A Focused And Engaged Mind
Something I am personally working on in myself is the ability to ‘let go’ and be more present in my every day life, but also so that when it comes to a competition setting I can be more connected with my ride.
I used to get extremely nervous when competing and just end up exhausting myself because adrenaline would be running so high with so many mixed emotions. So it’s something I am working more on and trying to improve my ability to let go and stay more in the moment.
So I’d like to paint a picture for you and in doing so help to explain more about being present and in flow when you ride and what has helped me.
Imagine there are two of you, riding side by side. One is your ideal self, how would he/she feel? Maybe you would use the words connected, in-tune, light, engaged, in the zone, flowing, effortless, confident, relaxed, composed.
Then take a look at your current self, maybe you worry about what your horse may spook at up ahead, maybe you’re worried about what so and so may think. Maybe you’re carrying around your own or others expectations and worried you won’t fulfil them. Maybe you’re looking back and thinking about what you said to your colleague the other day, or maybe you a planning next week and doing two things at once and trying to ‘multi task’.
The difference between the first ‘self’ and your current ‘self’ is not more training or 10,000 hours more experience. One has let go and fully come into the now and present moment. They are riding with feel and fully connected with their horse and focusing only on what they can control in that moment.
The second is distracted and likely to have emotions running high through either looking at the past or the future and not staying present and engaged. They are focusing on all the things they can’t control and completely distracted.
You see in order to let go, you must focus on what you can control. So any time I feel myself get caught in my own head and running away with different stories my mind is making up, I try and tell myself to ‘let go’ and ‘be here now’. I may have to repeat this a lot and I try and bring awareness back to my feel.
I find the more that I practice this off the horse, the more this connects me on the horse.
And the more I practice and train this in everyday life, the better I get when the settings become more challenging like at a competition.
Training our mind to focus and stay engaged is what we can control. It is like training any muscle, it takes consistent daily practice and the more you practice the easier it becomes.
So as you go through your day today, see if you can stay engaged in what you are doing. This maybe just a conversation with a friend. Listen fully to what they are saying. Maybe its while you are brushing your horse, watch and listen to your horse. As you are riding, try notice what you feel, try feeling your horses entire body move, not just seeing whats in front of you.
Give your mind something to focus on, I know this is certainly helping me and I hope this helps you too.