In the Stirrups – Jan 2016

January’s In The Stirrups Magazine is out.

My article can be found on pages 30 to 33 and as ever is replicated below for your ease.

Go over to the magazine though and take a look at the results from Olympia, Tried and Tested, The Cush Grip Gel Whip, my article and In The Stirrups own therapy unicorn Applause.

In The Stirrups Article – January 2016

2016 is HERE: Get Your Mind Set Right for The Challenge

I have changed.  I hadn’t noticed the change because it’s really sneaky.  Bit like being a child and growing.  You get taller but you don’t notice until you stand up against a wall and mark it.

The same holds true for my changes.  We are all constantly changing, but it’s hard to notice.  It’s not even a question of if you’re changing; it’s more about which direction are you going in.  How in control of your changes are you?  Here are 10 ideas around the way you think about your riding which may help you get the right mind set for your challenges.

  1. Baby StepsCrystal System Dressage

A baby learns to crawl before it can walk, and it learns to walk before it can run.  Most people who decide they want something better to happen in their training expect and want big changes and they want them now.

I’m not saying this isn’t possible, because it is, but in most cases it’s not going to happen overnight.    So the very best approach is to accept that there will always be problems, that happiness is not in the absence of problems but in how you go about dealing with them and that it’s not our job to eliminate them.  Our job is to do our best towards resolving them; take baby steps, and see where it takes us.

Sometimes you feel so overwhelmed with the amount of work you have to do that you actually don’t feel motivated enough to do anything.  The secret is to keep taking one step at a time, you will reach a tipping point where there is a major shift – that’s when the big changes happen.  This is how I approached writing my book The Crystal System, it took 2 years but I got there, with baby steps.

  1. Acceptance

Accept where you are.  My lack of progress towards becoming a skilled rider helped me realise many things one of which was that if I wanted to be successful I had to accept where I was.  The only way forward was this starting point, my delusional state of thinking I was better than I was, actually restricted my progress.   An assessment of my flaws helped me put into place a plan to resolve many, many issues.  If I had not accepted my failings, I would not have done anything about them!

  1. Patience

I’ve been blogging since 2013 at  I had big ambitions in terms of competing when I set out but my horse had back surgery and everything changed.  It was a big lesson in patience. I learnt so much about how she is put together and what was needed for her rehabilitation that it led me to understand what is needed in terms of building strength and fitness for dressage.

Doesn’t matter what’s going on. There will always be problems. But it doesn’t mean you give up on your dream. Try to be patient with your progress. Slowly, slowly catchee monkey!

  1. Fear

When you face your fears possibilities open up. There are times when we are all afraid of the unknown, fears don’t disappear they simply diminish; become less important.  I didn’t like people watching me ride, I was very self conscious, so, and when Mark booked me a lesson with an elite rider I was horrified.  But I resolved to give it a go, I faced this fear and it was sooooo good, I absolutely loved it.

My confidence has grown exponentially as a result. The best advice I can give is not to compare your-self to anyone else. Follow your inner GPS; the path you set for yourself, then you only have yourself to fear and you are not a scary person.  Or are you?

  1. Align Those Excuses

Your excuses are fantasies.  You may think you have legitimate excuses about why you can’t follow your passion, but are they really true?  If you really wanted to, you could take one tiny step forward.  Then see what happens, re-assess, and take another step.  I am terrible for taking a break when training, because my fitness levels are inadequate!  I’m just making excuses not to push myself and get to where I need to be.

  1. Take Responsibility

Since talking with more and more riders I’ve started to notice a pattern.  A lack of responsibility; I see people wanting to make changes but they aren’t willing to do what is necessary.  They are waiting for that all knowing, white knight to give them that one tip that will transform their riding and influence them sufficiently to help them realise their dreams.  I hate to burst your bubble, but it’s not going to happen unless you are the one making it happen and that will only start with a decision by you.

  1. Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone

Crystal System Dressage

If you want to make real positive change get comfortable with being out of your comfort zone.  When you’re learning something new, you’ll bump into the walls of your comfort zone.  You don’t have to suddenly immerse yourself in discomfort. All you have to do is dip your toes from time to time.  Stretch your mind, stretch your body, stretch your limits.

  1. Focus

In order to really make progress in your riding you have to change your focus.  If you don’t take control of your mindset it will run amok. You will naturally focus on the negative, you will imagine the worst possible scenarios and they will become a self fulfilling prophecy.

In my training, when I really focus on the actual task at hand, I almost immediately relax. Last night I was so exhausted I could barely ride, but I pushed because I knew I could do better and really focussed on the task (uphill canter).  Until the point I made the decision to really focus, my thoughts of fatigue were taking me on a roller coaster ride of emotions and hindering my progress. The only difference is the thought.  “Ok, focus!” – then it was all over, because I achieved what I set out to achieve and I could finish.

  1. Reclaim Your Personal Power

You know what to do. You just haven’t been listening to your inner voice.  It’s easy to give the decision to someone else, but it’s your path. The sooner you realise that, the more fun you will have.

But, what exactly do you want to do?  If you don’t know, then start somewhere.  Action will bring clarity.

  1. Accept Failure

Make failure your friend.  You will make mistakes and you won’t even know if they are mistakes when you make them, because mistakes and failures have a tendency to transform into blessings.

You only fail if you give up, so if you never give up, you can never fail, only learn, and grow.

The change I have noticed within me is the way I view the world.  I’m pretty laid back these days, not really worried what other people think, have discovered that people quite like what I have to say.  So, given that you are definitely changing, where is that change taking you? What direction are you going in?  If you need help finding out you might be interested in The Crystal System Book.


Patricia – The Dressage TipsterCrystal System Book


Buy the book … click on image

3 Responses

  1. Hi: would it be possible to reprint this excellent article, “Get Your Mind Set” in a future edition of The Half Halt, Central Vermont Dressage Association’s publication, with credit to author and your publication? Thank you, Lisa Geovjian, DVM (Half Halt editor)

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