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Mind the Gap

8/11/2022 Written by Rachel Ory

The gap can look tremendous between where we are in our equestrian journey and what it will take to get where we want to be. Most riders have busy lives to balance and finding enough time to get to the barn can be difficult. Some riders eventually cave to their ambitions, feeling like they aren’t good enough or don’t have enough resources to be successful. The narrative in their head goes, “There’s not enough time to ride, I’m not young enough, I’m not fit enough,” and the list goes on. If you've ever felt this way, keep reading!

I’m no psychologist, but when low energy vibration starts affecting the way my students ride and the relationship with their horses, it becomes a relevant topic. So many of the struggles I see when helping people with their horses are not horsemanship struggles at all; they are human struggles that surface when the horse is involved. When we’re not seeing the results we'd like, or are lacking motivation, sometimes it may be the horse that needs to change. Parallel to that, there are changes that riders should consider making in their thinking and daily lives in order to make progress. The invitation to mind the gap is always available to us, I’m just here to point it out.

The world tells us that to be successful we need to buy a fancy horse and the right tack and outfit, and figure out how to look the part when we ride, but then it’s never good enough because there is always someone who has a better horse and more resources. On a daily basis, this is the drumbeat of society; we have become conditioned to think this way. Our negative thoughts repeat themselves over and over until we start to believe them. The cycle can stop when we discover that we can change them. We are not our thoughts. While we can’t control the thoughts that come into our mind, we can control whether or not we believe them and act on them.

Once a negative thought or feeling is recognized, the fist step is to be ok with it. Next, it can be replaced with a new, compassionate and truth-filled thought. For example, if I notice myself feeling insufficient, first I would think, “I am OK exactly the way I am. It’s ok that I am feeling insufficient." Followed by thinking, “I also have the potential inside of me to do great things.” Anytime a limiting belief comes up, we choose to replace it with thoughts of love and compassion for ourselves. This practice of releasing our resistance to negative beliefs opens us up to develop new skills such as appreciation and acceptance. When we discover the truth of our incredible value and potential, our external conditions become less important.

Kyle Cease says that, “These are skills that require true patience and intention to develop, but when you put in the work of expanding beyond your old protective story, you start to experience the game of life in a totally different way. You begin to move exponentially. You go from trying to control the external world through manipulation and force into first becoming aware of your reactions to the external world, expanding into a space of true acceptance and surrender, and finally allowing inspired creativity to fill the space that you’ve made in that moment. This is how you truly move into flow. This is how you create massive abundance. This is how you change your world.”

Investing in yourself is another way to start a shift in your view of the world around you. Take some lessons with an instructor that is inspiring to you, go for walks in nature, cook yourself healthy meals. Do the things that expand you and create true value. Sometimes letting go of old habits that no longer serve you will lead to expansion. Watch less TV, quit addictions to coffee or alcohol, and eat more of what the body needs (instead of eating what feels good). Taking inventory of our habits presents an incredible opportunity to shift the way we feel.

It may be easier to see that our horses are enough exactly the way that they are. When we can find the same compassion for ourselves and realize that we are enough exactly as we are, the next steps up the mountain will unfold if we are willing to do the work. By embracing uncertainty and risk instead of avoiding it, we begin to tap into a higher vibration. Often times we can’t see very far through the fog, but we can see well enough to take the next step. The best goals are those that are small and sure, things we know we can handle in the next hour or day or week. Some goals may reveal themselves to us only after we start down the higher path; these are often the holy crap goals, the “I never thought I’d be doing this” goals that ignite our souls and bring genuine excitement into our lives.

To be open and seeking our highest potential isn’t easy or comfortable for any of us, but if we will do the work to invest in ourselves and mind the gap, our perspective of our horses and our world start to change. When we engage in life more honestly, our world will open up, we will have more of a connection with our horses, people will come into our lives in alignment with our new values, and we will have to let go of people and things that no longer serve us. It is a beautiful process, and since we have horses in our lives, their process always mirrors ours. So let’s be brave and see what happens when we move with the intention of investing in our internal growth more than our imaginary sense of external security.

May peace and compassion guide you!

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