Chasing that Sunny Day: What happens when motivation goes away!

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Perth, WA and even the rest of Australia has been struggling through the worst transition period that alikes to the weather going through it’s own stage of puberty – hot with anger one day, and miserable and wet the next. To be honest, I’m thinking about forgetting the pretend game we play that we actually have seasons – Mother Nature is truly doing her flip over all these carbon emissions and such, so let’s just take one day at a time, shall we?

Working your horse (or even working yourself) has become a mission. That I often, very guiltily, choose not to accept due to it:

A) Being too windy (was that my horse’s brain shooting away with the breeze?)

B) Too sticky! (I couldn’t care less about my hair sticking out on end like I’ve been electrocuted, but once I feel sweat beading down my back when I’m simply standing – yup, I’m out!)

C) Boiling…. (Often on Facebook groups, the question is asked “How hot is too hot?” Well, if I’m not going to run around in circles without risking dehydration, neither will my just as podgy pony)

D) Too wet! (Storming, gross. It’s summer right, I’ll just wait for the next warm and sunny day…)

And so the alphabet goes on. To be honest, I would very easily be able to think of excuses all the way up to Z, and then some. Why? We’re missing a word starting with M!

M-O-T-I-V-A-T-I-O-N

Without having some of this, you’ll never get anything done.

Motivation comes in various forms. A threat, a reward, a punishent, advice, inspiration, survival needs…

You can lose motivation through a multitude of ways as well. Perhaps you and your horse are just not friends at the moment, and you’ve been treated to a crazy show of emotions alike to Mother Nature recently, either from you or your horse. Your outside influences like work or school or uni might be putting pressure on you and stressing you to the point of when you go to your horse, you simply can’t make that extra effort to drag yourself into the arena.

Motivation is lost when inspiration runs out and the experience isn’t able to be enjoyed anymore.

So how can we refuel that motivation meter?

Well, step one – stop believing that the weather will be perfect tomorrow. It never will be. Even if it is, you’re looking at a very small percentage of days out of the year. Get your big girl boots on and get out there!

…. You haven’t gone?

Right, I suppose I should mention that there ARE days where you CAN relax without me shouting at you to be a big girl ( or big boy, I must be gender neutral after all…)

You know your horse’s limits, and your own, so stick with them. Don’t go riding out in weather you or your horse are unused to, or make you feel concerned for your safety. BUT, do challenge yourself to get over the weather.

If it’s windy as hell, don’t ride if you don’t think you’ll be able to avoid a neck brace and a trip in a fancy van with a siren. Instead, do something on the ground. Natural horsemanship methods can help you get over or at least get through these scary moments where your horse is set that the apocalypse is coming and he has to reunite himself with that beautiful chestnut mare he met three years ago, wherever she is now.

If it’s in the high thirties (do I need to even say the forties?) – you can give yourself permission to skip the workout… JOKING! If your timetable allows, head down to your pony early in the morning (I saw you cringe, I know, it probably won’t happen but let’s just pretend) or late in the evening (under lights if you’re lucky!). Do, of course, ensure your horse is rehydrated and roaring to go for the hot day.

If it’s raining and storming, don your bathers and goggles and go for a swim in the arena! No? Okay. Well maybe a trail ride? Oh, it’s lightning and thunder and scary beasts? I suppose you don’t have an indoor either…Okay, we’ll skip this day too…Don’t want to get struck by lightning or swept off by a runaway branch do we?

My point is, don’t let yourself be fooled. Your motivation comes from yourself, and if you find yourself always blaming outside influences, maybe take a minute to breathe and realise just why you’re avoiding your horse.

If your avoidance comes from nerves, you don’t have to ride your horse. I know, you’ll have to endure looks around the stables, but be happy to be one of those ‘horse hippies’ sometimes – It will pay off one day. Do yourself a favour though, and get some instruction. Look on the weather sites (I know, trust is gone after that giant Perth storm in 2010 but let’s just rebuild bridges) and try to find a day where you can get an instructor in. If funds don’t permit this, perhaps find time to at least ride with a friend. Usually this can help calm your nerves.

If your life is just so stressful at the moment, and you can hardly find energy or time to look after yourself, your family or your horse, then stop for a moment. Think on what can change to help yourself feel better, or give you time to work your horse. Consider your horse’s perspective – do they thrive on regular riding? If they’re happy as larry chilling in the paddock without getting ridden, and have enough space to run and be free, as well as socialise with other horses, then let them have a holiday till your sort yourself out. If not, you’ll need to think about perhaps getting a friend to ride, to lease him out or to put him on spell. This of course, is only if you really aren’t even finding time to see him.

If you’re just being lazy….Get off ya butt! You’re a horse owner. You shovel poo, clean out gross wounds, drag a 500kg animal on a rope, dare them to kick out at you again – you have no reason to be lazy, as you’ve proven before that you have the guts, the attitude and the ability to get up after your horse, so get up after yourself and get moving!

Or maybe you’re stagnant. You have no idea of what to do, no goals, no program. Well, sort that out and you’ll be amazed how much motivation you get from just realising what you want to do and what you want to get out of your time. If you need a bit of inspiration, Google is your friend. Motivational and inspirational videos are also the best!

Other methods to help you find motivation are:

  • Work out your schedule at the start of the week, and pinpoin the days (thinking of the weather) that you can fit in a workout
  • Even short sessions would be beneficial
  • Get help if you need it, whether it’s more help at home to free up time at the stables (everyones wish, but might not be possible for everyone)
  • Manage your time better. Write down everything you need to do, and set down times for them.

In summary, motivation comes from within! Take a minute to realise why you’re lacking motivation, write them down, then rip it all to tiny pieces. Watch some inspirational videos, realise your goals, and get working. And never expect tomorrow to be a better day (without evidence, at least, such as a reputable weather forecast).Ensure you look after yourself, and your horse – know your limits, and if it’s been a long break, ease back into it slowly. Take your time and try to start off with little expectation or pressure, as you will then find once again that you are happy and enjoying working your horse again, no matter the weather!

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