Be a more confident rider by changing your perception

It’s easy to get stuck in a negative mindset around riding, especially when it feels like nothing is going right, things are tough and you’re feeling stuck. When this happens, we start to lose motivation and even begin to avoid doing the thing that’s worrying us at all. 

When you notice that you’re feeling this way, and you feel like you’re out of options, then shifting your perception of your current situation can bring with it an opening up of possibilities, choices and opportunities to step forwards and make progress towards your goals again. By making use of different perspectives, you can create new ways of thinking and solutions will become more obvious.

Begin in the first person, and spend some time reflecting on how things are to you right now inside yourself, looking through your own eyes. What is your current story? How is your current interpretation of your situation?

Next, physically move yourself to somewhere different in the room (or stable, if you’re mucking out!), and imagine that you’re considering the situation from someone else’s perspective, perhaps a trusted friend, your coach, or even from your horse’s point of view! Step into their shoes and literally write their version of events and their interpretation of the situation as it is for them. What would they say to you from their point of view? What analysis would they make of the situation? How might they be advising, reassuring or guiding you?

Finally, physically move yourself again to a third place in your house / office / yard. View the situation as if you’re an outsider, an impartial observer, a fly on the wall. This new perspective comes from a place of detached emotion while being interested and concerned for you and your horse. What feedback would you give yourself from this perspective? How might you offer different insight and reflection on the situation and ideas with solutions for your options going forward?

You might find it useful to write down your findings from these three very different perspectives, perhaps dividing a piece of paper into three columns and highlighting the feedback offered about your current situation from each interpretation. 

Once you’ve completed this exercise, notice how your thoughts and emotions around your old situation may have shifted. What new insights do you have? How might these new insights help you take your first steps towards a better future? What have you learned in doing this exercise?

The ability to take different perceptual positions is a key skill in communicating effectively with others and yourself, and in practising it you’ll increase your flexibility in your approach, become more self-aware and become more empowered to make better decisions solutions to the challenges presented to you.

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