The older I get, and the more I ride, the more I’ve come to realize that riding is both physically and mentally challenging. In the last year, I’ve experienced a lot of both. I think I’m winning the physical battle, although I hate to say that because horses are humbling creatures. Mentally though, it’s a different story.
I always tell my trainer that I can only manage to actively think about 2-3 things at one time while I’m riding. So I have to practice certain things (like eyes up, or heels down) until they become automatic before I can add in a new thing to think about (leg off the ground or stretch up on landing). I require the occasional reminder in all things, but typically once something becomes “automatic” it stays that way. I don’t regress very often, and if I do, it usually only lasts for one ride or so.
Mentally, it’s a whole different ballgame. Each day is different, and brings new challenges… sometimes they are new and sometimes they’re the same thing I’ve struggled with for a 100 days. My mental state is as fickle as a politician running for office. I’ve been practicing mental toughness, guts, positivity, confidence, trust, and letting go for a really long time… yet I’m not sure that I’ve actually made progress in ANY of those areas. Some days I’m tough and confident… and some days I’m not. Right now, I’m definitely on a downswing, and I thought it would go away as quickly as it came on… but it’s not.
I’m officially in a mental block and I can’t get out.