Enjoying your life and your horse in the winter months
Are you enjoying your life and horse this winter? It is easy to allow the short winter days to get us down. We can’t spend so much time with our horses and we are restricted in what we can do too. When we are with our horses it is often dark and cold too! Despite this seemingly miserable time of year, we can change how we feel with a few simple changes in what we say and do! It is possible to enjoy our horses in the winter months.
Mucking your horses out by head-torch before leading them out to spend the day in a muddy field, perhaps followed by trying to poo-pick – negotiating your way around the sticky mud or frozen bumps in the churned up paddock! By the time you are back indoors or at work, you can be so cold you don’t warm up all day or perhaps you are now sporting an impressive bruise on your thigh from walking into the wheelbarrow when it got stuck on a clod of mud! Sound familiar. Yes of course, this is what it can be like owning or looking after a horse in the Devon winter.
However, whilst we can’t influence the weather; suddenly build a beautiful indoor riding school; or stop the horses from cutting up their paddock, we can make some small changes to our daily routine to ensure we are reminding ourselves of the positives we do get from being with our horses.
Focus on what you can control
The more we focus on what we can’t change – weather, ground or facilities, the more frustrated and miserable we get. Humans like control and none of these are within our control unless we suddenly decide to up sticks and emigrate to warmer climes! As we feel more out of control and less able to satisfy ourselves with our circumstances the more likely we are to tip into primitive emotional thinking which will only serve to continue that feeling of frustration, sadness and stress.
Once in this mode, we only see the problems and stuck here solutions do not present themselves. So what can we do to stop these familiar thoughts and behaviours?
We need to look at how we can begin to see things a little differently, namely bringing a little bit more positivity to the mix. ‘Easier said than done’ I hear you say….but actually just a few small steps can begin to make a big difference.
Look for What’s Been Good
When I see clients in my Winkleigh therapy room or online I ask that they begin to do one small seemingly insignificant activity each and every day – begin to keep a Positivity Diary. As Solution Focused Hypnotherapists, we ask our clients to ‘write down 3 good things at the end of each day’, whether they have come for help with anxiety, low mood, Seasonal Affective Disorder or confidence issues with their horse riding.
How can this possibly help?
Actually, its effects can be very powerful. When we ask the question ‘ what’s been good?’ we literally have to change which part of the brain we are operating from in order to answer it, as we can only think about this from our Intellectual Mind – the part that makes a balanced assessment of the situation. In deciding to do this task every day, the brain is literally being pushed to look for the good in every day, even if the day itself hasn’t been great.
There will always be something – a beautiful frosty landscape, a fabulous cup of coffee, ticking things off your to do list or your ability to deal with a tricky issue at work. They seem insignificant, but it is a reminder that you are enjoying the small things that make up each day. Every time you do this, your brain is looking for the next good thing and each time you write it down, you are reminding yourself that it was good too. Whilst the brain can easily get caught in a trap of negative thinking, this small step reverses the trend!
So for the horse lovers out there – what will you be writing in your Positivity Diary?
Will it be the general everyday things I have mentioned above, or might you decide to focus your ‘what’s been good’ on everything horsey?
Celebrate the small wins
I have been consciously doing this over the winter and it has made such a difference. For instance, we became owners to a lovely Swedish Ardennes mare and foal in the Autumn. When they first came to us she really didn’t understand about picking out her feet, so we set ourselves small targets for improvement each week, because having an unbalanced heavy horse ready to collapse on you wasn’t appealing!
It started with gently moving her weight to the other leg, to lifting her foot briefly, to holding her foot up for longer, to cleaning it out whilst she was distracted by a neck scratch and this week I was able to clean out her feet on my own and without an issue.
I noticed every little win along the way, because it mattered! Each step motivated me to keep going and the more you notice these little steps of progress, the more you also notice other things – like frost sitting on their coat in the early morning or their frosty whiskers!
If you are still struggling to find the good in each day, then it might be time to get in touch with your local Inspired To Change hypnotherapist to help you get back on track.
About the Author: Emma Treby is based in our Mid-Devon clinic near Winkleigh. Emma has owned and ridden horses for over 30 years and as a solution focused hypnotherapist specialises in coaching horse owners and riders to overcome any fear, regain confidence and achieve goals.
Inspired to Change Hypnotherapists are based across the UK in Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridgeshire, Devon, Essex, Kent, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Norfolk, and Somerset.
Inspired to Change Hypnotherapists are all recognised by the National Council for Hypnotherapy, the UK’s leading not-for-profit hypnotherapy professional association.
To find out how you can train as a solution focused hypnotherapist click here for our hypnotherapy school information.