Five things to stop saying now to improve your upcoming horse show season

Start your 2017 horse show season on a positive note by eliminating these five phrases from your vocabulary.

Image courtesy of Taylor Fabus, MSU Extension.
Image courtesy of Taylor Fabus, MSU Extension.

Cabin fever is starting to set in big time, especially for us Michiganders. If it’s not the bitter cold temperatures, it’s the boot-sucking mud that’s keeping us from our favorite four-legged equine friends. Don’t despair, spring is just around the corner and you’ll be wondering how your first show got here so quickly. To give you a bit of a head start, get your 2017 show season off to a positive start by ditching these five phrases.

“I can’t”

It’s amazing how powerful language can be. Even words that you only speak to yourself can begin to become reality, whether negative or positive. Start being intentional about the language you choose. Switch that “I can’t” to “Why can’t I?” You may be surprised how obstacles start to shrink and opportunities arise.

Journaling your thoughts can be a constructive way to practice self-affirmations. Interested in learning more about the power of language and the science behind positive affirmations? Check out these articles:

If that’s not enough to convince you of the value of self-affirmations, let this little girl do it for you: Jessica’s “Daily Affirmation” via YouTube.

“I don’t have enough time”

If something is important enough to you, you will make time. It’s as simple as that. As someone with more to-do’s on her list than to-done’s, I completely sympathize with having a full plate of responsibilities. The key to making time for what’s important is prioritizing and scheduling.

The first step to prioritizing is goal setting, as this will help map out your game plan for achieving your goals. Check out this Michigan State University Extension article on “Goal setting with your horse.” Once you have your goals in mind and written down (putting pen to paper may be the crucial step you’ve been missing in your goal setting), you need to actually schedule time on your calendar for your equine activities. If you’re anything like me, if it’s not on your calendar, something else will be soon.

Set aside time for what is most important to you, of course the same should be said for family time, date nights time with your loved one and work commitments. Some of your priorities will naturally require more of your time, and every schedule needs some amount of flexibility, but scheduling “horse time” will be a crucial step towards achieving your goals.

Need some ideas on what to do once you’ve set aside time? Here are the “Top four tips for staying active with your horse this winter” by MSU Extension.

“I’ll do it tomorrow”

There is no time like the present. Perhaps the winter weather will keep you from some equine activities, but don’t let it keep you away from your horse all together. Showmanship, for example, can easily be practiced in a barn aisle or a non-slippery driveway. Staying active and fit can also be done without your horse, but will still leave you better prepared for a successful summer riding season.

Check out these three MSU Extension articles on exercises for equestrians:

“Look what they have (and I don’t)”

This relates back to #1, positive affirmations. Constantly reminding yourself what you don’t have by yearning for what others do have isn’t beneficial for anyone. Admiring the work ethic of others, on the other hand, can be a useful way to motivate yourself. Try not to just envy what others have, but instead model the work ethic of those you look up to most. Even offer your time to them and perhaps you could learn from the best directly.

The most successful equine professionals I know first apprenticed, interned or worked for their idols. If you work hard enough, others will notice and they may just give you the chance you’ve been looking for.

“I don’t know”

While recognizing your own weaknesses is crucial, staying stagnant in your education is not. Teaming up with a trusted professional, or better yet a network of trusted professionals, can certainly put you on the track for success. Don’t forget about other resources that may already be at your fingertips.

Do you enjoy reading? Head to your local library or bookstore, browse through your reading tablet’s library, or hop on Amazon and see what is offered in the non-fiction category for horses. This can be a great way to get a youngster in your house interested in reading as well.

Not a big fan of reading? Not to worry, libraries, bookstores and tack shops also offer inexpensive instructional DVDs that can help you troubleshoot problems with your horse. There are a plethora of free, trustworthy resources online available at your fingertips. Let me highlight just a few here for you.

  • MSU Extension Horses offers a great deal of reliable information on a variety of topics.
  • Extension Horses, Inc. is a free, science-based information from university faculty around the nation. Check out “The website with answers” for more information.
  • Many popular press magazines and breed publications offer high quality educational content as well. Be sure to check out these.
  • My Horse University is a fun, interactive website offering free and fee-based courses on a wide range of horse-related topics. Coursework is created and administered by university faculty, so you can trust its credibility. Also, be sure to visit the My Horse University Store for more resources, including instructional DVDs.
  • The Horse is an excellent, user-friendly website that has credible information on nearly every horse topic you could imagine.
  • Horse IQ is a brand new website from the American Paint Horse Association offering training specifically for horse judges or those wanting to learn more about how horse judges evaluate classes. Access does require a small paid subscription.
  • American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) includes information on ranching, racing, showing and more. Even though it is the website for the AQHA, everyone can take advantage of their online resources.
  • United States Equestrian Federation offers accurate information on a variety of topics. You could spend hours browsing their website. Be sure to check out their U.S. Equestrian Learning Center where you’ll be guided through the learning process, focusing on the topic of your choosing.

Didn’t find the answer to your question? Ask an expert at eXtension – Horses.

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