"I have to..." vs. "I get to..." with our horses

"I have to..." vs. "I get to..."

I recently was listening to a non-horse related lecture and it reminded me of something I "knew" but I wanted to revisit more specifically.

For many people, as they experience unwanted scenarios with their horse, they start fixating on the potential unwanted outcomes. I did a #FifteenForFriday (you can sign up HERE to participate) talk on this a few months back. It is very easy to fall into the pattern of thinking negative thoughts and then acting defensively about the potential experiences that can occur with the horse.

In my opinion, one of the most important thoughts you can have to begin to influence the equine partnership is to change your words, which will change your "story" which will then change your behavior.

Let me give you an example:
I have to go turn out the horses.
I get to go turn out the horses.

Think about those two statements for a moment. Now imagine if something unexpected occurred while you were doing this activity. If the preface to the interaction had you in a negative, defensive, "chore like" mindset, how would you "handle" the unforeseen event? Would you be patient, tolerant and supportive or more reactive and critical because of your initial mental starting place?

Your thoughts can completely change the potential outcome of an experience, whether horse related or not. This is especially true when interacting with social, herd animals who are looking for guidance and leadership. If you're starting the conversation with an underlying tone of duty versus opportunity you will already be contributing to the unwanted outcome you don't want.

So the first thing you can do is to become aware of your thoughts, whether in your head or spoken out loud, and every time you hear a negative, duty-like word, challenge yourself to replace it with a positive word or thought.

It may seem like a very "minor" act to influence how you interact with your horse, but your brain controls your body and emotions. These influence your energy and behaviors. And it is those, that your horse is responding to.

The act of learning to replace words and thoughts will take acknowledgment, acceptance, and recognition in yourself. By committing to do so, it will become easier to catch and change unwanted thoughts and behaviors earlier, and you will learn to follow through and make changes within yourself based on your self-assessment.

On a final note, one common word I teach my students is to call ALL scenarios whether initially appearing to be potentially overwhelming, stressful, or less-than-ideal, as opportunities. It may be a "simple" approach, but it is amazing to watch the direct correlation in students who are persistent in practicing changing their vocabulary and the leaps and bounds of progress they make in the journey of horsemanship leading to a rewarding partnership with their horse.

Would you like one-on-one consultation with Sam? Find out how her Remote Horse Coaching strategies can improve the partnership with your horse.

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