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Equestrian Self-discipline: Discover the 5 Secrets of Enduring Motivation

Jan 4, 2008
What is the secret of staying motivated, even when it feels as if you are getting absolutely no where with your riding or training of your horse?

Have you ever wondered how some horse riders seem to stay motivated so effortlessly?

How do they manage get up in the pitch-dark on a freezing winter morning to muck out and whistle happily while they do it?

If you've ever had a hard time getting or staying disciplined to muck out, or get back on or try an exercise one more time, you may have been struggling with a lack of motivation. Motivation and discipline usually go hand-in-hand for riders and horses, because without motivation, it is nearly impossible to become disciplined. Ironically, once you become disciplined you rarely need to be motivated to keep your life running smoothly.

Discipline is a willingness and commitment to do what needs to be done. Without discipline, our lives would be in disarray. Think about the things you do on a daily or weekly basis that are required in order to maintain your life properly. Mucking out, cleaning tack, washing rugs, grooming, checking and cleaning paddocks and maintaining your vehicle and trailer, working, bathing, paying bills, balancing the checkbook, sleeping, and more are all required activities. Without them, what would your life look like? And your horse?

If you lack self-discipline, you may find yourself procrastinating and putting your duties aside which can create a colossal mess if it's done too frequently. Ingrained unhelpful habits and an undisciplined mind may eventually prevent you from achieving your horse riding dreams; and without some kind of inner or outer motivation you are unlikely to develop the discipline you need.

In order to escape this downward spiral and develop a strong sense of self-discipline, you need to get and stay motivated! How can you do this? There are several ways, but here are few to begin with:

1. Focus on the benefits. With every task or chore you do, spend a few moments emphasizing the benefit you will receive from doing it. Why are you getting up at 5 to muck out? So that you can have time to ride this afternoon. In order to get and stay motivated, it is crucial to have some sort of payoff in mind. Even if your payoff will come at a future time, remind yourself why this task or chore is a good thing.

2. Work towards a specific realistic goal. Divide the goal into small steps and focus on one each day. Remind yourself that if you don't complete the steps that will create the outcome you desire, you will not meet your objective.

3. Use visualization. See the big picture. Remember that this task is only one part of a larger puzzle. It's hard to get inspired about cleaning tack, until you envision yourself accepting the winner's trophy sitting on this very same shining, immaculate saddle. By looking at the big picture, each little task will retain a measure of importance in your own mind.

4. Inspire yourself! Put inspirational quotes and posters where you can see them often, watch inspirational movies, spend time with other riders who inspire you. Read inspirational books, about horses and training and great masters, but also books written especially for equestrians who need more motivation, confidence and self-discipline. Make sure you have a trainer that inspires you - essential if you are to make any progress.

5. Set time apart every day to review your motivation and your goals. Keep a training log. Record your hopes, dreams, doubts and victories. Get yourself a life coach that works exclusively with equestrians and understands exactly how many challenges horse riders and horse owners have to face every day.

The secret of horse riding success is to invest as much time in your mental as in your physical training.
About the Author
Dr de Clermont is a medical doctor, NLP practitioner, equine-assisted counselor, hypnotherapist and Friesian horse breeder. Her coaching/counseling practice focuses on equestrians exclusively. More information, equestrian e-books and FREE e-courses at Equestrian Life Coaching. Subscribe to her e-zine, Equestrian Inspiration and get 5 FREE inspirational e-books instantly
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