Some say Happiness is a matter of personal discipline. I say, Happiness is a matter of personal discipline with your horse. It is a stance that we choose. We must build and reinforce it on a daily basis whether we are in the mood or not. Many people are sensitive to the term discipline, perhaps because it is associated with punishment. In truth, the practice of personal discipline is an act of self-love. It is the way we turn our backs on a long, bleak history of abandonment and come home to ourselves. The following are ten steps to practicing and achieving discipline with your horse:
Break Free From Denial
Acknowledge the need to become more disciplined in your equine practice. Break through any denial you have about your relationship with your horse. Make the distinction between discipline and punishment—discipline is an act of love. Deal with the mixed emotions you may have and acknowledge them and yourself.
InspirationSearch for what inspires you with your horse. Some of the world’s greatest leaders and performers have had great personal discipline. What great horses and/or riders inspire you and your riding? Hang up their pictures. Let their excellence call you forward to realize your own goals and purpose.
Repeat the Phrase - I WILL...
Make the decision to become disciplined. Choose an area where there is a need for discipline with your horse. State your intention to make a change with the help of your Higher Self. Say it aloud as a statement of your spiritual will: “I will become a better rider.” “I will become honest with myself and my capabilities and the capabilities of my horse.” “I will finish what I start.” “I will … “fill in whatever it is for you.”
SupportEstablish a support system. Choose friends who demonstrate personal discipline with their own horse and learn from them. Inform your current friends and family that you are making some difficult changes and that you want their quiet, nonjudgmental support for your effort. Talk to your Higher Self about it often.
Rid Yourself of NegativityRelease feelings of impossibility. Impossibility will come up when you attempt to change old patterns. Feel it, cry or rage about it, but don’t believe it anymore. Declare that you will keep moving forward in your discipline with your horse.
FocusStay on track. Remind yourself every morning what your discipline is and your goals for the day. Remember that it isn’t optional. You must just do it even when you don’t feel like it. Post a copy of your spiritual will statement where you can see it. Each evening, evaluate how your day went and what you can do better of different tomorrow. Did you do what you needed to do today to produce long-term happiness and discipline with your horse? Check in with a horse friend from your support circle at least once a week.
Pat Yourself on the BackAcknowledge your progress and the progress of your horse. Celebrate even the smallest of successes. Acknowledge yourself and your horse. Honor yourself and your horse. Be aware of your overall health and well-being and accomplishment in your chosen areas of discipline.
RepetitionPersevere, persist, and continue to press forward! Horses learn by repetition and you can choose to learn right alongside your horse. Attain a sampling for repetition and good habits. It will take you and your horse far!
Get With the Flow
Steady yourself into your new way of being with your horse. Give yourself time to get used to new behaviors. Remember that they’re still new for you as well as your horse. It can take years to stabilize, but your effort will pay off in the long run. You are building a new foundation for your relationship with your horse.
RememberBe observant! Notice if you’re getting too relaxed your equine practice and slacking off. Notice what happens to you and your horse when you do. Recall the power of repetition. Try not to be compulsive or rigid, but remember that too much relaxation isn’t good for you or your horse. It is easily considered self-abandonment. And when you abandon yourself, you abandon your horse too!
Incorporate these steps into your equine practice and honor yourself for choosing self-love and love for your horse!
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Finding inner peace, joy, and sense of self through horses (and other animals). Anything less will be removed. We appreciate your cooperation!