How Overthinking in the Saddle Affects Competitive Cowgirls
Overthinking can manifest in various forms within the world of competitive cowgirls:
Fear of Failure: The pressure to succeed in the arena can lead to a paralyzing fear of making mistakes, which causes you not to be able to ride at your best and leads to making even more mistakes!
Micro-Management: Constantly analyzing every move during an event can hinder the flow of communication between you and your horse. When this happens, you don’t allow your horse to do their job, and it takes the fun out of competition.
Pre-Competition Nerves: While some nervousness is natural, excessive worrying can negatively impact a cowgirl’s performance. Your horse can sense your nerves, and
Tame Your Mind with Mental Groundwork
Just as groundwork helps prepare a horse to be ridden, there are mental groundwork exercises that can help prepare you to compete at your best. Here are a few mental exercises to try:
Visualization: Visualization is a powerful tool for calming the mind and focusing on the task at hand. Before an event, close your eyes and imagine yourself competing with grace and confidence.
Goal Setting: Set realistic, achievable goals for each event and create a detailed action plan to make it happen. These goals can help shift your focus from fear of failure to the action steps to success.
Breathing and Mindfulness: Incorporate deep breathing exercises and mindfulness practices into your routine. These techniques can help calm your mind and keep you present in the moment. This prevents your nerves from affecting your horse!
Build Your Bond with Your Equine Partner
The bond between a cowgirl and her horse is the heart of rodeo and western sports. To overcome overthinking, maintain clear communication and trust:
Trust Your Training: Believe in your training and your horse’s capabilities. Confidence is key to a successful partnership.
Non-Verbal Communication: Pay attention to your horse’s cues and body language. Take action as needed to redirect focus to the task at hand.
Stay Present: Instead of worrying about the last barrel you knocked over, or if the breakaway calf you drew is going to duck left, focus on the present, the right here and right now. Your horse will appreciate your calm and assertive presence.
Change Your Mindset: Embrace Mistakes and Learning
In the competitive arena, errors are inevitable. Instead of dwelling on them, Gritty Cowgirls have a growth mindset, and see mistakes as opportunities for learning:
Post-Event Analysis: After each competition, reflect on what went well and where improvements can be made. Avoid harsh self-criticism, instead strive to be constructive in your analysis so you can make a practice plan.
Embrace Challenges: Mistakes and challenges are how we learn and get better. Challenge yourself to try new methods and techniques. This keeps your mind engaged and prevents overthinking from taking hold.
Overcoming overthinking in competitive cowgirl sports is a lifelong journey that requires grit, tenacity, and patience. By doing your mental groundwork, you can build a stronger partnership with your horse, enjoy competing, and achieve the success you’ve always aspired to. Remember, in the world of western sports, it’s not just about taming wild mustangs – it’s about taming your own mind.
P.S. Want to learn more mental groundwork exercises? Join the Get Gritty Cowgirl Facebook Group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/getgrittygroup/