“She is the typical crazy sorrel mare type: grumpy, full of sass, fighting all the time, ears pinned, you know what I mean.”
“Oh yeah, you’re riding a paint, no wonder you’re having so much trouble. That’s just classic behaviour for one of those crazy horses.”
“My horse will always be a hot mess.”
“Jeeze my horse is a special kind of stupid. We had this down pat yesterday, and now he’s acting like a total spazz!”
I think we are all guilty of having these kinds of thoughts revolving around our horses. We put them into prepackaged labels of how we think they are, and how they will always be. And somehow we are still surprised when they don’t change.
What if I told you that it is these exact thoughts that are creating the behaviours you desperately want to get rid of.
To explain a bit of what I mean, I’ll share with you one of my experiences with this. We have a horse on the farm, Hungry. He is my husband’s rope horse and he and I did not get along very well. I had labelled him as the “a** hole,” and whenever I went into the pen I always had my eyes out for that a** hole palomino. When I first heard about changing my thoughts and expectations, I thought this would be a great way to test it out. I was a little skeptical but was willing to give it a try. Before I went out to the horse pen, I did some mental check in’s. I prepared myself by thinking good thoughts about Hungry, and how I wanted our interaction to go. As I walked into the herd he brought his head up from grazing, and just stood there looking at me. His eyes were softer than his usual. His ears were pricked forward in curiosity. I started talking to him and praising him for his good attributes. A few moments later he was walking towards me with kind eyes, his muzzle stretched out hoping for a scratch. This was much different from the usual, ear pinned, “what do you want” glare I would normally get.
After this, I started to try and use my thoughts and mental pictures to my advantage. I made a real effort to project how I wanted my rides to go. I would leave the house already thinking my horse was amazing, the ride was going to be great, and I would have a lot of fun. This soon became the reality! The more I practice it, the more my horses seem to respond and do what I am picturing in my mind. I am very much a beginner at this, but when it does work, it feels amazing!
Mental thoughts are also paramount with our self-talk. If we are playing a movie of negativity about ourselves in our brain we are setting ourselves up for failure. Guess what? We have the power to change the movie! If you are forever swimming in a pool of self-doubt, uncertainty, unworthiness, fear of failure, then you are going to have a very hard time being the active leader your horse truly needs. If you don’t believe in yourself, how can your horse trust you? If you don’t believe in your horse, how can they have confidence in themselves?
I encourage you to take an active change in picking the movie you play in your head about your horse, spouse, and yourself. You have the power to bring in positivity, change, and room for growth.
In my latest Youtube video, I share some ways I have been using these mental images regarding my horse Ace.
Until next time, 💜