Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Mental Game

As a relatively active person who's played and coached sports I have a decent understanding of how psychology can play a roll in your success or failure as an athlete. At one point in my life I had the mental game down!  I was the girl who would hop on anything and never once doubt my ability to ride it.  Now it takes nerves of steel to hop on anything strange.  

I wonder sometimes what has caused this change.  I've had a few (okay more than a few) pretty nasty wrecks - some requiring hospitalization.  But in the past that wouldn't slow me down.  I was the girl riding and competing with pulled muscles and broken bones.  Happily.  

Yesterday I was placed in a tight spot.  I was not expecting it to happen, but it did.  A girl came out and wanted to see Whiskey.  Let's say I wasn't expecting this.  Whiskey has been sitting in a field doing nothing for in the vicinity of three years.  Now, before all this time passed I would have confidently hopped on her.  Yesterday I was more than a little nervous.  I was scared.  

I had played the mental game so well I was convinced she would buck me off.  I was convinced she would bolt and plant me in the dirt.  That she'd dish out all kinds of things I can't handle.  Having no choice - I'd have to be the first one on.  I saddled her up and put her on the lunge line.  And nothing.  No buck.  No snort.  No blow.  So I lunged her some more.  And nothing.  Pulling her halter off I put her bridle on, placed my helmet on my head and prepared to mount up.  

My legs were shaking so hard I could hardly get my leg in the stirrup.  I stood in the stirrup and got down, repeated the process. Finally I swung myself into the saddle.  Trying to still the muscle quivers I chanted my mantra mentally, "Calm assertive energy".  After all the last thing I wanted to do was set the horse off at this point.  

Walking off I waited for the explosion.  Only nothing happened.  We walked a few laps, did a few patterns and moved up into a trot.  Still nothing.  And she was starting to feel good.  Real good.  Putting my leg into her I tested the water a little, but she moved off my leg smooth as butter on a hot summer day.  I was impressed.  Feeling bolder I asked for the lope.  Perfection.  

Now I know this horse.  I trained this horse, and yet here I was playing negative mental games with myself.  I had gotten myself so worked up that I forgot riding was supposed to be fun.  And did I have FUN yesterday!  Whiskey is definitely a Corvette of the horse world.  Soft, responsive and powerful!  

I had so much fun riding her I'm heading out to do it again today!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Goodbye My Friend

Goodbye my friend Joey.  You have been a true and devoted companion.  I will miss you and wish you the best in your new home.  

Last night Joey left my yard for the final time.  He has a new human to adore.  A new human to work with him, to help him grow and stretch, to become the dog he is capable of being.  Joey has gone to live and work for a team roper.  This man had a quiet manner and Joey while nervous wasn't wild eyed around him.  Joey will help him push steers up the alley while they rope.  This is a great job for him.  Plus he should be happy getting regular work.  The man has experience with stock dogs which makes all the difference in the world.

So while I'm sad to see him go, I am happy for his new beginning.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Blogging Break

I've been a rather bad blogger lately.  Even though I'm doing things and have been out enjoying the mostly spring weather I just have not felt like telling any stories.  I could have wrote about how adorable Joey is when he curls up in a ball on the deck.  Or how Reba is trying to become a house dog.  She lies by the back door, when it opens she comes in and once more, lies by the back door.  How the calves are coming or how it's abnormally dry here for spring.

I could write about my new truck that I absolutely adore.  Or the trip to the vet for Whiskey to get her teeth done.  Or even how I mysteriously pulled something in my neck/shoulder when I was putting my hair in a ponytail.  I could write about how I'm second guessing my decision to list Whiskey.  How she was a superstar her first time under saddle in YEARS!  How Izzy is growing into a spectacular little horse.  

Heck, I could even write about my love of grilled cheese sandwiches - yum!  But I just don't feel like writing anything.  All my creative juices seem to be on holidays.  I'm sure they'll come back soon but until then...  I'll write nothing at all.