Years ago, I remember telling a client that I would NEVER ride a horse in with other horses that were loose. She was sharing a story about being chastised by other horse owners over her reluctance to ride through the turnout area among the horses. As you might be able to detect in the picture, I am riding Petey among loose horses.

Although I wouldn’t have considered doing this years ago, clearly I would now. Another thing that I do less and less is make absolute statements. Way fewer “always” and “never”s wind their way into my speech and thinking. It has taken me quite some time to get to this point, and I am still looking forward to learning more and expanding my thinking every day. Horses have been a fabulous inspiration and motivation to increase my curiosity and decrease my judgment. In so doing, this removes pressure, and allows for more creative thinking. Horses (and dogs!) help influence brain chemistry. Some of the best drugs ever.

Going back to my original never statement about riding in with loose horses, I would still encourage this student to stick to her original choice of not riding in that situation if all of the particulars were still constant. She had some unfortunate instances around horses that greatly diminished her confidence. Putting herself and her horse in an environment where she had so many concerns increases the likelihood that something could go awry quickly. Making choices rooted in where we are physically and emotionally helps us build our confidence and keep ourselves safe. We all have no choice other than starting from where we are. Taking off the disappointment that we aren’t somewhere else on our journey will help ease our own critical thoughts. Easing our own critical thoughts will help keep the judgments we feel from others from destructing our confidence. Inner confidence is greatly influenced by our perspective and mindset. Adjusting these can make a huge difference in how we feel about ourselves. And, as I mentioned before, horses can be such a help with this.

Phil Oakes keeps promising a book that really relates to this. It’s going to be called something like “the only always is sometimes”. I will be in line for a signed copy!!!

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