Take a Hold

Take a Hold

Have you ever wondered what someone means when they say, “Get a hold of that cow!” You might think, “What in the world?????”

When a trainer or a helper says this, he or she means to become more aware of your mental and physical connection to the cow in that moment. It’s like saying, “Above all else, zone in on the cow.” That’s because beyond all of the technical things we do with our legs and seat, we always need to relate them to the cow first and foremost.

Sometimes as cutting horse riders, we become so wound up on getting the cow cut, putting our hand down, keeping it down, sitting deep in the saddle, using a herdside or cowside leg … the list goes on … that the cow becomes secondary as it moves around in front of us. We’re too busy multi-tasking on all the other stuff to be intently focused on the cow.

But actually, the connection to the cow should come first.

It’s analogous to playing tennis. You have to keep your eye on the ball to play tennis or else you won’t be in the game very long. Your connection to the tennis ball is key.

In cutting it’s keeping your eye on the cow. It’s the same in regards to your effectiveness as a rider as you work a cow. The more connected to a cow you are, the more accurate and purposeful you will be as you ride. The difference between tennis and cutting is that we don’t always have to be that focused. Our horse will cover for us most of the time if we don’t laser beam in on the cow.

Here are three ways to get more connected to a cow:

1. Make getting and staying focused to the cow your first priority. Have a phrase you say to yourself repeatedly that connects you to the cow.

The thought “Watch the cow” is a good one, and of course essential. But by nature, the word “Watch” is a little passive. There’s nothing technically wrong with that idea. But if you tell yourself to “Take a hold!” … now you’ve got some energy going on! Boom! “Take a hold of that cow!”

2. Be purposeful regarding the angle you take to stop the cow. Go for more than just position on the cow (although that’s a good starting point). Go for moving up into the “energy” of the cow at a slight angle to the cow.

3. “Read the cow” in all you do, especially with your seat. Go beyond the mechanics of how to sit. Use the mechanics of your seat for the purpose of connecting with your horse and stopping the cow. Let the purpose of stopping the cow tell your body when to sit. Take “a hold of the cow” in the stop with a dramatic seat drop.

How do you learn to read a cow?

How do you learn to read a cow?

I clipped a piece of video for you from one of my “Cow Classes” in my Core Confidence class. In this segment, I talk about how to ‘read’ a cow. I also included a clip about where do you approach a cow to turn it.

If she can do it, I can do it!

If she can do it, I can do it!

This week was the year anniversary of the passing of my dear friend, Audrey Griffin who so inspired me. Audrey was 82 when she passed. She was a member of the Cowgirl Hall of Fame.

Thinking about the impact Audrey had on my life, reminded me to remind you about something very important in all of our lives.

That’s what this week’s video is all about.

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT AND COMMENT LINK: 

Heh, it’s Barb.

You’ve probably heard me say that nothing happens on the outside of us until it happens on the inside of us first.

And just like learning the many different technical skills of riding (horsemanship, communicating with a horse, discipline-specific maneuvers, etc.)… learning mental and emotional skills for riding is exactly the same. There are many pieces and parts of the internal game of riding and high performance.

What we’re really doing when we learn the mental and emotional skills is unlocking our true potential.

One of those internal pieces is to understand the power of inspiration.

Somehow we know that being inspired is important. We all love to be inspired!

However, the work of Daniel Coyle brought to light the true impact of inspiration in our lives for me. As he studied great performers from all over the world in his research, he learned one thing they all had in common.

They each had someone (or maybe a couple of people) who Inspired them in this way. “If he or she can do it, I can do it!”

I’ve known about this power of inspiration for a while now, but I was reminded again about it this week.

It is the year anniversary of the passing of my dear friend, Audrey Griffin who so inspired me. Audrey was 82 when she passed. She was a member of the Cowgirl Hall of Fame.

Audrey always made you feel like you were her best friend! Everybody felt like they were her best friend! We all felt loved by her.

I also admired her incredible character. (And she was a character, too!) She had a very generous spirit. She was clear about her thoughts. She knew (for her) what was right and what was wrong.

Plus she was quite the rider! As a young girl, she was a Roman Rider, which is how she got into the Cowgirl Hall of Fame. And she never stopped riding!

At the age of 82, she still loved to go to the ranches in California and help the cowgirls and cowboys brand and rope.

In fact, she passed away on her own horse, loping across a ranch pasture. She had a heart attack.

When I think of Audrey, I am truly inspired to be a better person… to be a better rider… to live life to the fullest.

Her anniversary reminded me… to remind you… to think about the people who inspire you. Know that if he or she can do it, you can do it!

Keep bolstering a belief in yourself by looking to those people and to those sources of inspiration that resonate with you. Nourishing your spirit with inspiration is a power-packed way to help all of us keep unlocking our potential.

That’s my message for today. I hope you have a great day. I hope you have a great week. Let me know what you think in the comments.

Tips to Develop Your Cutting Seat

Tips to Develop Your Cutting Seat

“Seat” as used here refers to stability in physical balance as well as a close connection to your horse.

Physically, I’m referring to your backside, particularly from your lower back to the top of your legs.

I’m talking about the ease and stability of that portion of your body as it acts like a flexible, heavy anchor aboard your horse. With this soft and heavy comfort, the rest of your body parts can function freely and independently.

It is finding and flowing with the movement of your horse in this sweet spot that allows all other parts of your body to their jobs.

When this part of your body feels soft and heavy, your arms, legs and feet will feel like they are on hinges as they work independent of your lower center of your body.

You will feel grounded physically AND mentally because this is the part of your body where your emotions are housed as well.

There are some simple things you can do to find and keep your seat.

1. Try this simple action. It is more internal than external in developing this anchor of stability.

Press your abdomen/tummy within towards your back bone. Feel the compression on the inside.

It will feel heavy, yet you will feel connected to your horse. With this awareness, soften your shoulders and your arms. Feel the independent use capability of your arms and legs.

2. As you ride your horse in different gaits, become aware of your seat bones and how your horse moves your hips and specifically those two seat bones.

3. Keep reminding yourself to be stable and conscious of your core by saying a word or words to yourself over and over to develop this awareness.

For example, say to yourself, almost like a chant, “Core. Cow. Core. Cow. Core. Cow.” These two words will keep you focused on the cow and focused on your core/seat at the same time.

4. Remind yourself to stay loose and watch the cow as you work the cow. Add “Loose” to your previous mantra. Or, you might want to add the word, “Heavy’. Say to yourself whatever works for you.

Keep telling yourself this. I know it sounds a little unusual, but when you say these words to yourself over and over, to “Cow… Core… Loose… Cow… Core… Loose,” now you are the one in control of feeding yourself the reminders that you need to be connected to your horse, loose and connected to the cow.

Enjoy developing more balance and more connection with your horse, as well as the ability to use your hands and your feet independently as you work a cow.

Show Time

Show Time

The shows are really beginning to open up now. Hallelujah! 
 
This quote so inspired me when I reread it this week, that I wanted to share my thoughts with you about showing. It’s one of my favorite quotes by Dr. Jim Loehr:
 
“When you ride, you’re deepening your sense of joy and appreciation for this opportunity with your horse. You’re learning so much about yourself and your horse. The whole thing is such a fabulous gift in your life. If you win great championships and if you win great medals, that’s just icing on the cake.”

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT AND COMMENT LINK: 

 

Hey, it’s Barb.

I know that a lot of the shows are beginning to open up across the country. That’s so exciting! 

If you compete, I also know you’re really happy about this because we’re all ready to get out. And showing is such a great opportunity to see your friends and have fun!

I want to take a few minutes today to just talk about competition a little bit. Here’s the thing. 

We always think so much about competition in terms of how we and our horses compare to other people… and how were judged… and the results.

Black and white results are important, of course. I’m not minimizing that at all.

I do want to share a little research with you that I think is insightful. It might also be a little bit surprising to you. 

When Dr. Loehr did his original performance research, which was all about performer skills and one’s ability to perform under pressure in any competitive arena… as time went on… he found that if certain athletes did do well, they felt they had to do well again… and again… and again. When their whole purpose was to achieve external results alone, they found themselves on a never-ending wheel of proving themselves. They had to continue to be the best, and never slip-up, at least in their minds!

That’s insatiable, really. 

But what further research showed is that when athletes knew their personal values, that is they knew why they competed and they knew what was important to them. They knew they were becoming more as a person. They knew they were enjoying their friends. They knew each competition was an opportunity to put themselves on the line and stretch! Then, they were happier and kept growing personally. 

So if we as riders have great challenges and things don’t work out very well in the show pen… we can still know that riding and showing a horse is an awesome gift in our lives. We can get up again and brush ourselves off and keep going and growing.

It really boils down to knowing and appreciating what a tremendous opportunity it is to show a horse beyond the end of the day results. 

We can celebrate our friends. We can keep reaching for excellence, keep striving and keep learning. 

Whether you win or whether you don’t win… whether you place or you don’t place, you can review your ride and evaluate all by your own scorecard. What did you do well, and what can you do better? What do you need to work on for the next time you show?

Reaching and learning and enjoying continues on forever. It never changes.

Most importantly, because of these fabulous ups and downs, through it all, as a person you are growing… and becoming… and experiencing!

Again, your friends, the horse you’re riding, and all of your adventures… these are what’s remembered and cherished.

That being said, go get ‘em and have a great time! Stay encouraged. Stay focused on your path. Keep reaching and improving. Measure all by your own scorecard.