What lies Beyond….

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I just finished a classics article recently on knowing your own limitations, knowing when to say “I need help!”.

This made me also think abut knowing your own faults, or weaknesses, or the things that you must recognise as being frustrating to other people.

Most of us can recognise that the we way we wish to act, or even the way we believe we acted, may not be the accurate truth, and sometimes, even on reflection, our minds cleverly distort the past to have us coming off as the hero.

Learning your own challenges, or the things that make you human, can be confronting, but once you do so you can better accept when people point them out to you.

However, this part is tricky, as often when people can point out a weakness in another person, it’s because they themselves have that same problem.

When people tell you “Just get over it” or “move on” do you get stuck on the page of frustration at them for telling you, or you do flick forward to the next one to see what happens when you accept their point of view?

Some things follow us forever, and even if we try to forget them, they will occasionally come up to remind us of what we lived, or how we behaved, or what we regret, or missed, or should have done.

The past however, is never the way we think it is, and over time our memories alter the details, the feelings, the reactions, until all that is left is a wound that is no longer a true representation on what went before.

If society could see past clothes, colour, gender, and everything that surrounds it, all that would be left is all that really matters…a voice.

We are all just a voice, some voices want to be heard, and some prefer to listen, some are creative and some mathematical, and while we can see the physical structure that carries the voice, we can never ever know what another voice is thinking, or how it works compared with our own.

Have you ever sat on a busy street and watched the people go by, and instead of noticing their shoes, or their hairstyle, just looked at them in wonder at what their voice might be saying?

My voice often becomes obsessed with things that I can never hope to control, while other voices seem to find calm amongst chaos, or do they?

Do we aspire to match the voices of others, before we take the time to nurture our own?

I wish I was more calm, or I wish I was more secure with myself, are useless games for your voice to play, and will only waste the time you have trying to achieve something for yourself.

As a teenager I suffered depression, and I struggled a lot, and punished myself, believing that I was causing it, that it was my fault.

I read study after study, and gradually I came to understand things differently.

A councillor once asked me what I think depression is and I said very simply that “my voice got sick”. Instead of my body getting a bruise, or my lungs getting an infection, the voice, the core, the essence, got infected, and the rest of me stopped being able to hear what my voice was saying, or how it wanted me to live.

Gradually, as my voice got better, I began to find new ways to keep my voice active, to train it to work with me, and teach it to see the good in everything.

If someone tells you they are bored, they haven’t taught their voice how to motivate itself.

If someone tells you they cannot find love, perhaps their voice is seeing too much of the physical world, and is not able to see the voice of another.

In life their will always be voices that collide, and voices that test you, but sometimes you find a voice that makes your voice grow, that makes your voice feel alive, that makes you feel like your voice is being seen for everything that it is, and everything that it will grow to be.

No Woman is an Island….

Riding a horse is just one part of the whole kit and caboodle, and there is a whole lot more to it than just the hour or so a day you spend training your horse.

IMG_0262Mum taught me from a very young age that if you didn’t do the stuff yourself, you didn’t go out of home, and so I learnt the ins and outs of grooming, feeding, mucking out, cleaning, clipping, lunging, brushing, etc, etc, etc, the list goes on.

Sometimes this “lesson in independence” would go a little awry, and I will never forget the day I tried to give my shetland pony an all over body trim using the kitchen scissors. Gave new meaning to the word “chunk”!
When I arrived in Portugal, I for the first time, had the luxury of having a groom, but of course for the first 6 months I would not let them anywhere near my horse, and when I did occasionally arrive and the horse was saddled, I would usually inspect every inch, and sometimes even take the saddle off and put it on again myself, just in case 😉
Lately I have become a little more used to having my own personal strapper, and I must say that in a foreign country competing by myself, it is nice to have someone to help with that stuff so you can stress about all the other things like test riding, and staying on etc lol.
They say that no woman is an island, and my lesson is that while no woman is an island it is important to never become a dependant state either, and while a good support team is vital, never let yourself become dependant on others for anything.
It is very wise to let people help, but always make sure you know yourself how to do things, and check, no matter how must you trust in your team, that the things are done the way you like them, or the way that is best for your horse.
There is no point sliding off under the horse’s tummy, and then blaming someone else for not doing the girth up tight enough. Make sure that you are methodical enough in your daily routine that those things are checked, as the only one who will be truly affected by a slight overlook is YOU!
Don’t try to be an island, but don’t be a sinking ship either, and make sure you know your horse, and most of all, make sure your horse knows that you are keeping an extra eye on everything that happens to him.
Watch him, learn from the way he reacts to others, and always be aware if his reaction changes, and think about what may have caused these changes.
Be on the ball, and on the ground, and your horse will thank you, and when he does, you will understand him enough to know it!!!!!


New events coming! For more information contact me via warneyswhip@gmail.com
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The Crazy Ones

I have been told that I’m crazy on many occasions. My response is always the same: “Thank you!” I remember reading once that “no-one ever got famous for being boring” and I agree completely. If you’re the one at school that others pick on, chances are you have something they don’t, or they want to […]

THE BIG BUT?

I used to not appreciate the value of the word but, and I’m not talking about the one with the double T! I used to think that it was annoying, that a sentence could seem truly uplifting, and there it would be, a “but” to ruin it all. That was great…BUT You did a good […]

All For One and One For All

On my first big trip away with Batialo I realised the importance of a team.

20140701-193109-70269725.jpgInvited to take part in the British Dressage Convention at the end of 2013, getting Batialo over to the UK from Portugal was just the beginning.

My groom Valdeni drove the long haul in just three days, my mum flew out from Australia, and my trainer Miguel Ralao was on the ground to help me focus on my job in the BIG arena!

I wrote an article for Eurodressage about what it takes to ride in a big atmosphere, and the article “Art vs War” was one of my most popular to date.

I think this is mostly because people could relate, they could understand that the thing we love most to do, is also the thing that makes us strong, that builds as and defines us.

However, we can’t do it alone.

I needed my team at that convention, just as I needed my Batialo, and I know that if I want to chase my dreams I will need all the support I can get.

You might also realise that you have a team you can rely on, or you might be thinking, I HAVE NOONE!!

Well, luckily for you, in today’s world of social media, you can create your own team over the internet.

Write to me, write to someone you know, go online and watch the world’s best, or listen to a top training talk about the perfect circle, or keeping your horse in balance.

Video yourself and show your neighbour, or me, or someone you trust to give you honest feedback.

I have to admit I love my time alone with Batialo, when it is just me and him, and noone else in the world exists, but don’t be afraid to admit that sometimes you need help, or encouragement, or even just someone to tell your story to.

Eventually you might earn the respect of people you respect in return, and create links with the right trainers, the right brands, the right team of people to help you on your journey.

Metaphorical Tattoos… What Are You With Forever?

Tattoos are often used as a stamp of some sort of independence, or significance, or boredom, and are a mark that is intended to stay on the skin forever.

photo-3Just like this pigment inserted into the punctures of our skin, we also have metaphorical tattoos that we carry with us, that define who we are, and what we present to the world.

I started thinking about this recently, after I began listening to a Portuguese artist with a song called “tatuagens” (tattoos).

The title got me thinking about what marks you might carry with you, that will be with you forever?

Aside from any visual tattoos you may have had printed on your skin, are there internal or mental tattoos that you know you hold on to, and will never give up?

I’m stubborn, and often impatient, and it’s a tattoo that is part genetic and part my own personality, and while this tattoo will always be a part of me, I can choose whether or not to let it rule my life.

My instinct will always tell me to rush, or stick to what I think I know instead of understanding others, and while this tattoo may sometimes get me places more quickly, will I be able to appreciate those places once I get there?

If my tattoo always has me thinking one step ahead, how do I recognise when I’ve made the right step, and be rewarded by the joy of knowing I made it.

For you, your stamp might be shyness, or overconfidence, and like all metaphorical tattoos, both can be seen as good and bad.

Shyness can be disguised as politeness, but if you live your life polite but never revealing yourself, or learning from your mistakes, you might never step outside polite and into something more real and rewarding.

The tattoo of overconfidence can be fun for a while, but when people start to think of you as rude, or demanding, you know you’ve crossed the line.

So how do we learn what part of our tattoos to let shine, and what part to tone down or even remove.

A violent tattoo is one that should be quickly booked in for laser, as should a pitying tattoo, or one of low self respect.

If you suffer from a tattoo that you feel is not helpful in your life, whether it be the boys name you had tattooed on your stomach one druncken night, or the life determining sense of being that you carry with you, there is always a solution.

Thanks to some advanced laser treatment, tattoos are no longer as permanent as they once were, and the long lasting metaphorical tattoos that we are branded with can also be scrubbed off with the right dose of mental training.

First is to discover what tattoo you have, why it is no longer beautiful on you, and work towards finding an alternative that fits you better.

If you are shy don’t barge up to strangers, start by talking more in comfortable surroundings with people that make you feel valued.

If you are overconfident, or sometimes too much, begin by not saying everything that comes into your head the moment you think it, and try to reserve some things just for yourself!

Never change who you are to please others, but any tattoo that gets in the way of your own happiness, is one that perhaps you should consider lasering off, even if just a little!


Just released Core Training For Equestrians, CHECK IT OUT…

How do I feel…TODAY??!!!

Ten years ago I broke both my hips, and I won’t ever forget it.

20140617-162320-59000018.jpgRiding everyday now I have constant pain that won’t go, and that I have learned to work around.
The problem we face, or most of us face, is learning to put our memories behind us and start again.
Learning to tell ourselves, that the me I am today, is not the same me that I had yesterday, and therefore the pains that were there before, might not be anything to do with what I am feeling now, or what I will feel tomorrow.
This is true of everything in life.
If we are always expecting things to happen, we create a channel that might not only allow those things to happen, but also prevent the good things from happening also.
A person can become so used to feeling down, that they don’t realise the times when they are feeling good.
A person can hate the rain so much, that they miss the beauty of it, or that wonderful smell right before it, when the world seems fresh and new.
Sometimes the ability to clear our minds, and think on the moment, is just the cure we need.
Imagine you have a headache, and you say to your friend “I have a headache!”.
An hour later, your friend turns to you and says, “Do you still leave a headache?”
You suddenly think, “Do I” and realise you do, but if the friend had not asked, would you have remembered?, and if you didn’t remember, would the headache have possibly become part of the past?
How do we train ourselves not to be influenced by what went before, and to just feel what is happening to us, right this very instant?
How do I retrain my brain to forget what happened to my hip, and work everyday with the body I have now?
Then, instead of thinking how is my sore hip? I can think how am I feeling today? And therefore open up the amazing possibility that perhaps I won’t notice my hip at all.
If your horse is scared of the chair, and you come out on the arena, and remember his reaction, and so wait for him to react, he is of course going to remember also, and so be scared again.
If you can remove that thought, or that memory from your head, and enter the arena fresh, perhaps he will also forget about the chair, that was so threatening yesterday.

As a rider we learn to use our bodies in order to influence our horse, and we can of course be put into positions that may cause us some aches and pains.
The problem is when we know a pain is there, and we enter the arena thinking about the pain and how it was yesterday, then we already set up our brain to focus on that pain, and therefore make it loud.
20140617-163404-59644512.jpgTraining ourselves to start each day fresh, each moment, each feeling, each thought, takes a lot of practice, and isn’t something that just happens.
Our natural process is to associate everything with how we felt, instead of how we are feeling.
Learning to ride out onto the arena each day and ask, “What do I feel today?”, without any thoughts, or memories, or connotations, is very difficult to do.
Applying this in our lives, takes practice, but it might just allow us to see people as they are, not how we expect them to be.
Then, eventually, perhaps we can be the person we are today, and not the person we think we should be.


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For the a list of articles please visit my section in Eurodressage.

 

CORE TRAINING: Series #1

To kickstart our June edition of Training for Equestrians, we have begun our focus on training the core, using compound exercises that require you to stabilise yourself, teaching you to maintain your equilibrium, and strengthen the muscles that work to keep you in balance. The first exercise involved a squat with low weights in each […]

Never say NEVER!!

I left Australia four years ago, to find mum a horse, and I stayed when I found mine! I share a secret with Batialo that no-one else knows, and when people ask how I think of the ideas for my articles, well he tells me ;).

20140617-164133-60093250.jpgI was told once that I was just a girl writing about her ponies, and perhaps I am, but aren’t we all?

I write not as an authority, but as someone on a journey, and people on a similar journey can therefore relate, because we all share the same challenges, the same highs and lows.

If anyone ever tells you that chasing something is easy, they lied.

If anyone tells you you can have it all, perhaps they just aimed low.

People can always give you their opinion, and show you why something won’t work, won’t happen, or isn’t realistic, and it’s usually these people who commend themselves on doing nothing, cause they do it so well!

In teaching yourself to never give up, you must also learn the art of acknowledging when you need help, and not seeing this as a failure, but as a bridge in helping you get to where you want to be.

If you can’t learn to adjust your dreams, or seek help with them, you will not succeed, because the world and the people, and the horses, and the everything, is always changing.

You never know what you will be tomorrow, so you just have to make the best of what you can do today.

People can spend forever trying to make sense of the world, and the people in it, but why do that when there is so much to love in all the things that don’t make sense!

Today I had a great conversation with a chain-smoking yoga instructor, and then found out one of the most wonderful people I have met overcame 99% negative stats to fulfil her life dream.

Don’t give up!

Faith

We can’t know how our horse will be tomorrow, or ask him how he is feeling today. We must have faith that he will tell us if something is wrong, and have faith in our ability to decipher his messages.

20140617-165058-60658419.jpgPeople are different to animals, and no matter how much faith you put in them they can let you down and you them.
However, the difficulty for some is not putting faith in others, but accepting the faith that others put in you.
Having the courage to say “bet on me, because I am the one who will make it!”
It sounds simple, but in reality accepting the faith of others requires a great deal of strength, and also the self-belief that their faith is justified.
People put faith in you for many reasons, faith that you are a good friend, faith that you can keep a secret, faith that you are a good investment, or a person worth listening to.
Faith that you will keep up your end of the bargain, faith that you know what you are doing, even if sometimes you feel as if you don’t.
When you can accept and cherish the faith of others, you will learn that the reward is in trying to achieve, in believing in yourself, and remembering that we are all human, but that faith is what joins us and lifts us to a higher level.
My mum put incredible faith in me and my decision to pursue what I love, but I know that she also loves to be part of something bigger, and even if I never get there, her faith inspires me to be my best.

Most importantly, put faith in yourself that you can do it!

If you feel like people are putting too much faith in you, or that you cannot live up to their expectations, consider the alternative???
Being a person that noone ever puts any faith in!!!!

Instincts

Do you follow your instincts?

20140617-171301-61981537.jpgFollowing our instincts is actually much harder than it sounds, because unfortunately instincts don’t come with a set of clear cut instructions or navigation maps.

An instinct is a feeling we get, that we should do or not do something, that something is or is not right, that a person is or isn’t who we thought they were.

Sometimes we will meet someone and immediately feel that they are not to be trusted, or not to be followed, or that their beliefs are not in line with ours.

Quite often however, we dismiss our instincts in the hopes that we are wrong, or out of necessity, or stupidity, or we confuse our instincts for some other emotion or natural habit like hunger, or nervousness.

Learning to read our own instincts, and decipher when and to what extent we must follow them, is a tricky task, but one that if mastered, can help us a lot in our daily lives.

When people give that creepy feeling, more often than not they turn out to be creepy.

This isn’t to say that we should be judgemental, and I do believe that we should always give people a chance to prove they are good people.

I’m saying that if you suspect something isn’t right, be careful, or be brave enough to consider and confront the possibility that what you suspect might be true.

Don’t assume you are being silly, or dismiss instincts, or not trust your gut enough to take charge.

In dressage training, instinct is vital, and also requires that you know enough about your horse to apply your instincts when necessary.

Last week Batialo started sticking his head up in the air when I would go to the left.

Instinct, and trust and knowledge of my horse, said, he was not quite right somewhere.

I stopped him immediately and Julie Hartmann, my horse Oesteo, was called in.

He had a nasty knot on the right side of his neck, and his protest going left was of course because the bending left was making that right side knot rather angry.

If I didn’t trust my instinct, or know my horse, I could have easily pulled his head in and made him keep going, and perhaps it is because some horse people do this that their horses end up with other injuries.

When I started back to work on Batialo the following week, I went to go left and he stuck his head up in the air, but this time my instinct said, “Hmmmmm, maybe he just thinks he is still sore?”

Turns out, I was right, and while Batialo is very honest with me about his pains, he is also overdramatic about it when he is better, and likes to drag out the attention.

In two circles, he realised he was ok, and we went on to have a really great training session.

If you go out on a stormy day, and you look your horse in the eye, and think, hmmm maybe I better lunge him first?

LUNGE HIM FIRST! don’t be too scared to admit that we all need a little help sometimes.

If you do 20 minutes and instinct tells you that your horse is working super hard and you should give him a reward day, DO IT!

If instinct tells you that your horse wants a carrot, well that one is pretty low risk! 😉