Q: I would like to know how to approach teaching my horse flying changes without the fear of being a flying angel and my horse taking gigantic leaps in the air at the same time as he learns.
Let’s start this discussion with one of the key questions to consider when it comes to any fear-based concern we have about our horses or training; is this fear valid?
The thing is, if the very real potential exists for something to happen that is outside of your ability to competently or safely deal with, your fear is providing you with a legitimate warning signal that you need to find some way to mediate or navigate your way through.
Does that mean that it’s the end of the road for the goal or dream that you have in mind?
What it does mean, however, is there is some leg work that needs to happen in order for you and your horse to be able to emotionally and physically manage the next step you have in mind.
That aside, let’s dive in on the assumption that there is no safety issue or concern that is getting in the way, but that the fear is instead tied to an anticipation anxiety about future imagined possibilities and a strong connection to what it is we don’t want to happen.
Consider some of the words that you have used to describe the situation- flying angel, gigantic leaps- and sit with them for a moment. When you say those words to yourself, what comes to mind? For me, I see a vision of my horse cavorting around the arena and me being catapulted through the air. No matter what the specifics of your projection, we create a mental movie of the experience which signals our body to respond in a specific way. While we are able to consciously discern between a projection that is real and imagined, our unconscious mind does not have the same ability. Your unconscious mind gathers all of its information via the sensory systems, and as a consequence, a vividly imagined scenario registers the same way unconsciously and physiologically as if it were happening in real time. That’s why you can start to feel worried, concerned, anxious or afraid just thinking about something, even if you are very far removed from the situation you are thinking about.
The other thing that happens is when you consistently bring to mind what you don’t want to happen, you strengthen the neural pathways associated with those thoughts and make it an easier thought stream to default too.
The beginning of anything new begins with your intention, which is the mental and emotional blueprint of what you would like to see happen in the physical. To elaborate on this a little further, jump over and watch this video on my YouTube channel– it will give you a snapshot of why it’s important to focus on what it is you want as opposed to what it is you are trying to avoid (enter the flying angels!).
What would you like to see happen when you start your flying change training? What will that look like? How will it feel?
Secondly, break the training trajectory down into a series of steps. The eventual movement will come together as a consequence of all the basic elements working seamlessly; how many steps exist between the point you are now and the point where you could feasibly ask for the change?
Set both of you up for success. Manage your mindset by training your thoughts to anticipate success and put together an achievable training plan that keeps you out of overwhelm.
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