Oh, the Psychology of it all.

Not finishing Tevis this year, I have to ask the question why. What went wrong, where were the gaps, what was overlooked? It is all too easy sometimes to just blame failure on the good old bad luck. It just wasn’t my day. End of story. But digging deeper might reveal more.

Looking at the horses of the top four finishers, besides the Seven Step Strategy Kevin Myers outlined to the point yesterday, what else did they have in common?

It was my observation that they were happy and content during the whole 100 miles. These horses trained together, they knew and liked each other, they enjoyed each others company and their job. They worked in harmony and synergy all day long.

All had excellent hoof care and traveled extremely well with their Easyboot Glue-Ons. This alone kept their hooves pain free and their legs moving freely, adding to their well being and happiness. Easyboot-equipped horses had a 67% completion rate, their Tevis experience was a happy one.

When my horse Stars Aflame lost contact to her buddy horses she had been traveling with throughout the first half of the ride, she lost interest in eating and drinking. She was not the same anymore.

I think all too often we are looking at our equine partners wellbeing in terms of their physical health, their conditioning, their body functions, their preparedness to endure and finish well. All this is extremely important, don’t get me wrong, but it is not everything. What is their mental and emotional  state? And how do emotions influence the physical body, especially the metabolic aspect of it? I believe a great deal.

Over the years I have learned to appreciate and respect our equine partners emotions. Just like with humans, performance is enhanced when emotional and environmental stress is minimized and we are feeling in the ‘groove’, meaning being aligned emotionally and mentally,  being happy.

Happy rider: Duncan McLaughlin riding GE Lady during a previous Tevis.

And last but not least, how bad do you want to succeed? Garrett Ford posted an excellent video with Michael Jordan on FB: Inspiration : How Bad Do You Want It? (Michael Jordan’s Success). The title says it all, well worth listening to.

Horses can read rider’s minds. Are we negative, pessimistic, doubtful? Do we REALLY want to succeed? Or are we relaxed, confident with a ‘go get it’ attitude?

It never ceases to amaze me how sensitive and intuitive horses are and how they instantaneously are reading the mood and mind of the riders and adjusting their attitude and performance accordingly.

Next time you succeed or fail, sit back and take inventory of your mind set and attitude. It is often that little mental edge that makes the difference between a top ten and a pull.

Happy riders, happy horses at the Finish of this years Tevis: Lisa and Garrett Ford

What do you think? What is your experience with the power of the mind?

Tevis thoughts from the Bootmeister