It’s too hot!

It’s too hot…I struggle in the heat, my brain hurts, I can’t do what I usually do and have to change my day around so that I do all the outside things early and late rather than during the day as I usually do. Flexibility, that skill that is so important at the moment, becomes even more important during hot weather.

Flexibility, the ability to adapt easily to changing circumstances, is, I think, one of the most important skills that we can learn. I think they should teach children flexibility in school rather than some of the things that they seem to spend their time doing. That would be a far more useful lesson, than how an oxbow lake is formed (literally the only lesson I can remember from geography at school, and has had no practical application ever in my life, whereas mental flexibility I need every day and have never been taught!)

At the moment we need flexibility every day, every hour, as the world and our circumstances change in a kaleidoscope of chaos. Applying flexibility to our horses is just as important as applying flexibility to our own lives. If you bring your horse out to school him and you had planned to a particular exercise that your trainer had given you, it is important to make sure that that exercise is relevant for this day. If it is an exercise to stop your horse rushing, but your horse is very sluggish when you try to school him that day, the exercise is no longer relevant. It is better to think of a new exercise than simply to carry on with the other exercise, because that was what you had planned.

So the next time you come out to ride, make sure you are responding to how your horse is today, and training him from there, rather than simply following your plan. People change, horses change, we need to be flexible to adapt to what is before us.

Being flexible…

…and I’m not just talking about your joints! Flexible joints are great and definitely worth working towards for both our riding and our general well-being, however a flexible mind is a fantastic thing to aim towards.

A flexible mind means that you can cope with the unexpected, roll with the waves. A flexible mind makes you adaptive and gives you the ability to respond intelligently to change. A flexible mind gives you a brilliant tool to cope with the changeable nature of the world.

You had planned to go for a hack on Sunday. You had decided on the route, and really wanted to do it, but then you looked at the weather forecast. It is forecast to be really windy. An inflexible mind thinks “but I’m going for a hack, because that is my plan.” This could lead to all sorts of disasters, such a scary hack, a spooky horse, loss of confidence. A flexible mind might think, “how annoying, never mind, why don’t I go some ground work instead.” This approach means that you have a good session with your horse despite the inclement weather and then the following weekend when the weather is better, you have a nice hack.

You can see the effects of an inflexible mind and the problems it can cause. Whereas a flexible mind allows you to adapt better to changing circumstances. And remember that flexible thinking is a skill, so can be learnt. If you just read that and thought “I can’t do that!” that is a great example of an inflexible thought!

If you think being more mentally flexible would help, here is a link to an article about it (click here). Remember small changes make all the difference, we can’t transform ourselves overnight and also we are all doing the best that we can do, so that we can be the best versions of ourselves.