Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Overthinker's Dilemma

One of my personal/horse goals for this year is to stop overthinking everything. As a big time overachiever with an addictive personality, that is SO HARD for me and SO BAD for my riding. You have no idea how fast I can go from "I can't catch my horse" to "my trainer just caught my horse" to "my horse hates me" to "obviously I am a bad person" to "I should get Netflix instead of horse and eat Cheetos until I die by myself in a cave".
But guess what?

That is dumb.

The reasons Courage is sometimes hard to catch are many, but none overly complicated or personal. He doesn't hate me. He isn't having some weird health crisis. He's just a horse in the spring who sometimes needs boundaries and the reason my trainer could catch him was that he thought she was feeding him, which was mildly more entertaining than the weird game he was playing with me.
bad boy halter was busted out
It's the same under saddle--if he spooks or flails or scoots or leaps, instead of going "scary-->bad-->death-->no-->sell horse-->cry", I just ignore it and keep on riding in the moment.

It makes sense (yes I'm overthinking not overthinking things. you're welcome.) because Courage is a horse. Horses live in the moment. They react. They don't think ahead or make plans. He may be kind of an asshole a lot of the time sometimes. He's not capable of conceptualizing hate or horse show plans or goals or the training pyramid, and what's more, he wouldn't care if he was capable. He's too busy living in the moment.
the moment where i bought ANOTHER halter
If I'm going to get through to him, I need to be living and breathing in that same moment. Not six jumps ahead, not crashing and burning my goals for the year, and definitely not deciding which texture of Cheetos I want to be found dead with. Also not fixating on the fact that _I_ couldn't catch him, but someone else could. It's in the past. He's not thinking about it, and if I am, I'm missing out on what's happening right now.

It all makes perfect sense, right?
humor me
It's hard because of the obsessive/type A/perfectionist thing. Instead of constantly rerunning the mental tape of Courage walking up to my trainer with his ears pricked, I take a deep breath and focus on what I am doing right now in this moment (blogging). I remember that bringing emotional baggage to the barn with me absolutely WILL sabotage my relationship with Courage. I know that if I come each day with an open mind and stay in the moment with Courage, I will get through to him and things will get better.

So yeah. Things are not all roses. Sometimes my horse is impossible.

And I am zen (usually most of the time but it's getting better I swear).
this helps zen a little
PS and yes I totally obsessed over this a lot and talked with people who know us and whose opinions I trust and YES I have a plan and NO he isn't dying (at all) or getting sold (despite a few threats).

PPS and that's not to say the cheetos option doesn't come up 1-4 times a week depending. I'm just trying to dwell on it less.

PPPS and also I'm very anti-negative-goals. In general, I say "I want to look up" instead of "Stop looking down", but in this case, I don't want to redirect the energy. I just want to kill it in it's tracks. BAM STOP NOW.


  1. I overthink everything! This is all so true and I totally think about the Cheetos option as frequently as you.

  2. I'm pretty sure that overthinking is a requirement for riding.

  3. Replies
    1. I had a hard time refocusing after the mention of Cheetos.

  4. I overthink as well. I had an instructor who said to me last year 'instead of thinking of everything, just ask yourself 'what does my horse need right now?'' That gave my analytical brain a place to work and made it happier.

  5. Amen sistah! And when you figure it out, will you send us the miracle?

  6. Oh man.... I am so guilty of skipping rational thought and going straight to 'eat Cheetos, die in a cave'.

    Trying to be a better rider and develop as a person is clearly the right answer. However, that shit is hard and it is amazing how often dying in a pile of processed cheese sounds like the better option.

  7. PPPS. The texture of deathside Cheetos should be "puffs" ;)

  8. It's like you're writing about my life! Except my girl doesn't have catching in the pasture issues. Most of the time she comes galloping when I call. That's mostly because I spend a ton of time taking care of other horses and she gets Jealous. Also she is low in the herd but really, really likes to come in first, and my rule is whoever is at the gate and being polite is who I grab first.

    But, like, everything else sometimes. For example, she's terrified, completely terrified, of the wash rack, and I cannot get her over it. I've spent a couple years working on that issue now, and zero progress. And you know what? That's honestly okay. I don't believe in tons of baths for animals, anyway, so in the end it doesn't really matter. But still. The "I really suck, what am I doing" track starts playing, and often the more I try to shut it off the louder it plays. Like my mind's remote control has faulty wiring and the power button is actually the volume button. But I'm too stubborn/stupid to really listen to it, so I guess in the end that doesn't matter a whole lot, either. Still annoying, though.

  9. You my friend have truly mastered how to overthink not overthinking, I think that deserves FroYo and a high five!

  10. This is exactly the story of my life. I had a total meltdown last night over really stupid things.

  11. To be fair, there would be a lot less to blog about if we didn't all overthink things ;)

    Recognition of a problem is key to helping change it so good job on starting the process.

    P.S. Love the halter, that shade of blue looks awesome on him!

  12. I am an over thinker too and this post just reminded me of that fact! My baby was horrible for the vet yesterday and I immediately jumped to maybe he is going to be really hot > maybe he is too much for me > maybe I should sell him. Sigh. He is a baby and clippers are scary. Take a breath :)

  13. Um, the only Cheetos option can be the crunchy, not puffy, cheetos. Come on now woman.

  14. I do this as well! I think I feel better just knowing it's not only me. I've had to get better at this with work since I work with people and it's tough to fit them in my little perfectionist boxes but I'm still struggling with bringing this to my riding.

  15. "I need to be living and breathing in the same moment"

    YES! Easier said than done, but also easier with practice, and it makes SO MUCH difference.


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