There’s a popular saying and it goes like this: “Would you talk to your friends like you talk to yourself? And, if the answer is no, why are you so hard on yourself?”

I see so many riders who constantly beat themselves up.

Today, I gave a lesson and the rider, who rode really well, kept focusing constantly on all the things that she thought were not good enough.

It got to the point where I asked her if I could get on the horse myself. As soon as I was on, still on a long rein and just walking along, she said to me; “See, my horse goes beautifully with you.”

I had to pull her up and point out that the horse was doing the same things with me that she had done with her.

I pointed out that her horse was still looking around, was not forward enough, was still crooked and unbalanced. And despite this, she had decided that for some reason, I was doing a great job riding the horse and she was not.

I had to constantly draw her attention to what the horse was actually doing before she was able to acknowledge what was blatantly obvious; that she had been riding the horse as well as I had, and that the horse was in fact, still young and green, and that this was the reason why it was distracted and looking around.

I see many riders who have a perception of themselves that is very different from the perception they have of other riders.

They all express this in similar ways, like:

  • I am not good at this, but you will make it look easy.
  • Whenever I try something new it never works but other people have no problems
  • As soon as I get on my horse, the neighbours are going to start working in the garden and he will play up, but he wouldn’t do that with another rider

I am sure many of you can relate to this.

As a coach, I find it difficult to convince riders that they can ride when they are adamant that they can’t.  And not just riders, but people in general have the annoying habit of bashing themselves over the head with a baseball bat, over and over and over and over again!

There is nothing I, as a coach or anyone else can say that will make a difference until they decide to put that bat down for themselves.

Why do we do that?

The most common reason is because it is congruent with our limiting beliefs.

Because it feels comfortable and safe. If you put yourself down, you can’t fail.

When you put yourself down there are no expectations to meet.

And while that makes sense in your mind, does it make you feel good? Does it make you feel proud? No, it does not. So put that bat down!

It is time to draw a line in the sand. Time to make a commitment that from now on, you will treat yourself the same way as you treat your friends. No better and no worse.

If you would encourage your friends, start encouraging yourself.

If you are kind to your friends, be kind to yourself.

And if you forgive your friends for making mistakes, then start forgiving yourself too.

No one else will ever be able to make you feel good enough apart from yourself. So, put that bat down and acknowledge yourself for the things you do.

  • You will be able to find joy in the things you do.
  • You will start to see improvements.
  • And most of all, your horse will thank you for it.

Happy riding everyone!