Show Up Often

AmySL Gry wrkShowing up often sounds self explanatory – the more you do something the better you get. It sounds both easy and obvious, but how many of us actually do it? I am new to writing. If I do not write often, as in every day, I cannot expect to get better. If you are trying to establish a new habit, as in holding your hands closer to the horse’s neck for the equitation, you will need to practice often.

Research varies on how long it takes to break an old habit replacing it with new behavior. One thing all science confirms is that the more complex the behavior, the more time it will take to replace the old habit. If you are new to riding, it is easy to learn to ride with good fundamental position. That is why it is so important to find a good instructor early. But it is very difficult to change a position that has become natural but is incorrect!

For instance, there seems to be a trend for an equitation rider to hold their forearm perpendicular to their upper arm. This is incorrect. The forearm should be at an angle that leads from the elbow down to the horse’s mouth. If you have learned to ride, make corrections to your horse and work from the wrong position, it takes a lot of time along with concerted effort to change that fundamental position. When an emergency arises or you get into the show arena, you are naturally going to revert back to your old habit.

The amount of time required to establish new habits varies on the importance you put on the new behavior. It also depends on the degree of difficulty the new behavior requires. Repeat any behavior or pattern enough and it will become natural. i.e. show up often, practice the right response and new patterns develop! One action triggers the next. Rise in posting trot, drop heel down; practice stepping of at jog without clucking, the horse begins to trot off without verbal cue, drop the wrist as you enter/exit a turn and your hand will be in the correct position. Eventually the correct response will happen without thinking – becoming automatic. Remember how much Tiger Woods practices? Every day, 10 hour days.

You have to show up often, practice correctly and practice often if you are going to replace a bad habit with a good habit. Repeat the behavior until it becomes automatic

  • Preparedness for circumstances beyond your control
  • Change does not come easy to most of us but change will happen when we show up often and show up with determination. Have faith in your ability to be the rider you want to be.  It will take