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"Having nothing to lose"

The mindset of embracing opportunities without fear of failure unlocks limitless potential in training.

Riding horses isn't solely about the physical talent of the rider; rather, it hinges on the physical talent of the horse. It's a journey of experience and self-realization.

The optimal mindset for a competitive rider during training is one of "having nothing to lose." It's not an all-or-nothing mentality but a mindset that breaks barriers. When one feels they have nothing to lose, they're liberated to take actions, even if some may seem illogical, in the pursuit of training. The essence of horsemanship lies in seeing nothing but oneself and the horse, disconnecting from time and deadlines, and fully committing to the progression process, even when a horse show looms on the horizon.

In life, we often perceive growth and achievements as following a clear path. However, I view it more as a collection of experiences, presenting challenges every day, both external and internal. This belief mirrors the journey of horsemanship; it's not merely about teaching horses and them learning to become well-trained; it's a daily reality of starting from ground zero and facing constant challenges. The horse will always test and question us, not out of dislike, but to understand our intentions.

Clarity comes in different dimensions. Firstly, it's about being clear within ourselves about our mindset when we mount the horse. Are we positive or negative? Present and mindful or lost in future thoughts? Understanding our mindset helps us adjust to a present and neutral state, crucial because the horse dictates the pace of progress. The rider is the teacher, but the horse controls the learning process. A present and neutral mindset directs attention to learning rather than timeframes, allowing each horse to progress at its own pace.

Secondly, external clarity involves recognizing the talents of both horse and rider. While we may believe ourselves to be the best riders, we must remain open to learning new aspects of horsemanship. The discipline has evolved, but so have the skills and talents of horses. We cannot force a horse to be what it's not, but we can encourage it to be the best it can be.

Allow your horse to make decisions. Humans tend to be control freaks, fearing the loss of control. However, horsemanship is about teamwork, requiring the rider to build a strong, confident bond with the horse. This entails relinquishing control and fostering communication. Control is a one-way street of demands and reactions, while communication is a two-way path involving listening to the horse. By letting the horse make decisions based on our cues and then releasing control, we enable genuine reactions and decisions.

In summary, horsemanship goes beyond mere physical ability; it embodies a partnership and mutual understanding between rider and horse. Adopting the mindset of embracing opportunities without fear of failure unlocks limitless potential in training. Clarity, both internally and in recognizing our equine partners' capabilities, is paramount for progress. Ultimately, horsemanship is an art form that imparts not only riding skills but also virtues such as humility, patience, and the value of connection.

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