USHJA certified trainer & instructor Jasmin Stair of Jasmin Stair Stables at Fortuna Del Charro in Rancho Santa Fe, California is back to give us some perspective on adjusting your mindset to get the most out of your riding experience.
As a trainer and a competitor, one thing that is always hard – no matter what level you ride at – is learning something new or practicing difficult tasks in the ring when you can’t stop stressing and overthinking.
Overthinking is something we all deal with. We’re human, we have lives, and we worry. We worry about our riding ability, about that missed distance, about the upcoming show, and about the rest of our lives like work, family, and relationships. As a rider, I make a point to clear my head of outside stresses before I get on, and to let go of mistakes made while in the saddle as soon as possible so that I can improve upon the rest of my ride and, most importantly, enjoy riding.
It’s my job, so I realize that it’s easier said then done for most. Like anything worth doing, it takes practice, practice, practice!
Most amateur riders that I work with tend to dwell on their small mistakes and dig a much bigger emotional hole than needed. Remember that your trainer is not judging you and doesn’t expect you to be perfect. That’s the whole reason we’re here! We want to help you learn, grow, and get better with every ride. If you add a stride, chip in hard, lose a stirrup, or even fall off – it’s ok. The important thing is to view each misstep as an opportunity to learn something new or to correct bad habits. If you trust your horse, brush a bad lesson off or bad round and say the hell with it! Learn and move on. Find what works, keep it simple, and enjoy your experience.
Lessons are also a time to put aside the rest of your life for an hour. The absolute worst thing you can do for your riding is bring stress from the outside world into your ride and allow it to trip you up. We all have problems, but you have to learn to let them go while you’re in the saddle. Bringing your relationship problems or difficult work situation to the barn won’t help fix your problems and will definitely sabotage your opportunity to have a relaxing, rewarding, & productive lesson.
Take pleasure in your horses, friends, and trainer. You invest a substantial amount of time, money, and hard work into this sport and you deserve to enjoy it. Leave your problems at the gate, and let rough rounds or bad roll off your back.
Even as a professional, every single time I get on my client’s horses, or each time I step into the show ring, I think about how lucky I am to get these experiences. My rides aren’t always perfect. And my life definitely isn’t! But if I allowed my everyday problems or the mistakes I make in the ring bring me down, I’d never have been able to reach the level that I’m at today. I ride, teach, and train because I truly love what I do – no matter what happens.
I think that often we all forget to just enjoy and be thankful for the 1200 pound animals who jump sticks for us. Keep it simple, learn as much as you can, and remember to keep having fun.