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Christine Lies is a rider and personal coach specializing in equestrians. Her company Sugar Tree Life Coaching, focuses on the unique personal and professional challenges that come with having a passion for horses.

The Stressed-Out Rider – How To Do A Bunch of Things and Not Enjoy a Single One

“Everything depends on the quality of our acts and our experiences. A multitude of badly performed actions and experiences only half-lived exhausts and depletes our being.” – Thomas Merton

Are you enjoying and benefiting from the things you do each day, from the special events?  I am guilty of signing up for a show or clinic and then when the week arrives, getting ready whips me into such a frenzy, I have no opportunity to enjoy the experience.  Time, energy, and money are spent and the next thing I know I am cursing the day I signed the entry blank.

Usually, one of three things has happened.

    ▪    I scheduled the show/clinic because I think I *should*.  After all, I have this really nice horse and all my friends are going.  I’m not really up for it or I don’t have time to prepare, but the *should* makes me do it.

    ▪    I really want to ride but I schedule a whole bunch of other *crap*, pardon my french, that I don’t want to do, but am now obligated to do and always takes longer than I think.

    ▪    I don’t give myself the support I need that will allow me to enjoy the experience.  I don’t ask my mom to pick up my daughter from school.  I don’t pack a bag for the weekend until Thursday night at 10pm.

So, I am riding in a clinic that starts Friday and I really want to ride, but I also agreed to host my Grandmother’s Birthday party on Sunday.  (She’s 94.)  It seemed easy enough at the time.  I don’t have to travel, the clinician is coming to my farm, but I haven’t pulled my horse’s mane or given him a bath. I did clip his bridle path.  Finally, I have to deliver pumpkins to my daughter’s kindergarden class by Friday and get my hair cut.  So there I go, sabotaging a quality experience by cramming in too many obligations.  Sigh.

I have a clinic on the calendar with Becky Holder.  You can bet this little analysis will change my approach, because I REALLY REALLY want to ride, and I REALLY REALLY want to enjoy myself.  So, I am going to ask for the help I need and I am going to say no to all of those Holiday Obligations that I am not really obligated to.  Now that I am reflecting, I have a few other goals for the Becky clinic, so right now I am going to set aside 30 minutes on my calendar to consider and get very specific about those goals.

Are you slogging through a series of badly performed actions and half-lived experiences?  Think of one situation that comes to mind when you think “badly performed” or “half-lived”.  Which was it?  Why and when did things go off the rails?  What can you do to really enjoy a similar experience or to ensure a better performance the next time?  Reflect and then make a plan of action for the future.  You can increase your enjoyment of your horse or any other aspect of your life simply by defining what it is you want and identifying possible obstacles.

Christine Lies