                        *T3DE 2010 Pact*

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                        • #13
                          Thank You CookiePony, I do wish I could have that more Boldness personality! Unfortunately I am one who has to work at it. Once I am finally a few XC fences in though, we are fearless! LOL

                          I just cant wait to try the few things I have read lately about being more bold!

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