Our book study group met to discuss Part I of the book Solo Schooling. Our conversation revealed how similar our group is: in experiences, in goals, in needs. I believe forming a support group like this will provide us with learning, advocacy, encouragement, inspiration, and insight. We planned to discuss all of Part I, but after an hour and a half, we had barely finished Ch. 1. The discussion was VERY RICH!! Highlights included:
-Focus on the process, not the product. This is the key to the coaching method. When we go inside ourselves, we are surprised to discover how much we know about ourselves and our horses. This is what the author means by getting into a resourceful state- p9. We need to honor our knowledge and experience.
-We discussed the equation: Performance = Potential – Interference and what kinds of things interfere with our riding performance. Our group experiences more internal interference; our “self-1” (the frame of praise/blame or success/failure) can get in the way of performance. We will focus on allowing our “self 2”- (the intuitive self) to guide and nurture us. Our group does not seem to have much problem with external interference- people, weather, competition, etc.
-NLP helps us discover patterns, which can aid us in our quest or sabotage our goals. As coaches, we will help ourselves and each other discover our unique patterns. This will be part of our “Resourcefulness.”
-We discussed making choices that fit our beliefs and being comfortable with who and where we are to keep us moving forward in reaching our goals. Jody shared her experiences with Joker, and how her friend pushed her into some dangerous and scary situations. Jody has learned not to allow external interference to influence her decisions. Part of this discussion dealt with the idea of ZONES- comfort/stretch/stress. It seems we all have raised young horses. Dealing with their fears has created defensive postures and affected our psyches. We’ve experienced a range of fearful emotions from apprehension to panic. We need to congratulate ourselves for how well we have worked though these issues. Ch 2 p33 references the “mental movie” strategy, which I found helpful. See last blog: “An Update from Violet/Managing Fear.”
-P16 talks about Play, which I am guilty of ignoring. We had a great discussion about playing with our horses during the winter, since the footing is poor. Doing ground work, taking walks, and playing liberty games will build bonds, confidence, and attentiveness for both the horse & the rider. Renee suggested we skip right to Part III, “GROUNDWORK,” for our next session, since this is something we can do during winter. Jody suggested that we all state a goal, & mine should be “Play with Monarch.” I love this idea and plan to go out tomorrow, rain, sleet, snow, or shine to play liberty games with Monarch & Sterling. This is quite a different goal than I had stated in a recent blog. This goal is much more focused and do-able. The group is helping clarify what I need.
-We also discussed from p17: take responsibility and accept yourself. We all come to riding with different challenges; Daisy & I are aging and have sustained numerous injuries. Renee expressed her struggle with her position. We will do a Tai Chi session at the “barn” when I return from Mexico, then play with how these movements help us tune up our saddle position and aid us in following and influencing our horses. We will see how our horses respond to our focused “chi” or “qi….” We had a great discussion on using curiosity & heightened awareness to solve problems or just provide feedback for improvement- Ch 2 deals more deeply with this topic. The author calls it “relaxed focus;” I call it “effortless effort”- a tai chi term. Jody & Renee emphasized the need to avoid “Pressurizing.”
-Chapter 1 ends with Wendy’s inspiring words, “You’re involved in a process, not dominated by a product. You get to choose, plan, investigate, discover…puzzles bring rewards. And because you’re relaxed, so is your horse…have better conversations together: you can listen to each other, and whisper rather than shout…”
We hurriedly wrapped up our session as the librarian prepared to close the library. We chose Feb 20th to discuss Part III Groundwork, Chapters 9 & 10, pp 143-174. I noticed the last section in Part III is titled, “Playtime.” I guess that section is for me.